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Outlaw Star: DVD Collection (Vol. 3)
The journey to the Galactic Leyline comes to a head for Gene, his crew, and his increasing debt amidst appearances from characters in another show and a visit to Tenrei, the hot springs planet.
Nothing can really be added from what's been said before. The last few episodes showcase some slightly improved visuals, but if you've liked them up to this point in the series, you'll be satisfied here.
The dub cast continues their strong performance, with voices matching their characters almost perfectly. Even a few of the one-shot characters sounded surprisingly well, making this one of the better dubs I've had the pleasure of hearing. While still rather new to the Japanese cast, they finish up just as strong, making either audio track enjoyable.
Suzuka gets the final cover, with the MacDougall brothers looking menacing on the back. The style of the cover remains the same, and the slimmer case is used to fit both DVD's, just like the second volume. Inside, the insert replicates the front cover and opens to reveal more information about the forms of life inhabiting the Outlaw Star universe.
With only eight episodes left, they split evenly between the two DVDs. Menu style remains the same, with changing Outlaw Star flight footage playing in the logo on-screen as selections are made. Extras are on the second DVD and include the second textless ending, cover art images, and the usual Bandai previews for other shows.
(Spoilers for those who haven't seen Volumes 1 and 2 [episodes 1-18].)
We leave off with the gang departing Heifong to speed up their search for the Galactic Leyline. They have a lead in the form of an ancient ruins site, but have to deal with the Space Forces first. Of course, the MacDougall brothers are still sour over past events, and they make another attempt at taking the Outlaw Star and Melfina. With some "help" from Gwen Khan, the crew is able to finally get the coordinates to the Leyline, and following a stop on planet Tenrei, they embark to finally uncover the mysteries surrounding it.
With so much emphasis on expanding the universe, it was nice to see an episode revolving around the Space Forces, who unlike the Pirates and Outlaws, were really mentioned in name only up to this point. Despite my unfamiliarity with the anime "Angel Links", the crossover between shows felt natural, with enough background information provided to understand what was going on. Of course, the main appeal here is episode 23, "Hot Springs Planet Tenrei", which Toonami viewers didn't get to see at all. While twenty-odd minutes of fan-service on the surface, it actually serves to better explain the origin of Gene's gun and the shells it uses. The build-up to the Galactic Leyline itself was done well too, echoing the tension as characters came to a head.
Of course, this brings me to the other side, as many people have shown a distaste for how the series ended. Your opinion will vary, but events don't perfectly wrap up like in other shows, so people who loathe open endings may be disappointed. Those expecting eight episodes dedicated to the central plot may also turn away, as while each episode has ties to the plotline, two or three serve mainly for character development and little else.
If you've stuck with it this far, this should be a natural purchase. Whether it's the comedy or the action that's got you, they both only get better. Those who watched the Toonami run and enjoyed the series should pick up this volume at the very least. The banned episode alone is almost worth the investment, and the great buildup in episodes 24 and 25 seals the deal.
Being my gateway into the world of anime over two years ago, Outlaw Star continues to hold its own as one of my personal favorites despite everything I've been exposed to since. While it did get run into the ground on television, it still comes off fresh after repeated viewings. The characters and the universe they inhabit give off a "natural" vibe, as if their way of life could be a reality in the future. Anime fan or not, anyone looking to kick back with a fun show would be hard-pressed to find a better choice.
Grade: 7 of 10 (3 1/2 Stars)
Series Grade: 7 of 10 (3 1/2 Stars)
1.) As if the three volume release wasn't enticing enough, the recently released box set offers the entire series in a slick black box for about the cost of one volume and some change. For those interested in starting the collection, this may be your best option.
Added: July 4th 2003
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