Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bodacious Space Pirates

With a name like Bodacious Space Pirates, you'd expect a series that doesn't take itself too seriously. And that is in fact the case. You might also expect that series to have terrible writing and awful humor, but I'm glad to say that Bodacious Space Pirates avoids those.
The idea behind Bodacious Space Pirates is that Marika, a high-school girl living with her single mother, is given the command of a pirate spaceship when her father's crew comes looking for his heir. She'd never known her father, and knows nothing of the hereditary pirate culture which has survived from the time when their planet was fighting a war of independence. The series covers Marika's transition into command of the pirate vessel, and of course her high school career as well.

That's a fairly silly backstory, and if they'd tried to take it seriously then the whole thing would have fallen flat. Instead, we have pirates who are basically stage-actors crossed with mercenaries, performing contracts with passenger liners to give their customers a good show. The high school space-yacht club is given almost as much weight as the pirate action. A princess from another planet makes an appearance, and ends up joining the gang at school. Only near the end of the series is there really much of a significant threat to Marika and her crew, and of course it works out well for them.

Watching Bodacious Space Pirates, I had to think a bit about why I actually liked it. It's got a lot of potentially awful components: immature high school girl thrown into situations well beyond her control, a miraculous ability to make things work out in her favor, a ton of shallow minor characters behind Marika and her closest companions, and a completely unrealistic backstory. Despite that, the major characters are very likable, the writing is good, and the story moves along nicely. The production values are solid, both the art and voice acting.

But what really works about Bodacious Space Pirates is what they don't try to do. There's not much in the way of fan service (outside of the ubiquitous short skirts), or romantic encounters. You're not constantly rolling your eyes at embarrassed schoolgirls fending off lewd advances. The fighting scenes aren't long stretches of characters screaming their heads off, or showing off their "secret techniques." The writers didn't take focus off the major characters for very long, or drag out individual story arcs until they got boring or unmanageable. Any or all of those things could have killed my enjoyment of the series, but Bodacious Space Pirates stays away.

Bodacious Space Pirates is a fun, casual series that doesn't take itself too seriously. Approach it the same way, and you'll enjoy it.

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