Mouretsu Space Pirates Anime (English)

February 9th, 2012

Mouretsu, in Japanese means violent or vengeful, so of course when it was being translated, the word “Bodacious” immediately comes to mind.

That was sarcasm. It’s a terrible choice for translation. Insulting, even. I know I’m not the only one who hates the translation, official or not.

Despite the egregious service of the title, Bodacious Space Pirates is a great story. As a combination moe bildungsroman and a classic space opera, it really works.

Marika, our protagonist is, for once, not an average girl by any means. Cheerful and competent, she has friends and a job and is instantly likable. We’re not too surprised when we learn that she’s the daughter of a famous pirate and a potential heir to her father’s captaincy.

When a Nadesico beauty with a dour personality transfers into her school, we know instantly that the two of them belong together. When Chiaki makes her big reveal in Episode 5, we get to add in “beloved rival” to the set-up for chemistry between them.

What really sold me on the series was the whole of Episode 5. High school girls in space may not sound like the most riveting story ever, but Mouretsu Space Pirates beats the hell out of Stratos 4, even without the lesbian space virus. The cast is likable, their jokes believable and there is relatively little service. The strategies and tactics employed by the crew of the Odette were clever, and quite sophisticated for an anime series.

There may not be wopping loads of Yuri, yet, or even at all, but if you like a series with a good set-up and some out-of-the-box thinking and a dollop of space adventure, give Bodacious Space Pirates a try – avaiable legally and for free on Crunchyroll, for those countries that are allowed access.

Ratings:

Art – 8 Very reminiscent of Mai Otome
Story – 9 So far…great
Characters – 8 They aren’t quite checklist-types, and a few are extraordinary, even in the first handful of episodes.
Yuri – 1 but only in our imaginations as of yet
Service – 4 because we can’t *possibly* have a series about girls without seeing them in the bath or in their underwear

Overall – 8

I’m hoping for a good story. But some rival/friend Yuri would be nice too. ^_^

Send to Kindle

35 Responses

  1. Helen says:

    Blink and you’ll miss it but Jenny and the vice president of the yacht club are shown holding hands in the opening and, while it could mean nothing, I think/hope that there’s a good chance of Yuri developing there.

  2. @Helen – Good catch. I never watch the OP, so I guess I’ll have to now. ^_^

  3. JIN H. says:

    I use CR also so I will give it a try. Wikipedia has a page for it with this in characters:[Lynn Lambretta,voiced by:Yōko Hikasa.The vice-president of the Space Yacht club. A troublemaker and skilled hacker, Lynn is a lesbian and is in love with Jenny.] So, maybe many types of Yuri in this, some of it real. Hopefully without negative tropes and more hope that the Yuri is tragedy/boy free.

  4. @JIN H – I can see Jenny and Lynn as a couple, but really asof now, there’s little to work with except that hand-holding. They work together like old friends, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. ^_^

  5. Just because, I checked the official character descriptions on the Japanese site and there’s no mention of Jenny and Lynn liking each other at all, so if the wiki is saying that, they are either getting it from somewhere else or making it up in their heads. ^_^

  6. DezoPenguin says:

    If I understand correctly, they’re getting it from the light novels. At least that’s what the message boards exploded with when the director gave his “no romance” announcement a couple of weeks back, a “Wait, does that mean Jenny and Lynn* too?” reaction.

    *Only, of course, they were all calling her Rin instead of Lynn.

  7. @DezoPenguin – That was my first assumption. But now I have something to look forward to readining, don’t I? I was getting bored that there were no Yuri LNs out there. ^_^

  8. @DezoPenguin Interestingly, I see that I had actually picked the first LN up when I was last in Japan, but read the title, which says “Miniskirt Pirates” and put it down again. I stuck it back in my inbox and I’ll pick it up when I next order from Amazon JP.

  9. David Pulver says:

    I like almost everything about this show … but one thing bugs me.

    We have the back story about the stellar alliance, and the century old letter of marque. Fine. And we know that pirates aren’t generally known to the population.

