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Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace Anime DVD Review

6 min read

Bodacious Space Pirates Abyss of Hyperspace DVD Front CoverNot terribly bodacious this time around.

What They Say:
In Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace, it’s not easy being the captain of a space pirate ship. Especially when you’re still in high school and aren’t allowed to do normal pirate-stuff like rob and plunder.

However, despite those restrictions, Marika Kato has proven herself worthy of commanding the Bentenmaru. And if staging performances such as pretending to board and pillage space cruise ships doesn’t pay as well as actually stealing stuff… well, at least no one gets hurt, right?

But things take a sinister turn when Marika and her crew are hired to raid the luxury liner Begin The Beguine. Because one of the passengers has a hidden secret and agenda of his own. And it begins with being kidnapped!

Suddenly the Bentenmaru and their new “hostage” are being pursued by other warships and the race is on for what could be the biggest prize of all! Batten your hatches and prepare to have your timbers shivered as Marika and her crew set sail for their highest adventure yet in BODACIOUS SPACE PIRATES – THE MOVIE!

The Review:

Audio:
Two language tracks are provided on this DVD: English and Japanese both in 5.1 Dolby Digital. English subtitles are also provided, although I could not get them to work on my DVD player. The audio quality was fine, except I couldn’t understand a single thing Kanata’s mechanical parrot, Flint, said. That wouldn’t have been such an issue if I could have turned on the subtitles, but whatever.

Video:
The movie is presented in 16×9 anamorphic widescreen and the video quality is quite nice.

Packaging:
The movie comes on a single DVD housed in a standard case. The front of the case features the main players, Marika, Kanata, Professor Mugen, the antagonist whose name I never quite caught, Chiaki, and Grunhilde. They stand against a hyperspace background and the image is fun and kinetic. The spine features the title and a nice shot of Marika, and the back follows the standard format with the story synopsis taking up the majority of real estate. It’s flanked by various characters from the show and screenshots. Beneath it lies the cast and crew credits and DVD specifications.

Menu:
The menu features the same image as is on the front of the DVD case. The options come in from the left in a pull-out menu and it’s very easy to navigate.

Extras:
No real extras to write home about here. Just the regular clean Op/Ed and Japanese promos.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Okay, so I finished watching this anime about fifteen minutes ago and I can’t really tell you what happened. While the story and characters were cute and fun, and the animation gorgeous in places — especially the hyperspace scenes—the plot doesn’t really make a lick of sense, and there were times when it went off in weird directions and I thought maybe I had stroked out for a second. These qualities make this a very inconsistent feature and definitely a step down from the highly enjoyable series.

Based on the light novel series written by Yuichi Sasamoto and illustrated by Noriyuki Matsumoto, Bodacious Space Pirates takes place in deep space in humanity’s far future. In this particular sector of space, piracy is legal provided you hold a marque from the galactic government. One of the oldest and most respected pirate ships, the Bentenmaru, almost lost its marque when its captain died under unusual circumstances. By law, his captaincy passes down to his estranged daughter, Marika, who has the option to either accept the position (thereby saving the Bentenmaru) or reject it. Obviously, she accepts and tries to balance her life as a pirate with her life as a high school girl. Typically this results in charming adventures full of colorful, engaging characters, and gorgeous settings, and while that partially holds true for this movie, the aforementioned issues with the plot hurt the work quite a bit.

Hyperspace has become a dangerous and unpredictable place in the last few weeks, hurting commerce and transportation. The Bentenmaru lost several jobs because of it, and Marika and the crew count themselves lucky to get a job pretend-robbing a luxury liner. During the performance (think of it as dinner theater mixed with guerilla performance art) a brave young man named Kanata Mugen steps up and offers to be the pirates’ hostage in exchange for the lives and wealth of the other passengers. While the onlookers believe this is just part of the show, in actuality, part of Marika’s job was to rescue the boy, who had been on the run from shadowy agents.

See, the boy’s father was a famous scientist—a deep diver who plumbed the furthest reaches of hyperspace. He recently passed away and bequeathed his legacy to his son, but what the legacy is remains a mystery for much of the movie, and even when it is revealed, I’m not quite sure I understand it.

What follows is a lot of investigation and cyber warfare against an insidious company calling itself Yggdrasil. There’s a lot of hacking and for some reason the opening of a restaurant, but it never really comes together. A good 65% of this movie involved Marika and the rest frittering around on the Internet and conducting their investigation, and yet all their efforts never truly do anything to make the story clear. It’s a good thing that Marika and the rest are so damn charming. If that weren’t the case, I probably would have quit halfway through.

I know that asking an anime to make sense is kind of a like asking a dog to take dictation: that’s just not what it’s built for. However, despite its silliness and sometimes odd plot and character choices, the first series of Bodacious Space Pirates was great fun and it made sense within the logic of its universe. It could be that Abyss of Hyperspace should have been done in a longer format where the story had breathing room to establish characters and ideas, but whatever the reason, this movie just doesn’t work for me like the series did. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it well enough, but I expected more.

In Summary:
Although it possesses the same charm of the series, Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace just isn’t very good. The story meanders and doesn’t completely make sense, and the only thing that really keeps it afloat is the goodwill the series bought with me. If I watched the movie first, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t care about this franchise, so do yourself a favor, watch this after you’ve watched the series. You’ll thank me. Dr. Josh gives this a….

Features:
Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Japanese Promos

Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade:B+
Video Grade:A
Packaging Grade:B
Menu Grade:C
Extras Grade:D

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: 17 June 2016
MSRP: $29.98
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i
Aspect Ratio: 16×9

Review Equipment:
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection

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