Follow TV Tropes


Manga / Outlaw Star

Go To

"Outlaws. This was the name given to those who traveled space with only his freedom as his guide."

Based on a manga by Takehito Ito, the first show in Sunrise's Toward Stars universe, Outlaw Star is an old-fashioned Space Opera writ large.

In the distant future, after mankind has spread across the universe, there are three major powers: the Space Forces who enforce the law, the Space Pirates who defy it, and the "outlaws" who owe allegiance to neither side. Gene Starwind, a big fish in the small pond of his home planet, dreams of going to the stars. One day, a simple bodyguard job quickly spirals out of control and ends with him coming into possession of the most advanced spaceship in the galaxy (which he dubs the Outlaw Star) and the biological navigation system that controls it, an Artificial Human named Melfina.

This is only the beginning of his problems, as between trying to scrape together enough cash to pay for his new ship's upkeep, he has to contend with both the Space Forces and pirates trying to get the ship back as they all race against each other to reach the mysterious "Galactic Leyline". Helping Gene are his young partner Jim Hawking, the exotic but hot-tempered Cat Folk alien Aisha Clan-Clan, the sword-wielding assassin Twilight Suzuka, the somewhat incoherent shipboard AI Gilliam, and others who come and go from the plot.

See also Angel Links, also a part of the Towards Stars universe.


  • Akashic Records: Kahn comes to the Leyline theorizing that it is such. It states that it can be that and much more.
  • The Alcatraz: Hecatonchires. A Shout-Out to Hal Clement's Mesklin, with a gravity of 3G at the the location of the prison, and 10G at the poles (the punishment zone).
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The relationship between Gene and Melfina plays this pretty well in the beginning, but Gene starts to come around later in the series.
  • Ammunition Conservation: Due to the rarity of Caster Shells by virtue of how few people know how to manufacture them, Gene tries his Caster Gun sparingly, despite it being a powerful weapon which dispatches enemies with ease. Unfortunately for Gene, he often faces opponents that are immune to anything less powerful. One episode revolves around obtaining four Caster Shells for his gun, due to the sheer rarity of such items.
    • And then he eventually runs into opponents who also have Caster Guns of their own and has to use it multiple times in a row.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The final scene is the crew blasting off to a new adventure in a new sector of space.
  • Animal Theme Naming: All members of the Anten Seven are named after Japanese beetles.
  • Animation Bump: The first episode and last episodes have the most fluid animation of the entire series, with episodes 21 and 25 being the runners up. The other episodes, have a hit and miss, for example episode 13 has very Off-Model and static animation, while the following episodes 14 and 15, are much higher quality. The episodes supervised by Studio Mu's Asako Nishida also have their moments of strong character acting (particularly noticeable in episode 23).
  • Anti-Climax: A lot was made of the Anten 7's abilities, but the fights against them were all very short, especially Tobigera.
    • Somewhat subverted, since Shimi and Hamnyo nearly kill Gene on their first encounter.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The chant used by Taoist magicians: "Pagua sonfa, pagua sonfa, pagua sonfa, pagua sonfa..." is completely meaningless. It just sounds mystical and vaguely Chinese. Some claim that they're actually chanting "八卦散发" (bagua sanfa), which means "Eight Trigrams Redistribute", but this has yet to be confirmed.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Several, one of which is passed through during the race, and is later the site of a duel between the Outlaw Star and the El Dorado.
  • Badass Normal: Gene and Suzuka. Even though Suzuka was trained as an assassin, she's still (as far as we know) a biologically-normal person. And the both of them regularly go toe-to-toe with beastmen, cyborgs, magic-users, and all kinds of supernatural baddies.
  • Bar Full of Aliens: Several examples, one of the most notable is Clyde's Bar.
  • Battle Chant: Ctarl-Ctarl Space Marines do this all the time.
  • Big Eater: Aisha Clan-Clan. She states that it's a common trait among the Ctarl-Ctarl, due to the excessive amount of energy they spend during their werewolf-like transformations.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Just about everybody; it's a common trait of Takehito Ito's character designs.
  • Bio Data: According to Gwen Khan, the information for navigating one's way to the Galactic Leyline and accessing its ability to alter the laws of probability, was contained within the "black box" data used to create Melfina. Melfina was unaware of this herself, until she reconnected with the Leyline.
  • Black Box: Technology from Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, which was put into Melfina to make it work.
  • Body Horror: One of Gene's Caster shells appears to turn Hamushi inside out just before she dies.
  • Bounty Hunter: Deconstructed. Gene Starwind and his kid partner Jim are technically odd-job men rather than bounty hunters, not least because bounties occur far too infrequently for them to make a living on hunting alone. And in the rare case where a bounty is put out, the reward they get is usually far less than the trouble they spent on it. In the end, most of their time is spent on unrelated activities like treasure-hunting and squaring off against the pirate clans.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Gene suspects the MacDougals killed his father, and asks the elder brother point blank if he did it. His response: "I suppose it's possible. It's been so long, I can't be expected to remember every little job."
  • Butter Face:
  • Cactus Person: There's a sapient cactus that can control people's actions by vibrating its quills.
  • Camp Gay: Fred Luo never stops flirting with Gene (or Jim, for that matter). Averted, though, in that Fred clearly is playing it up specifically because it makes Gene uncomfortable, and for the most part is a serious, normally dressed (for the setting) business shark who takes his money very seriously.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The all-but-mythical Caster Shells #4, #9 and #13 are so potent that, to be triggered, they require a sacrifice of Life Energy from their user, alongside the mana already sealed into them. Just using them isn't inherently deadly, a person can recover from the drain given time and rest, but using three in a row would drain so much Life Energy as to be fatal to the average user. Luckily, Gene is far from the average man, and has the strength to withstand using three in relatively quick succession.
  • Climactic Battle Resurrection: Happens during the final battle at the Galactic Leyline.
  • Color-Coded Characters:
    • Red: Gene
    • Orange: Fred
    • Yellow: Jim
    • Green: Aisha
    • Blue: Melfina
    • Violet: Suzuka
    • Pink: Gilliam II (for the most part, after Jim modifies one of the maintenance robots to his chagrin)
  • Cool Starship: If its name is given, it's this. The titular ship, El Dorado, Shangri-La, and Geomancer.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Outlaw Star's rematch with Hanmyo and her cat co-pilots ends very quickly thanks to Jim's plan.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Subverted with Harry MacDougal. The more that his body is converted into cyborg parts, the calmer and more peaceful he becomes. When he's in his final state as basically just a machine body to house his head and organs, he's practically serene.
  • Deadly Upgrade: The three rare Caster Shells, numbered 4, 9, and 13, are so powerful that when one is fired it also takes away part of Gene's life. Furthermore, all the numbers are synonymous with death or misfortune in different culturesnote . A slight inversion in the fact that these shells weren't originally designed to be harmful. It's just that there's so little mana left in the universe, that taking away life force is the only way to power them.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Caster shells are rare shells containing just enough mana to activate the spell on/in them. Think of a caster gun as a gun that casts Ultima and that's the reasonable explanation for Gene preferring them so much.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage:
    • "Through the Night" plays from the ad ship the Outlaw Star is hired to tow in episode 14.
    • Then in episode 21, Melfina sings one of the ending themes. ("Hiru no Tsuki", officially translated as "Daytime Moon".)
  • Do Androids Dream?: Melfina certainly seems to.
  • Doing in the Scientist: Gene's caster looks like futuristic super science but its actually a really old model that was formerly used by mages. It can counter Tao magic because the two are based on a similar principle. That's why its called a Cast-er.
  • The Dreaded: The Ctarl-Ctarl. They're feared and renowned for their natural born beast strength and their ability to transform into werebeasts. Ctarl-Ctarl as an entire species are even banned from taking part in the Universe's Strongest Man tournament, and its counterpart for women, because the previous time a Ctarl-Ctarl entered, it went berserk and nearly killed its opponent, did kill HUNDREDS of other people, and injured THOUSANDS. That said, the species' people are not impossible to get along with as a hard and fast rule, as Aisha's friendship with the rest of the Outlaw Star crew can confirm.
