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.
...I-is it okay? I mean this should be a total piece of garbage by all means, but there's no panty shots? No bungie cord titties flopping around? There's a shit ton of girls and even a maid cafe and a goofy pirate outfit, but... Why doesn't this show suck? Maybe because it's not trying to be BS, but trying to be a great space adventure with a great lead character.
*This review will be updated as I watch more episodes, it's up to seven so far.*
STORY: Moretsu Pirates or Bodacious Space Pirates, which ever sounds worse to you... Wow, even a terrible title, but this anime still doesn't blow? Yep, from I've seen thus far, there's nothing but incredible potential in this anime, despite the gaggle of girls, the silly pirate costumes, and, from what everyone highly expected it to be, what it would have appear to be some sort of moe space pirates adventures in the promotions, this anime has real potential to be even this year's best, or at the very least, the best sci fi anime in years.
From actual character build up (Actual believable build up no less) to characters with personalities bigger than their cleavages (Despite that I haven't seen a single chest pillow peek out from any shirt, even though there's now seven episodes available), and great set up on the world of this anime, Bodacious Space Pirates is looking up to be quite the space adventure.
The main focus is on the series main girl and eventual space pirate captain, Kato, the daughter of the late Space Pirate Captain Gonzaemon Kato, who have only just learn about her pirate heratage from her mother and crew members of the late captain and is expected to be the next captain, and is even reluctant to believe it (Along with the news of them being legal pirates). Kato is a lovable main lead that has no where to go in her character but up, she's no typical "I know how to pilot a giant machine without any training" lead character, she's the kind who only grows, and this anime actually acknowledges that as she's not thrown right away at the future plot or the captain's seat right away, a seat that will obviously need an experienced leader and not an unrealistic teenager that magically know what to do in any situtation, she has to do some real learning of what's what, from learning what it means to be a pirate to shooting a lazer gun. And when she's finally a space pirate captain, there will be no moans and groans from me, the anime will have shown her development to that point, it will have shown her effort to become that space captain we will hope she'll become.
But, that's only little of what this anime has does right that others do so yawn inducingly lazy, the whole theme and world build up is done exceptionally well, the other characters are interesting (And though the first couple of episodes will obviously focus on our captain-to-be, the rest of her crew will undoubtly be fleshed out, I mean what's a captain without her crew? A school girl?) and even with only a few episodes in, there's a strong feeling that there's going to be grand adventures that would make certain pirates envious.
But remember, before any of the piracy can start, getting your bearing and settings right is first priority, Mouretsu Pirates has shown through it's character's space yacht exercise that the space battle and exporation portion of the series will be done flawlessly, and I'm glad to know it's willing to spend several episodes to do so (Despite the slow pace, which will be graining to some). However, once the outer space cruise is over, the anime almost seems like it's trying to make up for lost time by literally rushing Marika right into the captain's seat to the point where I wanted to say "Slow the hell down people! She's only a high school student!"
After such a strong string of episodes, it's almost head scratchingly odd to see the pace turned up to the max and have the lead character put to work so soon, especially after it seemed to be taking it's time to get there.
But, does it really hurt the quality of the previous episodes? Not so much, there's obviously going to be more build up for our trainee captain, just because she's leading already doesn't mean she's magically leader material, and it's good to know the anime knowledges that and that Marika is still trying to work hard (School, part time job and being the captain of space pirates? She's tired out for good reasons but doesn't let that stop her). If the anime can get itself out of it's pacing rut, the show can continue to shine bright as it has been so far.
ANIMATION: Superb animation that isn't wasted on what we feared would happen, as expected from Satelight (Ikkoku Meiro no Croisee, Hellsing Ultimate), chaarcter designs are very distinctive, even background characters look well thought out. The animation on everything just overall looks great, space, the space ships, everything that is supposed to look sci fi looks it, no complains from me, despite some goofy pirate costumes.
SOUND: Good, but not amazing, though the voice acting is great. While theme music, the opening is a touch annoying (But that's just me...), but the ending theme is among the best I've heard in a good while.
