Gene Starwind is the main protagonist of the popular anime and manga series Outlaw Star. He was a young man who developed a fear of space flight and a hatred of pirates during an attack when he was 15 that resulted in his father's death at the hands of a band of mercenaries led by Ron MacDougall. Gene was thrown into an escape pod by his father moments before their ship exploded and landed on Sentinel III where he would remain until the beginning of the series. Until Hilda questions him, "Are you going to keep running away?" and Gene responds, "Keep running away?", Gene is scared of space - but Hilda's questioning of his courage is the turning point, and Gene's fear of space disappears.
While on Sentinel III, Gene met the much younger Jim Hawking and the two went into business; forming a company called Starwind and Hawking Enterprises. Gene is a reckless ladies' man and a bit of a pervert who shamelessly flirts with almost every woman he meets. He would rather try to achieve his goals with a minimum of effort and his reckless attitude proves a continuous source of frustration to Jim. Despite his brash nature, Gene does have a caring side to his personality which he usually displays toward Melfina. After realizing Melfina had no recollection of her past or function, Gene promises to help her find her past and protects her from the various individuals in pursuit of her. Also, throughout the course of the series, he begins to develop feelings for her and grows rather irritated with Harry on behalf of his apparent relationship with Melfina.
Gene's most recognizable traits are his longish spiky bright red hair, grey eyes, and the prominent scars on his body. He is quite tall, standing at roughly 6 ft., and has a very lean but muscular body type. He also bears a large red tattoo of a star on his right shoulder. He also frequently dons a large cloak over his shoulders that often makes him look much larger than he really is and is often used to conceal the various weapons that Gene carries on him.
The death of Gene's father when he was a teenager implicitly states he was severely traumatized by the event and likely left to fend for himself. His phobia of space would keep him grounded for the better part of his life. As a result, Gene is a very guarded man, hardly ever displaying his true feelings. Instead of confronting or showing his emotions to others, he puts on a brave and gregarious front. His tendency to overdrink may also be another way Gene copes from the trauma of his past.
Gene is equally overindulgent in his desire for women. A notorious womanizer, Gene is extremely flirtatious with women and easily aroused. He will often go to great lengths to get a glimpse of naked woman, despite their objections. However, when in a similar situation with Fred Luo and his visible affection for him, Gene becomes uncomfortable with Fred's advances.
As businessman, Gene often takes huge risks on a deals he assumes will make his business, Starwind and Hawking, "easy money" at the expense his partner, Jim, and their financial stability. As a result, should his schemes fail, he can end looking foolish and even deeper in debt. Despite the wiser counsel of his friend, Jim, Gene often repeats his reckless business ventures with varying results.
In a fight, Gene can become cocky and overeager in situations that require defusing. Though he is confident in his abilities against an opponent, Gene is not afraid to admit that, if the situation were not in his favor, he would run. As a result, many opponents, like Twilight Suzuka, perceive his need for self-preservation as cowardice.
His constant bickering with Jim and Jim's constant rebuking of his immature behavior and tendency to act first and think later, would suggest the two never see eye-to-eye. However, the both Jim and Gene hold a great respect for each other. Though he doesn't show it, Gene is compassionate. In the aftermath of Hilda's death, Gene takes on the responsibility helping Melfina discover her past, despite no prior obligations to do so. His own experiences in space as a teenager doesn't allow him to leave Aisha Clan-Clan stranded in space, as he aware of what it feels like to float through space without rescue. Gene has very strong feelings for Melfina, but due to his guarded nature, he does not feel comfortable revealing this to her, even to the point where he isn't even sure of the nature of these emotions. But from the start he develops a strong loyalty and attachment to her. Over time, the two have some confusion as they become closer, with Gene often recoiling, indicating a possible fear of intimacy. But when their journey brings them to the Galactic Leyline, Gene realizes the true depths of his feelings towards Melfina and proves his love for her by sacrificing her offer to use the Leyline to fulfill all of his material desire, stating, "There's nothing that the Leyline can give me. All I want is for you to return with me." This moment culminates in a kiss between the two, realizing that they are in love.
Gene is a seasoned gunman and able bodied combatant. He thinks quick on his feet and acts quickly in combat to get the edge on his opponents. He is also quite creative; in one instance, he used a pair of light shields to block Suzuka's Bokken. His weapon of choice, Caster Gun, while considered an antique, is extremely powerful and typically used as a last resort. The weapon's Caster Shells, depending on the type, can kill in a single shot, depending on the strength of the opponent. He is also skilled in hand-to-hand and melee combat. He is quite dexterous, capable of whipping out his unusable black bladed knife in mid-strike. Gene also happens to be a proficient liar, being able to switch from serious to jovial when confronting Harry MacDougall during the intermission at the Heifong Space Race.
- Gene's name is suspected to be a vague reference to Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry.