Anime Quick Information

Title: Bodacious Space Pirates #1
UK publisher: MVM Films
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi
Studio: Satelight
Type: TV Series
Director: Tatsuo Sato
Year: 2012
Running Time: 5 hrs 14 mins
Rate this anime:
Average Rating: 6.50

Sarah's review

Sarah scored this with 8/10. Disagree?

Feeling down? In need of a tonic? Then why not watch Bodacious Space Pirates and cheer yourself up? There's nothing better than a rattlingly good 'pirates in space' anime yarn (with a difference) to raise the spirits! And this one has a lot to recommend it.

Marika Kato's happy-go-lucky life as a high school girl is turned upside-down when she learns that not only was her (absent) father the captain of a pirate spaceship, the Bentenmaru, but that he has just died and she is next in line to inherit his job and his ship. Which is quite a surprise for Marika who, up till now, has spent her spare time in the school's space yacht club or working as a maid in the Lamp Cafe. Then there's the new transfer student, bespectacled Chiaki Kurihara, in her class - and a new teacher and school nurse too: Kane and Misa. All these events seem to be connected... and before she can say 'Shiver me timbers!' Marika finds herself targeted by sinister dark-suited men. Rescued by Chiaki, she learns that her mother Ririka was a notorious space pirate (before settling down) and Kane and Misa were her fellow crew members. So when the space yacht club set out on a trial voyage, with new teacher Kane as instructor and 'nurse' Misa along too, it's a good opportunity for Marika to develop the skills she'll need if she's to accept her late father's role. Showing her innate talents as a leader when unexpected trouble threatens to disrupt the voyage, she is aided and abetted not just by the other girls but by the stand-offish Chiaki (who is undoubtedly hiding the truth about her true identity.)

On this far-future planet called Sea of the Morning Star (which looks remarkably like Earth today in every respect except for the spaceships) space pirates are rather special. If they have been awarded an official Letter of Marque, they are allowed to board other spaceships and... plunder.

Not long after Marika has made her decision to captain the Bentenmaru, a stowaway is discovered on board. This is none other than the elfin Princess Gruier Serenity, who knew Captain Kato, and has snuck on board hoping to ask for his help in her quest to find the Golden Ghost Ship. Enchanted by the little princess, Marika decides to take on the quest - and soon wins the princess's trust. But others are after the elusive ghost ship and this quest will take Marika and her trusty crew into perilous and uncharted regions of space.

Based on Yuichi Sasamoto's prize-winning novels 'Mini-skirt Space Pirates' and directed by Tatsuo Sato of Martian Successor Nadesico fame, you could be forgiven for thinking that you're in for a 'sexy schoolgirls in space' harem show. Sorry to disappoint, but this is a rather different animal. There's no romance here either (the director confirmed this in an interview at Anime Expo last year) but friendship is a strong undercurrent. (Ok, there are miniskirts a-plenty, not to mention the odd maid costume, but the fan-service is kept to a minimum.) Marika makes an attractive, likeable heroine - and with so many strong female crew members in the space yacht club and on board the Bentenmaru, this is an excellent show to share with younger sisters and daughters (it's a PG.)

If you're expecting blazing battles in space, Gundam-fashion, again you'll be a little disappointed. Stealth, crafty surveillance, and cyberspace supremacy are the pirates' most successful weapons; the most effective tactic is to take control of your rival's weapons and life support systems. In fact, half the fun of watching this show is following the resourceful ideas that Marika and her crew devise to tackle the dangerous situations they find themselves in.

And just in case you'd forgotten that the series is about pirates, the hi-tech bridge of the Bentenmaru is decorated with the skull and crossbones, Kane, the helmsman steers using what looks remarkably like an old-fashioned wheel and when the 'masts' are raised, I'm certain I detected the sound of creaking timbers, no doubt meant to evoke the days of sailing ships. It's amusing, too, to see the effect caused by the pirates when they board a 'liner' and perform their pirate shtick, much to the evident delight of their victims.

Affectionate nods to other well-loved series can be glimpsed, especially to Sailor Moon (check out the hairstyle adopted by Princess Gruier of Serenity, indeed even the name of her home planet.)

The music is credited to the three members of Elements Garden and is serviceable but not especially memorable. Opening Theme "Moretsu Uchu Kokyokyoku - Dai-Shichi Gakusho 'Mugen no Ai'" ("Extreme Space Symphony's Movement VII 'Infinite Love'") and Ending Theme "Lost Child" are both by by Momoiro Clover Z. The Opening is a frenetic, hysterical shout of a song which doesn't really do justice to the spirit of the show.

I marginally prefer the original voice cast, especially Mikako Komatsu as Marika and Haruka Tomatsu as Princess Gruier, although the US cast makes a decent job of their roles, with Luci Christian taking the lead as Marika, ably supported by Chris Patton as Kane and Caitlynn French as the stand-offish Chiaki.

A generous thirteen episodes are included - but the only extras provided are the clean Opening and Closing themes and a trailer for Arakawa Under the Bridge.

In Summary
This is fun. Sheer fun. One of those feel-good, put a smile on the face series. (Did I mention it's about pirates? In space?)

Screenshots (click to pop out)

Review Information

Score: 8 out of 10
Review By: Sarah
Date Published: Thu, 7 Feb 2013
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