  • Eldritch Location: The Galactic Leyline doesn't really play by the laws of physics, or spacetime, dimensions, gravity, etc... It's basically every Eldritch Location from fiction rolled up into one, with the added bonus of it looking like a glittering, gold-plated version of Hell. The best Melfina can come up with to describe it is, "a machine god."
  • Epic Race: "Gathering For the Space Race" has Gene enter the Outlaw Star in the Heifong Space Race which is said to cross a couple of billion kilometers and take one thousand hours to complete.
  • Expy: The Outlaw Star itself is an expy of the Real Life pseudo-spaceship the X-15A-2. In the first few episodes the Outlaw Star even has a strikingly similar color scheme and its designation of XGP-15A2 is no coincidence either.
    • "GP" is thrown into the designation to indicate it's really, really fast and just to be cool. The real X-15's were coated with asbestos to keep from melting because that was just about the only material we had which could actually handle the temperatures caused by the speeds the X-15 could reach.
  • Facial Markings: Aisha has a little blue triangle on her left cheek. It stays with her even when she morphs.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: C'mon, did anyone believe they'd really strike it rich, ever?
  • Fantastic Firearms: Gene Starwind and Ron MacDougal wield Magitek caster guns, which fire spells contained in shells. Unfortunately ammo is rare and expensive and the three most powerful shells drain the wielder's life force when fired. The casters themselves resemble a bulbous pistol (Gene's) and a priest's staff (Ron's), and have glowing turbines that give off a lightshow when fired to give the viewer the idea that these aren't using gunpowder to fire.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: In SPACE!. For one thing, there's magic.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: Subverted. the finale seems to go this way: Gene, Jim, and Melfina remain together as the Outlaw Star’s crew, Aisha stays on Sentinel-3 as a spaceport stewardess, and Suzuka leaves to continue her solo assassin career. But in The Stinger, it turns out Aisha and Suzuka both had second thoughts about leaving — they hitched a ride to catch up with the others on the Outlaw Star and the series ends with them affirming their place on the crew.
  • Five-Man Band: The crew of the Outlaw Star consist of captain Gene, who's good with guns; Suzuka, an anachronistic assassin who's skilled with swords; Aisha, an aggressive Proud Warrior Race Girl who gets stronger by transforming into a giant cat; Jim, Gene's precocious young business partner and genius hacker; and Melfina, the navigator who tries to make everyone get along.
  • Forgotten Superweapon: The Caster pistol. Justified by the difficulty of getting ammunition, which requires rituals known to maybe three people in the galaxy.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: There's one in the first episode when Jim is examining the profile data on the client who's hired them to escort her. Among the basic info is a line that lists her "3 sizes" as "dynamite".
    • There's also one in the entry of Episode 17's setting details intro when it gets to Bio-Androids, a foreshadowing of the final episodes. One of the lines under "Other" says "LAYLINE TRANCE GATE LOCK".
  • Funny Background Event: During a mid-season shootout at a fancy restaurant, two patrons who can only be described as The Men in Black are clinging to each other in terror.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Melfina, on the first page of the manga.
  • Get into Jail Free: Gene arranges himself to be sent to an outer-space Alcatraz in order to get the information that an inmate has regarding the MacGuffin.
    • As an interesting note, if you pay attention to his doctored criminal record, Gene did technically do over the course of the series the majority of the things it says he did (aside from the rape charge, which he only almost did to Melfina). Being the charismatic hero, the audience just doesn't notice as quickly.
