Meddling backdoor pilots. One minute you’ve a fantastic hangar of great aircraft, next minute some pilot sneaks through the backdoor, hijacks one of them for a joyride. Sometimes, the pilot does a good job and makes great use of your work. Other times, he crashes and leaves a hot, thick, mess on your runway that takes quite a bit of time to clean up. The things that happen when somebody comes behind your back and does things without your consent…
Anyway, this is the first time in Outlaw Star where the show delves into the third power of its universe: The Space Forces. Granted, the episode is based around Starwind and crew’s interaction with an entity INFLUENCED by the existence of the Space Force (or at least… its lack thereof on the frontier), but it is a delving into all the same. They are just about what you expect from some high-falootin’ space frontier show: by the books, brutal (sometimes in unnecessary ways), but at times noble in the high pursuit of space protection. It is kindof a shame we did not see them earlier in the animu, but their presence is welcome if a bit tardy. Worldbuilding is nice.
And now comes the part where I give context to the first paragraph. Surprise surprise it is a double entendre.
The first entendre is of course, the entire plot of this episode, which involves the gang getting picked up and accused of space piracy by the aforementioned offshoot of the Space Forces – Private Security Teams. We don’t get much in terms of shocking revelations, but it’s nice to see Gene has no deference to Space Cops and no qualms about telling them to stick a corn dog up their ass. The love is not lost on the other side, either. So of course, this means we’ll have some conflict take root and build up to force Space Force and Outlaw to join forces, and thus they will respect one another, and live to some degree a happily ever after. It is pretty rote, but again the worldbuilding and the solid character interaction make it a good watch.
The second entendre is, if you haven’t already guessed, an allusion to an animu set in the same universe: Angel Links. Yes, this is also the name of the Private Security Team in this episode, and its two featured players (Druze and Valeria) reappear in that series, albeit with modifications (altered designs, being more rugged than military-disciplined). Granted the content this week gives no indicator that “YES WE’LL BE SEEING THESE TWO AGAIN”, so the backdoor pilot thing is not entirely true. However, I cannot help but think this episode was a test run in the way it attempted to establish a certain corner of the universe. Was it successful? Eh, hard to say, it may have been a bit of a failure given the modifications to Druze and Valeria in Angel Links. They are likable enough to be sure, yet this is all I can say given how the end product of the other show is vastly different from the vision set here. This said, they seem nice, and they could be part of a good series if done right. However, a 13-episode series met with average reviews plus being essentially in License Hell (FUNi probably couldn’t care less), is probably not it. Alas…
Still, this a good episode regardless of whether or not you know of the existence of Angel Links. You cannot go wrong with worldbuilding and fun. You can also not go wrong with next week, since it focuses on Jim, who needs some love to be sure. But you know what also needs love?
Future Notes Next Generation:
- “Hot Springs Planet Tenrei” premiered for the first time yesterday on Adult Swim’s Toonami. I’ll leave my opinions of what had transpired when I cover that episode.
- Bandai probably also didn’t think highly of Angel Links either when it released it stateside. How do I know? Well, Outlaw Star was done by Animaze. Angel Links, despite Bandai acknowledging it was from the same universe, was done by Ocean Studios’s Blue Water group. Granted they’ve fared MUCH better these days (check out their dubs of Bushiroad shows like Cardfight Vanguard and Buddyfight), but yegads those early days. Yegads.
- Also funnily enough, Outlaw Star creator Takehiko Itou apparently wrote the script for this episode. Maybe he WAS setting the stage after all.