Light Novel: Bodacious Space Pirates aka: Moretsu Pirates
Bodacious Space Pirates (also known as Môretsu (Go-getter) Space Pirates) is a 2012 anime based on the novels, Miniskirt Space Pirates by Yűichi Sasamoto.In the far future where space travel has become the norm, Marika Kato is a high school girl living a rather ordinary life as a member of the space yacht club and a part-time job at a high-class retro café. One day, Marika meets subordinates of her recently deceased father who reveal her father was a space pirate. By law, only direct descendants can inherit her father's spaceship, the Bentenmaru, which her father's subordinates ask that she takes over as their new Captain. Thus begins Marika's life as a Space Pirate.The anime can be watched legally at Crunchyroll and The Anime Network. A dub from Sentai Filmworks, who released the show on DVD in the US, is now available. Also available on Hulu.A movie has also been green-lit.
"Bodacious Space Tropes":
Ace Custom: The Bentenmaru is highly modified but could be considered to zigzagging this trope as while the Electronic Warfare suite is highly advanced the engines are so old that one of them just barely works much of the time.
Ace Pilot: Kane McDougal, Bentenmaru's helmsman and Marika's new substitute teacher. Marika manages to impress him. Also, twin brother Shane.
Ai Hoshimiya, new member of the Space Yacht Club and rookie pilot. In episode 21 Ai star-navigates by sight after her dinghy's electronics are knocked out. She also saves the Bentenmaru by predicting the wind currents to help them shoot down the enemy.
Action Girl: Jenny Dolittle in her wedding gown. Chiaki falls into this trope occasionally as well.
Adventurous Irish Violins: The hard-work montage sequences and "exploration" sequences of ''Bodacious Space Pirates" deliberately uses this trope to take you back to the Golden Age of Piracy, albeit in a futuristic space setting.
Amusing Injuries: Played with/invoked at the end of episode 6. Chiaki asks Kane when he's going to change out of his tuxedo, which has a realistic looking gunshot wound on it from an earlier stunt with Marika. Kane mentions that he likes seeing the crew's reaction and hearing their gasps. Cue a random crew member walking by, staring at it, and gasping in horror.
Artistic License - Gun Safety: Averted! It's not a perfect depiction of weapon handling by any means, but the characters display trigger discipline, weapons are unloaded prior to firing, and safety gear is employed during training.
Someone needs to talk to Lynn about that, though. She has her finger on the trigger when she sticks her gun under a guy's chin.
Beach Episode: Subverted in episode 6. Marika and Mami start the episode getting ready to go to the beach... only for Misa and Kane to pick Marika up for completing all the paperwork necessary for the letter of marque.
They finally give us one in episode 20, but it's completely free of fan service. Well, save for a load of shots of Kane in a speedo. And a few shots of the girls' swimsuit clad behinds. Including tiny little Ai.
Schnitzer carries one that no one else could even pick up when the pirates board the Grand Cross.
BFS: Warships employed by the Galactic Empire and its vassal-states, the Corback-class destroyers and Talbot-class battleships, tend to resemble gigantic blades with engines stuck on the end. It seems to be an intimidation method
Maracot-class battleships (Queen Serendipity and Jabberwocky) are Dual Wielding
Big Damn Heroes: The climax of Episode 21 has a bunch of these turn up in a row. First an aircraft looking to kill Marika appears and attacks the racers indiscriminately as they don't know which dinghy is hers, she saves everyone by identifying herself while Chiaki leads the racers away. Then the race organiser appears in a dinghy almost identical to Marika's, she gets shot down but the Bentenmaru drops into the atmosphere and puts the ship between Marika and her would-be assassins and pick her up. Then just as the crew realises they can't maneuver well enough to take out the aircraft Ai returns in her dinghy to help them use the wind to shoot down the enemy.
Blue with Shock: Grunhilde after accidentally downing a spoonful of hot mustard.
Boarding Party: Bentenmaru deploys something that looks out of Pirates of the Caribbean for their normal jobs on liners. The Ghost Ship arc also shows that the same boarding party is quite competent at actual boarding operations a naval vessel would undertake.
