I was expecting a Bill & Ted/Waynes World crossover with Star Trek and Pirates Of The Caribbean. Title apparently misleading, though what I got instead was a surprisingly fun and in depth futuristic story on cute girls and space piracy. That works as well.
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! And 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. Because, you see, pirating is a family business, and she’s just inherited the position of captain. Not to mention that her father’s former crew is quite intent on making sure Marika accepts the job! So 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?
Get ready for intergalactic buccaneering unlike any you’ve ever seen before as the spaceways get broad-sided by cutting lasses, curvy knaves and the sexiest pirate’s chest ever in Bodacious Space Pirates Collection 1!
The Review :
The DVD release has a 2.0 English and Japanese track, which is rare especially as with an English dub you almost expect a 5.1 Dolby Surround so this was disappointing and whilst the sound itself is still good, the effects and backgrounds are comparatively weak to what I usually expect, which is a shame as a show like this involve piracy and space battles you really want to hear what is going on. In terms of sound ratio, there were no issues I noticed, the sound didn’t freeze and there was no issues in regarding the sound to the subtitles in either English (Disc 1) or Japanese (Disc 2) that I noticed. Visually wise, the show is stunning, done in standard and wide screen format on a HD TV, I pray that the Blu-Ray comes to the UK because on DVD it had no ratio problems, no freezing during the play or during pausing, and no errors I noticed and was a joy to look at with no interruptions.
The menu is very futuristic like the show, set on a technological screen, Marika spinning on the left in school uniform, on the right in her pirate uniform whilst in the middle we get the shots from the first ending of her, Chiaki and Mami in their regular outfits on the left part, and on the right in pirate/waitress outfits, the first disc we have play all, episodes and set up whilst the second disc is exactly the same but with extras. Easy to navigate both from the main menu and from the show without delays, very smooth and nice to look at as well.
The only extras were on Disc 2 and they were the clean opening and ending, and a trailer for Arukawa Under The Bridge.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
All obvious jokes about the title aside, Bodacious Space Pirates already had a pedigree for me as it was done by the same team that did one of my original favourite series of all time, Martian Successor Nadesico, as well as a dark horse favourite of mine, Stellvia Of The Universe. So I definitely had high hopes for this one, and whilst it seems like there is no big storyline at the moment or huge bad guy or plot twist, the characters really sell this series as some of the most likeable, fun and interesting cast in quite a while.
We are introduced early to our main character, Marika Kato, a cute every day girl working her job in a café whilst going to a café. However, at home her mother Ririka gets a visit from some men, who inform her of the death of a man who was apparently the Captain of the spaceship Bentenmaru. Set in the future, this doesn’t seem strange…until it’s revealed that for the ship to continue to be in operation, Marika must take over as captain, as the former captain apparently was also Marika’s father. To say she’s confused is an understatement, and even more so when a new transfer student Chiaki saves her from being kidnapped at her café, who seems to know more than she is letting on for. Marika is still confused, but then the two people who came to visit Ririka, Kane and Misa, enroll at Marika’s school and begin to slowly teach Marika the ways of space piracy via her own yacht club. No seriously, it makes sense when you watch it.
The early episodes revolve around Marika trying to take everything in, and wonder if she really wants to follow in her father (and mother’s) footsteps, whilst Chiaki is the good natured rival who is stern and hard-working, but wants to help Marika without actually admitting she likes her company. Marika herself is a well rounded student, who makes good decisions and has all the abilities to be a good space captain as shown by her simulation scores, but is concerned about the piracy element. What is interested is what space piracy actually means – it’s almost shown as a form of entertainment for upper class events in space as the ships are insured, and most people welcome the pirates because of it, and when Marika does get involved…the outfit she wears makes everyone happy. What’s also interesting is that the rest of the yacht club all seem to be potentially interested and whilst they haven’t got involved in the Bentenmaru’s crew yet, they all seem to share some secrets, the characters Lynn and Jenny in particular I have my eye on, as there is definitely something that neither are saying…
The crew of the Bentenmaru are also very fun and interesting, with all their quirks – you have the scary giant whose really a teddy bear, the nerdy girl who goes for the snacks, Kane and Misa as the handsome teacher and beautiful doctor in the background are always fun to watch, and as advisors helping out Marika as she slowly descends into piracy. Her relationship with her mother Ririka is also very intriguing because Ririka was also a space pirate with quite a reputation, and until this was brought up, Marika and Ririka don’t seem too mother/daughter like (in fact Marika always calls her Ririka until a few episodes in) so seeing this bonding moment over something like piracy? Crazy, but it actually works and works well and the moments are genuinely both fun and touching.
The one main arc happens when during a mission, the Bentenmaru gets a stowaway on board, the Princess Gruier Serenity of the Serenity Star System, who knew Marika’s father and wants to find a golden ghost ship. It leads to an investigation where Gruier actually joins Marika’s school and using the Yacht Club’s skills, learn about its whereabouts and of what it was used for, which brings forward Marika’s leadership skills and how Gruier and her sister Grunhilde were fighting for something different, yet the fact that Marika knows exactly what they both want and is able to come to a resolution shows that whilst the first half of the set was more developing her, this is how that development pays off in just an interesting line of work. Combining this with just the simple home life, (Marika inviting the two sisters for dinner in the final episode of the set) it’s a nice mix and match with good humour, colourful characters, great artwork and great settings.
The only thing I can say negative about it is the fact there is no forwarding plot as of yet. The Gruier arc didn’t lead to a big bad and the resolution was speedily done but in its defense, that doesn’t appear yet what the series is going for. It is more likely a space comedy with a great cast which shows Marika following in her father’s footsteps, earning the love and respect of friends, family and future allies. The last episode suggests with some new recruits to the yacht club whilst juggling her piracy duties, they may get involved with the piracy soon so that could lead to even more new relationships and hopefully learning more about the mysterious yacht club members, old and new. There are lots of fun moments, with Marika trying to juggle life, work and piracy, which leads to a drop in her grades and silly moments, combined with Chiaki trying her best not to admit whenever she meets Marika she has fun (and Chiaki being a rival pirate yet taking Marika’s place at one point is hilarious considering how much she gets into it, and let’s not even get into her chocolate parfait addiction) makes for a very entertaining series. Whilst there is a large cast where there isn’t huge development for anyone not named Marika, Chiaki and Gruier, everyone gets a brief moment to shine and you get to enjoy their quirks and relationship with her teen captain, and combining her competency with comedy, it flows through really well, making for an entertaining show.
As far as thought provoking shows, it’s not yet there as whilst there are vague hints that things will develop, it’s not really one for plot devices as of yet. What we get instead is a great look at a character’s life and how it changes for the crazy, yet how she manages to handle it, what her decisions are, and how it affects her relationships. And because the lead character is very likeable, it manages to work really well and flow almost effortlessly. Adding some great comedy, lush animation, some fun characters and a really interesting concept, if you forgive the obvious joke, Bodacious Space Pirates is an absolute steal. Highly recommended unless you want something thought provoking, but if you want to shut your brains off for 13 episodes, definitely worth looking for.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C-
Released By: MVM
Release Date: February 4th, 2013
Running Time: 314 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 – 1.78:1:
Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.