Outlaw Star

March 12, 2017

What happens when you mix in Cowboy Bebop with Trigun? You get Outlaw Star! Heh. That was what I think after a few episodes into it. Yes, it’s that time for my retro anime pick and the thing that got me interested to watch this series was the synopsis which states about our main protagonists who are just run of the mill small entrepreneurs on a backwater planet. Then they get involved in something big in one of the jobs they take on. Before they know it, they have got lots of parties hot on their trail. From the authorities to pirates to aliens and even an assassin! And they don’t even fully understand what they did to land in such hot water in the first place. At times like these all you have to do is run and go with the flow, right? But to balance all that, it seems they have the most advanced ship ever known in the universe on their side. Yeah, this is going to look like a fun ride.

Episode 1
Hilda is being targeted by a Tao pirate organization, Kei Pirates. Luckily she manages to escape. Gene Starwind and Jim Hawking are at a bar when Rob Cain comes in looking for revenge against Gene for killing his brother. Gene shoots him but seeing Rob is a cyborg, Jim traces his weakness and allows Gene to take him down for good. The Kei Pirates have traced Hilda to land on this planet Sentinel and sends out henchmen to look for her. Next morning, Jim gets a call from Rachell Sweet who is requesting for special parts (they run a shop fixing everything from spaceships to relationships) and bodyguard services. Jim feels suspicious since she has already deposited money to buy very rare parts. Gene goes to meet Rachell to confirm if she is the real deal. She claims there is some farm machine in the middle of nowhere that she needs to fix. As they wait for Jim to pick them up, several Slenderman-like robots warn Gene to go away or die. Not one to like be threatened, he attacks and finishes them off. On their way, those Kei Pirates show up and they call out to Hilda. Rachell throws a smoke bomb and tells Gene to floor it. The guys want some answers so she reveals herself as Hilda. Those Kei Pirates are the enemies as they are after the same treasure. Some give chase but Gene is able to shoot back and kill them. At the farm, Hilda shoots Gene. She forces Jim to load a suitcase but Gene points his gun back at her. Why is he alive? So sorry for Jim’s PDA. Gene wants the suitcase to be opened but it is locked by a password. Against Hilda’s better advice they shouldn’t know what inside it, they insist and once it is open, they are shocked to see a woman sleeping inside.

Episode 2
Hilda tells them to fix her cybernetic arm if they want to hear more. This woman is Melfina. She isn’t sure why the Kei Pirates want her. Because Hilda has a bad relationship with them, she decided to swipe them for this treasure. Melfina isn’t the source of why they are targeting her. It’s because she killed one of their heads. The Kei Pirates have surrounded the place. Because Melfina has undergone automatic resuscitation, she cannot be disturbed. If Gene can hold out for a few minutes, Hilda can bring her drop ship and pick them up to her main ship, Horus waiting in orbit. Once Melfina is awakened, she starts crying, lamenting to be born! They manage to hold the pirates off and blast off. Since Gene has never gone into space before, he is scared but Melfina holds his hand. It seems Gene has been into space before. When he was young, he was riding his father’s ship but it was attacked. Father had no choice but to send Gene away in a pod before succumbing to fate. Gene is still reeling from this nightmare. They arrive in an Outlaw free town, Blue Heaven. Hilda meets up with some of her crew to repair Horus. Gene learns in this town you can’t use a gun and how the power factions of space is divided into Space Forces, pirates and Outlaws. While Jim takes Melfina to shop for proper clothes, Gene hears Hilda’s next job to retrieve a powerful grappler ship, thus she is looking for some manpower. A bunch of Outlaws want in on this but she knows they are not up to par. When they get violent, she swiftly deals with them. That night as they rent a room to sleep, those Outlaws come back for revenge. They anticipated this and fight back. The boss is using a mecha and Gene still can’t use his gun? Well, the mecha isn’t using a gun.

Episode 3
Gene uses his paint gun to blind his vision and Hilda easily takes him out. Interrogation reveals MacDougall paid them to capture or keep them here. Hilda and co make a move to leave Blue Heaven. Of course those Outlaws won’t let them go so easily as they chase and fight amidst the asteroids. However a mothership from Ctarl-Ctarl Empire is coming to dock and wants everyone to get out of the way believing they have the right of way. Hilda plays chicken and thus the ship’s officer, Aisha Clanclan is forced to dodge. They barely miss each other. After that, she has had it with everyone making a fool out of her and has her men fire at Hilda. All missed. Hilda escapes the asteroid field. Aisha wants to give chase but the crew has orders to dock their ship. Gene learns a bit about the Galactic Leylines, something the Kei Pirates are desperate to get their hands on because of some treasure as well as the MacDougall Brothers whose stance as Outlaws are pretty shady. They give their services to whoever pays the highest. Like a mercenary? When they arrive at the designated spot, Hilda is supposed to meet up with her allies but there are no response. They see remnants of their ship floating. The work of this stems from the Kei Pirates working with Ron MacDougall. They launch an attack. Gene is still having space sickness and giving excuse he can’t shoot straight. But Hilda lectures him about running away so he mans up and takes the guns. Don’t blame him if the controls are covered in puke. Although it looked like the Kei Pirates let them escape, actually they have tagged them so they can trace Horus wherever they go. Meanwhile Aisha’s superior heard about this humiliation. She is demoted and forced to stay on Blue Heaven to research more on Galactic Leylines. Her crew got off scot free and will continue to pursue Horus. This sucks… Horus arrives at a desert planet where the grappler ship is docked on an orbiting asteroid.

Episode 4
After Hilda starts up the ship, XGP 15A-II, its AI and navigator, Gilliam II introduces himself and registers the crew. He can do anything except piloting matters so Hilda assigns Melfina to navigational duties. Before she could give XGP a new name, the Kei Pirates are here. Hilda wants them to start XGP and get a move on while she holds them off back on Horus. Jim has to go check and fix the engines since this ship is like a newly wrapped present that is just opened. Some have boarded XGP so Gene has Gilliam to open the hatch to suck them out. Suddenly both parties are being attacked by the MacDougall Brothers. It is not like they are betraying the Kei Pirates. Their contract ended and they have a new contract to eliminate XGP. They don’t need that ship seeing they believe their own is the fastest. They fire all they’ve got so that their ships will be pulled in by the planet’s gravitational force and be destroyed. A typical trait of bad guys is never to confirm their job is really done before leaving. They assume it’s already over. Gene sees MacDougall’s ship and remembers it played a part in his dad’s death. Gene accelerates and breaks XGP through the asteroid. He is supposed to grab Horus but the Kei Pirates knock her out of the path and hook themselves to XGP to escape the pull. Gilliam advises Gene they cannot turn back to save Horus or decelerate or they’ll fall back into the gravitational pull. Hilda then abandons Horus and hooks on to the wire. Since the Kei Pirates’ ship is too heavy, the wire snaps. The pirates still won’t go down with a fight and try to conjure some harmful magic. Hilda won’t allow it and takes them out with her by blowing herself up. XGP has escaped the gravitational pull. Gene is saddened with the loss of Hilda. As first order as captain, he renames XGP to Outlaw Star.

