Home > Check-in Station > Check-in Station: Bodacious Space Pirates eps1-5 (expectations are the cockblockers of storytelling)

Check-in Station: Bodacious Space Pirates eps1-5 (expectations are the cockblockers of storytelling)


Expectations are a burden.  Expectations are a challenge.  And often expectations are a check someone else has written in your name.  There’s a reason why I ignore or almost immediately forget most previews for shows (besides the fact that I have a rather bad short-term memory).  It’s because I don’t feel like being weighed down by the expectations I have put on the show.  In the case of shows like Symphogear and Kill Me Baby, when you don’t have expectations the shows tend to impress you in very trivial ways.  You’re often merely happy when the show makes you smile, or you enjoy a mere aspect of a series when you think it’s mostly sh*t.  Bodacious Space Pirates is being weighed down right now by its name, and the expectations that come with it.  Now it’s just a matter of whether the show allows those expectations to drag it down, like so much dead and useless weight; or if the show launches itself, as if those expectations are merely teasers of something even greater.  There’s no good enough for this show it seems.

Bodacious Space Pirates, or as I’m going to refer it to from now on, Moretsu appears to be a show about rocking space pirates on grand adventures, being lead by a spunky and talented young girl.  Immediately dreams and visions of Martian Successor Nadeisco and Outlaw Star pop into my head.  A fast-paced series about action!  And exciting series about adventure!  A reckless series that is slathered in cheap, cheeky ecchi fanservice as big boobed bimbos bounce along avoid of all figurative ballasts, that prevent them from breaking logic, physics and the better sense not to wear really short skirts in zero gravity.  Oh the glory!  Oh the joy!   Oh the… BOOBS!!

STOP! ….No, no, no and no!  You’ve been fooled by the name, Bodacious Space Pirates, and concurrently you’ve burdened yourself and the show with your expectations.  Moretsu through five episodes has been nothing like that.  So don’t print out your self made “LET’S PIRACY!” shirts and bumper stickers, yet.  Moretsu is the most deliberate, and calculating show I’ve seen in awhile.  It’s enough to give someone some strange form of imaginary, mental whiplash.  It’s a kin to being told you’re getting a totally b*tching Ferrari 458 for a gift, when in reality you’re getting a well made Cadillac.  Sure the Caddie is well engineered, looks decent and is totally practical, but the 458 would… well it’s a 458.  It can do anything you can imagine with the insanity that it is.  That said, things aren’t all bad.  They’re not even half bad.

Moretsu has some nice, consistent production values.  At times the show looks stellar, the CG is rather nicely, smoothly implemented.  At other times the show looks perfectly par for its era, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  The character designs look solid and don’t go all weird on you during a moment of action (rare as those are) or stress.  They’ve “stuck the landing” if you will when it comes to this show’s visual quality.  The music isn’t bad either,with the series first ED theme being a favorite of mine for this season.

The characters aren’t bad either.  The lead heroine, Marika is a spunky, well-mannered girl, but underneath she has scary amount of drive and incite.  Sure, I could say that it’s pretty ridiculous that she’s being told to pilot a famous pirate ship right out of high school, but I already tossed that complaint out of the window because of the show I thought it would be (see, expectations again).  The character who turns out to be a good friend, comrade and what will prove to be eventual rival is Chiaki.  She appeared to be checking out her competition, and I honestly feel a little silly that I didn’t pick up on her role either.  She’s mildly entertaining, and the show seems to get a ton of mileage out of her stone cold stares, and her “angular” demeanor.

The rest of the cast so far isn’t bad either, with Marika’s mother being a bit of a standout.  She fits into that easy to categorize “awesome mother” category.  You know, the one who’s tough as nails, drinks, has a blue collar working man’s job, and gets called by her given name instead of the usual, “Mom”.  I did find it a bit convenient and ridiculous when I learned that the club Marika is involved in, the yacht club, was full of all these girls with fancy pedigrees and sketchy pasts.  Underneath the surface, they looked like a junior pirate crew themselves.  And they sure as hell came together rather well for such a group, too.

On the not quite positive, not quite negative side is the show’s pacing.  The infamous, infamous pacing!  It is something that seems to have been split down the middle, the opinion of the show’s pacing.  Some people have accepted it and adjusted.  A large group has NOT.  I will say that even I’m half and half on this subject.

Visually, the show isn’t that exciting when it gets down to what may be its core element, space combat/action.  It’s a glaring thing when I look at the screenshots that I’ve taken for this show.  The show has taken its world building very seriously, to the point where we’re treated to relatively realistic sequences for a space ship’s prep and operations.  The viewer is drowned in techno-babble, and painstakingly walked through the processes and thinking of the characters.  For someone who may enjoy those kinds of scenes in say a show like Star Trek, this is a very welcome treat.  For others, this is enough for them to drop the show.  I loved the scenes of prep, cyber warfare and space combat, especially when it seemed that this whole beginning section of the show came to a head near the end of episode 5.  For others, it just comes off as a weak tease for the rest of the show.

That is the conundrum with this show.  There’s no right or wrong answer for an opinion unless it’s grossly misinformed.  I can only ask those that don’t enjoy the show to give it a little bit longer to rev up.  This series is a full 20+ episodes, plenty of room to grow.  This show appears to be well thought out and deceptively entertaining, and I’d like to believe they’d reward us for this methodical set up.  I’ll definitely keep watching this show in the hopes that some of that perceived craziness does pop up.  But along the ride, I don’t think I’ll mind the attention to detail.

Further Reading:

  • Looks like we have a fan of Jenny Dolittle in the house!  AJtheFourth makes her argument for the show’s deliberate pacing.
  • Some people give a show a five episode test (me), others give it three (them).
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  1. February 7, 2012 at 11:26

    Star Trek is exactly the right analogy here. And they barely got to the Trek-like parts until the most recent episode.

    I think it’s hampered by the weekly format, too. What we are watching is Marika being formed into a leader, something which is going to take time if it’s going to have any realism, but it’s tough waiting around for 5 weeks for something to happen like the OP, the title, etc. promised. To that extent I do think the expectations were formed by the show’s producers.

    This would be a good show to marathon later, like Penguindrum and other complex beasts.

    • February 7, 2012 at 11:33

      I agree wholeheartedly. This show probably would be an engrossing marathon session. I know PenguinDrum was for me. I caught up on the last thirteen or so episodes in about a week before the final episode. Unfortunatey, I’m too hooked on the episodic viewing of this series. I like to do these initial reviews on a show based on a faux DVD release format. If these first five episodes were included on a DVD or Blu-ray, would I continue to get these discs after what I saw? In this case, it’s a hard sell, but a hell of a teaser.

      Thanks for the comment.

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