  • Happy Ending Override: The crew never gets out of Broke Episode territory and in the epilogue for the final episode, Gene ends up having to serve time for the crimes he committed escaping pirates at the beginning of the series. He only gets off lightly because it also exposed officials who were bribed by the pirates.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: At one point, Hazanko's boss, the Tendo King, sends a guy to check on what Hazanko is up to. When the agent discovers that Hazanko is intending to betray their master, he angrily confronts Hazanko about it before making his report, and then refuses Hazanko's offer of a bribe to keep quiet. He does this on Hazanko's ship while surrounded by Hazanko's personal group of assassins.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The Manga compared to the Anime. While the Anime did have some nudity and fanservice, the Manga definitely has more. In particular, the Anime (initially) portrays a certain scene between Gene and Hilda as a Did They or Didn't They scenario. In the Manga, that same scene very explicitly shows Gene and Hilda having sex… as in borderline but just not quite Hentai explicit.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Episode 23, "Hot Springs Planet Tenrei". However, "Tenrei" is different from most other examples of this trope because, even though it's something of a Breather Episode placed smack dab in the middle of the climactic plot arc, it is not filler – Gene obtains four exceedingly rare Caster shells here (in fact, it's why he went to the planet in the first place). Unfortunately, because editing out the absurd amounts of fanservice would have been cost-prohibitive (and resulted in a much shorter episode), "Tenrei" was dropped from both US broadcast runs, resulting in a big Dub Induced Plothole for those who never bothered to check out the uncut DVD's.
    • This episode also shows us Tobigera, one of the Anten Seven, who is named in the group's introduction, but only seen in this episode. The reason he's never seen afterward is just part of why this episode is also known for being funny as hell. He makes a brief scene later when he's left behind on the Geomancer, but is quickly made part of the ship when Hazanko combines with it.
  • How We Got Here: Episode 14 opens with a scene situated in the latter half of the episode.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Yase tries this on Suzuka, It doesn't work.
  • Image Song: The first soundtrack has two; Edge for Gene, and Another Day for Aisha. The second soundtrack CD brings two more; A Date for Melfina, and Setsuna for Suzuka.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The titular ship, and others like it, is called a Grappler ship. Meaning it has arms. And uses knives and handguns.
    • Suzuka uses a wooden katana for all of her assassination jobs. She's still deadly precise with it, and it helps that it can't be picked up by a metal detector.
  • Indy Ploy: All of Gene's plans seem to degrade into this. It's a common theme for the series.
  • Large Ham:
    • Lord Hazanko! The mightiest Tao Master in the universe! Caster Shells will not work on him!
    • ''Aisha "YOU DARE DEFY THE CTARL CTARL EMPIRE!!!" Clan Clan. She completely lacks an indoor voice to boot
  • Ley Line: The Galactic, uh, Leyline.
  • MacGuffin Location: The Galactic Leyline.
  • Mad Scientist: Gwen Kahn, the designer of the Outlaw Star and Melfina. Just one conversation with him is enough to show that he's a bit off.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Wizard magic is no longer possible in the modern Outlaw Star universe, due to the mysterious dip in the background mana levels; only the rare and expensive Caster Shells preserve it. Tao Magic, on the other hand, still works just fine.
  • Magical Weapon: In antique times of the series timeline, there were magic users as well special weapons created to shoot magic as if were bullets (called as "Caster shells") that were able to nullify, block and even destroy other magic. In the actual era, these weapons are considered antique and scarce, being few people in the universe who still keep or use them. Gene Starwind and one of the MacDougall brothers are the only characters who wield them, with Gene using his Caster Gun efectively against the Tao Magic of the Kei Pirate Guild.
  • The Magic Goes Away: This is why the Casters came to be, although the information is kind of sparse and glosses over a lot of finer details; we're only really told what little we know in the 23rd episode. Implied to have been a mere novelty in the now-lost age when mana was plentiful, when mana began mysteriously draining away from the universe, wizards began creating Spell-Gun cartridges (or "Caster Shells", as they're now called) as both a way to stretch out the dwindling supply of mana and a way to preserve offensive magic; through presumably lengthy rituals, a wizard could slowly gather just enough mana to create a spell, and then seal that spell in a bullet, preserving it until it was needed; the dearth of mana is implied to have simply made it impossible to cast combat spells on the fly. Because of this, Casters were big for a time, but faded into obscurity; as wizardry became less of an option, interest in it faded away, which meant nobody knew how to make new Caster Shells anymore. As far as Gene himself is aware, only the wizards Urt, Hadul and Ark Manaf of planet Tenrei still preserve the rituals, and they're definitely the only source of the forbidden #4/9/13 shells, which require so much mana that even as Caster Shells, they're still Cast from Hit Points.