Episode 5
Gene and co return to Blue Heaven. Hilda’s mechanic crew, Swanzo and Mikey are shocked to hear Hilda is dead. Gene wants their help to fix up Outlaw Star with accessories and register the ship. He doesn’t have any money to pay but will do so when he hits it big. Swanzo agrees to it since he owes Hilda. For the day, they hang out in town. That is when they stumble into Aisha who is looking for them. She bugs them about Hilda. At first shocked about her death, then she pesters them about Galactic Leylines thinking they should know as they work under Hilda. However they don’t know anything. Aisha thinks they are making a fool out of her and starts attacking them in her tantrum. They run for it but she is fast and furious. She is going to use her ultimate metamorphosis attack but unfortunately that won’t do since there is no moon now. Is there even a moon orbiting this area? So the chase continues… They lose her for a while and Gene notices Melfina a little depressed since she has no memories prior to Hilda rescuing her. Gene assures he will help find her identity and take responsibility over her in addition to Hilda’s goals. Aisha has found them and once more attacks. When Gene slices her body, nothing happens. Her skin is so tough that it makes her immortal. When she is about to power up, she goes flat. She ran out of energy because she is hungry. Ironically she joins them eating and my, she always eat in large portions. Once full, she gets her strength back and won’t thank them. Before she could attack, Jim passes a modified shell for Gene’s gun he just got. He shoots and stuns her. That should do the trick. He then leaves the restaurant’s tab on her. They return and see Outlaw Star complete. Their plan now is to head back to Sentinel to fit it with weapons. Jim fears the dreaded Fred Luo and true enough Gene is going to try his luck with him. Aisha is forced to wash the plates and vows revenge for embarrassing her pride. Or is it her ego?

Episode 6
This is first time Gene is landing a ship. Can he do it? Almost killed everybody. Now we know why Jim is so ‘afraid’ of Fred. He is gay for guys! Gene negotiates for weapons for Outlaw Star. It is going to cost him and once again Gene plays the IOU card. Business is business but since Fred loves Gene, he might consider. After they leave, Fred is being attacked by a beautiful swordswoman assassin, Suzuka. She is under contract to kill him. She gives him 5 minutes to live before she cuts him down. That is when Gene returns. Gene and Suzuka fight each other. However dealing with him too long means Suzuka has surpassed her time limit to take out Fred. See you again tomorrow. Fred is grateful for Gene saving him especially when nobody has ever survived Suzuka’s assassination. Hearing that the costs will be waived, Gene decides to add more weapons… Give an inch, want a mile. After Gene leaves, Suzuka attacks him. Before she kills Fred by next sunset, she has to eliminate him first. Gene runs away from her to a deserted place. As they fight and he tries to snatch away her wooden sword, he unrobes her too. She is ‘paralyzed’ and he makes a deal to stop targeting Fred if she wants these stuffs back. She won’t because of the contract but no matter how stubborn she is, Gene has the upper hand in negotiations. Because of her pride she is adhering to, Gene ‘shoots’ and ‘kills’ her. Now Suzuka the assassin is ‘dead’. If she still won’t give up and since Gene was the one who killed her pride, if she is going to kill Fred, she must kill him first. End of ‘negotiations’. Jim wonders if this is a good thing. Gene believes it is easier to protect himself than Fred. After Gene finalizes his deal with Fred, he is surprised to hear he owes Fred instead! This is what is due after subtracting the items he ordered from how much it would cost to hire Suzuka. Yeah, Fred just gave him 30% discount. And you thought he loved him always, eh? Business is still business… No money, no love.

Episode 7
It is narrated that the Kei Pirates are under the Chinese space pirate guild called 108 Stars. Under its many independent groups, the leader of the group that is after Gene is Hazanko and he is very influential in the guild. Gene and Jim try to figure out how to earn some money but there are no easy jobs with big money. Melfina would love to help so Gene has her cook eggs for them. As Melfina is an android, she can’t sleep. Gene’s curiosity to know how human she is has him trying to look up under her skirt. Jim beats him up. That kid looks up to Melfina more like a mom. While Gene is fixing Outlaw Star and attending to some admin issues, the pirates move in. Gene fights off with this Nosferatu dude who keeps asking where Hilda as well as his other comrades is. Like he will answer. Gene is somewhat defeated but Nosferatu escapes when the authorities are heard coming. He vows to get back XGP. At the same time, Melfina is being attacked by a giant dude from Kei Pirates. Luckily Suzuka was on her way visiting Gene’s place. She decides to help out to make Gene owe her and defeats him. When Jim returns, he is shocked to see Suzuka with Melfina. Despite Melfina vouching Suzuka saved her, Jim won’t tell where Gene is. Suzuka warns it is in their best interest to do so. Jim takes them to Outlaw Star. Because Suzuka is not a crew, she cannot enter. Jim is forced to register her as one. Inside, they see Gene working hard to fix the ship because with parties targeting them, his plan is to pack up their things and leave Sentinel as soon as possible. Suzuka mentions she doesn’t mind helping him out since the Kei Pirates are after him. However Gene collapses due to his injuries from the fight.

Episode 8
Gene is reeling from the poison needles. Nosferatu contacts them and will give the antidote in exchange for their ship. They cannot trust him so they cut him off. Melfina thinks she can help and takes Gene into her navigation chamber to heal. Nosferatu and his goons return to attack in their mecha. At the same time, Fred contacts them to warn that Kei Pirates are targeting them and will be arriving soon. Thing is, this part of space isn’t their area. That’s why they used Fred as intermediary and he can’t turn them down due to business. And because his love for Gene, he is warning them. Sorry? At this point, Gene has healed enough and returns to take control of Outlaw Star as he destroys the mecha goons. Suzuka finishes off Nosferatu who is attacking her in his cowardly ways. Gene orders to launch immediately despite not having clearance. Who gives a f*cks about authority since he is not coming back to this planet again, right? After launching into space, they are attacked by 3 Kei Pirates ships. Time to put those missiles, guns and sword to good use in this epic mini space dog fight. Outlaw Star is obviously faster and more versatile and wins the day. But mostly it is thanks to Gene’s skills too. Gene now sets the course to Heiphon, an area under the Ban Pirates in which Kei Pirates will not carelessly go. There, they can also find jobs that will help replenish and maintain Outlaw Star.

Episode 9
Jim talks to Gene about their chances of finding a big job at Heiphon. Even if Kei Pirates won’t be on their tail, they have never been on Heiphon before and have no connections. That means landing a big one won’t be easy and at this rate they won’t be able to honour their promises. Because Gene is taking this easy, Suzuka calls him immature and even Melfina voices out he is acting funny. Even when Jim warns him Suzuka might take his head and Gene brushes it off, confident she won’t do anything funny, this strains their relationship. Funnily, Gene tries to hang his underwear (he has lots of them!) on Gilliam’s operating wires. He can’t hang them in the cargo since Jim is hogging the place and doesn’t want it in his own quarters either because he doesn’t want to wake up with underwear in his face! For a change in pace, Gene suggests stopping by a station. First up is to fill up their stomachs. Do they have enough money? Next, Gene suggests taking down this legendary dude named Zomba as he has a bounty of 10 grand. When they enter a bar looking for him, everyone gets scared and runs away! They confront Zomba in his room but since he doesn’t want it dirty, they fight at an abandoned chapel. The fight easily ends with Gene destroying this android. Their reward is only 2 grand since this is an android and not the real one. They vow to get this man next but it seems Suzuka already beat them to it! Better luck next time. On the way back, Gene sees on the news the announcement of Heiphon Space Race that will be starting in 5 days. He spots MacDougall’s ship and is now motivated to get to Heiphon.

