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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 44.95
  • Running time: 225
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Outlaw Star

Outlaw Star Collection 2

By Chris Beveridge     December 05, 2000
Release Date: December 05, 2000


Outlaw Star Collection 2
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
As the Space Race continues, Gene hasn't given up his obsession with finding the MacDougall Brothers. But confronted with more than one enemy in the race proves to be a challenging test for the young crew and its pilot. Soon, the crew of the Outlaw Star faces a new problem--money's tight again, so everyone starts taking small jobs to make ends meet, and having Harry MacDougall take a special interest in Melfina can be a little unsettling. Can Gene protect her and at the same time protect himself from the Assassins known as the Anten Seven? Episodes 10-18 on two discs.

The Review!
As soon as this disc set arrived, it flew in the player. No time was spent asking my wife if she wanted to watch it that night. No, she saw it, she said it gets bumped to the top of the stack. When she says that, we watch that show.

And it was good.

Audio:
For the primary review, we watched the show in Japanese and then did some spot checks of the English track. Throughout, we had no trouble with dialogue in terms of distortion or dropouts. Directionality was used in a lot of the action sequences across the front soundstage to good use, though we heard nothing thrown to the rears. The highlight again with this disc is with the music during the opening and ending, which just sounded fantastic. Yet another couple of soundtracks to track down.

Video:
To some extent, I was fairly disappointed in the video this time around. While the colors looked striking, the blacks solid and hardly any noteworthy artifacting outside some of the deep blue night skies, the sheer amount of rainbows throughout which also caused noticeable jaggies distracted me to no end. There were several instances where you'd have the Outlaw Star flying through space and due to the edge rainbow on it, you'd see the normally nicely curved line get jagged. There was another scene with a blue car from an angled above view where the hood looked practically alive from the jaggie caused rainbows. Of course, after it was all said and done, I asked my wife what she thought of the video and she didn't notice any rainbows. Your mileage may vary.

Packaging:
One of the problems of releasing DVD's during the busy holiday season is that those big boys at the Hollywood studios tend to get first dibs on certain things. One of those tends to be the type of keepcase used. While the first Outlaw Star Collection came in a great double alpha keepcase (we wuv alpha's; we're also smart enough to know how to take discs out of them). This collection however came out in the double Amaray, which is almost half the size of the alpha and pretty much considered a poor piece of packaging by many, myself included. The spot for the second disc is essentially a hanging insert that flops back and forth inside, unlike the solid alpha. Otherwise, it's a fairly nice and attractive package with Aisha getting the top spot on the front cover. Jim gets the spot on the back along with a lot of other artwork as well as listing all ten episodes and their episode number (which just looks odd when you're so used to seeing three or four episodes listed). The insert is yet another great one similar to many others from Bandai that talk about things in the show, this time around the Outlaw Star itself.

Menus:
Other than my whining about how loud the menu is, things are identical to the first collection. Access times seemed noticeably slower in the episode selection area this time around, but otherwise no real issues here at all.

Extras:
So close yet so far. The main appeal of the extras this time around is the inclusion of a textless ending. The problem? The endings changed halfway through the series and the second ending is the one done! While I most certainly do enjoy this ending as much as the first, we want the first too! Hopefully for the third collection. Otherwise things are pretty solid here, with some great pieces of conceptual artwork included as well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having made it up to episode 18 of this series now, unless it takes a complete nosedive in the last set of episodes, this is a show we'll definitely be rewatching over the years to come. And with as much stuff as we have to watch, that's actually saying a lot.

While some people have taken a bunch of these episodes to task for being of a filler nature, I have to disagree to some extent. While we do have things such as the Strongest Woman in the Universe episode that did the wrestling gig, it also brought one of the assassins that are after Gene into play as well as providing the launching point for the next arc.

The opening set of episodes focus on Gene and his trying to get a face to face meeting with the MacDougall brothers. The crew arrives at the Heifong system and take up residence on the main inhabited planet, but not until they go through a pretty interesting starship race that that MacDougall brothers are involved in, allegedly. The first face to face meeting with the alleged brother was pretty amusing. It's times like that that I wonder how Gene survived so long being so direct and forward out on the frontier.

While the MacDougall subplot isn't necessarily dropped as it gets revisited towards the end of the episodes included here, it is pushed to the side as one of the more clandestine groups comes into play. During "The Seven Emerge" episode, we get introduced to the group similar to the mystical ones from earlier episodes. The Galactic Leyline is coming back into play and this group sends its assassins to capture both the Outlaw Star and the bio-android Melfina by killing Gene.

So things do take a pretty standard approach of one by one over the remainder of the series coming to wherever Gene is and challenging him, though there are a few fun twists thrown in. The challenges are pretty entertaining in some of the weapons that get brought out and in the way it finally starts bringing the various characters closer together.

One of the things the filler episodes definitely do here is just that, bringing the secondary characters more into the "intimate" family of Gene, Jim and Melfina. Aisha of course makes her presence strongly known and makes an interesting friend of Suzuka by calling her Suzu. Though both still really aren't that well developed, they do work better into the series through these episodes.

Gilliam needs more screen time though. His tiny versions that string throughout the ship and occasionally into their offices is just fun to watch interact with the crew. Gilliam often comes up with the best lines, especially when he's unknowingly entered into the space race. The ship is indeed just as much a character as the rest of the humanoid cast.

Melfina's still my favorite character in the show. While she doesn't get a ton of focus through this batch of episodes, she does provide a few key moments as well as showing how the virtual cyber world is when Harry MacDougall tries to invade her and the ship via the networks. We won't get into how nicely she's drawn.

Another big plus is the music. While we do enjoy the opening song, it's the two ending songs by Akino Arai that really get us after the show is over. And learning that she was involved in two other favorites of mine (Please Save My Earth and Macross Plus) makes me want to get the soundtracks and her own discs even more. Great stuff with simply beautiful pieces of artwork by Hikaru Tanaka for the end sequence.

Outlaw Star continues to be a strong show and one we've enjoyed the hell out of with each episode. Good fun stuff. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Mecha Gallery,Textless Ending (version 2)

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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