Anime Review: Bodacious Space Pirates – Abyss of Hyperspace
Bodacious Space Pirates was a show, back from 2012, which was a fantastic anime series, which had all the fun of old-school Juvenile SF, but without the problematic elements that those works often run into (and the problematic elements from some contemporary SF). However, the end of the series left me hoping for more, and in 2014, a film sequel to the series came out, subtitled Abyss of Hyperspace, with US release coming later in 2016. At long last, I’ve finally had a chance to watch it, so it’s time to give my thoughts.
The film is set a somewhat unspecified time after the events of the series. Times have gotten tough all over for our protagonists. The hyperspace routes are becoming more difficult to navigate, hurting freight and passenger liner business – and in turn hurting the business of privateers like the Bentenmaru, and freight services like former Sailing Club member Jenny Doolittle’s freight line. Just to add insult to injury, a major restaurant chain is reducing the business of the independent restaurant where protagonist Marika Kato works as a part-time job.
In the middle of all of this comes Kanata Mugen, a young man on the run from a mysterious group of people who are seeking the inheritance he received from his now deceased father. He ends up on board the Bentenmaru, with Marika promising to provide protection, and to help him figure out the mystery of his inheritance.
Now, I will admit that I watched this film on a computer screen, which is not the ideal way to watch this film. That said, the film looks good. The animation is nice, though admittedly didn’t seem much different from the animation from the television series. That said, that’s not really a strike against it, as the original show looked nice, with some interesting character and mechanical designs.
The original series generally avoided fanservice, and this show pretty much does the same. The spacesuits use a design comparable to Dava Newman’s BioSuit, though the BioSuit was unveiled in 2012, after the release of Bodacious Space Pirates, but similar concepts have been in the works for a while. Unfortunately, one of the film’s antagonists has a spacesuit with defined boob armor, which is unfortunate (boob armor, aside from the rather sexualization, is not actually practical as it guides any physical attack towards the person’s heart).
In terms of characterization, the film does a pretty good job of bringing most of the original show’s cast back for the film. They all have some stuff to contribute to the story, but some are used better than others. Probably the most disappointing aspect to the story is related to how Marika’s mother, Ririka, and Marika’s friend and fellow captain (or future captain) Chiaki, are incorporated into the story. They are both tremendously under-used, especially considering how the events in the film relate to Ririka, and how in the show Chiaki served as Marika’s foil (often described as the Spock to Marika’s Kirk).
I did enjoy the film, but it didn’t really feel like a satisfactory send-off to the characters and to the universe, instead leaving me still hungry for another season of the show. As far as whether you should see if – if you saw the series and liked it, it’s certainly worth watching. However, if you haven’t seen the show, watch that first, as this film is certainly not a good jumping on point.