Episode 10
At Heiphon, Gene and Jim register for the race. All seems okay till they realize they have to pay upfront $150,000 as registration fee. Oh, they cannot peer into the data of other racers too. I guess Gene has no choice so he goes to Fred’s branch on Heiphon for sponsorship. Oh God. That guy is here too. Is this fate? He is willing to sponsor Gene but only if he finishes in the top 3 spots. Finish outside and his debts will increase. They are required to wear a weird outfit too. Will Melfina wear it too? Fred warns not to parade her around because she is mostly wanted by Kei Pirates. Gene and Jim attend the pre-party race in hopes of finding MacDougall. Gene sees a hot waitress and thinks of hitting on her. Wait a minute. Isn’t that Aisha. Oh no! She is hell bent on getting her revenge as she reveals how she got her via hitchhiking and took up many jobs as a waitress. Thankfully her boss stops her and threatens to cut her pay before she could do anything. Be a good girl. As the participants take their place at the starting line, one of them is from Ctarl-Ctarl and goes by the name of Nubata Kunono. Unknown to everyone it seems Aisha is on board it and participating in the race. When Gene thinks he sees MacDougall’s ship, to his disappointment El Dorado is piloted by Harry Williams. Who the f*ck is this guy? He tries to hail the ship but they ignore him. As the race begins, it seems the fastest route to the next checkpoint is in between 2 binary planets. Despite the warnings from Gilliam about getting caught in its gravitational pull, Gene is adamant to go through it. And now an intergalactic tidal wave is going to swallow them up along with the checkpoint.

Episode 11
There are no other escape routes so Gene accelerates through, trusting Outlaw Star is the fastest ship in the universe. They barely pass through the checkpoint before the wave engulfs it. At the pit stop, Gene confronts Harry and believes he is playing dumb not knowing anything. Gene gets rough with him but has to put off his threats since the race marshals are coming to see what is going on. It seems Harry might know a thing in relation to MacDougall. To the next checkpoint, they traverse through an asteroid field. Aisha plans to have a sneak attack on Outlaw Star but her crew tells her this ship is not equipped with any weapons. It is just a trading ship. Time for Plan B. Outlaw Star is going through the asteroid field when they receive an SOS from a crew from Nubata Kunono who has shipwrecked there. Although court marshals can come and pick it up, why is Gene so nice to come help? He knows what it feels like to drift lonely in space. He overcomes his phobia to pick up the stranded crew. Once inside, this crew is revealed to be Aisha! Gotcha this time! Aisha is bugging Gene about the Galactic Leylines. If he knows anything, he would be there by now. But Aisha can’t go back to Ctarl-Ctarl because they’ll treat a failure like her badly. So she’s going to stick around them and get something to prove her worth? This is going to be problematic… Suddenly Outlaw Star is being targeted by missiles courtesy of El Dorado. In order to escape it, the only choice is to go into some ether warp. During this moment, their systems are at risk of malfunctioning and Gilliam might not know where they’ll end up. Gene drastically cuts the engines. When he restarts again, they realize they are just slightly out of Heiphon’s orbit. Everything else is normal except for a few busted engines. Practically, they are fine. This gives Gene an idea. Because no ordinary ship can withstand an ether stream and since Outlaw Star is not an ordinary ship, they are going to ride the ether stream to make up for lost time. This reckless move works as they end up crossing the finish line in third place. However this race is also time based. Because the fourth placed team is began 2 minutes earlier, this relegates Outlaw Star to fourth. Even so, Outlaw Star is first place in the privateer category. With Jim and Aisha parading in Fred’s outfit, I suppose Fred can share half the sponsorship fee with them. But Gene is not pleased to hear that El Dorado dropped out from the race.

Episode 12
Harry left a message that he is tired of Gene’s luck and wants to settle this one on one and meet at a certain location. Aisha continues to tag along and claims Gene is responsible for all this. He asks about the Galactic Leylines and she mentions it is rumoured to contain lots of treasures enough to buy the entire Solar System! If MacDougall really knows something about this, Aisha is definitely coming along. When they leave, this creepy old professor, Gwen Kahn asks them a lot about Outlaw Star and is interested about it. But they aren’t staying to answer his questions. At the asteroid field, Outlaw Star begins mortal combat with El Dorado. The asteroids can be a curse and blessing since they can hide and block missiles but also run the risk of running into them if they are not quick to evade. But El Dorado is always cornering them so Aisha is b*tching about everything. Gene threatens to throw her out and this gives him an idea. He did throw her out but it is to locate El Dorado as he can manoeuvre easily. Then they engage in grappler arm combat but Outlaw Star is obviously superior. Gene then boards El Dorado and finds Harry who admits he is part of MacDougall Brothers. Gene spams lots of questions but Harry doesn’t know much except that XGP originally belonged to Kei Pirates. At the same time, Kei is trying to hack into Outlaw Star. He sees Melfina and has a devilish thought. Can you get raped in cyberspace because Melfina is like feeling so violated. Luckily Gene spots the hacking device and shoots it off. Harry is reduced to a coward as he escapes. Another El Dorado is detected and piloted by Ron. I guess this is the trick why El Dorado is always cornering them. Ron picks up Harry as they blast away. Outlaw Star is hindered by asteroid pieces and loses them. Harry reels his humiliating and painful defeat so Ron vows they’ll get their revenge and do much worse. Gene must be having second thoughts about picking up Aisha. But the thought of having her coming back to haunt and b*tch him harder, he’d rather not take that risk.

Episode 13
Our heroes aren’t getting any jobs since Gene is picky for a big one. They throw out Aisha when she even suggests a low paying pet searching job. So when Fred contacts them for a job (so they can pay off their debt) and it is a decent one about a business associate of his having his cargo gone missing after docking, Jim immediately takes up the offer and takes Melfina along to help. He goes to talk to the client and learns a rare insect and plant have gone missing. He didn’t go to the police because he didn’t apply for permits. You know all those red tapes, right? So this is technically smuggling. Meanwhile Gene doesn’t even want to solve some ice cream vendor’s rivalry and goes out on a date with the race receptionist, Claire instead. She wants to get ice cream even though the queue is long. Gene notices the guy from the next stall with nobody. Isn’t this the one who called him earlier? They taste the ice cream to be normal. Nothing special. But why are people queueing up still? Something looks suspicious about that cactus… Gene is getting good with Claire when he is interrupted by Jim’s call. He doesn’t understand something about Aisha being caught by a bug and a cactus is missing. But upon remembering seeing that cactus, the cactus lets out a high frequency wave. The bug breaks out from its cocoon and into the area with Aisha riding it. The high frequency causes Gene to lose his edge in sharp shooting. Jim doesn’t want to kill the back as it is worth 2,000 reward. But Aisha wants to kill it even if it only rewards her 700! Ego problem… Suddenly the cactus takes control of Jim. He claims he is an almighty supreme being bent on taking over the universe. He was making everyone buy ice cream to test his hypnotic skills. However his hypnotic skills aren’t working on Melfina. She slaps the cactus? Her hands okay? Well, she’s an android. When Jim is freed, Gene tells it to step and crush it! The supreme being is being stomped to death… In the aftermath, they just got the minimal reward. They learn the plant controlled the bug and made its escape. Gene curses that had this not get in his way, he could have scored. I don’t think he meant a big job. Suzuka returns and thinks she has the right job for them. Some place needs participants for Wild West quick draws. They kick her out and just settle for the smaller job of providing a tugboat.

