Mania Grade: A-
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- 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: 200
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Outlaw Star
Outlaw Star Collection 3
By Chris Beveridge
April 03, 2001
Release Date: April 03, 2001
Outlaw Star Collection 3
What They Say
© Bandai Entertainment
An Outlaw's life can sure be complicated. After encountering other outlaws, pirates, and the evil known as the Ctarl-Ctarl, Gene and company are speeding along happily through the galaxy. However, with the final battle at hand, the crew of the Outlaw Star must find the legendary Galactic Leyline before the MacDougell brothers and the powerful Hanzanko finds it first. The battle for absolute power begins as the Outlaw Star's crew must put their lives on the line to save the universe from these powerful madmen. A battle that will rage across multiple planes of existence in the climactic conclusion of Outlaw Star.The Review!
The concluding volume of Outlaw Star has arrived and I have to admit, I just completely got into the fun side of the show yet again and sat back and simply enjoyed it. While the episodes bring things to a fair conclusion, the ride is where it's at. 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. Akino Arai has definitely become one of my favorite vocalists.Video:
Much like the previous volume, I had some disappointments with the video. 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. Giving the disc a spin in our Apex player on the old 19" TV, the rainbows and the jaggies were much less noticeable, so your mileage may vary.Packaging:
This collection is out in the double Amaray, which is almost half the size of the double 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, and also allows for the discs to bang against each other during shipment which can cause them to come loose. Otherwise, it's a fairly nice package with Suzuka getting the top spot on the front cover. The boy MacDougall brothers get the spot on the back along with a lot of other artwork as well as listing all eight 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 technology in the Outlaw Star universe. Menus:
The menus here are pretty much identical to the first two collections. Access times seemed noticeably slower in the episode selection area this time around, but otherwise no real issues here at all.Extras:
Ah, more textless endings! I absolutely adore both the music, vocals and artwork used for the endings on this series. The other interesting extra is a selection of Japanese cover art (presumably for the LD, VHS and maybe DVD releases). There are a lot of pieces here and it's interesting to see what was picked and what was passed over. Part of the fun is picking what you think would make a better set of covers. I really enjoy this kind of image gallery and hope to see more.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There's a lot of interesting and fun stories being told here. The crew of the Outlaw Star continue on their journey to find the Galactic Leyline coordinates by investigating ancient planetary ruins only to be followed by the MacDougall brothers. Harry's obsession with Melfina reaches new levels but not before a few potential hints are given about Melfina and her relation with the Leyline.
One of my favorite episodes on this collection dealt with Gene breaking into a high gravity prison planet to gain the coordinates of the Leyline from a prisoner in there and then escape with said prisoner. It's one of those episodes you know how it'll turn out when it comes to the end, but the ride in the middle where all the action takes places was just a lot of fun to watch. Gene's attitude gets him into trouble several times but this time with a purpose. His interactions with the other prisoners as well as his adamant definition of the difference between and Outlaw and a criminal worked well and the setting felt like classic SF story setup.
I do have to admit that my favorite episode in this batch is the Hot Springs planet episode. I mean, how can it not be? While this episode was (obviously) excised from the Cartoon Network airing, I found it to be an appropriately placed episode in between all the action and seriousness of these last episodes. The upshot is that Gene heads to this planet where three wise men are able to create new shells for his Caster gun. The humorous part is that one of the wise men, or specifically a wise woman, has turned the planet into a tourist attraction with tons of hot springs. And it's swimwear only, no regular clothes and one hell of an immigration section. Gene spends most of his time on "quests" to gain the shells from the two wise men and does his best to get them dirty pictures of Urt, the wise woman who has a temple full of women up on her mountain.
The show just really flows well together in providing subtle humor as well as laugh out loud sections. During all his quests, Gene is being chased by one of the Anten members (quite unsuccessfully, as Gene never even notices him till the end). The women all get their fan-service moments with Aishi providing the must blatant catgirl nudity (cha-ching, sales just tripled). What made this worthwhile to the series overall is the explanation of the mana of the universe and how it relates to the weapon Gene uses. It makes sense in retrospect, but I never connected a Caster gun with a spellcaster and the shells being condensed magic spells.
The final few episodes of the series brings things to a the height of things with the Outlaw Star crew, the Anten/Kei pirates, the MacDougall brothers and Gwen Kahn all making it to the Leyline to discover the treasure. There's a lot of things going on in these final episodes and to talk about one is to give away various other plots. Several things are indeed revealed and while the ending probably won't be satisfactory to everyone, it works well but does minimalize the overall effort from the beginning of the arc. In the end though, the goal was to learn who Melfina really is and that's fairly well revealed here.
Outlaw Star has been a real treat and a real surprise. While watching the show I was reminded greatly of my days of anime watching in the late 80's and early 90's when subtitled tapes were coming out and everything I saw was just fun to watch and I was just engrossed in it. I'm tempted to say that in some respects, Outlaw Star has rekindled my love of anime in the classic fun action series genre.
It won't make our essential collection, but it is highly recommended.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending #2,Japanese Cover Art
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.