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.
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.
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.
Even though Mouretsu Pirates doesn't deliver on the potential of its first few episodes, it still ends up being an enjoyable and light hearted show, even if it suffers from incredibly slow pacing and the loss of its seriousness and realism.
Despite the silly premise of a high school girl becoming a space pirate, the show was originally very grounded, the technology was not too farfetched and along with the bureaucracy of getting the Letter of Marque and the electronic warfare, it impressed me with just how realistic it was. Everything seemed to have procedure which compared to most futuristic sci-fi shows was impressive and a
welcome change. However, we come here to our first problem; part of the director's job is to edit out the unimportant sections from the original light novel to make the series concise, but in Mouretsu Pirates nothing was removed. Therefore there is a large amount of dialogue consisting of unnecessary technical talk which soaks up a massive amount of time, leading to episodes where very little is achieved. If you are impatient, watching this will be painful at times, particularly towards the end you start hoping that they'll speed everything up.
This pace also means that there is very little characterization and no character development, which is a pity because you'll want to find out more about the crew of the Bentenmaru who are instantly likable and are often a joy to watch. You'll wonder about the backgrounds of some of the side characters, but will never find out anything about them, at the end you may even wonder what they even contributed to the show. Of the two main protagonists, Marika was a pleasant surprise as I was expecting some moe character trope, and instead got a level headed protagonist that thinks things through, is responsible and has a flare worthy of a pirate, although things go her way far too much. Chiaki is a lovable tsundere who's love of parfaits will usually get a smile on your face, usually acting as the straight girl in the various frivolous situations at school and at the cafe.
As you get further into the series, the series becomes much harder to take seriously, not so much with the plot or the enemies, but conveniences like a major corporation not having good security on their data and recorded phone conversations, or a machine gun being fired at a bunch of high school girls but conveniently missing everyone, or even the fact that Marika has better pirating skills than those with many more years of experience. Nothing that the plot throws at the Bentenmaru feels threatening because you know Marika will come up with some plan and the situation will all resolve itself without much difficulty. This is problematic for the last arc where there's supposed to be danger and tension and you can't feel it at all, let alone take it seriously. This makes it all incredibly underwhelming, and without the music it would have been even worse.
In regards to the music, it really grabbed my attention in the first few episodes, having some really notable tracks in a selection that really suited the setting of both space and the school well. I doubt I'll forget the lead track used in the preview and recap for some time. The animation is very good, with one of the best uses of CGI I've seen to date, as for the consistency occasionally the faces are slightly off model but other than that it's very stable, with no episodes that aren't pleasing to the eye. The art is very good, particularly that of Marika's home town, making me wish that more scenes had taken place there, as I feel it's a pity that it was mostly limited to the Bentenmaru's interior. The OP is energetic to say the least and you'll either love it or hate it, I liked the ED "LOST CHILD" by Momoiro Clover Z, being glad that it stayed for both cours.
Whilst it suffers from very slow episodes, on the whole the series is very enjoyable, and there is plenty to keep you amused, from high school girls pirating whilst cosplaying to surprise yuri, and dynamic battles to flashy outfits. There's plenty of funny moments, and many times where you can't wait to see how the arc will end, so overall, whilst Mouretsu Pirates is a very flawed anime, it's a lively and boisterous show that you'll appreciate so long as you have the patience to get through the slower episodes.
SAAAAAA, ORE NO MOURETSU PIRATE REVIEW JIKAN DA!!!!!!!!
Now that this 26 episode has ended, time to make my review, so what we have here is an anime with a adventure, comedy, sci-fi, space opera, school and shoujo genre, but it is some like of a "Pirates of the Caribbean" thing where the space opera is the main theme, however this is one wholesome anime with a pirate thing that kinda stand out. One thing about it is that it does have some historical factual element in it like the " Letter of Marque" and yes such thing does exist during the hey days
of piracy during the 1700's. So for the "Story", I'm gonna give it a "Fair" 6 since combining sci-fi with a wholesome pirate thing is kinda cheesy but still amusing.
Art: Mediocre 5.
All look the same to be, since I'm not much of an art guy.
Sound: Fair 6.
Let's just say that I like the ending theme.
Character: Fair 6.
I'd probably say the even thought I admire the main cast Marika Kato and I kinda find her cute, I really don't like the idea that she's a Captain of the space pirate ship "Bentenmaru," as for the rest of the cast, I think that the ones who should be having the role of the ship's crew should have been the Marika's fellow club member, let's not forget that this anime's title is "Mouretsu Pirates" which means Bodacious Pirates and it is a plural, however in this case it is a singular since it only Marika who is the bodacious one here, Chaki on the other hand should have been wearing the standard Hakuoh Academy uniform which I would never understand as to why the illustrator kept her from being in one. Though the cast did made quiet a performance, still the author Yuichi Sasamoto should have made the ship's crew to be compose of bodacious females than a mix bunch.
Enjoyment and overall: Good 7.
Ok, I would have gave it an 8 but unfortunately for this anime to be 26 episode long is simply too much, since there are episode that were merely fillers which were unnecessary to begin with, also the title itself is misleading in fact "Marika's Pirate Adventure " would have been enough, but then again the wholesome environment it provided prove to be worthwhile. Definitely this isn't for somebody who are expecting this to have some fanservice in it.