Episode 14
Gene is not too happy with this tugboat job and just when Outlaw Star attaches itself to pull this advertising ship, it gets hacked by a virus and all systems immediately shutdown. They are contacted by someone known as Crackerjack who warns them the ad ship is filled with high explosives. Unless their demands are met in 5 hours, everything goes boom. A video showing the People’s Liberation Front (PLF) demanding for the viceroy of Heiphon to be removed and demand independence for Heiphon. But the viceroy refuses to negotiate with terrorists and is willing to sacrifice people! On the news, it is reported that Outlaw Star is the terrorist and Gene is holding the others hostage. The people on Heiphon panic as they think the ship is going to crash into Heiphon and mass evacuate. The viceroy thinks of blowing it up before crashing onto the planet but he can’t after learning there are radioactive materials. Jim might have purged the virus but all systems are still down and they can only use their grappler arms. Gene decides to try his luck in defusing the bomb. Can an amateur do it? You won’t know if you don’t try. But Crackerjack anticipates this and the bomb sets off. Luckily this is only a warning bomb and Outlaw Star only lost a grappler arm. Crackerjack contacts him and gives another warning but Gene is adamant he is going to diffuse his bomb. Gene knocks around to locate the bomb. There it is. But it has 2 wires. I suppose Gene is going to use his knowledge of movies to diffuse the fake wire, huh? Then he gets contacted from Aisha and Suzuka. They have been doing their own tracking. When they couldn’t find the registration of the ad ship, they threatened Fred for more information. PLF isn’t a terrorist organization and just robbers. It is then Gene realizes what is going on. It is exactly PLF’s plan to clear out Heiphon so they can rob jewels on it. Knowing how this guy thinks, he knows this bomb is also a fake and the real one is at the first fake because nobody would normally go back to check there. Suzuka and Aisha beat up Crackerjack’s goons before they could leave. And then Outlaw Star crashes into the station (bomb diffused a while ago) and Gene gets his payback by beating up the mastermind.

Episode 15
As narrated, Hazanko also controls directly a group of deadly assassins known as Anten Seven. He has ordered them to kill Gene. He might not be as powerful as them but he senses his chi will bring them down if not taken care of. Shimi is the first to go as he calls out Gene for a challenge at a certain place and to bring any weapons. Gene didn’t like him demanding things like that and wants to fight now. However Shimi is quicker to draw than him. Shimi will tell everything if he lives. Hey wait. Isn’t this a fight to a death? Because of that, Gene is drinking out his problems at a bar. He meets a man, Leilong who advises him about living based on his own personal duel battles. This frustrates Gene even more and when he returns home, Melfina tries to be nice to him but he snaps thinking she was programmed to do that. When she starts crying in confusion, he backs down but is still wondering the reason he is living for. So having nightmares he lost as a premonition? The next day he meets Shimi. The draw ends quickly with both going down but Gene wins. Though, he busts a rib. Shimi doesn’t want his corpse to be pathetic and blows himself up. Gene knows this is not the real Shimi. The real one is no other than Leilong. Shimi is his trading name and that fake Shimi was his pupil. Leilong attacks him and is faster and better in all ways. Gene is injured in the process and when he is down but before Leilong can kill him, Gene’s crew pop up and won’t easily let their captain die. Yeah, Gene’s life is owed to so many people. They take on Leilong but he easily takes them out except for Melfina since he has orders to leave her in one piece. However he easily takes out the rest. If Suzuka is defeated, man, we’re really done for. Leilong could have ended this now but feeling this is too boring, he gives Gene a chance for a one shot quick draw. You’d think in Gene’s injured state he wouldn’t be able to shoot straight. However Leilong lost! Seems his gun was a dud and he notes Gene’s luck. He warns them about the remaining Anten Seven before passing on. Hazanko is furious over Shimi’s lost and so the other Anten Seven (should be 6) are going to finish the job. After Gene and co bury Leilong, shortly Leilong burst out from his burial. Seems the bullet is also a dud. Leilong’s fake death means he is freed from his assassin shackles and becomes a wandering Outlaw.

Episode 16
It must be an insult for Aisha. The restaurant she works part time in, she has to serve Gene and co who ordered a sumptuous lobster meal because they’ll be meeting a client for a job and he is treating them to it. And no, Aisha cannot lay a single tooth on it. This old man, Jiji wants Gene to use his grappler ship to salvage some treasure dropped on a planet. Because he is unwilling to shed more details, Gene and Jim contemplate the risk. If the treasure is worth 5 million, well why not? It seems with that kind of value, there are many people trying to kill Jiji. So this bunch of ruffians want to shoot the hell out of him? They don’t know better not to mess with Gene. But Aisha is the one beating them to a pulp since they wasted the food. Oh, she destroyed the entire place too. No pay for her. Only debts. Outlaw Star heads into a water planet in Heiphon. They encounter a sea ‘demons’. Jiji explains he was here before 30 years ago when the treasure crashed here. Many sides tried to get it but the native sea monsters guarding the place destroyed anyone who invaded their territory. Soon everyone feared this place and abandoned trying to get the treasure. Of course Jiji never gave up and has sacrificed a lot for this day to come. He will continue his code as an Outlaw to hunt treasures and monsters. Jiji has them setup decoys for the monsters to buy them time to retrieve the treasure. 15 tons of Dragonite. That’s worth a lot. At least this is where Aisha gets useful using her immense strength to carry out crates of them. However the monsters return to attack. Everyone is back on board but the giant mother of all monsters is gripping Outlaw Star tightly. At this rate the ship will break. Jiji uses a mini submarine to settle once and for all this mother monster, the one he fought with 30 years ago. Gene is not too happy with his sacrifice but Jiji thanks them that he is able to accomplish his dream. All that is left to kill the monster. Once he enters the monster’s mouth, he blows himself up. Outlaw Star is safely back and undergoing repairs. Aisha can’t wait for her cut but Jim tells the bad news that this is low quality Dragonite and doesn’t cost much. After deducting all expenses, they are left with nothing. Sorry Aisha, back to washing dishes. And where’s Gene? Making a makeshift grave for Jiji. This guy has got all the time in the world.

Episode 17
There is an opening narration about the differences between humans and robots. Relatively easy. Also, cyborgs are easy since they are humans fitted with machine parts. But the controversy and grey area are bio-androids like Melfina. They are robots fitted with human parts and supposedly have no soul. While God created men, men are the ones who created bio-androids. Melfina is feeling down because she feels Gene might be forgetting his promise to find the reason why she was born. Gene gets a call from Ron (remember, they don’t know how he looks like yet) for a dangerous job. He wants to meet in person and arranges a place at a restaurant. Gene is suspicious this is a trap but can’t let this go since Ron says it involves Galactic Leylines. When Gene is there, Ron gets down to business and wants to buy Outlaw Star along with Melfina. They’re not for sale. When Ron says he knows about Melfina from his little brother, Gene instantly knows he is the older MacDougall brother. Ron says Outlaw Star and Melfina are needed to find the location of Galactic Leylines and that is why Kei Pirates are after them. However Hilda stole it from them. Ron was under contract by the pirates to locate Hilda but the Space Forces subsequently contracted them to destroy XGP because that ship was built by both pirates and Space Forces’ technology and the latter wants all records of dealing with pirates erased. That was before Ron realized the true potential of the ship. Gene also asks about him destroying a certain ship many years ago but he can’t remember. With all the talk done, time to overturn tables and fight. Gene can tell Ron is using superior technology and won’t last. Then it hit him that Ron is just stalling him because Outlaw Star and Melfina are targeted. He rushes back but Ron is confident he won’t make it in time. Meanwhile Melfina is surprised Henry visits her. Immediately she shuts him out. Using his cyborg arm, he breaks in. He gets mad when she rejects him. He tries to convince her they are the same as he too is born in a lab and has no parents. Well, Melfina can’t remember. He gets madder when she remains stubborn and tries to kidnap her. She runs and hides herself in the cockpit as Gilliam tries to shut Harry out. Harry then tries to hack into the system and Gilliam suggests Melfina help him. So it might look like another cyberspace rape but Melfina is able to shut him out and destroy his cyborg arm. Harry is forced to retreat. Gene and Jim return and they are glad Melfina is okay. They see a message from Gwen as he wonders they haven’t left for the Galactic Leylines despite having XGP. Could it be they don’t have enough info? He will help out to find more clues and will keep in touch with them. Melfina continues to be confuse about herself and Harry.