    • It's never explained why Tao Magic still seems to function normally.
  • Magitek: Space pirates use magic on their ships.
    • There's also the magic guns known as "Casters" which get their names from the spellcasters that would imbue its ammo with magic.
  • Mirthless Laughter: Jim suffers a bout of nervous laughter, in the midst of a panic attack, during the 14th episode.
  • The Most Wanted: "Hot Ice" Hilda is known as this for stealing the XGP 15A-II (later baptized as "Outlaw Star"), a special spaceship made by the Kei Pirate Guild and the Space Police, hunted for both sides as well for the MacDougall brothers.
  • Mugged for Disguise: As mentioned below, one episode has Aisha entering a fighting tournament by stealing a costume from a female wrestler. The real wrestler is shown Bound and Gagged in a locker.
  • Murder, Inc.: The Anten Seven, who are an elite group of assassins who work for Lord Hazanko.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Pirates, particularly the Kei Pirates. Explained as being because the Space Force doesn't patrol out near where most of the events in the series take place, so nothing's stopping pirates and outlaws from doing whatever they want.
  • Nemesis Weapon: Gene Starwind uses a "caster", essentially a gun that shoots spells. The type of weapon is not unique but very rare and considered antiquated despite its considerable power. In episode 17, his rival Ronald MacDougal uses a staff caster. The two casters completely cancel out.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Fred Luo, who is unwillingly engaged to Reiko Ando, the "Strongest Woman in the Universe". Of course, Fred doesn't swing that way in the first place.
  • Not So Above It All: Even though Urt, a Castor shell maker of Tenrei, built her headquarters high up in the mountains away from everyone, especially men, she's almost as perverted as her fellow wizards. She even jokes with Gene about him having to strip if he loses the ping-pong match against her, complete with a handheld camera she pulls out of nowhere. She also doesn't seem to mind stripping for Gene and her wizard friends below, even if she does set the tape she made for them to self-destruct.
  • Noodle Incident: How the crew came into possession of caster shells #4, #9, and #13 if the viewer doesn't see the Hot Springs Episode omitted from the Western broadcast.note  Which was explained as a noodle incident in the following episode. The episode, of course, is the kind of thing you get when someone does explain a Noodle Incident, every bit as weird as your imagination would make it out to be.
  • Only Sane Man: Jim Hawking when he attempts to weather the storms of Gene's Indy Ploy.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: The Ctarl Ctarl are a race of Cat Folk aliens who can shapeshift into big alien feline beasts. And Iraga of the Anten Seven can change into a two-tailed wolf.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Starwind and Hawking Enterprises. Profit, you ask? Never heard the word before!
  • Phlebotinum-Proof Robot: One episode featured an alien cactus that could control people via their hearing. When the Outlaws confronted it, it used it's powers to incapacitate them, even forcing Jim to be it's hostage as it triumphantly declared itself invincible. But it turns out Melfina was immune because as a bioandroid she could alter her ability to hear and thus filter out the mind waves. She proceeded to crush the alien to death, though it ended up costing the crew a hefty bounty.
  • Planet Terra: Humans are mostly referred to as just that, but some characters refer to them as Terrans. Notably Aisha, and usually with a note of derision.
  • Pocket Protector: Jim's PDA saves Gene's life this way in the first episode.
  • Point Defenseless: Notably averted in the series. Hilda manages to kill a few pirate fighters with missiles early on, but capital ships are always portrayed as having such heavy point-defense abilities that missiles never work on them. Of course, thanks to the Outlaw Star crew's Perpetual Poverty they're forced to buy the cheapest (and therefore least effective) missiles on the market.
  • Police Are Useless: Played straight with the Ctarl-Ctarl forces. The times they are involved in the plot, they always fail. The last time they're seen is during the Leyline arc, when they try to force their way through it, only to come out a few seconds later, firing madly in random directions.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The cast meets two secondary characters from Angel Links, a series in the same 'Verse.
