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Outlanders – Review

by Justin Stroman

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An alien armada has invaded Earth and is destroying most of the planet’s forces. While they ravage the planet, Kahm, the Princess of Saint Evascuraze, is busy trying to find a man to take as her own. On her search, she meets a man named Tetsuya, a photographer trying to do his job. She attacks him but the flash from Tetsuya’s camera blinds her, which then allows him to gain the upper hand and restrict her movement. However, due to her clothing (or almost lack thereof), in seconds he gets a boner. In an odd twist, she takes a liking to him, and deems him worthy of marriage.

Now Tetsuya, who Kahm had knocked out, is brought to space against his will and isn’t sure what’s going on. He tries to convince her to take him back to Earth by using a hostage, but that only infuriates her. But it is through this moment that Tetsuya learns of Kahm’s motives to save the Earth from being destroyed by the alien armada. Not exactly lacking in backbone but certainly hapless as an Earthling, he attempts to come to terms with her goal. Too bad her father won’t take too kindly to any of this, so Tetsuya and Kahm have an uphill battle in order to stave off Earth’s destruction.

Two fun facts about Outlanders: the first fun fact it is one of the many brainchild works of Johji Manabe who happened to pen in manga form many, many moons ago that got adapted into an OVA. I’m pretty sure some of you know who Manabe is. If you don’t, well, there’s always Google search since some of his works are in the NSFW category. But I had heard about what Manabe did some years ago, which leads to fun fact #2: I probably would not have known or cared about who Manabe was or known about Outlanders if I didn’t pick up Helen McCarthy’s 500 Manga Heroes and Villains. I picked that up on a deal at Barnes & Noble and have thoroughly enjoyed combing what characters made it in; I picked up the anime version of Outlanders on a deal as well some time later. I left it alone for a while now, but decided to check it out and see if it holds up…it does not.

From a pure watch mainly of value, Outlanders is effective. The visuals are old and dated, but I always find it cool to see how the space ships were designed back then, with them actually looking intimidating and creepy on purpose. Nowadays in most anime, there are usually censorship implemented whenever a person’s head is going to get slashed as the violence is expressed off screen—not in Outlanders as you definitely get your money’s worth of violence throughout the OVA. The soundtrack is actually quite enjoyable, at least to me it is. The character designs—and I’m speaking of the women—look hot and accomplished the feat of impressing me. The characters themselves, for the most part, our male protagonist who have personalities that stand out and aren’t entirely one dimensional.  That’s a good thing—if you’re title is going to be mostly be about titillation and the like, it helps to show you aren’t going to back down from some villainous wannabe.

But for all intents and purposes, the titillation is mostly the point. Yes, it does try and give us a story, and it was an interesting one, but it shoved a good portion of it down my throat. The worst thing that can happen is when you make up stuff on the fly; Outlanders does this quite a few times throughout its running time, which is quite annoying to witness. Yes, it’s only about 60 minutes so there were limitations as to what they could do in that time, but I’m pretty sure there was no indication that Kahm had the powers of resuscitation…until she was prompted to reveal she had the powers of resuscitation. Yes, the level of nudity in the anime is not on hentai levels, but maybe it should have been, so I know that despite the notion that Kahm does want to save the Earth by marrying Tetsuya, the point was just to enjoy the excessive amount of nudity involved. The story has a few holes, meaning you would have to fill in the blanks as a viewer. Because of this, the show isn’t very deep, so I’m not doing anyone any favors by elaborating on what I believed happened.

For this title, I watched both the Japanese and English language tracks. The Japanese dub is nothing particularly special. I personally think the English dub sounded much better…and as it should; for the anniversary edition, C.P.M asked fans to cast their votes on who should be the voices for the show. Familiar and famous voice actors like Sean Schemmel and Dan Green were cast in it, and they did a cool job considering just how old this property was. However, aside from one or two changes in the script that I liked, the U.S script was changed a bit more drastically in some areas than I would have thought. An example is when Tetsuya and Kahn meet; she ends up kissing Tetsuya and she said with that kiss they could understand each other’s languages. But in the dub, they said that apparently they can understand their language, meaning what was the point of the kiss? Not very sharp in the script I think.

Overall, Outlanders served its time and its simply one of those titles I can’t really appreciate. I found Gall Force: Eternal Story, an anime that also was made in the 80s, to be a worthy watch for anyone as it really drove home a point and was entertaining, though it cost the lives of a ton of characters. That can stand up and be enjoyed today—certain titles such as Outlanders unfortunately can’t.

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Author: Justin Stroman

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