Review: Outlaw Star [Blu-ray]

Release Date
Blu-ray Collector’s Edition
Studio / Publisher
Sunrise / All the Anime
Language / Subtitles
English, Japanese / English
Run Time
650 Minutes

Outlaw Star is a classic; it’s one of those old school anime that is seen as a right of passage into the world of anime. What better way than to initiate a whole new generation of anime fans than with a Blu-ray release of this classic, bringing it right back to the forefront of must-see anime.

“Gene Starwind always dreamed of a life as an outlaw and his wish seems to be granted when hired to be bodyguards for the mysterious Hilda. As the job goes from bad to worse, Gene finds himself the proud owner of the galaxy’s most advanced spaceship – the Outlaw Star. Unfortunately for all involved the Outlaw Star is stolen goods and its owners want it back! Along with his partner Jim Hawking as well as the lovely Melfina – Gene must fight his way through pirates, aliens and assassins as he attempts to unravel the secrets of his new spaceship.

From the people that brought you Cowboy Bebop, discover this classic anime swashbucklers tale full of aliens, androids, pirates, female assassins and hot-tempered, very hungry catgirls! Could space action get any more interesting?”All the Anime

I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time writing about the plot of Outlaw Star and how amazing it may or may not be. A series of this kind of pedigree deserves attention whether you’re a long-time fan or someone who has never seen it before. I think, to put this into perspective, very few series of the Space Opera/Space Western genre can match up to the level of Outlaw Star and those that do come out of the same time period. To have been an anime fan in Japan at that time must have been one of the best experiences I could imagine. I’m so grateful to All the Anime and all of the anime publishers and distributors around the world that bring us these classic series in newer and better quality media.

Given the series is a touch under 20 years old, conventions within anime were noticeably different. I constantly see shifts in styles and tropes coming and going every few years and so to newcomers, know that this may be a very different experience to what you’d find today. On this note, however, it is clear that the series suffers a little in the pacing department and while I find the combination of serious and comedy the perfect mix, others may not. When all is said and done, though, I still really enjoy watching this series as do many others. It’s a reminder of a different era of anime and I’m just grateful for the chance to re-buy the series again and show support of classic series getting a high definition release.

Sunrise has a reputation for producing some great series both in terms of storytelling and the visuals. Outlaw Star definitely ranks near the top in both of those categories. Sunrise are masters of the space centred anime and all the mechanical vehicles that go with it Outlaw Star is no different and everything looks amazingly detailed and well designed. Visually, the series is just stunning; anyone that knows me or has read any of my previous reviews will know that I’m a huge fan of traditional animation.

The release, as like the previous DVD set from All the Anime, features both English and Japanese audio tracks. Outlaw Star is actually one of the rare series that I prefer the English dub over the Japanese but either audio track will serve you well in this show. Now I’d be doing a massive disservice to the series and fans if I didn’t mention the opening theme. “Through the Night” performed by Masahiko Arimachi has got to be one of the best anime openings in the history of anime. It has stayed a firm favourite of mine for so many years and my love for the opening even begin years before I’d even watched the series it’s that good.

The release comes in a rigid art box, with a digipack to hold the four Blu-ray discs and a 100-page art book. On-disc extras include Cleaning Opening and Ending Animations, Character Design Galleries, Mechanical Design Galleries, Character Colour Setting Gallery, TV Commercials and the Pilot Film. There’s certainly more on-disc extras than your average release but with classic series like Outlaw Star, I just can’t help but want more.outlaw-star_open

If you haven’t already seen Outlaw Star or don’t already own it then you owe it to yourself to pick up this classic series. One of the best Space Opera/Westerns out there and one of Sunrise’s best works Outlaw Star is a must-have for me personally and I hope a new generation will discover this gem.