In Episode 26, Marika, Schnitzer, Hyakume and several other captains and pirates, board the Grand Cross.
Bowdlerization: The Hakuoh Pirates arc, when Jenny confronts her fiance. In the original novels, Jenny and the girls are shocked to discover her fiance organising and participating in a massive, drug-fueled orgy. This was changed to the ineffectual revolutionary meeting. Given the controversies over what is appropriate or not for anime broadcast in Tokyo, this decision is understandable.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: The book Marika read during the pirate scene of episode 6? The script of the episode itself, complete with the same subtitle. (Though it use the name of the Light Novel).
Call Back: A comically ironic one in the opening narration of episode 16: The narrator states that manuals exist for piracy, electronic warfare and FTL jumps. In the previous episode the Bentenmaru's regular crew just about had a heart attack when Marika suggests a practice jump, which isn't in the manual they wrote for the ship.
Cassandra Truth: When the second raid on the Princess Apricot doesn't go as smoothly as expected, the Captain suggests that maybe the crew has taken ill and been replaced by trainees. This is dismissed as a ridiculous idea.
The captain wasn't guessing. He'd been briefed by Shou at the insurance company. (Shou also asked him to prepare a bag of goodies for the girls.)
Catch Phrase: Marika: Saa! Kaizoku no jikan da! (It's time for some piracy!)
This seems to be a general pirate/Kato Catch Phrase as it's also used by "Blaster" Ririka in a flashback and Chiaki when she covers for Marika.
Chekhov's Gun: Ai picks up a book on local constellations before the race in Ep. 21. This comes in handy at the end; when her navigation system is disabled, Ai pops the hatch and navigates by eye, using the constellations as her guide.
Cool Car: Misa drives a pink Rolls Royce with some lawyer friendly modifications.
The Odette II appears to be a rather cool looking large yacht... and then it's revealed to have been an armed merchantmen, a pirate cruiser, and is one of the few surviving ships of the Original Seven privateers authorised by the Sea of the Morningstar.
The Silent Whisper that Jenny uses to make her escape in Episode 17: it's a fast, agile Space Fighter outfitted for recon and electronic warfare, capable of making FTL jumps. And it's worth more than the Bentenmaru. (Which is understandable - an F-35 costs more than a WW2 cruiser.)
The naval warships shown in the series look like massive blades.
The Grand Cross and the Parabellum.
Cosplay: The Girl's Yacht Club perform their pirating role in episode 16 in various cosplay costumes, provided by Mami. While it does surprise the guests of the ship they're pirating, it doesn't seem to affect the job too much, although Marika is clearly uncomfortable with the lack of seriousness the costumes present.
And Jenny uses her wedding gown as a cosplay costume.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The pirate hunting vessel, Grand Cross delivers quite a few of these to various pirate ships (Only the Bentenmaru escapes it). In Episode 26, the pirates return the favour... interestingly enough, against 3 Grand Cross ships.
In episode 14, Gruier buys a business suit for Marika in an attempt to disguise her while they're trying find a replacement crew while the original is recuperating in a hospital. Marika laments that its skirt is so short, and Gruier immediately points out that pants on the Bentenmaru captain is completely unacceptable. Yay for Fanservice.
Darker and Edgier: Episode 21 starts to hint at this with the attack on Marika's escort plane during the race, and in episode 22 ships really start getting attacked and destroyed out of the blue, unlike earlier episodes where almost no one died or even had their ship disabled, aside from the Lightning 11 in the first arc/few episodes.
Dramatic WindIN SPACE: In his first appearance, Ironbeard's Badass Cape flaps dramatically in the vacuum of space... because he's actually inside his ship, and a hologram is being projected on the hull.
Drives Like Crazy: Misa, the school nurse/medic aboard the Bentenmaru. In episode 8, after arriving at the airport, both Marika and Gruier have a physically exhausted look on their faces. A short flashback then shows that they were screaming the entire drive there due to Misa driving really fast.
