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.
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.