Episode 18
Gene is begging to Fred for more money?! Well, Fred can give it to him but with a condition he does a job for him. There is this fighting tournament he wants Gene to enter. But it is the women’s division. Reiko Andou has been the women’s champ for 4 consecutive years. He wants Gene to stop her from getting her fifth. Why? Reiko is destined to be Fred’s wife! It is his family tradition to marry the strongest woman. Fred made this silly bet to her 5 years ago to win it 5 times in a row thinking she cannot do it. And now the moment of reckoning is here. Naturally Gene sends Aisha to fight but it seems the organizers have banned the Ctarl-Ctarl race from entering since they went on a rampage and destroyed everything! Can Suzuka do it? Like hell she will. Everybody then has an idea. They turn Gene into a woman! Folks, meet Jenny. But it seems Aisha is also participating. How? She stole one of the fighter’s identity and snuck in! In the first round, Gene faces off with Reiko. He fools and flirts around to purposely make her mad. Unfortunately he lost. Don’t worry, Aisha is still in, right? She makes it to the final but shockingly Reiko lost in the semi-finals! Fred is so happy and Gene won’t get paid since he didn’t do anything. Karma hits Fred when Reiko hugs him (crushing his bones) promising she’ll do better next time. So keep waiting? Aisha’s final opponent is Iraga who is part of Anten Seven. Both are evenly match but Iraga seems to be distracted that Gene is here since she is under orders from Hazanko to kill him but defied them temporarily to enter this tournament. It is then revealed that Iraga is also a Ctarl-Ctarl. This makes everyone run for their lives. Aisha won’t lose out as they both transform into their beast form to fight. With Gene and co taking care of other pirates, the arena is then engulf in fire. Everyone escapes. Gene is worried about Aisha not making it out but it goes to show Ctarl-Ctarl are tough people. Aisha is out and defeated Iraga. Although this fiasco means Gene won’t get paid too, Fred calls him to offer a lifeline as he promised to pay if he took up the job. Gene and co now blast off for the Galactic Leylines.

Episode 19
After defeating a pirate ship, Outlaw Star is taken in by the Space Forces. More accurately, a private security force. While being frisked, Melfina notices something strange with the data of another pirate group that is also being frisked next to them. Gene and Jim are then interrogated by this lizard guy, Duuz and this hot babe, Valeria. They are suspicious of his Outlaw Star because it is a grappler ship and it serves more than just treasure hunting. Gene warns them the other suspicious pirate group because it is like as though they came here to attack. Prideful Duuz goes to interrogate them again. Valeria then tells the rest of Outlaw Star crew about a civilian ship, Midsummer Night’s Queen that will be docking here soon. It was attacked by pirates and only 10% of the passengers survived. This riles Gene up since it reminds him closely to his father’s death. After the ship docks, the survivors rush out in panic. The ship then starts attacking and the civilians are pirates in disguise as they attack the station by surprise. Furthermore, pirate reinforcements are seen coming. During the chaos, Gene and co flee back to their ship. They see Duuz trap and Gene frees him. Why? Because it is his pride. Back on Outlaw Star, Gene helps destroy Midsummer Night’s Queen and take on the other pirates. He is of course willing to help out this security force for a fee. After Valeria hands them the pirate’s data, Outlaw Star whips their ass. Of course to show that the security force are no sitting ducks, Duuz and Valeria show their military might and arsenal by blasting away the remaining pirate ships. In the aftermath, Valeria pays Gene his dues. Duuz decides to let Outlaw Star go because they are duly registered and it was the pirate’s data that scrambled their data and confusing it all that they were pirates. They let Gene continue to live out his treasure hunting dream but Duuz warns he will take him down hard if he ever catches him committing a crime.

Episode 20
After another hard fought victory over another pirate ship, Outlaw Star docks at another station for repairs. While Gene goes drinking (Melfina tasked to accompany him), Jim works hard on his computer. Taking a break, he goes out for fresh air and sees a girl, Hanmyo and her cats. In short: Love at first sight. He talks to her and she can tell he is trying to hit on her. They agree to meet up again later. Jim should know better than to ask Gene for advice on what to give a girl. Especially the morning after his hangover. Jim sees Hanmyo again and surprises her with lovely flowers. They agree to always meet at this time and point. Of course we see that Hanmyo is part of Anten Seven and her pet cats are her accomplices. Her job is to disable Outlaw Star and kill Gene. She is unaware that Jim is part of Outlaw Star. When Outlaw Star leaves the station, Hanmyo follows it and a dogfight begins. Jim and Hanmyo are unaware they are fighting each other. After another intense battle, Hanmyo and her cats ultimately lost. Outlaw Star took on some damage and has to return to the station for repairs. Jim couldn’t be happier. When he waits for Hanmyo, she never turned up. He feels heartbroken but all that is swept away with some brotherly talk from Gene. I guess there is no use trying to think too much over this short-lived romance so Jim and the rest prepare for their next journey to the Galactic Leylines.

Episode 21
Jim leads the gang to a planet called Dragon. Although it isn’t the Galactic Leylines, it is supposedly to have some ancient ruins that will give clues on it. Unknown to them, close on their tail is the MacDougall Brothers and they’re going to settle this once and for all. After landing on the uninhabitable rocky planet and traversing the rocky terrain, they find the ruins and inside is a dragon sphinx. Jim’s database cannot find anything useful from past expeditions. Melfina touches a wall and a dragon symbol glows before disappearing. Melfina cannot feel it again. She decides to be alone for a while and the rest chastise Gene for ignoring her and being colder to her more than usual. He also knows about the promise to find out her origins and isn’t making any progress. Ron told him she is part of a navigational system to the Galactic Leylines. He is sure she doesn’t want to hear that answer. Also, he is not sure if she will be the same if they get there or if it will have the answers for what she is looking for. As of now, they can’t go there. While Melfina is singing, I guess this catches Harry’s attention. He wants her to come with him and promises she will never be alone again. She rejects him again and thinks he is the lonely one. Before Harry can get more aggressive, here comes Gene to the rescue. Harry returns with his mecha and fight. At the same time Ron and his machines are fighting the rest. An earthquake suddenly occurs and everyone has to put off their fight. Gene and co retreat back to Outlaw Star. He gives Melfina a choice to not come with them if she doesn’t want to but she wants him to take her along. After Outlaw Star leaves, the entire ruins collapse. There goes all the historical proof and leads. Ron is shocked to find Harry among the rubbles. When Outlaw Star docks at the next station, they are shocked that Gwen is here. Did he plant some sort of tracking device? Yes. During XGP’s planning stages, he did plant one and is the only one who knows it. Gwen has found a person who knows the coordinates of the Galactic Leylines but he is currently in prison and no visitors are allowed. Gene doesn’t want to do that. But other people who know the coordinates are from Kei Pirates and Gwen doesn’t want to get involved with them. In that case, Gene will just barge into their territory and demand answers. Gwen will not allow him to do that and says a command line that shuts down Melfina. He is also the one who designed her system. Of course she will go back online once Gene gets the coordinates from that prisoner.