  • Recycled Animation: Episode 18 uses the exact same launch sequence for the Outlaw Star that was used in Episode 8. This stands out because it shows one of the Outlaw Star's laser turrets being used to blast the boarding gangplank from the launch tower off the side of the ship- this was done in Episode 8 because they were making an emergency launch due to pirate attack and the control tower refused to give them clearance. In Episode 18, they were supposed to be making a launch under normal circumstances, making it seem like they engaged in some needless destruction on the way off-planet.
  • The Rest Shall Pass: The fights inside the Galactic Leyline proceed this way.
  • Rise from Your Grave: Shimi at the end of episode 15.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Hilda.
  • Sapient Ship:
    • The titular ship has a sentient onboard AI called Gilliam, but must also be connected to the Wet Ware CPU, Melfina, in order to function properly.
    • Hilda's ship, Horus, seems to have a similar AI system.
  • Science Fantasy: A typical Space Opera world with spaceships, aliens, and robots... as well as magic-wielding Space Pirates and guns that fire literal magic bullets.
  • Schmuck Bait: When Gene goes to Planet Tenrei in search of Caster shells, Ark Manaf and Lord Hadul, two of the only three wizards in the universe who can make them demand "dirty pictures" of the female wizard, Urt, in exchange. Gene gets the crap knocked out of him by her security measures(and Suzuka), but successfully wins several shells as well as the requested footage. He sticks around to watch, and along with Ark and Hadul completely ignores an ominous sixty-second countdown on the tape as she starts peeling off clothes...
    Gene: What do you suppose those numbers are for?
    Hadul: Who cares?
    Urt: Are you still watching? You guys really are the biggest idiots I think I've ever seen.
    Gene, Ark, and Hadul: Huh?
    Urt: Three, two, one, zero.
    Tape: (explosion levels building)
  • Seinen
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrinking Violet: Melfina at first, though she (somewhat) grows out of it by the end of the series.
  • Slices, Dices, and Makes Julienne Fries: Isn't this a slogan that just screams, "We'll do anything, please pay us!"
    Jim Hawking: Hello! You've reached Hawking, from Starwind and Hawking Repairs! We fix everything from tractors to relationships, so how can we help you today?
  • Smokescreen Crime: In the "Final Countdown", a terrorist named Crackerjack plants a bomb on the Outlaw Star and threatens to detonate it unless Heifong is granted independence. This act of terrorism is actually meant to be a jewelry store robbery after the store's security system was disabled when the power was cut in response to the decoy crime.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: This for the first thirteen episodes, and this slightly less solemn (but still far more solemn than the opening theme) song for the remainder of the anime.
    • The first is "Hiru no Tsuki", translated as "Daytime Moon", and the translated lyrics are just as sad-sounding as you'd expect. The second is "Tsuki no Ie", translated as "House of the Moon", which again, is significantly more upbeat, but still kind of a downer.
  • Space Friction: Used inconsistently. The ships visibly use fore thrusters to slow down when docking, and in grappler fights oven pull insane 180 degree turns without banking or changing direction, though sometimes they bank in long dramatic turns anyway. Though the maneuvers they tend to take while in grappler combat would probably pull enough G's to turn the Outlaw Star's crew into toothpaste. But then again, the XGP was built to withstand just about anything.
    • On the other hand, the ships have artificial gravity of high enough quality that you can stand completely perpendicular to planetary direction while landed.
  • Space Is an Ocean: A major theme given by the opening narration at the beginning of each episode. Also physics.
  • Space Is Noisy: In almost any space scene in the anime. Most likely related to the fact that space is also an ocean.
  • Space Opera
  • Space Pirates: As a rather interesting variation, they are Chinese and use Tao-magic. They seem to be modeled after the Triads. It's also interesting to note that the space pirates in this series were the pioneers of warp speed travel and it was their creation of grappler ships that changed the nature of space warfare.
