Bodacious Space Pirates is an anime produced by Satelight and based on the novel by Yuuishi Sasamoto. The main character, Marika Katou is just a regular student at the Hakuhou Girls Academy on the planet of Sea of the Morningstar. She is an overly optimistic girl who is a member of the yacht club and also works in an old-fashioned maid cafe. One day she learns that she has inherited the position of captain on a pirate ship after her father apparently passed away. Not one to turn down a challenge, Marika decides to take on the role of captain while still attending school. It is a daunting task though, as Marika must learn how to deal with her crew, insurance companies, clients, and foreign militaries.
Despite the setting, Bodacious Space Pirates is actually a very relaxed anime. While there are plenty of space battles, they lack intensity and a sense of urgency. The main focus of the anime is on character relationships and growth. For example, the first few episodes really only show Marika developing relationships with her crew and learning about the responsibilities of a captain. The series then takes a very practical approach to making Marika a pirate captain, giving her a seemingly planned-out list of obstacles with increasing difficulty.
Being practical is one of the defining traits of this anime. There are almost no surprises when it comes to getting out of a bind. No magical weapons fall from the sky, no super abilities are suddenly revealed, and blind luck doesn’t save the day. Wit and cunning are what determine the battles in Bodacious Space Pirates.
While the series is focused heavily on character relationships, it often seems lacking in that area simply because of the sheer number of characters. In addition to the crew of Marika’s ship, there are also a dozen members in the yacht club, Marika’s friends and classmates, other pirates, and people from other planets. It is near impossible for the average viewer to remember everyone’s names and it makes the characters seem shallow and one-dimensional.
The story and characters may lack anything to get excited about, but the animation in Bodacious Space Pirates is simply amazing. Satelight did a wonderful job animating not just the characters, but also the space scenes and various planets. The characters did not change in appearance over time other than clothing, and some of the space scenes were beautifully colourful. If there were any issues with keeping any of the designs consistent, they were not immediately noticeable.
Bodacious Space Pirates is far from a must-see anime, but it has its charm as a unique series that eschews the adrenaline-fueled heroes commonly found in anime for a level-headed cast that knows what they’re doing. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, however, if you like logical anime, then Bodacious Space Pirates might interest you.