Posted by psgels on 1 July 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mouretsu Pirates



A series about pirates in space. The creators could have easily put a ship in space and have the characters go “RRRR!” a lot. Not Mouretsu Pirates though. This show is ambitious.

Instead of going with the tried and true formula, Mouretsu Pirates managed to completely create its own setting. It asks the question of what pirates would look like in a futuristic setting in which mankind has ventured off to space. The result is a setting in which Pirates are bound by insurance companies, and are kept afloat as this cultural heritage who raid people as a form of entertainment, and it manages to create all sorts of interesting stories and concepts based on this.

Now, Mouretsu Pirates has a series structure that has some very interesting parts, but also a few downsides. Now, the series consists out of about five major arcs. All these arcs are completely different from each other, they all focus on different characters, they all have different moods and themes, and most importantly: they all get increasingly better. what this pretty much entails to is a series that is a bit hard to get into at first, because the first arcs put a lot of emphasis on world building and setting things up just right, but once it takes off, this series really takes off into a really entertaining roller-coaster ride that just keeps changing.

And also on the character-department this series stands out. The cast of this series is HUGE; every arc introduces a ton of new ones, and I’m glad to say that this is one of those series that handles a huge case really well: it’s diverse and full of all sorts of colourful characters. It’s of course impossible to develop all of them in 26 episodes, but this series chooses very wisely who it wants to develop, while for the rest of the cast it always finds something interesting for them to do or base some interesting revelation around them.

Going back to the early episodes that put a lot of focus on build-up, that has another advantage: The creators re also really good in letting the characters just play out their actions. The result is a series that while being hard science fiction, has a cast of characters that feels real and relatable. I mean, this series may be about pirates, but there are also a surprising amount of arcs dedicated to a high school gir’s yacht club (yeah…), but these characters are portrayed so down to earth and likable that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

A few weeks ago I’ve seen someone describe this show as “Shoujo in Space”, and that pretty much is the best tagline I could find for it: if this term appeals to you, then by all means give this show a chance, because there is a lot to like in it for shoujo fans as myself. This definitely was a very clever series that went from very careful set-up to a really entertaining ride with a ton of colourful characters. If it wasn’t for Natsume Yuujinchou this would have been the best series to debut in Winter 2012.

Storytelling: 8.5/10 – Excellent sense of build-up and variety through its run, but it does take a while to get going.
Characters: 9/10 – Has a huge cast and knows how to use it.
Production-Values: 8/10 – This is a Satelight series, but a low-budget one: it has nice CG at times, but they’re not spamming eye candy like in their usual series.
Setting: 9/10 – This setting here is very creative and well fleshed out. The creators defiitely put thought into how to give a new spin to “pirates in space”.

Suggestions:
Infinite Ryvius
Gankuen Seni Muryou
Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra

10 Responses

  1. WatcherZero says:

    I dont think the film will actually move the plot on *IF* its not a recap film (which seems very common these days) I expect it to be a self contained original story not an adaptation from the books. I dont know what the ratings are like but quality wise I think this series did enough to get a sequal which will continue the story, likely straight after the anime ended not skipping a year, the anime covered something like a year and a half timewise? (she was half way through her first year of high school when it started and at the end of her second school year when it ended).

  2. WatcherZero says:

    Now I think the series was pretty perfect but one thing I think it failed to do slightly was to explore the charachters of the Navigator, Engineer and to a lesser extent the Cyborg Gunner. ECM girl got decent charachter development and while we didnt really get any backstory from the doctor and helmsman it did at least show enough of them to get decent charachterisation.

    • WatcherZero says:

      Is it me or did the series initially hint that the doctor and helmsman were romantically involved but it kinda dissapeared after the second arc?

  3. limewarrior says:

    Good review. I think I’ll try finishing this series now. Also, you made a very amusing typo in the storytelling rating’s description.

  4. Tomtom says:

    Do peope really like this one so much? I was extremely unimpressed with the first few episodes but perhaps I should give it another shot then…

  5. ojisan says:

    It’s a good series. I think the EP pretty much show you where you are – it’s a ‘ganbare” show that doesn’t take itself seriously, has lots of cute girls but respects them, a complex hard-science setting that’s still whimsical and imaginative, and and a huge cast. Granted the story direction is erratic, but it’s good clean fun.

  6. Et2012 says:

    A very unique series. I think it’s one of the best sci-fi anime I have seen, simply because it is so creative and unpredictable.

    Marika is also truly rare character. She’s believable as a teenage girl, but also impressive, without feeling TOO good for her age at her job.

  7. Hogart says:

    This was hardly hard sci-fi, especially once you get past the first arc. But that’s neither here nor there.

    I wish I could see all the win you claim there is here, psgels. As a bit of fluff, it was amusing enough. But it never really convinced me that anything going on meant anything, especially since it kept telling me that Marika was awesome while pitting her against foes that anyone with a functioning brain could have beaten. Too anticlimactic for my tastes.

    I only finished it because I kept trying to change my expectations, but the only level I could appreciate it on was a smug, childish “take THAT, arc villain!” level, so really this wasn’t much different from “Pirates shouting “ARRR!” to me.

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  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 09:54 AM)
    @Kaiser: do you mean Brotherhood of the Wolf? Cuz in that case I have seen it, and we have both remarked about our enjoyment of the ambitious, yet messy, movie.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 09:51 AM)
    @Aidan: how was the new Spiderman?
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 09:07 AM)
    I just checked my rating on Valerie and Her Week of Wonders and I gave it a 3-star (which were negative). Weird that now I don’t remember much about the details of that film (I remember bits and bits but they were more like fragments of dream), but now thinking back I actually have a fond feeling for it.
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 09:00 AM)
    @Kaiser: Don;t remember what I listed Tinker Tailor for though, but the more I think about that film the more it holds up, that’s why I also want to check out the mini series of Tinker tailor back in 1970s. I have seen and enjoyed 3 of John Le Carre’s thriller adaptations (Tinker Tailor, Constant Gardener, A Most Wanted Man), so I think I won’t have any problem enjoying the Night Manager
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 08:55 AM)
    @Kaiser: Filho just directed Neighboring Sounds as his first full-length narrative, his previous films are either short or documentary, so won’t take you much time to catch up.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 01:20 AM)
    @Mario: I notice you have Tinker tailor listed, I recently watched the night manager, a tv series based on a book by the same author. It was pretty suspenseful and Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddelston are great in it, makes me think Hiddelston should be the next Bond. Although its not as complex as tinker tailor and its more accessible, faster and spelled out.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 01:17 AM)
    @Bam: Going back to that Italian/French fairytale movie you and Mario talked about, anothe good fairytale-esque film is company of the wolves.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 01:16 AM)
    @Mario: I’ve never heard of Filho, now I have someone else filmography to explore!
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 01:15 AM)
    And I hate that lack of certainty come to think of it that I couldn’t be sure if I’d have found out something on my own.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 01:06 AM)
    It gets frustrating looking at local cinema listings and seeing nothing but superhero and pg rated horror films being the only ones showing and after waiting for anything ANYTHING outside those genres I find its never showing anywhere.

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