The Empire: The Galactic Empire, the most powerful faction in the series. Surprisingly, despite being an expansionist force that conquer other star systems, the Empire is rather benevolent to the planets they ruled, allowing them the right to self-rule and have their own defense force in exchange those planets swear allegiance to the Empire and their forces becoming a part of the Empire's forces. The Empire was the reason the War of Independence ended because their fleets were ten times bigger and overwhelmed both the Federation and Alliance fleets.
Probably not a coincidence: The intro narrative at the beginning of each episode is similar to Outlaw Star.
Failed a Spot Check: The "Revolutionaries" in episode 18 fail to notice that the Bentenmaru has docked and they've been boarded until Chiaki starts shooting off her rifle and brings down a chandelier that's right above them while giving them a "The Reason You Suck" Speech!
It's more understandable in the original novels, where the Revolutionaries are instead partygoers attending a massive drug-fueled orgy. They were obviously too distracted.
Flawed Prototype: The Grand Cross could be an example of this. It is certainly a deadly opponent with its gravity control which allows high-speed zig-zagging, its Beam Spams and other systems. However it often powers down after using these to a certain degree. Also, while its shields can cope with beams, they aren't as effective against physical bombardment.
Also, it only has one pattern of zigzag. Once Courie saw it a few times, she became able to predict where it would end, thus providing several seconds of warning.
The biggest flaw was the captain. No amount of high tech can compensate for a captain who is stupid and arrogant.
Heavy automation, with only a single living crewmember, also means that this ship is ridiculously vulnerable to being boarded.
Food Porn: Marika's chocolate parfait. Ririka's cooking also gets some inordinate attention. Episode 9: the melon.
One of the secrets unlocked by the Captain's Ring for the Bentenmaru... is the secret Kato family pot-au-feu recipe, handed down through generations.
For Science!: Marika learns that the Grand Cross is attacking pirate ships in the region partly to get combat data for the prototype ship, and partly because, according to the Grand Cross captain, "pirates are no longer needed". Marika doesn't take that message very well.
Frame Up: Volume 9 has the Bentenmaru fall victim to one.
Funny Afro: Show, the agent at the insurance company.
Genre Savvy: Many of the characters seem knowledgeable in anticipating what their opponents are likely to do, whether its the girl's yacht club, or Chiaki and Marika discussing electronic warfare, to the Bentenmaru pirates.
Gondor Calls for Aid: Marika activates the pirate song to assemble all the pirates together again in episode 23. How effective this will be remains to be seen, as the Grand Cross is destroying quite a few of the pirates before they can reach the designated area.
Great Offscreen War: 120 years ago, The War of Independence was fought between the Colony Federation, colonial planets who were fighting for independence and the right to self rule, and the Stellar Alliance, the alliance of suzerain planets that ruled over the colonial worlds before they started to rebel. Not much is know about the war except the planet Uminoakehoshi (Sea of the Morning Star) issued Letters of Marque to Space Pirates to help the Federation's space fleets and the war ended in an unexpected way. The war ended with neither side winning because the Galactic Empire got involved and forced both sides to surrender and become part of the Empire.
Bentenmaru, Barbaroosa, and several Stellar Alliance warships arrive while Marika is aboard the Odette II after their little fight with the Lightning 11 in episode 5.
The Parabellum privateer ship rescues the Bentenmaru and the remnants of the Big Catch fleet in episode 23 by attacking and scaring off the Grand Cross which was curb stomping them in the previous episode.
Handy Feet: Coorie has them, as she can type with her toes.
Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. Marika is an honor roll student only because she puts a lot of time and effort into studying; when she tries juggling her pirate work and school, her grades take a massive nosedive, going from straight As to F.
Also, while she has a natural talent for being a pirate captain, she still has to work very hard to learn what's required of her.
Hero of Another Story: Chiaki probably qualifies. She has her ship that she works on with her dad, and does a lot things which often forces her to suffer from being Out of Focus. She also fills in for Marika's pirate role in some episodes while the real one is working on a more covert mission.
