Bodacious Space Pirates, also known as Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku is an amazingly good blend of sci-fi space opera and moe. Admittedly, if someone had pitched such a show to me, I would have been quite skeptical about it. Moe and space opera? What could be further apart?
But Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku (Being a show originating in Japan, I will be using the Japanese name to refer to the show) isn’t just good because of the fact that it has some of the great veterans of sci-fi series, but because it also shows a great amount of promise. At this point, the show seems as if it could ascend into greatness.
Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku is made by the studio that was behind Macross Frontier. Not only that, but Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku is also directed by sci-fi veteran Tetsuo Sato, who is also responsible for Stellvia of the Universe and Martian Successor Nadesico.
Given that heritage, it would be hard for the show to be truley bad. A flop might have been possible, but with the heritage and abilities of the director, success was almost guaranteed.
The main character is cheerful enough, which is a great alternative to other sci-fi shows currently running, such as Guilty Crown.
Obviously, this series is about pirates in space. The backstory is that a planet was colonized, and then they fought a war against the Galactic Empire/Government. They (the planet) did not have enough resources, so they used Letters of Marque to have legal pirates fight on their side. Long story short, the planet gained their independence, and has a peace with the big Galactic Empire Government thing.
As it happens, legal government (the planet) approved pirate ships and pirates are still around, still working as, well, pirates. As it so happens, the main character inherits a pirate ship, as her father who was the captain died and her mother had retired from being a pirate.
As a result of her age, she now has to juggle high school and being captain of a pirate ship. Funny enough, while any other series might make that concept into something of endless suffering for the audience, Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku manages to avoid that. The main character manages to attend school and school activities and yet also captains the pirate ship without lots (or any) angst.
Early in the story, she was somewhat partnered with another girl who makes the occasional appearance. This girl is quiet and seemingly emotionless, but the dynamic between the two just works. The veteran/rookie dynamic is pretty much at play, as well as the emotionless/happy-go-lucky is also working concurrently, making interactions between the two genuinely interesting.
On top of that, the main character is rather smart and quick to grasp concepts, so the veteran/rookie dynamic gets thrown for a loop sometimes when the rookie figures out and succeeds at something the veteran didn’t think of or didn’t think would work.
At this moment, the characters are about half high school archetypes, and half space pirate archetypes. Again, while most may have made that a concept I would have winced at the mere though of, Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku makes the idea not only work, but work well to add some dimension to what would have otherwise been either a high schooler struggling to be a pirate, or a pirate struggling to fit in a high school.
Even better, Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku shows a lot of promise: not every character is fully fleshed out, or even partially fleshed out, but each is interesting enough now that the viewer genuinely cares about what happens, and wishes to see more. Depending on how these characters get fleshed out, Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku has the potential to be a VERY long running series.
Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku is, simply enough, a space story set in the far future with lots of technology that is secondary to the story. Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku has a bit of an epic character to it. The universe is big (how big is yet to be learned), there may end up being lots of sprawling civilizations, and there is an Empire.
In super short, Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku is a space opera. Space Opera-one of the more interesting sci-fi subgenres. Technology is prevalent, but the story is more important. There are lots of grand adventures, anger, intrigue, excitement. Spaceships full of space veterans explore the known limits of space, while pirates prey on the unguarded, and a possible enemy empire may threaten the peace of the existing Galactic empire.
What other anime space operas exist? Well, thanks to TvTropes, I can give you a list.
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes, a Space Opera on a scale like no other.
- The Gundam franchise
- The Macross franchise (including Robotech
- Soukou No Strain
- Cowboy Bebop
- Crusher Joe First novel written by Haruka Takachio right after he saw Star Wars.
- Space Adventure Cobra
- Outlaw Star
- Angel Links
- Heroic Age
- Space Battleship Yamato
- The Five Star Stories
- Ginga Sengoku Gunyuuden Rai
- Martian Successor Nadesico, placed here on the list for the punof it.
- Voltron (the vehicle one) / Dairugger XV
- Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, particularly the Non Indicative First Minute, but also later on.
- Stellvia of the Universe
- The works of Leiji Matsumoto.
- Tytania, the closest thing to an anime Dune and written by the same author as Legend of Galactic Heroes though it is an independent story.
- Glass Fleet
- Crest of the Stars
- Starship Operators, hardest Space Opera anime bar none.
- Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki has many Space Opera elements despite taking place mostly on Earth, while spinoff Tenchi Muyo GXP and the second half of Tenchi Universe are clear-cut examples.
- Dragon Ball gradually worked its way into this, starting with Dragon Ball Z. Though the series initially concentrated on Earth-based stories, the Saiyan Saga was where things began to exhibit a more galactic scope.
- Irresponsible Captain Tylor…albeit slightly off
Cowboy Bebop?! Crest of the Stars?! Space Battleship Yamamoto?! Those were some amazingly good series. And Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku is seeking a spot among such well made and classic series. And given how the potential shown at the moment, Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku will likely earn a spot along side some of the best anime Space Operas made to this day.
Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku has the potential to be long running. I don’t mean several seasons, I mean if they work it carefully, we could see many years of this show without stagnation of the characters or story. And you know what? Given what has been seen so far, Moretsu Uchuu Kaizoku deserves a long lifespan.
Score: 5/5 very good
Pros: everything about it just works well together, interesting story, has an amazing amount of potential.
Cons: I could complain about the laws of physics and the technology, but as the tech in space opera is secondary, the tech is secondary is consideration. It serves to allow the plot to work and nothing more.
Obviously, you should watch it.