I was hoping that being a pirate anime that Bodacious Space Pirates would start out with cutlasses drawn, eye-patches on, and beards with fire and smoke coming out of them. Instead this was mostly a set-up episode, and I must say the OP, yeah… it might grow on me but its audio kryptonite right now. At any rate I am glad that they spent so much time trying to establish the setting and I found the continuation of Macross Frontier vision of the future still being carried on. While Gundam technology advances with the pace of a snail Satelight is all in when it comes to making the future both familiar and full of pop up awesomeness.
As slow as this episode was I think it was necessary since the cast looks to be rather large, and hopefully this emphasis on setting and establishing the world in which Space Pirates operates is an indication of greater ambition on the part of the staff. Sadly there was no part which makes your jaw drop from sheer awesomeness. It would have been better had they at least given us a preview of how combat is going to work, a great historical battle a major fleet action for instance. Right now all we get is an overwhelmed Marika who goes to an all-girl school who is about to be named successor to a pirate ship captaincy.
For those of you who have only been exposed to the Golden Age of Piracy through Pirates of the Caribbean, there was much more to piracy than going after Davy Jones’ heart. Letters of Marque are not a new innovation Satelight is not clever enough as to coin an English term, crafty though they are. Back in ye olde days when Spain was master of the New World their rivals did not have empire big enough to compete let alone field a navy capable of matching the Spanish Armada. So to address the naval gap they countries like England, France, and the Netherlands gave out Letters of Marque to entice mercenaries to fight the Spanish for them, these mercenaries were dubbed privateers. Of course there is the issue of paying said mercenaries so the holders of the Letters of Marque were allowed to keep a share of whatever loot they got, often they had to pay their King or Queen or any other noble a part of the profits because the moneyed nobles would be the one sponsoring the ships. Captain Morgan (the real one not the dude peddling rum) and Sir Francis Drake got started out this way.
Things would be fine and dandy so long as Spain was at odds with France, England, and the Dutch, but eventually peace settled in and the Letters of Marque were no longer issued and they were withdrawn. Unfortunately not all privateers were willing to give up looting Spanish treasure ships and eventually a good number of privateers decided to tell their Kings and Queens to piss off and started looting any ship that so happened to pass by. Later on whenever there was a war for independence going on some-where or if a country found that their navy was lacking, they would recruit privateers to harass their foes and force them to waste naval power chasing down privateers, as happened during the American War of Independence and the American Civil War. Eventually the practice died down when the submarine proved better at taking down shipping and the Cold War started and the US and USSR sent their fleets surging through major shipping lanes to demonstrate their naval might. Hence why there is more prolific modern piracy as neither the US nor the USSR are sending their fleets to rattle their sabers up and down the Suez Canal and the Straits of Malacca. Moreover it is quite expensive to maintain a modern destroyer let alone a submarine, hence the low tech speed boat pirate with armed with small arms and RPGs. Also the rise of air power and radar meant that costal defense was simplified and we are living in the age of anti-ship missiles like the Exocet.
At any rate it looks as if the school part of this series is going to play a big part, as it appears that the Bentenmaru is in need of some new cutthroats to man her guns. Right now they seem intent on recruiting some of the more colorful kids from Marika’s school. I am just waiting for them to turn the yacht club into Star Fighter School. This also leads me to think that they got some High School hijinks in store with Misa and Kane infiltrating the school. I am not sure what Chiaki’s agenda is. Perhaps she is from a rival pirate family? Perhaps she is the illegitimate child who wants the captaincy? All I know is that I want to know. I don’t find Marika to be irritating, and she seems to have some nifty piloting skills so I hope that I will be able to sing her praise when she pilots a fighter and has her very own turkey shoot.
The comedy wasn’t excessive, in fact it I found it far too muted given the happy color palette. I really want to see how garish they can get with pirate garb given how during the days of Black Bart pirates would often get FABULOUS with the silks and other fabrics they looted. While pirates showering and donning sunglasses looking for a dude named Char is mildly amusing I hope they got nuts soon and get on with piracy. Right now it seems that they are all after Marika for some reason. Maybe they all have grudges to settle? But I get the feeling that they all want that Letter of Marque because war is brewing and they want to get their share of the booty without legal troubles. For every pirate fleet you have to have a couple pirate hell towns where they can sell their loot and spend their money on grog and wenches.
This episode didn’t give a whole lot but I really want more, hopefully after the setting is established they can get on with the business of being Space Pirates. I am also hoping that yuri will ensue given the high amount of estrogen that will be on the Bentenmaru. Also I want my great BIG FLEET action, Pirate Cruiser duels, and dogfights, lots of dogfights that the PV promised.