Anime of the Childhood #05: Outlaw Star

星方武侠アウトロースター, Seihō Bukyō Autorō Sutā, lit. “Starward Warrior Knight Outlaw Star”

Today we have Outlaw Star, a Japanese anime television series produced by Sunrise and seinen manga series written and illustrated by Takehiko Itō. The series was licensed by the now-closed Bandai Entertainment. The English version was produced by the now-closed ZRO Limit Productions and was aired on the evening Toonami block in early 2001. The plot follows protagonist Gene Starwind and his motley crew of an inherited ship dubbed the Outlaw Star, as they search for a legendary, outer space treasure trove called the “Galactic Leyline”.


Outlaw Star opens on the backwater planet Sentinel III, on which the protagonist Gene Starwind (Shigeru Shibuya/Bob Bucholz) and his 11-year-old business associate and best friend James “Jim” Hawking (Rika Matsumoto/Brianne Siddall) run a small jack-of-all-trades business. After the two take a job as bodyguards for a disguised Hilda (Toshiko Fujita, deceased late 2018/Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) and engage in a brief skirmish with the Kei Pirates, Gene and Jim find themselves the owners of the XGP15A-II (which they nickname the “Outlaw Star”) and the caretakers of Melfina (Ayako Kawasumi/Emily Brown), though Hilda is killed in the process. Hilda reveals that the ship’s true purpose is to locate the “Galactic Leyline” (銀河の龍脈, Ginga no Ryū Myaku, lit. “Galactic Dragon Vein”), a place which popular claims say is a holder of immense treasure, knowledge, and power. Throughout the course of the series, the crew grows to include the kimono-garbed contract killer “Twilight” Suzuka (Sayuri Yamauchi, deceased early 2012/Wendee Lee) and the Ctarl-Ctarl alien catgirl Aisha Clanclan (Yuko Miyamura/Lenore Zann).

The Toonami broadcast of the show was heavily altered due to its adult content. Profanity was removed, scenes with violence and lewd behavior were cut or toned down, and many scenes containing nudity were altered by digitally inserting clothing onto characters (you can view the edits by clicking these links, including the unaired one). Episode 23, in which the Outlaw Star crew visits a hot spring planet, was not aired due to nudity and suggestive themes. The role of Fred Luo, a recurring homosexual (gay) character, was considerably toned down. Cartoon Network had no specific editing policy with regard to gay characters, but that “overt sexuality or implied sexuality of any kind are not allowed”. However, some instances of adult language were not removed for the anime’s initial run.

At Otakon 2013, Funimation (later renamed Crunchyroll in 2022) and Sunrise had announced that they have rescued Outlaw Star, along with a handful of other former BEI titles. Following Funimation’s acquisition of the series, it aired again on Cartoon Network as part of Adult Swim on the Toonami programming block starting on August 20, 2017, and concluding on March 18, 2018. Nearly seventeen years later, episode 23 has aired on February 25, 2018 as part of Adult Swim’s revived Toonami line-up, albeit with a TV-MA (US) rating and a minor edit to remove Aisha’s nipples during the scene of Aisha ranting about the hot spring not being hot enough for her.

In the end, I’m going to put AotC on Shinkansen Retrogaming on hiatus until the new year so I need to focus on getting Radical Flannel out on Tapas this month and also avoid a Christmas rush after taking a break from interacting for two months. See you next Anime of the Childhood.



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Cory Roberts

Cory Roberts


American freelance illustrator and manga artist, working on Radical Flannel. Previously ran Shinkansen Retrogaming. (He/him)