Hot-Blooded: Kane becomes this during his second stint as the Yacht Club's advisor, channeling the spirits of Hot-Blooded sports anime club advisors.
Insistent Terminology: Chiaki really objects to Marika or Mami adding -chan to her name. It doesn't stop them from doing it constantly.
Is This Thing On?: This happens almost word for word when Marika raids the Princess Apricot, causing her to get flustered and botch her intro. Becomes a Running Gag as in episode 16 it happens again when she raids the same liner with the Yacht club members
Large Ham: Show, the guy at the insurance company. Kenjo Kurihara comes close, and Chiaki lapses into this during Pirate raids. And Ironbeard, later in the series.
Kane does this when he shows back up at school as their coach in episode 20. To the point that Marika wonders why he's speaking in a normal tone at the end when he's simply piloting the Bentenmaru.
Ironbeard also has a flair for the dramatic. His first appearance is standing on top of his ship, cape flapping with dramatic wind, and he later steals the spotlight from Quartz on another occasion.
Latex Space Suit: The female students wear them on their cruise. Kane notes that the guy who provided them must've done so on purpose. A more realistic one appears in the intro, and the Bentenmaru's own stock are about as un-latexy as you can get, resembling Mini Mecha instead.
Misa and Marika wear latex space suits in episode 12.
Quartz Christie also wears one.
Marika goes for a latex space suit when boarding the Grand Cross. Even Quartz takes a moment to admire it.
Lethal Chef: Ririka, when she first joined the crew of Bentenmaru. Fortunately, she got better.
Little Stowaway: Gruier sneaks onto the Bentenmaru during the end of episode 7, and is properly introduced in episode 8.
She does it again to get aboard the Odette II with Chiaki's help in episode 15, and brings her sister along too.
Loads and Loads of Characters: There's the girls yacht club, then there's also the Bentenmaru pirates. Fortunately they don't throw all of them at you at once. Unfortunately for the school girls, we don't get to see most of them on screen very much, nor do we get their names very often, so trying to figure out who they all are is confusing without a guide sheet/page.
Long Lived: In the novels, the Methuselah have far longer lifespans than normal humans. One of them is part of the Barbaroosa's crew, having served on the ship during the War of Independence.
In episode 25, the atmosphere is grim and serious, due to the discovery that Luca's been replaced by an android double, and is presumably Stuffed into the Fridge. And then the real Luca appears and nonchalantly reveals she's been at a vacation resort.
Mundane Made Awesome: It would not be a terribly large exaggeration to say the show runs off this, through everything from communications laser Beam Spam to extreme paperwork.
Mundane Utility: The Odette II is one of the legendary original seven pirate ships. It is now used as a training vessel for a high school's yacht club.
Marika's Silent Whisper, an FTL-capable electronic warfare/reconnaissance Space Fighter worth more than the Bentenmaru, ends up being loaned to the Yacht Club as another training vessel.
That scene makes more sense when you realize that Japanese history contains many pirates, but Japan never had any equivalent of privateers.
Oh Crap: The regular crew of the Bentenmaru, confined in a hospital under quarantine, has that look/attitude as they hurriedly scramble to come up with an impromptu manual for the Girls Yacht club for the ship after Marika decides to use them in episode 15 for a pirate raid.
Robert Dolittle in episode 18 when Marika plays his phone recording.
Pretty much every single pirate in episode 22 has that look on their face at various points in time when a huge ship starts attacking them out of nowhere, including the Bentenmaru's crew.
Only in It for the Money: It seems that cruise-ship companies contract pirates to give their passengers a little excitement. Cruise liners have a "stage" on which the pirates appear, Marika follows a script on the Princess Apricot raid, and Kane even tells some of the passengers on the Apricot (while acting as a passenger himself) that the passenger line's insurance will pay for any valuables the pirates "take". In Episode 10, the bridge crew on one of the liners is shown relaxing during the raid that Chiaki is leading and looking forward to seeing the "new female pirate". This not only allows for the passengers to have a fun show (they cheer the pirates) but funds the pirates' activities as well. It's cabaret with lasers and swords.