Episode 22
Gene becomes a prisoner on this prison planet. Due to its odd shape and high rotation, the gravitational pull is higher and has a powerful magnetic field. Oh, did I mention nobody has ever escaped from here before? There’s always a first time… Before Gene is incarcerated, Gwen gave him some very precious compass in which he wants back after everything is over. As expected, the robot wardens are bullies so when Gene tries to stop a fight, he is put into a correctional facility as punishment along with Saiyo Wong. This is the guy who knows about the Galactic Leylines but he isn’t saying anything since nobody gets out of here. But you know, Gene is going to do some prison break and offers Saiyo to come along. The warden shows everybody that somebody made an escape. Nobody is excited or panicking because how far could an escapee go on this barren planet? That dude’s dead. If he thinks he can scare Gene that nobody ever gets out of here alive because with the gravitational pull, everyone dies of heart failure before reaching their execution date, he’s wrong. Gene continues to hang out with Saiyo, much to his dismay. Even after giving him trouble, Gene continues to be persistent. Since Saiyo doesn’t want to die in this sh*t hole, he agrees to follow Gene’s fool proof escape plan. First they initiate a fight and wreck a few stuffs (and get back some items of theirs). The robots then arrest them and send them to the correctional facility. As they are taken by train, Saiyo uses some device to make the train go out of control. It cannot be stopped unless all power is shut down, something the warden is not willing to do. The train goes off track and into the desert. The robots are sent after them but they’re ‘too slow’. Inside the compass is a monopole. Because this planet has only one magnetic pole. A magnet becomes stuck in the ground while the other is in Gene’s belt. The opposing force has Gene pushed up into the air like as though he is flying. Time for Outlaw Star to pick them up. After Gwen activates Melfina back, Suzuka knocks him out since he is annoying in wanting to know the coordinates. Gene allows Saiyo to use Gwen’s ship to escape wherever he wants. Oh, take this nutcase too. In return, Saiyo gives Gene his locket that contains the coordinates to the Galactic Leylines.

Episode 23
In search of some wise men that can make some rare Caster shells, they are on this hotspring tourist planet. Uh huh. Fanservice time. Apparently everyone on this planet dresses up in their swimsuit. Ironically it is Jim being hit on by hot babes while Gene seriously hike up to the temple to find the wise man. Turns out this priest, Ark Manaf is persistent in wanting to sell him souvenirs. A short history about Caster shells being actually magic spells but it ran out of mana or something and thus it was stored in shells. There are 20 types but 3 of them are very rare. Only each of the 3 wise men can make it. The one Gene wants can only be made by Urt who lives on Mt Nyodai. But Ark warns Gene she has cordoned off her area and made it only for women. Looks like Ark isn’t pleased of being ignored. So if Gene wants his Caster shells at a bargain, he needs to go film some dirty pictures of her. Oh yeah… Unfortunately there are traps laced along the way and he has to ‘restart’ each time he falls into them. Why does he have to do all the work while his comrades just enjoy the hotspring? Hey, it’s his Caster shells so he has to work for it, right? At the top, there seems to be nothing but Gene hears women singing below. He sees busty babes working in an underground structure. I guess he got desperate in wanting to come in so he shoots the glass! WTF?! Avalanche! When he wakes up, he is in Urt’s custody. But seeing he is a man with red hair wielding a Caster gun, she has him follow him. So they’re playing ping pong? He wins and as agreed, she gives him a couple of rare shells. He also wants another match so if he wins he could take dirty pictures of her. No need for that. She’ll do it herself! Wait. What?! Oh yeah! So when Gene gives the perverted guys the dirty pictures, they keep their end of the bargain by giving him only a rare shell each. They warn about using it because it uses up its user’s life force when fired. Now they watch Urt’s sexy time. Oh yeah! Can’t wait! She is strip teasing them in the video. So much so they didn’t notice the countdown timer on the video. When it reaches zero, it explodes! I suppose it was worth watching… Gene and co now leave for the Galactic Leylines. I also want to note there is a stupid assassin (Vega? Mask and claw?) trying to secretly kill Gene all the while but bad luck always gets in the way and Gene was never in danger in the first place. Not that he even knows about it. And this assassin, Tobigera is supposed to be part of Anten Seven. What a joke.

Episode 24
Gwen is riding with the MacDougall Brothers. Of course he is on their side now since Gene dumped him. He has also made some nice cybernetic enhancements to Harry that could rival Melfina. They are following Outlaw Start towards the Galactic Leylines. Meanwhile Hazanko is close in succeeding in using some unholy method to get those coordinates. But he isn’t going to tell his higher ups because it is his evil plan to usurp them and become the supreme ruler of all. When Outlaw Star arrives, Hazanko doesn’t hesitate to order his pirates to attack them and retrieve XGP and Melfina. During the battle, the cruiser from Ctarl-Ctarl jumps in and tries to enter the Galactic Leylines (Aisha tipped them off and is proud of it). The reason Hazanko is allowing them to do so easily is because he knows if it was, they wouldn’t be going through so much trouble. Ctarl-Ctarl becomes guinea pig as they enter but shortly they come back out all crazy (Aisha must be so sad). During this chaos, Outlaw Star takes the opportunity to dash in. Then, MacDougall Brothers pop up and hail with Hazanko before dashing into the Galactic Leylines. The Kei Pirates also do the same after ‘drilling a hole’ into it. Gene and co start experiencing pain all over except for Melfina. She is able to stabilize their condition and guide Outlaw Star through the spiralling clouds when all other instruments don’t work. In the centre of the whirlpool, all 3 parties meet and start fighting each other before Outlaw Star escapes back into the spiral. They arrive at this huge cylindrical thingy (a bolster?) which is supposed to be the Galactic Leylines. They are pulled into it and once they reach an artificial structure, they traverse by foot. The other parties also reach and meet again. Before anything could start, a voice asks about Melfina’s return. She is then whisked away as the voice tells the rest to find their desires here.

Episode 25
Everyone is separated and told to follow a single path that will eventually merge. Suzuka faces off with Anten Seven’s Hitoriga. She has a score to settle with him and thus the reason why she tagged along with Gene. He killed her family. Furthermore, this guy is so in love with Suzuka that he makes his pretty face look like her. In the end, she kills him with a never seen before move that she created especially for him. Gene fights with Hamushi. He fires a Caster shell that shoots out a mini black hole. It swallows her whole and drains some of his life force. Aisha lets Jim run along while she takes on Jukai. I don’t know what happened but it looks like it is heading for Jukai’s win but Aisha’s effect was slow and killed him eventually and Aisha collapses from exhaustion. Harry reaches Melfina first. He confesses he loves her and all he needs is her by his side. Hazanko arrives next and an epic battle ensues but Harry is no match for him and got all his bones broken. Hazanko wants Melfina to remember because she is the key to open the Galactic Leylines. He admits it was his fault that they lost XGP and that’s why he dropped everything to come here. Melfina feels sad when he tells her she is just a puppet. A few chanting words, Melfina falls into a trance and opens the gate. When Gwen arrives, he sees Ron lamenting his brother’s death. He is mad and wants to kill Hazanko. Then here comes Gene. Ron doesn’t hesitate to fire but Gene fires a Caster shell that blows him off the platform. This drains his life force. In his unconscious state, he sees his younger days. He wakes up when Jim administers a cure. Gene wants Jim to return to find the rest and return Outlaw Star. He has 2 Caster shells left and if he runs out, Outlaw Star is his only hope. He knows their teamwork always have them come out tops in such pinch situations. Gene enters the gate but Gwen is waiting. He is stuck here because the door before them is locked from within. Then here comes Harry. He is already dead but his auxiliary system is barely keeping him alive. A convenient plot to make him use his cyber connections to open the door. He sees Melfina in cyberspace one more time and says his goodbye. He can’t even finish it with a kiss… He tells Gene to move forward and request Melfina sing that song to him.

