Jun 30, 2012
Mixed Feelings
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.
Reviewer’s Rating: 6
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