+ Not what was expected, being some ecchi harem BS that it looks like, which is always a great thing.
+ A great hard working central character who doesn't follow the cliches of most sci fi anime, she'll only grow to be a better main lead with time.
+ Great animation, everything looks well thought out.
+ Great world building.
+/- Ending theme song is great / Opening theme is a tad bit annoying.
- Pacing problems, might be too slow for some, then moves too fast.
As over enthusiastic as I seem, I'm still keeping a weary eye this one, it can be as great as anime can be as much as it can be a colissical let down, but for now, these pirates earn a much better word than bodacious with my expectations flying farther than any space ship can soar.read more
For the past few years, the anime industry has been infested by tons of shows which focus on material which promotes sales. May it be adding Moe element, fan-service, over the top drama story and many others. Only few titles are willing to make a risk in order to bring new material to the table. Mouretsu Pirates (Bodacious Pirates) is one of them.
The story is simple. A normal high school girl living a simple life similar to these slice of life shows that you usually see. After a string of events, she was left to make a trivial decision to become a space pirate as a descendant of her parents as a captain. In the course of the episodes, we get to learn more about how this space piracy works. The anime covers most of the technical terms regarding ships and how they work, may it be Cyber Warfare to overtake the systems of an enemy ship and whatnot. I personally find this interesting (who knew that making a Faster Than Light (FTL) travel at the most crucial time could be exciting).
Another major factor which makes the story so great is because of the characters most specially Marika and her decisions as a captain. Her decisions decides where the story will go and it made me ponder for a bit of what will happen on the next episode, which makes me more and more clung to the story.
There are some points in the story that wasn't that clever but good overall.
Art 9 / 10
The art for this anime is almost perfect. Sometimes i find the characters drawn in a simple way. As an artist myself, i find the character designs very pleasing and unique. Unlike other anime which character designs are stapled to one design and makes a difference only because of the hairstyles. Mouretsu pirates caters character designs which are entirely different to each other. In this anime's ED, you can see the profile cards of each character and from there, you can tell how original each and every character there is. In the course of the anime so far, i am yet to see any flaw regarding the characters and in their movements. I am typically hard when it comes to overseeing perspectives, movements and whatnot and i can guarantee that the art is constant, unchanging and well formed. If there's anything that would make me give this section a perfect 10, that would be adding more fluidity to the animation, but its not like Marika should be moving all the time when talking because the characters are only talking most of the time. This is not a shounen title after all.
The CG and effects for this anime is highly commendable. I am astound by the surmounting quality and design of the spaceships. I personally like the rendering and lighting used in space.
The Background art of this anime is one of the best. Each and every facility, object and even the user interface of the computers in this anime was designed intricately. Jogakuin is such a dreamland to tread with. I find the background for this anime a treat, very pleasing to the eyes and makes you want to live in the anime itself XDD.
Sound - 8
The music for this anime is good overall. All tracks are relaxing, some tracks are intense and fits exactly when the scene and event calls for it. It is hard to handpick a favorite track in the series because there are so many different catchy tracks and it is hard to differ.
The OP for this anime isn't really the best, an average score if i would rate. Some are annoyed because of the heavy guitar riffs and the overly cheerful voices of the singers which didn't really made a good mix. The ED makes up for what the OP lacks and that is its catchyness. The jump to the ED from the episode gave me shivers at times.
These two songs are composed by Hyadain, so if you're a fan of him, and is the type of fan who would go as far as watching an anime because of his works. This review wasn't that useful huh. XO
Character - 8
The character progression of Marika overshadows most of the characters in the show. Even though some characters are bland and are just included to fill-in, this was never a hindrance to enjoy the show and if not, there wasn't even a single character in the show to hate.
Marika, as the main highlight of the show is very likable because of her straight-forwardness and cheerfulness. It is always nice to see how the show progresses because of the decisions she makes. 17 episodes in, i find more potential in the characters of this anime, most specially the development of Marika and her classmates.