  • Space Western
  • Speculative Fiction LGBT: Fred Luo, a Camp Gay who has a crush on Gene Starwind, is the one who provides weapons, ships and all they could need for their missions... but especially he offers discounts to the crew if Gene treats him nicely.
    • More because Gene's constant debt with the ship is very profitable - and it's fun as hell to troll him. He drops the entire pretense when it comes to the job to help prevent having to marry an amazon.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Nguyen Khan is actually the scientist's official name. Most people spell his name as the pronunciation Gwen (which is how it's both spelled and pronounced in the dub). This is correct pronunciation of Nguyen (for North Vietnamese anyway).
  • Spoiler Opening: There's a reason Hilda doesn't appear in the opening's Team Shot. Though she does often appear in other official art, like posters.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Let's face it, the MacDougal Brothers pretty much stole the Big Bad role from the Kei Pirates once they were properly introduced.
    • You could also make a case for Aisha, as she doesn't join until near the halfway point in the anime.
  • Starfish Aliens: That psychic cactus thing.
  • Stock Sound Effects: The series uses a lot of familiar sound effects, including the blasters from Star Wars and various door and spaceship sounds from Alien and Aliens.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The Galactic Leyline is an artifact from these.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: For Gene and Jim, owning a highly-illegal Super Prototype spaceship isn't the ticket to money and adventure that they'd dreamed it would be, because they're forced to sink every last Wong they earn into maintainence, fuel, repairs, ammunition for the ship's weaponry, fees for parking at the spaceport, and the other costs associated with it.
  • Swiss-Army Gun: The Caster.
  • Tamer and Chaster: A kind of Bad Export for You and Tone Shift is the English adaptation of the anime in which Cartoon Network toned down the anime in its exhibition, including the Digital Bikini added to Melfina in the first episodes (and even digital shorts on Gene in one specific), Fred's mannerisms were toned down and the Hot Springs Episode wasn't even broadcast. All of this was subverted with the DVD releases, that have all the original scenes available, including the censored episode.
  • Team Shot
  • The Teaser
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Respectively, Aisha and Melfina.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Gene's Caster- because it's an ancient, no longer used weapon, ammo for it is insanely hard to find so Gene has to save it for emergencies. Unfortunately, thanks to repeatedly fighting foes who are extremely powerful Tao sorcerers whose magic makes them immune to conventional weapons, Gene is forced to rely on it far more often than he'd like.
  • Too Hot for TV: The Banned Episode "Hot Springs Planet Tenrei" was never aired on Cartoon Network or [adult swim] due to its use of Fanservice. It wouldn't be until its airing on the revived Toonami block that the episode would finally air on US airwaves, with the breasts Nipple and Dimed in order to pass for airing.
  • Too Qualified to Apply: Aisha Clan Clan wants to enter the "Strongest Woman in the Universe" contest only to discover that her species, the Ctarl-Ctarl, are banned because they can transform, becoming superstrong and unstoppable. She finds a way to join and fight anyway.
  • Translation Convention: This universe is basically Hong Kong IN SPACE!. Chinese regularly appears on signs (especially in Blue Heaven), and it's stated that Chinese pirates colonized space first. Also the Triad-like pirate clan, the names of several planets and some minor characters, and some of the readouts on the XGP. Also the inter-galactic currency is wong. BUT, on the other hand, many of the major characters have English names – Gene Starwind, Jim Hawking, Rod & Harry MacDougal, "Hot Ice" Hilda, Gilliam, Fred Luo†  – and the sign for Gene & Jim's business is quite blatantly in English. Also, many names in this world contain sound clusters that just flat-out don't exist in Chinese. SO... it's probably safe to assume that most characters we see are speaking English to each other, but also know enough Chinese to get by if they have to deal with officials.
  • Trigger Phrase: Melfina has two, one†  puts her into a trance that forces her to obey the commands of whoever said the phrase, the other†  returns her to normal. Once she's no longer the Maiden of the Galactic Ley Line, the phrases stop working on her.
