Mouretsu Pirates, which is also know as Bodacious Space Pirates (lol), is an anime that ran in 2012 and was created by the studio Satelight. It is an adaptation of a light novel.
If I wasn’t recommended this anime by a friend with a serviceable nudge and an accompanying video excerpt, I would have passed this show off as a hentai that I could look forward to in the future because… Well, uh, because who doesn’t like boobs in zero gravity? I know I do. If you don’t then you’re a commie bastard.
For a show with the daunting word ‘bodacious’ in the title you might as well expect it to be a parody of some sort. Maybe a Sex Jokes: The Anime – IN SPACE! Instead of being hilariously bad drivel, this has to be easily one of the best space travel and exploration anime I’ve ever seen. That’s right! There are no giant breasts nor any panty-shots and, you know what, I’m actually glad there aren’t. For me, it ranks right up there with the likes of Outlaw Star and completely blows Cowboy Bebop out of the water in all departments except for the music. Cowboy Bebop is highly over-rated. It is decent at best.
Synopsis from MyAnimeList: The story centers around a spirited high school girl named Marika. She keeps herself busy with the space yacht club and her part-time job at a high-class retro café. One day, two strangers suddenly appear and claim to be subordinates of her dead father. They demand that she assume command of the space pirate ship Bentenmaru. A privateer ship’s compact was made during a war of independence a century ago, and according to that compact, the ship must be inherited by the captain’s next direct descendant. Marika finds herself embarking on a new life as a space pirate.
If I were asked by a man who was about to die of severe pain chronic pain in the balls to describe Mouretsu Pirates, I’d tell him that it’s basically a smarter One Piece without the ridiculous powers and all the boom boom pows. It even has its very own super-serious brunette Sanji!
Marika is your not-so-average highschool ace girl who apparently has a knack for piloting and making sound decisions through decisive thinking thanks to her pirating blood. She doesn’t know her dad. It’s all hush-hush. The dad dies one day of food poisoning. And Marika is, therefore, somewhat forced into becoming the next captain of the spaceship, Bentenmaru.
The story is pretty simple. There are no over-arching plots or clever trickery. It’s a straight-forward coming of age story of a girl who going to become the next space pirate king (well, not king – just a great pirate). For the first 6 or 7 episodes, the pacing is really slow. It takes its sweet time to tell us about the wonderful future of mankind in detail. Colony planets; space travel and the technologies involved, explaining the origin of the space pirates and how they are seemingly not hated by the general public because (uh) piracy is legal. All hail the Letters of Marque.
And then, the pacing really picks up. Marika is practically thrown into space piracy right after return home from her yacht club’s (SPACE yachts!) practice trip. After that, the rest of the Bentenmaru crew is introduced and both major and minor arcs kick off which include hunting for ghost spaceships and banding universal pirates together to defeat the pirate purging ‘Satsuki SS’ (my nickname for it) which is a spaceship that looks like the Eyebrow-Master of Kill la Kill.
Overall, the story is quite linear yet fun to follow. Excellent world-building and pretty good directing ensures that you’re never bored – even if you’re looking at two characters explaining the numerous technical terms and stuff presented in the show. Though, the show really suffers in the final arc, that is, the last 5 episodes. Lots of twists occur that are never shone light upon and the conclusion is sort of an open-ending which I guess probably was done for a second season run. But, since it’s the current year (hue), 4 years have passed now so I think there never will be another season. This really deters an otherwise great show.
Oh and the piracy in this anime is some of the most ridiculous I’ve ever seen. Companies actually HIRE pirates to loot their ships to ‘entertain’ their passengers. Even then, it just somehow manages to click well.
All of the characters are fun to watch and are likeable. There’s no one to hate. Literally. The only character that is an actual bad guy appears in the last episodes and even then she appears to be an ally of season-2 sorts. Even though there isn’t much character development for everyone except for the female lead; Marika – whose transition from a somewhat clumsy girl to a strict pirate captain with style and captivating command is a delight to see, and the fact that half the students of the yacht club get no background introduction along with nothing being revealed about the Bentenmaru crew’s pasts, you still largely enjoy the varied and quirky cast.
The animation is clean and neat to look at. The 2D isn’t really unique and most of the character designs are quite plain. The CGI, though, is just a marvel to look. Highly detailed and perfectly blending with the 2D environment, it is a perfect example of how to use CGI in an anime.
The voice acting is great. I never really mention voice acting in my reviews because, well, the voice acting is good in anime like 90% of the time. So, you know what I mean when I say that the voice acting is great.
Even though I’m kind of disappointed that I didn’t get to hear highschool anime girls sing shanties, the soundtrack is pretty good. Hearing the kind of traditional pirate-y music being applied to spaceship scenes is a weird kind of good feeling. The OP is the gayest metal-ish song I’ve ever heard and I love it. The main ED is my kind of club-ish music so into the phone it goes.
Anyways, Mouretsu Pirates is a fun show but due to obvious flaws in the story and with the characters, it falls short. Despite these factors, it is still a highly entertaining show that you should not miss. 8/10 from me.