Mouretsu Uchuu Kaizoku: Early Bird Review

“Bodacious Space Pirates” 

I’m not sure whose idea it was to translate the title as “Bodacious Space Pirates,” and perhaps it’s from the Japanese studio, but that’s OK. “Mouretsu” usually stands for something more like marauding, or at least that’s what I’d use. Episode 8 just aired, and it’s a really good show.

Before getting a bit more into the meat, here’s the quick hits so far:

  • Endearing characters and lots of them
  • Very funny in numerous places
  • Serious and deep science fiction when it wants to
  • Pacing allows viewer to ease into a deep, complex world
  • Excellent production values
  • Intelligent writing
  • Nothing ecchi; safe for sensitive viewers

That last part is important for some people so I mention it prominently. I’m really enjoying this show, though some have accused it of having a “slow” pace to start. I address that a bit below.

Plot & Premise

This show has received such hype that it has the confidence to start in a way some may call “slowly”, with the main character, Marika, discovering in the middle of Episode 1 that she is the heiress to a pirate ship captained by her father, who she knew basically nothing about. In this futuristic environment, pirate ships must still operate by a variety of public laws, and piracy is partially tolerated, but dangerous in the wrong circumstances. Only blood heirs can inherit. Marika’s new status as a potential captain, for she hasn’t decided yet, makes her a target, while her new homeroom teacher – a member of the Bentenmaru crew, who served under her father – arranges for an “education” to test her mettle and prepare her for the job.

Marika

The girl in the image at the top of this post is Chiaki, who is very good at denying her interest in seeing Marika in her outfit at a maid cafe in a part-time job. Chiaki obviously has some pirate involvement herself, but I won’t spoil exactly what. She’s capable, smart, prideful, and has a secret soft spot for Marika, in spite of Marika starting out as a girl with big, glaring holes that call into question her fitness as a potential captain.

What Marika does have is amazing decision-making capability and a massive amount of drive and effort. This is demonstrated by the end of the first arc in Episode 5, where a “school trip” in an actual spaceship (a former pirate ship converted to a training vessel) results in a cat and mouse game of electronic warfare and other festivities with a vessel trying to take their ship over. Marika leads a student counter-attack, which takes an unexpected turn as the other side, seeing their computers about to be taken over, simply turn the computers off and start taking beam gun potshots through manual, optical aiming. I won’t spoil more but, seriously, why can’t you do just that and pull the plug? People with thinking caps on wrote this script.

By the end, Marika has found her calling and agrees to push to become the full captain of the Bentenmaru. This isn’t a spoiler, since without this, there wouldn’t be much of a show left.

By episode 8, Marika has engaged in a couple of “pirate takeovers” with a really funny twist: namely, that she appears before the passengers who must surrender their valuables like a sort of rock star. (It’s a bit difficult to explain out of context, but man is it entertaining.) At the end of her second “raid”, a stowaway comes aboard: a real, live princess who becomes the engine for the plot for the foreseeable future.

In Episode 8, “The Princess and the Pirate”, our lovely princess becomes a transfer student at Marika’s high school. (That goes a way towards shutting up any notion that she was kidnapped, I imagine.) I don’t have a picture I can upload yet, but the girl has a schoolgirl look that greatly resembles Usagi from Sailor Moon except with four thin braids instead of two thicker ones, both sets dangling from twin “dango” (meatballs) in a very blond hairstyle with blue eyes, as represented. (In anime, even Japanese girls can be shown with all sorts of hair and eye mixes for differentiation; it’s useful to tell people apart, you see. Everyone just goes along with it.)

The show’s shaping up to be quite something, with a lot of characters who add to it, lots of good science fiction, and we get to feel like we’re learning about the world along with Marika. It’s a good feeling and I expect great things from the show as it continues. – J

J Sensei

About J Sensei

Blogger, writer, linguist, former Japanese> English translator, rusty in French, experienced in Japanese, fluent English native. Writing for Technorati.com and various blogs. Skype: jeremiah.bourque (messages always welcome). E-mail: [email protected]
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2 Responses to Mouretsu Uchuu Kaizoku: Early Bird Review

  1. Brian says:

    I’m really enjoying this show as well – so a minor correction: the princess comes in as a transfer into the attached Middle School. Note the different Sailor-suit style uniforms rather than Marika’s suit style school uniform.

  2. J Sensei J Sensei says:

    Thanks for pointing that out. When I wrote this post, I didn’t want it to be a detailed episode review because I hadn’t watched the episode twice. I even checked other blogs to try and verify some things because, well, just because I watch something once doesn’t mean my memory will be perfect. I actually never picked up the middle school part, though I ought to have if I’d thought about it hard – and I hadn’t spent a single thought about an attached middle school. Anyway, the show’s shaping up well and I’m looking forward to the next episode.

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