    So they said the revolution / war /whatever ended a century ago, but there’s still at least one pirate ship. Okay, fine.

    But everyone knows pirates attack ships and steal stuff and face risk of death, right?

    So why hasn’t our intelligent lead character asked anyone, like her mom, “uh – just WHY are you pirates? Is it the money? Are we fighting for a cause or revenge? Did you just like killing people and stealing stuff? Is it just a family thing we do, like the Yakuza?”

    Did I miss this?

  10. ArcaJ says:

    I’m enjoying the series from a purely science fiction angle. I get my sci-fi, pirates and smart, competent, and girls in leadership roles that don’t turn into “moe” puddles of goo so that the audience goes “DAAAW!”

    Marika’s move in Ep. 5 comes straight out of an Asimov or Niven novel!

    That there is a tiny bit of Yuri is just an added bonus. My Yuri Goggles can fill in the rest (even if the director won’t).

    ::HUGS::

    Arca Jeth

  11. Kazu says:

    Hi, Erica. I am a man and a Japanese reader of your blog. It is first time to leave my comment.
    (I will do my best about my English, but maybe mistakes are inevitable. Sorry.)

    I like anime and manga (including Utena, Aoi Hana, Simoun, and so on). And as for ‘moe’ animes about which your LoserFunBoy score is marked high points, I almost always don’t like them. So your blog is very helpful for me. Thank you very much.

    As you know, “Moretsu Pirates” is derived from LN series “Miniskirt Pirates.” And, for Japanese, ‘moretsu’ has some connection with ‘miniskirt,’ because the word reminds us (Japanese) an old popular TV commercial, in which a young woman wearing miniskirt lets us see her underwear. See (if you don’t mind) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5dgWaRsjI4

    So, when I first looked at the anime title ‘Moretsu Pirate’ and found its original title ‘Miniskirt Pirates,’ I thought it is probably a kind of erotic comedy anime.

    This misleading title made me to decide not to watch this anime…

    Fortunately, you picked it up, and I watched it, and I was really fasciated by its great story and the details as Sci-Fi.

    As far as I know from Amazon JP book review, the original novels are also orthodox Sci-Fis, notwithstanding the title. Indeed, some reader complains about their not providing service : )

  12. Dop says:

    When I heard of a series called “Bodacious Space Pirates” I was expecting something a bit trashy, but maybe in a fun way. Learning that the original novels had been called “Miniskirt Pirates” didn’t add to my expectations.

    So I was surprised to find something this good which actually has some reasonable SF content.

    The OP music is wonderfully cheesy, and I admit to being amused by the presence of a character called Syoko Kobayashimaru.

  13. @David Pulver – That, in addition to “Hey, Mom, why did you just happen to never once mention my Father ever?” Because Marika almost seems surprised she had a father at all.

    But, yes, you are correct. You’d think. ^_^

  14. @ArcaJ – Indeed, Yuri Goggles are very useful in cases like these. ^_^

  15. Andrew J says:

    You ship Marika <3< Chiaki? I dunno, Marika seems too nice to make a proper kismesis for anybody.

  16. @Hi Kazu, thank you for your comment. I am sad now that I didn’t pick up the novel when I had a chance. What a shame the title wasn’t more fitting to the story!

    Well, at least the anime is quite good. Now I will buy the novel and see what I think. ^_^

  17. BruceMcF says:

    I’ve been calling it Miniskirt Space Pirates ~ there was an OCD thread at ANN about how the miniskirt space physics are wrong, though I go with the “if they can travel through space, and high school girls wear skirted uniforms for traditional reasons, of course they have the technology to make miniskirt fabric that behaves itself in space” explanation ~

    ~ but after episode 5, I may go to the official title, because that was a pretty bodacious move.

  18. After episode 5, well, this is now highly recommended for those who either love to wear the goggles or enjoy old-school space adventure that’s intellectually satisfying, along with Marika’s cleverness that makes her a worthy captain, an unruffled young Arleigh Burke in skirts. :D

  19. Sigh. Now I’m all torn.

    See, I love space opera, and it always makes me happy when someone loves Jenny.