Episode 26
Once Melfina is confirmed to be the true maiden, the Leyline is going to grant Hazanko his wish. Of course it is absolute power that will make everything bow before him. But not so fast because here comes Gene as he fires his Caster shell to absorb him. That easy?! But firing the shell takes a toll on his life force as he collapses. Gwen now arrives and is glad he doesn’t need to kill the rest to get his wish. But hold your horses too, Gwen. Gene wakes up and won’t let him do what he wants. Gwen tries to convince him they can get all that they desire here. Hazanko breaks free from the shell. He explains how Melfina was created and is a tool for this purpose. This confuses and scares Melfina as she thinks Gene also knew about this and brought her here. Of course he denies. Gene and Hazanko face off with the former firing his final Caster shell against the latter’s Tao magic. It causes some sort of reaction that kills them all? Meanwhile Jim and co are anxiously waiting for Gene but no word has been received since. Ron is back on his ship after Harry carried him back. Harry has copied part of his personality into it as backup. They decide to pull out from this fight. Gene is in an alternate dimension as he speaks to Melfina who is now connected directly to the Leyline. She explains Galactic Leylines is some sort of high-tech library of information and knowledge left behind by an extinct superior race. In human language, it is what you will call a machine God. In this dimension, everyone here is like dead but not quite. While their bodies are healing, Melfina claims she can grant Gene’s wish. As proof, Gwen who seeks knowledge and information has got his wish by becoming part of the data. So what is Gene’s wish? His only wish is for her to come back to them. What is her wish? To stay as she is and by Gene’s side. I guess this is settled. Even sealed with a kiss. Do cyberspace kiss count? Melfina senses Hazanko trying to leave after getting his power. They need to stop him before he gets out.

Hazanko returns to his ship, killing Tobigera who was staying watch on board. Their ship now turns into a giant monster. Gene and Melfina also return to Outlaw Star where the giant ship battle begins. Then it descends into a cyberspace hand to hand combat between Gene and Hazanko. Hazanko wants to absorb Gene and would have gotten his way had not Gene’s pals give him the strength to break out. Simply because he is not alone. The monster ship battle continues till the decisive blow is dealt on Hazanko. Everything explodes as Outlaw Star escapes in time. Melfina is greeted by her other half who is supposed to be the Leyline. She tells her the Galactic Leylines has moved to another location and they part ways. To repair Outlaw Star, for some reason Gene heads back to Sentinel. His past crimes haven’t been forgotten and he is thrown into the slammer. Jim comes to bail him and of course using Fred’s money. They’re lucky they got slapped with a fine considering the laws they broke back then. Fred doesn’t have to worry about Suzuka targeting his life since her employer cannot afford to pay her. Aisha will be making ends meet here as she waits for her empire to pick her home. Melfina pays her respect at the grave to everyone who has died for the Leyline. So Hilda not forgotten? Gene reminds her that she is who she is. Then they blast off to the next solar system. Outlaw Star breaks down halfway since they skimp on maintenance. Once repairs are done, Gene is shocked to see Suzuka and Aisha tagging along. Suzuka claims to see more interesting places with him while Aisha claims they owe her so basically Outlaw Star is hers. Whatever.

Space Jammin’
Well, I guess that is about wraps it up. Despite the slightly rushed ending and they did try to tie up things, but I thought it could have been a little better. After all, what is next on their adventure agenda, right? They have gone on a journey to obtain the most valuable ‘treasure’ ever only to toss all that away in the end because they’re trying to subtly tell us here that the company of your comrades throughout the journey is the better and if not the best treasure ever. So I’m not sure if going on another treasure hunt will beat the thrill or reap better rewards than the Galactic Leylines. Well, the universe is a huge place. You think it is the best of the best till something better than the best pops up in one corner of an unknown galaxy. Oh right. Gene and co have got to go find something that will make them big in no time considering all the IOUs they’ve racked up. No wonder the end narration about Outlaws will eventually carve their own nickname and since Gene has yet to get his, depending on his luck he’ll either be a great legendary hero or a scam/con artist who is always on the run. Better start finding jobs that pay a lot or else he might have to sell his body. No amount of times getting f*cked in the ass by Fred will ever do! Holy sh*t! How on earth did I think up something like that???!!!

It is fun to see such classic retro anime and personally it could be better than Cowboy Bebop because it has a story and plot unlike Cowboy Bebop which was just episodic, the reason why I complained it lacked being epic. Although I have to admit that at first it started out interesting because of the many parties chasing after Gene’s ass, somehow in the middle parts it started to get a little bit boring because some episodes feel a bit like filler although they are small plots that will be pieced together in the bigger picture. For example, the Heiphon race, the bounty hunting job, that cactus supreme being (WTF) and robbery heist felt like episodic fillers at a glance. With the end approaching soon and a mad dash for the Galactic Leylines beginning, that is where it becomes interesting again. Though I feel that there are many other potentials and developments like the other pirate groups (108 Stars comes to mind) that aren’t covered in this season and it sometimes feel the series left out a great chunk of other aspects that would have made this universe an even more interesting setting for Gene and his crew to seek adventure.

Gene is your typical main character hero. He isn’t perfect, has his own dark traumatic past that continues to haunt him in his dreams and a womanizer. He still is in the end, still groping the butt of that waitress at the bar he frequents back at Sentinel. His past though makes his character, it isn’t affecting him too much in later episodes. Like that phobia of going into space, Gene becomes a naturally after a few space trips. Jim as the mechanic and brains sees Melfina as a mother figure. A reason to ‘protect’ her from Gene’s flirting? But I don’t really feel the connection much between the trio in many of the episodes. Except when it came to the end where certain revelations needed to be told and importance needed to be re-evaluated, that’s why the sudden relationship between Gene and Melfina felt a little too rushed at the end. Sure, it’s like an excuse they’re going on an adventure here and there with Gene seemingly forgetting his original promise to Melfina and at times you see her putting up a sad face and thinking too much. But remember, always have faith in each other. Because apparently that is the key in defeating big bad guys too :-). In today’s world, I can’t help but think that Melfina who was in a dilemma if she was a tool or human is equivalent to today’s mentality of gender assuming. Just saying… But I can at least say she is more human than some of the despicable humans here.

I believe Aisha is like the joker and furry mascot of the team. Firstly, she has this ego problem and this makes her a very bad loser. That is why it is fun to see her getting mad and trying to get back at all those who crossed her just so that she can match her ego. Eventually hanging around too long in Outlaw Star makes her bond with everyone else even though she claims she is just riding them to get her goal. Suzuka sometimes feel like a freeloader. She is an independent and free will woman. Sometimes it is hard to feel that she is part of the team initially because when Gene and co do something, she will usually be away doing her own thing. She is like oil and water with Gene because sometimes she has sarcastic comments for him. But just like Aisha, staying too long on Outlaw Star has her bonded with the rest too although her assassin pride won’t make her say the obvious. Not sure if Fred will still pursue his gay love for Gene now that Suzuka won’t be killing him but he still has Reiko to shrug off.