It's also an easy way for the pirates to maintain a high rate of raids so the Letter of Marque doesn't expire.
Odango Hair: Gruier and Grunhilde after being enrolled in Hakuho Academy
Out of Focus: Chiaki, who gets a lot of screentime in the opening and closing credits, goes down in importance shortly after Gruier is introduced around episode 8, but she makes some appearances here and there, then shows up again during the Hakuoh Pirates arc around episode 15, and seems to be making a full comeback as an important character again around episode 22 onwards.
Gruier herself falls into this trope towards the end, around the time Chiaki makes her comeback in the final arc of the anime season. She's seen again at the very end, but doesn't play much of a role otherwise.
It's revealed in the final episode that Ironbeard, Captain of the Parabellum, is Gonzaemon himself, which leaves the question: How did he fake his death to enable Marika to inherit the Bentenmaru?
Private Military Contractors: The Hugh & Dolittle Interstellar Trading Company has its own fleet of naval warships. It's worth noting that presently, Lloyds of London is preparing its own small escort fleet, and the East India Company had its own private navy.
Punch Clock Hero: In a literal version of this, Misa refuses to allow Marika or Gruier to stay on the bridge for longer than 8 hours a day due to child labor laws.
Punch Clock Villain: The Serenity special forces troops under Grunhilde's command in the Ghost Ship arc. They're opposed to the Bentenmaru's crew only because they're following orders, and when Marika proposes a compromise that satisfies all parties and lets everyone go home alive, they enthusiastically go for it.
Gruier: "We are bounded by fate, destined to meet one another in this vast universe."
Also, Marika and Chiaki's relationship; Kenjo appears quite aware of the bond between then, even if Chiaki remains in denial, and implies that he's fine with her leaving his ship to join Marika's crew.
Marika making a certain shout when she is surprised, best transcribed as "!!!"
Run or Die: Pretty much the only thing the Bentenmaru can do when facing the Grand Cross. Marika feigns putting up a fight largely to buy time for them to be able to escape, as they are hopelessly outmatched by the much bigger/faster ship.
Scenery Porn: Especially in episode 12 when they are inside the Golden Ghost Ship.
There are hints that Lily Bell and Haramaki are involved with one another. For instance, during the Hakuoh Pirates arc, there is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it implication they share a bunk. Watch carefully when Marika is checking the bunkrooms. Notice that one of the rooms has 5 girls but only 4 bunks, and 3 are taken.
The challenge and response used by Ririka and the pirates in the first episode is the first line of the theme song for Captain Harlock.
The Original Seven privateers, of which Hakuchou/Odette II and Bentenmaru are survivors, are a nod to seven privateers paid for by George Washington during the Revolutionary War; while none of them survived, they were the first ships of what would become the United States Navy.
The Bentenmaru gets much of her work from the Harold Lloyd Insurance company, a play on real life Lloyd's and the silent movie star.
The Chairwoman of the Nebula Cup strongly resembles Team Fortress 2's Announcer in appearance and temperament, if not motivation.
In addition to the Bentenmaru bearing a resemblance to the Outlaw Star itself, both anime also feature McDougal brothers. Coincidence?
In the second episode Kane stresses to Marika that becoming her teacher and yacht club adviser was all just a coincidence. Kane and Marika's English voice actors are Chris Patton and Luci Christian who voiced Souske and Kaname from Full Metal Panic! who had a very similar conversation in one of the early episodes in regards to Souske following her around.
Solar Powered Magnifying Glass: Marika turns the Odette II's solar sails into a variation on this during the showdown with the Lightning 11 in Episode 5, blinding her optical targeting system and heating the hull. Lucky for them Marika decides to stop before melting their ship.
Space Battle: In episode 26, when 11 pirate ships take on the Grand Cross (three of them).