    But… I served in the US Navy, and saw first-hand the terrible results of piracy. And, in somewhat the same vein that “anonymous” was mining a couple of entries ago, it makes me sick when fiction portrays pirates as in any way decent, or admirable, or nice, or kind.

    I don’t think pirates should be held in high esteem, even in fantasy. I think that kind of treatment glorifies a thing that people should properly be horrified of. It’s pretty much my one stick-up-my-butt “No, no, no!” subject.

  20. @Jennifer Linsky – There was an Anonymous here last week that had a similar problem with teacher-student relationships.

    Other people’s fantasies are often unpleasant to us, especially if we’ve had negative real life experiences with a similar or same problem.

    Pirates, thieves (think Robin Hood) and vigilantes (Zorro or V) have always been romanticized, long before anime existed, even before film or TV.

    The only case I can make for you to hold on to is that the clear existence of “Letters of Marque” in this series, tell us that the Pirates are working *for* us, as mercenaries. Perhaps that works better in your head – freelance military forces that have been officially hired by the government to support their objectives. Like Blackwater.

  21. BruceMcF says:

    Gosh, you had me until Blackwater.

    AFAIR, Crunchyroll’s region list for Wicked Space Privateers is US&Canada, Oz&NZ, South Africa, UK&Eire, Scandinavia, Finland and the Netherlands.

    For some reason South Africa did especially well in the ex-North American Crunchyroll licensing lottery, with 82% of new series for Winter 2012 streaming to South Africa.

  22. @Bruce McF – That was kind of the point. ^_^ The reality is never even close to the fantasy. Mercenaries are not cool. Pirates are not cool. Vigilantes are not cool. Not in real life, anyway.

  23. BruceMcF says:

    Yes, the whole point of cheering for Privateers, as the English in the days of QE the First, is that the damage is being done to “the bad guys”. A sailor on a Spanish merchantman would not have the same opinion of Elizabeth’s Sea Hawks as would have been common on the streets of London.

  24. JIN H. says:

    BruceMcF said:”82% of new series for Winter 2012 streaming to South Africa.” I was curious about this. I know the current S.A. as the land of ‘corrective’ rape and Lesbian murder, when I hear of S.A. this is all I can think about. it does not seem to fit with ‘Anime’. Ecchi, misogyny and the hentai cesspool yes… My apology also, I did not mean to possibly offend, but I do not understand, it seems very strange to me.

  25. @JIN H – That’s a pretty offensive generalization. You’re judging a country by it’s most outrageous acts, which is not reasonable.

    I don’t know where you’re from, but if you wrote the sentence is the country of , you’ll understand how incorrect that is.

  26. JIN H. says:

    I understand your valid point there. It is my problem I think, here they say severe ptsd. My partner has said I see only the victims sometimes and blot out all else and act on only feelings. So this I did again I see on a happy Yuri blog. I meant no disrespect to anyone and I offer apology for my mistake.

  27. George R. says:

    I’m also quite enjoying this series. It really feels like the “good ‘ol 80’s space opera” has come back (understandable when you look at the original novel’s author). I was quite impressed by the director showing an episode of girls in miniskirts in zero-G and refraining from giving a single panty-shot (that I could see).

    My copy of the first novel arrived with my latest order, and so far (15 pages in), I like it as much as the anime (and it gives me a similar feel). Here’s hoping we both enjoy it.

  28. BruceMcF says:

    Its easy to see South Africa as a nation with post traumatic stress disorder. Any long civil war leaves deep and painful scars: for example, one reason the US “Wild Wild West” was so much wilder than the Australian outback was because of the aftermath of the US civil war.

    As far as why South Africa, the answer is likely more prosaic ~ as a legacy of the apartheid era, which is when the DVD regions were established, South Africa is in Region 2 with Europe and the Middle East, not Region 5 with all the rest of Africa bar Egypt … but at the same time does not seem to have an entrenched anime market, so when (archaic) license contract regions are drawn up around “English Speaking Countries”, its a licensing convenience to include South Africa along with the UK&Ireland from R2.