Enjoyment - 9
What i love about this show is that everything in this anime is simple, but these simple aspects are delivered in a quirky fashion. I enjoyed the simple adventures that they partake but these adventures always end in a grand and lighthearted way.
Overall - 8.25
I was caught by surprise by this anime. The first few episodes were going at such a slow pace but later the story builds up to a grand scale.
So yea, to cut this review short. The story is lighthearted and simple but can take you by surprise at times as the story goes on. The character designs are okay and the Background and CG takes it to a different level. The OP is not the best but the music is variant. The character Marika is awesome and there is no character to hate.
Mouretsu Pirates is a good show to watch. If you're tired of watching anime titles which goes on a never ending cycle of following the Moe and fanservice principles. This anime is for you.
It is hard to explain the fascination we have with pirates in literature and film. In reality, they were not really romantic people, and their "adventures" more often ended in disease and death than anything else. No sane person would ever truly wish to consort with real pirates. They were undeniably brutal people who lived undeniably brutal lives. To say the least, they were not exactly what you would expect from the inspiration of so much romantic attention.
Despite the inconsistencies between historic truth and fiction, the fascination with pirates still exists. We see in their exploits a kind of freedom and nonchalance that represents the fulfillment of an inner urge to see what lies over the next hill. The fact that they were also criminals, welcome in no port and embraced by no country, infuses them with an even greater share of this mystique. They were the outlaws of the ocean, battling waves and wind; making their fortune under the bright sun and salt-scented air. The deep blue of the sea and the glittering greens of tropical islands were their natural habitat, just as the deserts and plains of North America belong almost exclusively to the cowboys and vaqueros.
It would seem that space is our new sea. It is the next horizon to conquer. And as such, it is filled with the same kind of mystique and romantic draw that the ocean once held. It is no accident that "space pirates" is a theme that has seen plenty of use in science fiction. Mixing the debonair flair of the romanticized pirate with the natural mystery of the empty blackness of space speaks to an innate sense of adventure and wonder that resides in even the most timid of souls. Mourestu Pirates (Bodacious Space Pirates being it's English title) takes on this theme with the daring and high-spirited romping that it requires; and the result is an unexpectedly clean-cut gem of the science-fiction genre.
(((In the interest of historic accuracy, we should first clear up a misconception. There were "legal" pirates. Privateers, they were called, and they were basically sailors who were employed by one specific government to plunder the ships of another hostile government. Letters of Marque were issued by many European nations before and during what has become known as the Golden Age of Piracy. With these letters in possession, pirates did have some official backing. The show deals extensively with this specific aspect of piracy, as all the pirates in Mouretsu Pirates are basically privateers.)))
As to the show itself, is hard to pin down exactly why it works so well. The idea of a high-school girl becoming a pirate captain may seem silly, and it is a bit, but it makes sense in the context of the actual story. I usually shy away from summaries in my reviews, so I won't try to explain the exact situation, but suffice it to say that it is not so simple as: high-school girl by day, pirate by night. They do a fine job at melding the aspects of the main character's life so that school and piracy are, to her, intrinsically connected. One great pleasure I did have was in the opening arc, how they displayed the relevance of her involvement with her school's yacht club, a plot-line that continues throughout the show. Her skill at managing and captaining a ship is well founded, and unlike many other shows in the "suddenly thrust into a position of power" genre, she goes through a process of learning and becoming better throughout the story. It is always with some annoyance for me when the main character, with no experience whatsoever, leaps into a mastery of some new craft. Mouretsu Pirates avoids this pitfall deftly by both giving her ample experience with space-ships and by slowing down her development and limiting the scope of her earlier successes.