Space Is Noisy: Played straight (using symbolic sound effects to spice up action sequences), and parodied with the pirate ship Parabellum, which broadcasts electronic sound effects onto any ships in range when it goes into battle, much to everyone else's amusement/irritation.
Space Fighter: Jenny grabs one, and later transfers its registration to Marika. It ends up being loaned to the Yacht Club as a training vessel.
Space Is an Ocean: It emphasises this by having sailing ship sound effects in the background most of the time.
Spell My Name with an S: In the DVD release the subtitles have Ms Lambretta starting out as Rin and then changing to Lynn to match her profile in the closing credits about half way through.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Arguably Gruier. She doesn't show up till about episode 8 (technically she boarded Marika's ship in 7 but we don't know its her at that point), then gets a lot of focus, and seems to end up replacing poor Chiaki. Even Marika's classmates nor Mami get to spend nearly as much time with her as Gruier does.
Spy Catsuit: Ririka wears one when she joins Ironbeard's crew.
Stealth Hi/Bye: In episode 8, Gruier does this when she mysteriously appears in the backseat of Misa's car while they're trying to get to the airport and stop at the school gate. Marika is sitting in the other seat, and yet she's just as surprised as Misa to learn that Gruier has managed to get herself both into the car and belted in without notice.
The Stoic: Chiaki, until she encounters a chocolate parfait.
Stuffed into the Fridge: Misa and Hyakume speculate this is Luca's fate, after they discover she's been replaced by an android double. And then subverted when the real Luca shows up and reveals she was on vacation the whole time.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: In one episode, Chiaki claims to only be at the cafe where Marika works for the parfait, until Mami mentions Marika's name, which causes Chiaki to stumble/choke a little bit.
A passenger on a cruise liner states she is quite sure Pirates don't exist anymore, right before Marika appears and announces she's taken over the ship.
In episode 9, right before heading out to find the golden ghost ship, Marika says she hopes this doesn't turn into some kind of action movie. Then the preview for the next episode shows action movie stuff happening...
In episode 22, Marika offers to escort a pirate ship named Big Catch from a ship that's mysteriously attacking pirate vessels. The captain of that ship is rather bold and cocky, and thinks that anyone stupid enough to attack them will get quickly defeated by them. Till they actually see said ship show up...
Totally Radical: The title. The original novels take it even further. That said, Bodacious is an actual word, and a portmanteau of "Bold" and "Audacious", two things which pirates definitely are.
Uterine Replicator: This is essentially how the entire Serenity Royal Family is born, from one aboard the Serenity Ghost Ship.
Villain Exit Stage Left: Quartz Christie did this after the Grand Cross was defeated handily. She had also promised Marika that she wouldn't flee, but still did.
Villain Forgot to Level Grind: The Grand Cross, which delivered quite a few Curb Stomp Battles to the pirates near the end of the anime series, is defeated rather easily by Marika and her fellow pirates in the final episode. It's largely due to the captain being cocky and overconfident, as well as Bentenmaru crew surviving a couple of attacks by the ship, and by now learning about the various tricks and tactics it uses in combat and adapting counter-strategies against them.
Lynn:I wish to kidnap the former president of the Hakuoh Academy Yacht Club, Jenny Dolittle.
Marika: "If you want a fight, you've got one."
What Does This Button Do?: Asked pretty much word for word by one of the yacht club members in episode 15. Answer: it fires the Bentenmaru's main guns.
What the Hell, Hero?: Gruier invokes this on herself in the denouement of the Ghost Ship arc; she planned on destroying the Uterine Replicator, but hadn't quite realised that there was an unborn baby in the tank. She doesn't take the idea of being an unknowing murderer very well.
However, Marika does point out that if they hadn't gone to the ghost ship in the first place, the baby would never have been discovered in time before being put in permanent stasis.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Marika actually does that in her fight against one of the guests during her first pirating job. He duels with her, and wins easily, causing Marika to lose her sword. She then pulls out a small hidden gun and shoots him. However, it's subverted because the man she's fighting was actually Kane intermingling with the guests, and the shooting was faked to make it the fight and pirating raid more elaborate.