    However, while there is some competition for streaming licenses out of the UK, whether streaming only or across the board, and competition for licenses for Oz&NZ, there is no substantial competition out of South Africa, so the “carve outs” that knocked Oz&NZ out of one of those “English Language Country” licenses and UK&Eire out of two of them did not seem to affect South Africa.

  29. Cryssoberyl says:

    @ Jennifer, the “pirates” in this show are actually licensed privateers who played an instrumental role in gaining their planet’s independence. Give it a chance.

    @ Erica, I’m very glad you’re enjoying my recommendation. I’m as pleased as anyone that it turned out to be a sound one. Here’s hoping for many more “cool girls doing cool things” shows. :)

  30. @Cryssoberyl – Thank you for suggesting it! ^_^

  31. Surrender Artist says:

    I was surprised, but happy, to see this series reviewed on Okazu this soon. I expected this to happen eventually given its possibilities, but my predictive powers were typically faulty. It’s also just novel for me to be watching something roughly at the same time as it’s mentioned here rather than ‘chasing’ past reviews and recommendations.

    I’ve enjoyed “Bodacious Space Pirates”. I confess that I’ve even come to find the awkward English title endearing. I don’t know if I would’ve watched it were it not for the dissonance between the silly English title and the very approving reviews that it was given in ANN’s preview guide. I, like almost everybody else, had written it off as trash from the title, doubly when I learned the title of the original novels. Kazu stole my thunder by explaining how Miniskirt became Mōretsu, which somebody else from Japan had explained to me elsewhere. I guess for a nation that has little knowledge of Pauly Shore, “bodacious,” seemed like a reasonable translation. Just imagine if they’d gone with “Extreme Space Pirates”.

    It feels like an ‘old school’ space opera, which suits me just fine. It somehow almost always manages to be exciting to watch, even though a description of episode five could easily sound extraordinarily dull, despite my having found it riveting. I really like the pacing too; it’s taking its time without wasting it and it feels like it knows what way it’s headed.

    I’ve read some complaints about the characterization been lacking or inadequate. I don’t feel that way, but I find it tricky to explain just why. I wonder, although my disdain for the style makes it a self-indulgent wondering, if the difficulty of fitting the characters onto the Otaku checklist makes it hard for some people to understand the characterization in the series.

    The fellow on ANN who was incensed over the behavior of their miniskirts in microgravity seemed tediously pedantic to me. So long as they don’t flip revealingly upward all of the damned time, I don’t see any reason to care. The science is uncommonly good anyway. I wonder how they controlled their movement and prevented themselves from drifting into the void in those spacesuits, but things like that are, I feel, outweighed by the relatively good accuracy and consistency elsewhere.

    So, as should be evidence, I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ve really appreciated its dearth of fanservice so far, but the loser fanboy quotient will rise precipitously next episode, as far as I’m concerned, when Marika dons her pirate’s attire. I’ve had a lifelong infatuation with eighteenth and nineteenth century nautical dress. Sure if looks a little odd for her to wear a skirt with that deliciously theatrical attire, but would it really be so much better if this were called “Pants Pirates”? Besides, who’ll care… I mean… that hat. That. hat.

  32. Kazu says:

    @ Hi, Surrender Artist. For me, “bodacious” seemed like a reasonable translation. OK. I understand “bodacious” means something like “moretsu” for you, Erica and others (though I don’t know Pauly Shore at all). Thanks.

  33. Arkadi says:

    Curses! :( Your review and everybody’s comments made me want to watch this series -but Crunchyroll doesn’t like my region, which means no pirate girls for me.

  34. redfish says:

    While amusing, this is possibly the most Japanese pirate series ever. Everything involves paperwork, meetings, consensus-establishment and/or cafes, and appearances (such as wearing your official pirate suit when involved in pirate business) have major importance.

Leave a Reply