One thing I always look for in science-fiction is how much science we are given. Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it pseudo-science. Whatever we call it, there is a strange habit in most people of throwing any story involving space or technology into one wide genre. Many famous works of "science-fiction", such as the well-known Star Wars saga, are more fantasy than classic science-fiction. By this, I mean that the technology utilized by the protagonists and antagonists is just a setting in which these more fantastical works take place. Little attention is paid to giving some establishing basis for the way things work. Mouretsu Pirates doesn't go out of it's way to define every technological existence or breakthrough, but it does give ample focus to them. This adds to the flavor of the world and gives it a more realistic feeling. Some might be turned off by this, and expect things to just work without explanation, but I appreciate it when a piece of art in the science-fiction genre actually gives some focus to the scientific aspect rather than ignoring it.
One scene in particular, where the protagonist is on a cruise with her yacht club, stands out as a fine example of using exposition correctly and efficiently. Details are given in a realistic, conversational manner. Rarely do we have characters simply explaining things, more often we are expected to pick up on context clues and use prior revelations to make conclusions as to what is possible and what is going on. This kind of trust in one's audience is refreshing. I don't want ten minute speeches from one character to another explaining how the ship's guidance system works, I would rather figure it out on my own by listening to two characters who are already familiar with it speak on the subject. There are few: "As you well know..." moments in the show and the lack is definitely something to be noted with pleasure.
Another point of praise is that in this story with a female main character and a pretty wide female cast, none of the women feel objectified. They stand on their own, and the kind of mindless "fan-service" that one would expect is conspicuously absent. The result is that I respect the characters for their cunning, skill, and grace; not for their physical assets. This is not to say that there is not a kind of cuteness or that the show is entirely void of presenting attractive characters, but it is tastefully done. We don't get zero-g bosom bounces in this anime, and not once was there a hint of accidental nudity. In the place of such tropes was solid characterization and fresh situations. The females are independent, intelligent, and can stand on their own in the world of piracy; and most importantly: they are females, not bundles of masculinity and bravado who's only claims to femininity are giant boobs and sultry attitudes.
The pacing of the story is another high-point. Some might be turned off by the slow pace in the beginning, but I for one found it to be quite charming. The time is used wisely in setting up both the world and the characters, and is a nice contrast to other stories which jump right into the action without giving you a compass or map with which to guide yourself through the maelstrom. (shameless puns intended)
I don't know if I would go so far as to call it a flaw, but one minor issue with the show is that it never really coalesces into a specific story-line. It's not exactly slice-of-life, but it definitely hasn't formed a core, overall plot beyond that of becoming a pirate captain. The show feels like an introduction to a wider, more expansive tale. One that I am very interested in seeing. With the attention given to the set-up and introduction, I can only assume that the story itself will be handled with the same technical mastery. The direction and writing are solid, the story coherent, and the final execution shows a deep competence in all aspects. Rare indeed is the show that hits all cylinders, and Mouretsu Pirates is definitely a shining example of what a competent staff can do with the right resources.
As for the other, non-story aspects: all of it is very well done. The VA's fit the characters and give good performances. The music is an appropriate mixture of boisterous exultations and grandiose orchestrations; and the art-work is both clean and colorful. The general designs of the space-ships are beautiful in a utilitarian way, adding further to the realism of the overall story. The character design was original and attractive, with a wide variety of looks and outfits creating an assorted cast of easily recognizable characters.
At it's heart, Mouretsu Pirates aims to be a teenage girl's swashbuckling romp through space, and it succeeds at hitting the mark every time. I am surprised that I had never really heard much about it before this, and in fact kind of just stumbled upon it while looking for something else. I am very, very glad that I didn't pass it over. It is not a diamond in the rough, but rather an already cut, glittering jewel just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. I would recommend this show to everyone who has even the slightest interest in science fiction, and to general audiences as well.
"It's time for some piracy!"
Story: 9/10 -The premise may seem silly, but the execution pays close attention to establishing a very realistic scenario. The setting is incredibly interesting and the development of the plot-lines is well-paced.
Art: 10/10 -Beautiful in both it's simplicity and it's originality.
Sound: 10/10 -Everything you would expect from an anime about space pirates. Great soundtrack, great VA's, interesting sound effects.
Character: 9/10 -The cast is broad and likable, the development of the main character is visible and logical, and the characters are original. Minor characters don't go through as much development or deepening, but it does not detract much from the overall story-line.
