January 07, 2012
OK, I'm hooked. This is excellent.
There is a lot of eye-candy in this first episode, and none of it is fan service. Fact is, I don't remember any fan service at all -- and I didn't miss it.
But there's a lot of scenery porn, for example. Someone has put in a lot of thought to the back story and the setting, and it shows.
Marika is a good lead. She seems a pretty normal girl, except that she's a hot pilot. Which, it seems, runs in the family. She learns that her father was the captain of a pirate ship called the Benten-maru.
It has a neat sigil:
Why the lute?
Benten-sama is the Shinto (and Buddhist) goddess of all things which flow. That means rivers. It means speech. It also means knowledge. And it means music -- hence the lute. Benten-sama (AKA Benzaiten AKA Saraswati) is one of the great gods, the Seven Gods of Fortune. (And the other six are all considered to be male.)
If you remember the show Kamichu, there's a point at the God Con where there's a musical performance by a divine rock group. The star of that group was Benten-sama.
Anyway, Marika finds out in this episode that her father just died, two days before. She didn't know anything about her father, not even his name. And she finds out that he was the captain of a pirate ship called the Benten-maru. And that captaincy of such ships passes by dynastic descent -- which means that she's the only one who can become the new captain, because she's his only child.
By the way, they aren't really pirates. They're privateers. They are operating under a Letter of Marque, which means they have at least some cover of law. Historically speaking, there wasn't a huge difference between the two, but there were a few.
One big difference was that a privateer could use ports belonging to the government which issued the letter. Another was that privateers tended to have better ships and better equipment. For instance, Sir Francis Drake preyed upon Spanish treasure ships for a while, operating under a Letter of Marque issued by Good Queen Bess.
Anyhoo, with their captain gone, the Benten-maru will lose their letter of marque unless they can find another captain. So they're trying to recruit Marika for the job.
There's also a political backstory. Seems that this planet had a revolution against the parent planet which started the colony. The Letters of Marque were issued as part of that revolution.
The technological level of this series is way beyond Francis Drake, needless to say. Part of the eye candy is in cool cars, strange computer interfaces, and a lot of other high tech which adds a lot of verisimilitude. This isn't just futuristic in one or two ways; it's believably advanced in lots of ways.
In the cases where it isn't advanced, it's deliberate. Which is why Marika works part time as a waitress at a cafe; it's a deliberate throwback.
What apparently is the other main character of the series is a dark, quiet girl named Chiaki. Except that there seems to be a soft side to her, considering how she looked when she started eating a chocolate parfait.
For the time being she's a major mystery. Friend? Ally? Competitor? She evidently doesn't want Marika killed, but what does she want? I suspect we'll find out more in the next episode, and I'm really looking forward to it.
Any show can veer off the rails and become a disaster, but after this start, this one would have to veer a hell of a long way in order to crash. I'm very optimistic about it.
Posted by: Jessi at January 07, 2012 10:57 PM (Xt7yj)
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 08, 2012 12:38 AM (f/6aJ)
Posted by: cuc at January 08, 2012 04:33 AM (Zq+7s)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 08, 2012 05:13 AM (PiXy!)
Also, there's not no fan service, it's just rather more subtle than the recent trend.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 08, 2012 05:37 AM (PiXy!)
I'm not trying to be one of "those" anime fans, but I wasn't feeling exactly enthusiastic based on what I was seeing and hearing so far, is all.
Posted by: Jessi at January 08, 2012 10:05 AM (Xt7yj)
Change the title from "Bodacious Space Pirates" to "Auspicious Space Privateers" and I think they've nailed it.
Posted by: wahsatchmo at January 08, 2012 11:01 AM (r4uXE)
This first episode follows something of the pattern of the first episode of Shingu. Which, as you remember, ends with Hajime seeing Muryou and Moriguchi tossing energy blasts at each. Just the last twenty seconds or so is when everything goes completely strange.
And the first episode of Shingu did begin with the giant destroying an alien space ship, in a fairly brief scene.
Same here: they started with Marika landing her ship. Then we got normal-slice-of-life for most of the episode, to establish a baseline, and everything went weird in the last minute or so, with the gunfight.
There's even a mysterious powerful stranger. I wonder if Chiaki is a cross-sex expy of Muryou?
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 08, 2012 11:14 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: J Greely at January 08, 2012 02:08 PM (2XtN5)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 08, 2012 02:16 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at January 08, 2012 02:33 PM (G2mwb)
Posted by: J Greely at January 08, 2012 02:35 PM (2XtN5)
Posted by: J Greely at January 08, 2012 02:37 PM (2XtN5)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at January 08, 2012 03:45 PM (G2mwb)
Posted by: Dave Young at January 08, 2012 07:58 PM (ZAk0Z)
Posted by: ubu at January 08, 2012 09:11 PM (GfCSm)
It's a well-known fact that pirates are only in it for the lute.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 08, 2012 09:18 PM (f/6aJ)
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at January 08, 2012 09:32 PM (EJaOX)
Everyone else is stuck with NutriGrain bars.
Posted by: Mauser at January 09, 2012 04:00 AM (cZPoz)
Posted by: Dave Young at January 09, 2012 09:28 AM (DYR2Q)
Also, at 13:44 there's an image of a Pirate Rubber Duck in Marika's search results for pirates, and she saves a copy to her PDA along with various relevant images of the ship and crew.
Posted by: J Greely at January 09, 2012 11:51 AM (2XtN5)
Posted by: J Greely at January 09, 2012 12:38 PM (2XtN5)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 09, 2012 12:55 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: J Greely at January 09, 2012 01:22 PM (2XtN5)
Posted by: Chris Siebenmann at January 09, 2012 05:01 PM (qk1Uz)
Posted by: tellu541 at January 09, 2012 08:14 PM (pJ1uW)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 09, 2012 08:19 PM (+rSRq)
J, so you're saying that Chiaki is probably this guy's daughter?
I kind of had the feeling that some of the thugs in the cafe during the shootout worked for her.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 09, 2012 08:24 PM (+rSRq)
Speaking of pacing, I did a bit of poking around and discovered that books 4-6 are one big story arc. With 26 episodes, they could manage to get that far without Daimaou-grade plot surgery.
Posted by: J Greely at January 09, 2012 10:31 PM (2XtN5)
Posted by: ubu at January 10, 2012 04:49 AM (GfCSm)
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at January 10, 2012 05:25 PM (EJaOX)
Posted by: Jaked at January 10, 2012 09:23 PM (5on7N)
Posted by: ubu at January 11, 2012 02:23 AM (GfCSm)
Enclose all spoilers in spoiler tags:
[spoiler]your spoiler here[/spoiler]
Spoilers which are not properly tagged will be ruthlessly deleted on sight.
Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)
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