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On the 8th of January, 1998, Outlaw Star soared onto television screens across Japan courtesy of TV Tokyo. Produced by Sunrise Studios and adapted from author Takehiko Ito’s manga of the same name, the series’ popularity skyrocketed after Bandai Entertainment’s English localization was broadcasted on U.S. airwaves as part of the Toonami programming block in 2001. In 2002, Outlaw Star also made its way to the UK on CNX, and has been distributed worldwide since its initial release. Today, Outlaw Star retains a cult following across the globe, occupying its own self-carved niche of sci-fi and self-discovery.

Outlaw Star Title

Following the escapades of loveable layabout Gene Starwind, Outlaw Star takes intrepid viewers of any nationality or era on an exciting quest through space to find the enigmatic Galactic Leyline. Along with a precocious computer whiz named Jim Hawking, Gene has to overcome many obstacles, both internal and external, as he searches for this source of untold riches—like dealing with dangerous pirates, avoiding the authorities, and making enough money to pay the bills! But in addition to zany misadventures and his own moments of introspection, Gene had best beware: the legend of the Galactic Leyline is known far and wide across the galaxy, and some of the biggest players in organized crime have their own ideas as to how it may fit into their machinations for power...

Despite being overlooked over the years, Outlaw Star has created an indelible impact on pop culture at large. It helped to solidify the space western genre within both anime and broader circles of science fiction. Its grownup themes of desire, hope, and even painful uncertainty helped introduce youth in the Western world to the Seinen demographic of Japanese manga. And its homage-laden world, inspired by both the West and the Far East, helps spectators delineate the differences between hard science fiction and science fantasy while giving jaded film critics a classic adventure story wrapped up in a fresh packaging of fun.

Gene at Ether Stream

So what are you waiting for? An invitation from Hot Ice Hilda? Whether it’s your first viewing or your fifty-first, it’s time to join Gene and the rest of the crew aboard the XGP15A-II for a journey across the stars like no other!

Written by Jonny Lobo