In the far distant future, with man spreading across the galaxy, we head to a different, small blue world in Bodacious Space Pirates. The Sea of the Morning Star, located on the Tau Ceti system, is where our story takes place. In the past, a independence war was fought between not only governments, but pirates as well. These space pirates, hired by the local government, played an integral part in the outcome of the war. However, with the war long over, and peace returning to the galaxy, space pirates have become a thing of the past, something students now read and study in school, or so many believed. But space pirates still exist in the galaxy, and they still sail the empty sea of space.
We begin with Marika, a high school girl, as she is flying back into the Sea of the Morning Star. Marika is a smart, but otherwise normal girl, whom belongs to the yacht club and holds a part time job. However, after being confronted by Misa, an old acquaintance of her mother Ririka, Marika discovers she’s the daughter of a space pirate. An it’s no ordinary pirate, as he was the captain of the Bentenmaru, making her his heir to the captain’s seat. Initially, Marika is unsure of becoming a pirate, thinking such an archaic job beyond her. However, after experiencing combat for the first time on a club trip, Marika decides to give it a go. We follow her as she experiences the hardships and trials those in space go through, and see her grow as both a captain, and a person.
Marika Kato is our lead, and captain of the Bentenmaru. She is the daughter of two space pirates, and as such, is heir to a space pirate ship. She is level headed, smart and decisive, being able to make quick and well thought out decisions when necessary. Marika gets along with people quickly, making friends with Chiaki and the Bentenmaru quickly. Her friendly and soft demeanor allows those around her to feel comfortable, making her the center of attention. Along with her ability to take charge and command, Marika is a natural leader.
Throughout the story, we follow Marika as she grows from a student into a respectable pirate captain. This transformation happens slowly throughout the series, as she starts off being against the idea of captaining a ship, unwilling to take up the responsibility and power of captain. However, after talking with her mother, and taking a trip in space, Marika begins her role as a pirate captain. Despite now being captain, Marika didn’t do the decision making until undergoing training by the crew. After a few jobs however, Marika settled into the job, and began working as a true captain, and commanding. As Captain of the Bentenmaru, she prizes the life and safety of the crew over the jobs, and is willing to abandon it altogether if her crew is in danger.
Chiaki Kurihara is a transfer student, and fellow space pirate of Marika. She works under the space ship Barbalusa, and gets along well with not only Marika, but the rest of the yacht club. Chiaki was initially hostile to Marika due to her ignorance of her heritage and constant air headed tendencies. After seeing her commanding however, Chiaki rethinks her opinion on Marika, and warms up to her as well. She is a occasional guest where Marika works, as she likes the Chocolate Parfait.
Gruier Serenity is the seventh princess of the Serendipity System, and initially stored herself away in the Bentenmaru. She was looking for Marika’s father, but After Marika delivered the bad news she turns to Marika for help on her request. As a princess, Gruier has an aura of nobility and kindness around her, allowing her to instantly fit into Marika’s school and club. Gruier tags along with Marika whenever possible, enjoying the experiences that come from piracy. She has no interest in her royal lineage, and prefers being with Marika, something she passes onto her younger sister.
Crew of the Bentenmaru
The crew of the Bentenmaru is large, but the important crew members are Misa Granwood, Kane McDougal, Hyakume , Coorie, Schintzer, San-Daime and Luca. Misa is the nurse aboard the ship, and also the school doctor at Hakudoh Academy. She Kane McDougal is the Bentenmaru’s helmsman, the Yacht club’s advisor, and Marika’s homeroom teacher. Hyakume is the radar and sensor specialist. Coorie is the electronic warfare specialist, and is always seen in sleepwear. Schnitzer is the tactical officer, and also a cyborg. Sand-Daime is the head engineer, and keeps the ship running. Luca is the mysterious navigator, who often says cryptic things none understands. Overall, the Bentenmaru has quite the unique team behind it, adding to the atmosphere of the ship. As while they may be in a battle, or traversing dangerous parts of the galaxy, they stay in high spirits.
The students attending Hakudoh Academy are all girls. They include Marika, Gruier and her sister, Grunhilde with Chiaki occasionally popping by and the whole of the Yacht club. Everyone attending the Yacht club is unique on their own, and have extensive skills one doesn’t expect from your usual girls high school student. They play an important role from time to time, often helping Marika with her job when necessary. They like the role of pirates, and want to try it out themselves.
Art, Animation and Voice Acting
The art in Bodacious Space Pirates is well done overall. Do note though that there are times when the art and animation does fall in quality, but it seems to be somewhat of a rare occurrence, or at least i didn’t notice it too much. The character designs are great and fitting in my opinion, as they aren’t cute or adorable. Instead some characters have a sense of beauty, like Gruier and the other girls. While others have a sense of roughness, like the crew of the Bentenmaru. 3D animation is used for space ships, with particularly great detail on the Bentenmaru and The Odette II. My favorite animation though has to be when they enter subspace. That animation always gets me pumped up!
Voice acting on the Japanese version of Bodacious Space Pirates is amazing, especially the narrator. His voice reminds me of narrators in scientific documentaries, having a “matter of fact” tone. Everyone else has voices which flow perfectly as well, or at least to me. Gruier has a mature sounding voice, fitting for her noble background. Marika has an energetic tone, adding to her persevering through difficult trials and come out smiling. Chiaki has a serious tone, which fits her tsundere like personality perfectly.
On the other hand, the English version of Bodacious Space Pirates is not exactly one of my more favored dubs. The narrator doesn’t have the same tone like the Japanese narrator, sounding dull and boring. In fact, many characters had voice actors that didn’t add emotion to their voice. the first and most obvious example is Misa, as her voice is emotionless and deadpan, unlike the Japanese version. They even botch the names, badly at times. Like, how the hell do you do that? just listen to the Japanese version and you’ll know the pronunciation. As such, overall I don’t recommend the English version at all. Even if you don’t like subs, the dub is atrocious. Skip it, it’s not worth it.
Overall thoughts on the Series
Bodacious Space Pirates is a great space anime in my book. While there isn’t 100% action, when there is, it’s well thought out and based on strategy. After all, you have to be careful when commanding a space battleship. Something to note though is that the action really starts about 8 episodes in, as Marika begins to really shine as a captain. There is breaks in between jobs, making for some funny and refreshing scenes, but they don’t last as Marika is put into new, dangerous and interesting situations. Near the end of the series though, the action picks up quickly, making for some great final episodes.
Overall though, Bodacious Space Pirates is an amazing space anime and I recommend it for those looking for one to see. Bodacious Space Pirates is on Crunchyroll which you can watch without membership, and available for purchase in the U.S as well. As a side note though, there are some Yuri undertones throughout the series. But keep in mind they mostly revolving around Marika with Chiaki and Gruier, though sadly nothing really happens.