Enjoyment: 9/10 -It works and it works well. If you absolutely HAVE to have action every single episode, than you might be disappointed. Otherwise, the show is surprisingly accessible and thoroughly enjoyable.
Overall: 9/10 -One of the better decisions I've made in a long time was taking the chance on this anime. Give it a shot, and I almost guarantee that you won't be disappointed. read more
Mouretsu Pirates is effectively a slice of life show jammed into a space opera. Because of this, it feels in many places that the series is not entire sure in which direction it wants to go. This is amplified by the fact that the series takes the plots from several of the light novels without trying to tie them together. The result is a series of unrelated story arcs that begin out of nowhere.
Mind you, the story arcs themselves range from incomprehensible to interesting. In some cases, the conflict is resolved without fully explaining how the conclusion actually ties up the loose ends. In other cases, though, everything is brought to a close while still making sense. The good stories keep my score in this category up, but the disjointedness of the series as a whole winds up removing quite a few points.
What can I say about the art? There are plenty of very pretty visuals, from the shots of Marika's Elaborate University High to all the little things like the omnipresent computer displays that float in the air wherever they might be summoned. I am not a fan of conspicuous CGI in anime, with the contrast between traditional cell shading and 3D action always feeling jarring to me. I recognize that it is sometimes necessary in this day and age, but I don't have to like it, forcing me to take a point off.
Not being an audiophile, I can't give an informed opinion about this aspect. However I do want to point out one thing that bugged me throughout the show: Why does the captain's quarters creak like an old-timey wooden ship?
The bridge crew of the Bentenmaru are all unique, each with their own quirks and all with very nice character designs that set them apart from each other. The mystery of whether Luca really has mystical precognitive powers or if she's just making things up as she goes along was fun the whole way through. And the reveal of why Kane's character often seems bipolar was quite delicious. But, for the most part, you hardly get to know anything about them. Why is Schnitzer a cyborg? How and why did they originally join the crew? And who the heck are all the guys you see sitting in the halls every now and then who supposedly run the ship?
As for the Yacht Club, the best one can say about them is that... well... they exist. There are a couple that come to the forefront eventually, such as Jenny, Lynn, and Ai. But, for the most part, they're just a gaggle of high school girls in the background who are there to go "Squeeeee!" when something interesting happens. They all supposedly have backstories and a number of useful skills (or so we're told by Misa) but we rarely get to see that in action.
Also, as a nitpick (and hopefully avoiding spoilers), I'd like to mention the end of Ai's character arc. Basically, at the end of it, she finally loses her protective puppydog hat, signifying major growth, on her part. However, in the next scene, she has her hat again, making it feel like all of the development was completely undone since then. It's almost like they preferred to ignore who she became, all for the sake of maintaining the original character design.
Mouretsu Pirates is an okay show. You do get pumped up when the opening starts playing and it's possible to ride that high for a little while. But, eventually, you either enjoy the events that are unfolding or you don't. The important thing is that you want to stick around long enough to find out whether you'll like it or not. Sometimes, you get bored out of your skull. Other times, you're hooked from beginning to end. That inconsistency can easily threaten your enjoyment of the show.
As mentioned above, it's an okay show. It is most definitely not some piece of generic schlock that you usually see littering the anime world. It instead has a great space opera setting with a fun story concept. Unfortunately, Mouretsu Pirates is lacking in execution. Marika, the central character, is not quite enough to link the whole series together. There needs to be a lot more to make it feel like a single story. And much of the world is either thrown in at the last moment or kind of glossed over with the hope that nobody will notice.
Having never read the original light novels, I can't say whether the problems with the individual plots were due to the adaptation or whether they existed from the very beginning. There are so many things that either didn't make sense or weren't given a sufficient explanation. The bits that worked did so very well, being interesting or at the least amusing. But the bits that didn't work... really didn't work.
So, in conclusion, Mouretsu Pirates is a nice little series that is great to watch once. Though I would not recommend going out and actually buying it.read more