At first, Ron looks like the badass big brother while Harry looks like an effeminate psychopath who is crazily madly in love with Melfina. But towards the end, it feels like their relevance are reversed because Ron was easily defeated (it goes to show that angst never get you anywhere) and Harry was ironically the one that gave Gene a new lifeline. It was mind boggling that they are kept alive at the end and backed out of it all like dogs running away with tails between their legs. It would have been better that they stay dead but for some reason, maybe the producers wanted to tell us that they are not that all bad and good looking guys like them still deserve to live at the end. Though, they just got up and leave and never heard of again is the reason why I thought it would have been better their characters were killed off. Gwen I feel is the most annoying because despite his eccentric behaviour, this mad professor has this annoying tendency to nod or say something in agreement in a very irritating way. Because he never gets mad, the most you’ll hear him is his surprise and this makes him sound a bit like an idiot. Well, if this is what mad scientists are portrayed then. Thank goodness they ‘kill him off’ by making him live as data forever. Yeah, knowledge is power.

The most disappointing characters ever to make their appearance in this series is the Anten Seven assassins. They are a bunch of jokers, I tell you. At first when they are introduced, I thought that have this very terrifying outlook the way they are ‘mysteriously’ narrated upon. I thought they will cause Gene and co a lot of trouble. However with their late introduction, it made me wonder if they have enough time to flesh them all out. If I had to pick which of the Anten Seven is the best of all, it would be Shimi/Leilong. This guy was actually the closest in coming to killing Gene. And he is the first assassin to make his move and the only one who survived. The rest that came after was a joke. WTF is that wrestling match with wolf girl Iraga and that dating scene with little girl Hanmyo (so as just to give Jim his own episode?). And if you think they went out without much of the fight, they are at least better than the rest of the remaining Anten Seven. Because surely they look like a bunch of Halloween horror rejects. Tobigera was already like a joker for that hotspring episode. Worse, he got killed without a fight! By his own master! The rest have their fights so f*cking short that it is as though they were there to make up the numbers and give us a run for our money for some individual fights. It was hardly worth it. They could have been nameless generic minions under Hazanko for all we care. Some assassins they are. No wonder Hazanko couldn’t win it in the end. If there was anything that is the most disappointing of this series, Anten Seven tops the list. Hazanko couldn’t be much more than your typical cliché baddie who wants everything for himself and ultimately gets what’s coming from the hero. I wonder how the Kei Pirates and 108 Stars will be since the most influential figure is gone. Oh who cares? Some new baddie will just replace him.

The fights and space battles are enough to satisfy your retro nostalgia. Because they come from the late 90’s era, many of us old nostalgia otakus watching this now would forgive them for being, well, so 90’s. Not counting the disappointing final fights with some of the remaining Anten Seven assassins, the other individual fights are flashy and fast paced in its own right. Even the space battles with Outlaw Star is good enough. Because also the fact that they are the heroes so no matter what kind of pinch they are in, they’ll always win in the end. After all, when you have the best ship in the universe and with grappler arms that stick out like a sore thumb, it is hard to lose at least for Gene’s calibre. You have to be pretty talented and useless not to win piloting Outlaw Star.

Art and drawing are also pretty decent as it is produced by a very veteran anime studio, Sunrise. They also did Cowboy Bebop by the way. They did lots of retro animes from the old days as well as new ones in recent years like Gintama, Code Geass, Inu Yasha, Mobile Suit Gundam, Mai-HiME, Escaflowne, Keroro Gunsou, City Hunter and Dirty Pair. It’s not a comprehensive list but trying to name all their works could take a few pages. Although the animation quality is pretty standard for its time, there are some scenes which I noticed that has a drop in quality. Especially some of the fight scenes or those that has fast paced action. Not sure if this is enhanced in the DVD version (too bad I saw the normal TV version of course) but it is a bit obvious this poor quality. Of course I let it slide simply because I tagged it as retro anime. All is (almost) forgiven, right?

Design of the characters aren’t too shabby but nothing that is too extravagant as well. It is a melting pot and mixture of everything western (Gene and Jim) to eastern, namely Japanese (Suzuka). One thing I noticed is that although we don’t see our characters go planet hopping and they are mostly on Sentinel and then on Heiphon later, how come those cities on these planets are so Chinese-like? No, not Japanese but Chinese. See all those sigh boards and some of the building structures. Yeah, it feels like I’m in Hong Kong or something! I am thinking maybe these planets are under Kei Pirates so they are Hazanko’s influence and hence the very Chinese or Tao influence. Oh, one last thing. Personally I didn’t like Gene’s new short haircut in the end. I know I’m so used to his long hair and understand anybody who is thrown into the slammer gets a free haircut service but this short haircut makes him look like his younger self. Only bigger size. Not really used to it.

The opening theme is the right tonic that sets the pace and mood for this anime. Through The Night by Masahiko Arimachi. This catchy rock piece makes you feel like want to do a little jammin’ from time to time. However the awesomeness of the opening is all ‘destroyed’ by the ending themes. Hearing Hiru No Tsuki by Arai Akino as the first opening theme feels creepy. It is supposed to be a slow song but it also has this sad feel that you know, after watching an awesome episode and then you hear this piece, it’s like just creepy. Making it even creepier are the surreal but creepy drawings of females in the ending credits animation. At least Melfina’s solo singing as a short insert song within the series without any musical instruments sound slightly better. The second ending theme, Tsuki No Ie also by Arai Akino doesn’t sound as creepy but still slightly creepy nevertheless. Especially that echo-y space-like background voice. At least to a slightly faster beat this slow pop song. But still, those surreal creepy images still apply… I hope these ladies aren’t some sort of incarnation of Gene or Jim’s mom! Yikes!

Although for old retro animes I wouldn’t be doing any seiyuu listing because since it is an old anime and there are many seiyuus that I won’t be recognizing. The only one I recognized here is Ayako Kawasumi as Melfina. But what makes it interesting is that I found out later that this is actually her debut series. As in, the first anime she helmed playing as a main character (the second overall as she had a cameo role in You Are Under Arrest earlier on as her debut). Wow. Thinking about it now, she has really come a long way although these days I get a feeling I am hearing lesser of her. Maybe it’s the wrong animes I picked to watch? So I’m now obliged to do a list of other seiyuus for the sake of this. Well, I’m going through it fast since many voiced lots of old series that I didn’t watch. They are Shigeru Shibuya as Gene, Rika Matsumoto as Jim (Futaba in You’re Under Arrest), Sayuri as Suzuka, Yuko Miyamura as Aisha (Alyssa in Mai-HiME, Asuka in Neon Genesis Evangelion), Takaya Hashi as Gilliam (Duke Inuarashi in One Piece), Kazuhiro Nakata as Ron, Tsutomu Kashiwakura as Harry, Seizo Katou as Hazanko, Takeshi Aono as Gwen (Gengai in Gintama), Toshihiko Seki as Fred (Iruka in Naruto) and Toshiko Fujita as Hilda (Big Mom in One Piece). Yeah, no offence but all very old but talented people here.

Overall, being a retro series already earned some points for old time otakus like me. Likeable main characters, nice space action and a decent and simple plot makes it a golden oldie. Thanks to the many disappointing animes that I have seen in recent years, the only reason why it enhances the reputation of old animes like this one. Well, at least it is good to know that this anime was popular enough to spawn its own spin-off series, Angel Links. Thus the reason why you see that lizard dude and spikey hair woman making their debut cameo here. If One Piece is the greatest treasure that all pirates can obtain, then Galactic Leylines is that space version of it. I guess it was an adventure worth taking on after all.

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