Light Novel: Miniskirt Space Pirates, Volume 1 (ミニスカ宇宙海賊(パイレーツ))

August 8th, 2012

When I was in Tokyo last December, I found, picked up and put down the same one novel over and over. I’d see the cover and think “Oooh!” pick it up, see that the title was Miniskirt Space Pirates and put it down again. I must have done that half a dozen times.  Well, I sure felt like I had dropped the ball on that when I started to watch the Bodacious Space Pirates anime. ^_^;; So, later that winter I added the first volume of  Sasamoto Yuuichi’s novel series, Miniskirt Space Pirates (ミニスカ宇宙海賊(パイレーツ) to my Amazon JP order.

It’s taken me a few months to get through this book, but right off the top, I have to say that it was totally worth it. I am glad I had seen the anime first, because a great deal of the kanji in this novel is above my reading level. Having context for what was going on meant that I missed less than if I had been reading this cold.

The story is pretty much the same as it is in the anime. The first novel is covered by the first 5 episodes of the anime and there is strikingly little changed or cut out. I expected long, lingering obsessive descriptions of ships or technology (as one gets in military and gun-fetish manga and novels) but…no. This is classic Space Opera – the technology takes second place to the people. The only semi-major fact that was changed for the anime (and I have no idea at all why it was…) is that Marika’s mother, Ririka, in the anime was a Bentenmaru crew member who was nicknamed Blaster Ririka. In the novel she was a captain in her own right and was known as Captain Ririka (a name she puts quickly aside when it’s brought up in the story.) The scene where she teaches Marika how to shoot in a combat situation actually is a rather touching mother-daughter bonding moment. ^_^

Other than that, I felt no major changes were made. Which was all to the good. One of the key things I liked about the anime was that the girls of the Hakuoh Jogakuin yacht club were left to find their way through various situations on their own. Neither Misa nor Kane, Bentenmaru crewmembers acting as faculty advisors, stepped in as the Odette was being tracked or hacked into. Jenny, Lynn, Chiaki, Marika and the members of the yacht club are allowed to make their own choices. They are given the opportunity to be as brave and competent as they can be  – and they rise to the challenge.

As usual when I complete a novel, my wife asked me “Did you like it?” Unreservedly, the answer this time is…yes. I will have to up my reading game for the next one.

Ratings:

Overall – 8

I have one small complaint. It comes at the very end of the book when Marika’s captain’s costume is described. We are told that Marika’s costume include a miniskirt for ease of movement. Dear men – miniskirts are not easier to move in. They are considerably *less* easy to move in than longer, looser and more flowy skirts or pants. Please stop using that as a reason to put the girl in a miniskirt, it just makes you look pervy *and* dumb.

Oh…the title? Editors decided to name the series that. So…yeah.

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6 Responses

  1. George R. says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed the novel. I’ve also been reading them (currently on #4), and am greatly enjoying them. I agree that the kanji do give quite the workout, and I found experience in English SF helpful there.

    I agree with you on the miniskirt thing. Now that I think about it, though it’s not what the Japanese says at all, the miniskirt is for ease in “moving the product [book]”, not Marika.

    George

  2. @George R. – In the end scene of the novel, where the costume is described, it absolutely says it’s for her ease of movement. The bit that belies that is in the author’s note where he shows how “pervy and dumb” the editors are.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You know, much as the miniskirt was surely included as a fanservice element, I do think there’s something to be said for the whole “ease of movement” thing. I personally wear almost exclusively short-shorts and above-the-knee skirts because I find pants uncomfortable. I think that a miniskirt becomes a hindrance only if either (a) it is tight, or (b) you give a damn who sees your underwear. Stop being embarrassed about the underwear thing and short skirts are quite practical.

    PS. Love your blog!

  4. George R. says:

    You’re absolutely right. I got carried away with clever wording and obscured what I was trying to say. Sorry about that. I still wonder if the “pervy and dumb” is just “by inclination” or calculated to appeal to a certain demographic to boost sales.

    George

  5. @george R. – I totally get what you meant though. ^_^

    I think it’s a mix of “guys won’t buy this otherwise” and “I want this in there.” Much like the more hideous early scenes in Strawberry Panic! that, in context of later scenes, make no sense, but show up in every iteration.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Love this novel! Nice to hear that you picked it up!

    Oh, a note about mini skirts. It really depends on what kind. Back in high school, I used to play field hockey and we wore short pleated mini skirts (well back in the 80s). Though we also wore bloomers underneath. I guess it’s just a matter of preference but I felt they were easier to move in than the board shorts that we tried one year.

    But whatever, anyhow, if you happen to pick up the second novel, let us know what you think! I’ve only read up to volume 3 (which apparently is where the director stopped and went on to original material after).

    Cheers!
    Egio

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