What would you do if you just found out your father was the universe’s most famous space pirate, and you’ve just inherited his ship?
What They Say:
Most families have a skeleton or two in the closet, but Marika is understandably shocked to learn that what her family has been hiding is a skull and crossbones! While the revelation that her late father was a space pirate would have been earthshaking enough for most teenage girls, discovering that he was the captain of the notorious pirate ship Benten Maru will change Marika’s life forever. You see, pirating is a family business, and she’s just inherited the position of captain – and her father’s former crew is quite intent on making sure Marika accepts the job!
What’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re a high school student whose prior total naval experience has been working at the space yacht club, there’s really only one moral dilemma that has to be resolved: are pirates allowed to wear really short mini-skirts?
Contains episodes: 1-13
For this viewing, I listened to the English 2.0 track. The Japanese track is also available in 2.0. There’s nothing technically wrong with the mix as there is nice directionality with the sound effects and no dropout on either channel. However, I will say that there is enough action in this series that a full 5.1 mix would have been nice. That’s just me being picky, though.
The visuals for this series are really nice. The colors are bright, and the lining solid. There are no technical issues that I noticed; it is all clean and clear. There was some soft focus in a few minor areas, but nothing particularly noticeable.
The three discs come in a single-wide amaray case with center insert to hold two of the discs. The front cover has a nice picture of Marika in her pirate outfit looking up at you with Mami in her maid café uniform behind. They are set against a pink background which covers an image of space. On the back is a picture of Chiaki in her school uniform set against the series summary and screen shots. It is nice and compact, and it all fits really well with the theme of the series.
The menu for this set is really simple, but it’s perfectly fine. The same image from the front cover is along the right side of the screen, and the selections are on the left side of the screen along pink bars. The selection cursor appears as a little pink heart, again a nice touch on the attitude of the show. Though the cursor is also pink, it is light enough compared to the rest that it shows up fine.
Other than clean versions of the OP/ED, there are no extras on this release.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Marika Kato is a normal high school girl: she goes to school, participates in clubs, and even has a part-time job in the afternoons. It’s not a fancy life, and nothing exciting ever happens, but she’s perfectly happy with it. So you can imagine her surprise when she finds out that her father was Gonzaemon Kato, captain of the spaceship Bentenmaru, and the most notorious Space Pirate in the known universe. And, of course, since he’s recently passed away, it has now fallen to his daughter to captain the ship and lead the crew in their missions.
Considering she’s only 16 and it’s come at her so fast, it’s easy to imagine that she’s not ready for the responsibility. But when her school’s Yacht Club (essentially a spaceship club) runs into trouble during what is supposed to be a leisurely trip to space, Marika finds herself thrust into a role of responsibility. What’s even more surprising is both how well she reacts to the situation and how much she ends up enjoying it. So before she knows it, she decides to take on the mantle of leadership of the Bentenmaru, and no job is too big for this precocious captain.
I think like most people, Bodacious Space Pirates first caught my eye because of its ridiculous title (the original light novel was titled Miniskirt Space Pirates…I’m not sure which is more absurd). Once I read the premise of it, I was immediately reeled in. I figured that it would either be a terrific gem or a complete trainwreck, and possibly both. I’m glad to say that it is definitely the former. It has a wonderful cast of characters (starting with Marika) and it strikes a perfect tone, avoiding any real sense of seriousness without going overboard into ridiculousness.
This isn’t to say that it is perfect, because while the overall concept of Bodacious Space Pirates is amusing, the actual execution of the paint-by-numbers plot is pretty lacking. Everybody fell into a predicable role and there was not a point in this first season where I wasn’t completely prepared for the next upcoming “twist.” About the only thing that was missing was a long lost sister rising up to challenge Marika for the right to captain the Bentenmaru. Of course, there’s still a second set to go, so there’s still plenty of time.
That said, I do feel like that would be a hard route to pull off because everything in this series has been so positive so far, and any shift away from that would ruin what they have going for them. For all of the trouble Marika and her crew run into, they never seem to find themselves in any real danger, and Marika is always about fifteen steps ahead of everybody around her (a trait inherited from her father, if everybody is to be believed). Even her rivals like Chiaki have nothing but respect for Marika.
On the surface, that might sound cloying, but it doesn’t come off that way when you watch it. There’s just too much humor in it to let it come off sickeningly sweet. And really, it’s because of Marika that they are able to pull it off. In a lot of ways, Marika reminds me of a female Captain Tylor. Sure, she’s more openly competent than Tylor ever pretends to be, but it’s just more her unflinchingly optimistic attitude and her belief that everything will work itself out that brings Tylor to mind. Marika can’t even fathom the idea that her plans will fail, and so they don’t.
But it is this very attitude that lends the series its tone, and what makes it such a joy to watch. The fact that nothing truly remarkable happened in these 13 episodes doesn’t matter; what matters is enjoying the characters and all of the little things that they do. Like Irresponsible Captain Tylor twenty years ago, focusing on the big picture is the wrong way to watch this; instead, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Bodacious Space Pirates boasts a completely absurd premise, but does well by itself by not actually delving into the absurd for its humor. The plot might be completely predicable, but it is utterly charming nonetheless. Marika, the crew of the Bentenmaru, and everybody else that makes up the cast are just a complete joy to watch, so much so that the overarching storyline really doesn’t matter that much. I really can’t wait to get my hands on the second collection. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitle, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Running Time: 325 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony PS3 w/HDMI Connection, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System