  • Troperiffic: As anime critic JesuOtaku puts it:
    "This show gets a free pass for being the most wish-fulfilling sci-fi title ever. Everything you can love about sci-fi is here: space races, space combat, diverse planets, alternate dimensions, weird aliens, hot aliens, aliens of questionable gender (seriously, what is that?), giant robots, bio-androids, human cyborgs, cold-sleep beauties, shapeshifting beast men, laser-gun fights, sword fights, fistfights, paintball, Mad Scientists, Tao magicians, robotic panthers, kung-fu housecats, and a Hot Springs Episode that is actually funny.
  • Trojan Horse: In "Law and Lawlessness", space pirates use a beat-up space cruise ship as one to invade a private security force stronghold.
  • Truce Zone: Blue Heaven.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Inverted. The Outlaw Star has a crew of five, as Gene and Jim are the only guys. However, Gene also happens to be the main protagonist.
  • Unanthropomorphic Transformation: Aisha Clan-Clan, and in fact all of her species the Ctarl-Ctarl, are nigh-invincible humanoid alien cat people. If an opponent proves able to fight them in this form, and there happens to be a moon present, they're capable to transforming into an even more fearsome giant cat form equipped with fangs and claws to rend said opponent to pieces, as Jukai and Iraga of the Anten Seven found out first hand.
  • United Space of America: Thoroughly averted. The galaxy in the TS timeline is Chinese in culture if not in government (or most of the names). Complete with Hong Kong-style Truce Zones such as Blue Heaven.
    • The currency is also called 'wong' (both singular and plural), which may be related to the Korean 'won' (though much more valuable).
  • Unobtainium: Dragonite, apparently one of the rarest substances in the universe. Luckily, it's just a catalyst and not a fuel, otherwise burning it in stardrives would have ended star travel centuries earlier.
  • The Unseen: The Tendo King, enigmatic Man Behind the Man with Tao magic ability implied by Hazanko to be god-like. The Tenpa Emperor takes this up a notch with implied power far exceeding that.
  • Used Future
  • Variable-Length Chain: In "Creeping Evil", a pirate assassing goes after Melfina with an Epic Flail (actually a kusarigama with an enormous spiked weight attached to the chain, but he only makes use of that side and not the sickle end). After shooting it out forty or fifty feet to attack, he can reel it back into the handle, which is less than two feet long.
  • Visual Pun: In "Law & Lawlessness", the heroes have been captured and disarmed by private security forces. As they make their way back to their ship, they are confronted by a pair of pirates - Suzuka charges forward and strikes both down, Single-Stroke Battle style;
    Suzuka: "That's one way to get them to pipe down."
    The camera pans away from her face... revealing she used a length of pipe in place of her sword.
  • Wagon Train to the Stars
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Doubles as Fridge Horror. One episode features Aisha entering a fighting tournament. Because Ctarl-Ctarl aren't allowed in the tournament, she poses as a professional wrestler named Firecat, locking the real Firecat in a locker and stealing her uniform. At the end of the episode the entire building is set on fire, and the main characters are shown to have escaped. But what happened to the real Firecat, last shown still being stuck in the locker? Then again she got out of the locker the first time, so maybe not.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A significant source of Melfina's angst.
  • Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Suzuka seems to be able to cut anything with her wooden sword, up to and including oncoming trucks. This seems to be because she mostly uses it to make cutting shockwaves.
    • Her first episode reveals her main reason for using a sword made of wood: a metal detector can't detect it.
  • The Worf Barrage: Gene's bazooka, which only makes appearances when he's running through his inventory of weapons that aren't the Caster and thus never actually damages a single enemy.
    • Also the missiles used in ship to ship combat; thanks to a massive inversion of Point Defenseless, missiles never hit their targets.
      • Considering the primary form of fighting for the XGP is to rush in and fight in melee, it stands to reason that the missiles primarily exist as a distraction.
      • Another reason is that they keep buying cheap missiles with crap guidance. About the only decent weapons they can afford are anchors.
  • Zeerust: It may be set hundreds of years in the future on alien planets, but landline telephones are still commonly used by everyone and when Gene is sent to get dirty pictures of Urt on the hot springs planet, he's given a camcorder.