Second Wind: Shows That Deserve Another Life (Part 2)
So, a few episodes of Space Dandy have made their world premieres on Toonami. Despite consistently strong ratings each week, viewer reactions seem divided. For some people, the show leaves the sour taste of Tenchi Muyo! GXP in their mouths for the simple fact that it’s a comedy set in space with lots of perverted humor. For others, Dandy is GXP done right thanks to the involvement of the Cowboy Bebop crew. I won’t take a side on this issue, but it seems that space fiction in anime seems to fare better with regard to audience perceptions – at least in the States – when it takes a more serious approach. The three default mainstream examples that come to mind are Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, and of course, Outlaw Star.
#2: Outlaw Star
Outlaw Star was one of the titles licensed by Bandai America’s (sadly defunct) anime distribution arm. Thankfully, this series – along with many other titles – has been relicensed by FUNimation after parent company Sunrise handed off several of Bandai’s franchises last year.
When Outlaw Star debuted in 2001, it became a cult hit. For years, fans have been begging Toonami to bring it back. While Gundam Wing pushed the envelope a year earlier with an uncut run at midnight that allowed occasional uses of ‘crap’ to slip under the radar, Outlaw Star REALLY pushed the envelope. And during the afternoon run, which was quite a feat! The uncensored version had blood and swearing including ‘bastard’ and even ‘son of a bitch’ – and Adult Swim hadn’t even premiered yet! The series eventually did come to Adult Swim a year later, but unfortunately, Adult Swim was saddled with reruns of the extra-censored Toonami version. It’s understandable that the network needed to save money, but still – watching a kiddified version of the series on an adult block was disappointing.
Now that Toonami is effectively on an adult network and Outlaw Star is out of licensing limbo, there’s no excuse anymore: Outlaw Star needs to return in uncut form. There’s one important caveat – the unaired episode. Outlaw Star has 26 episodes, but Bandai intentionally skipped one episode due to nudity. It’s a shame, because the episode was important to the plot. When Toonami briefly returned for the April Fool’s joke in 2012, they could have aired the lost episode with edits. It would have made a great surprise premiere! Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, we got the penultimate episode – again, the edited version from over a decade ago. Our only premieres that night were new Bleach (meh) and the third Tenchi Muyo! OVA. What a missed opportunity.
Even though I’m asking for the show to return uncut, I’d be fine if they censored the missing episode. Yes, I know it seems hypocritical, but I don’t think a true return of Outlaw Star would be satisfactory until they’ve aired that episode in some form. The show deserves to be as fulfilling as the first-run episodes were back in 2001.
Please do it, FUNimation. Please.
(Oh, and even though I know you have it, please don’t pitch Angel Links. The quicker we forget that, the better.)
Check in next time for my third choice.
[Image credit: cow41087]