Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace
Followed by a sinister crew trying to catch him, a young boy named Kanata Mugen arranges for himself to become a "hostage" on one of the Bentenmaru's pirating raid performances. There, he tells Captain Marika about himself, his father and the legacy his father left the boy by way of a mechanical and very noisy parrot. Kanata's father was working on something related to the hyperspace gates, which is information other corporations would like to get their hands on.
Reviewer's Note: We've tried to cut back on spoilers as much as possible, but we're assuming *some* basic familiarity with the TV series here, so if you haven't yet seen it, you might want to think twice before reading this review!
Nicoletta: Bodacious Space Pirates was kind of a surprise find for me. A sci-fi goes, it's a bit silly, but it's the rare show that's earnest about that, and it ends up being a really, really good over-the-top swashbuckling space opera adventure with a great cast. It also ends pretty abruptly, and so let's just say that I was happy when I found out that the TV series wasn't the end, as far as anime adaptations of the novels went (as usual, I'll probably never actually get around to reading those).
Stig: The licensing and especially releasing of movies based on TV series on DVD or Bluray has been rather spotty, so I considered it a stroke of luck that this movie got the release it sorely needed. I considered it a bit less so when I realized the movie wasn't really going to go into the happenings of the TV series at all.
And therein lies the rub; how much did you want the movie to embellish on the mysteries it laid at your feet, particularly with its final story arc? How disappointed will you be when you start this movie up and eventually realize that very little of what was going on in the TV series is important for this, save for the fact that you'll be getting to see a lot of them again.
Admittedly, it is nice to see these people again. The ones you'll remember the most, I'm sure, is our two Princesses and Sailor Moon homages Gruier and Grunhilde Serenity, though the girls in the yacht club certainly do their part in this movie, as does the Bentenmaru crew for the most part. A particularly nice touch comes in the reappearance of Jenny Dolittle, whom had a whole story arc of her own when she wrested control of her company away from her uncle -- or maybe the more correct thing to say is that she took her own life back for herself, and when we see her again in the movie, she is well underways in creating a name for herself with her own company. Her lesbian lover, Lynn, is still a part of the yacht club, where she puts her computer skills to good use in what consists of the more technical aspects of this movie; good ol' cyber warfare. Either way, the two of them seem happy and content, which is all the more endearing. Though the movie's sadly a bit less overt about their actually being lovers rather than "very close friends" than was the TV series, which was a bit disappointing; somehow, we wonder if they might've been under some pressure to tone that down, with this movie seeing a somewhat wider release (most anime air late at night, after all).
The movie, despite its increased quality of animation, is still only half an adventure, much like its parent TV series. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, since Bodacious Space Pirates generally does a good mix of action and technical stuff -- the four initial episodes of the TV series notwithstanding. The mix is more satisfying here, since it sticks mostly to the bare essentials; it'd have to, since the movie sees fit to bring in most of its cast, and with just a movie to go on, that means the story is much more dense.
Nicoletta: I'd agree with Stig that it's maybe a *bit* disappointing to see the series launch into what's more-or-less a side story (or what feels a bit like one) and not really deal with the conflict we're in the middle of at the end of the TV series, but maybe it isn't all bad: sometimes, movie conclusions can end up being badly rushed (this happened to the Eden of the East series), and with the creators probably knowing they'd only get a movie and not more TV seasons, this may have been the best choice. And overall, it does a lot of what the Bodacious Space Pirates franchise does well: humor driven by Marika's ridiculously spunky personality, a sense of mystery and adventure at space travel, and just a lot of good-around silliness. The actual raiding parties are still a total riot, since absolutely *nobody* minds that pirates are raiding their ship, and in fact, it's something they kind of look forward to as a novelty! Overall, it ends up feeling a bit like an extended episode of the TV series, which isn't exactly bad.
The only new element, really is Kanata, who has a pretty standard "troubled emotional relation with father's legacy" setup. I'd say that Kanata maybe felt a bit "basic" compared to the rest of the show's characters in that his backstory isn't all that interesting to me, and that the focus on him largely takes the focus off Marika and totally off Chiaki; Chiaki, honestly, spends most of the movie rushing to get to Marika to deliver some news (shown in passing throughout the first half), and ends up being the butt of a joke when it turns out her showing up is totally redundant. So the two of them don't get a whole lot of screentime; Marika actually does really well as a sort of "older-sister" figure in this show, to Kanata, but I missed the focus on her story, her exploits, and her relationship with her mother....given that the elder Kato was always one of my favorite characters, it's kind of a shame that she barely does anything in this movie, although her one real scene is pretty hilarious. Anyhow, I warmed to Kanata, but he's still a bit out of place in the series. While I didn't totally end up being satisfied with how his arc went, the ending scene did end up being rather beautiful and lovely in its own way; if there's still something that Bodacious Space Pirates knows how to do well, it's nursing a fascination with space and the weirdness of its universe.
Stig: The main reason I can't see a movie as a "side story" is because even a movie has to belong to its parent series somehow, and the only thing Abyss of Hyperspace brings to the table is pirate shenanigans and space nerdery, both of which is nice and which I expected, but the series basically went out with a big bang and some revelations that piqued interest, and to hear none of that addressed, even replaced with mostly unrelated fare, is going to feel like we're being pushed aside. It IS a nice movie, but by keeping to an unrelated event, there is now even more pressure on my desire to see a continuation of the original TV series and the chance to see where they planned on going with the end of that. Right now, that uncertainty is what eats at me, and if this ends up being all we get, it's going to reflect rather poorly on the show and anime in general's tendency to not complete its stories. I'm going to lay down my rating as if there WILL be a continuation -- I'll show it that courtesy, at least.
Nicoletta: I went between loving this movie and feeling a vague sense of disappointment, but in the end it basically does what it sets out to do, that is, giving fans of the series a bit to drool over. It doesn't exactly leave me at a point where I feel that I can leave most of the characters alone, at the point they're at: barring a definitely ending, sometimes I just like to feel that I can leave the characters alone and not have to worry about them. We don't get much new character development here, and so that doesn't happen. But we do end up having a pretty fun little adventure, all the same.
Recommended Audience: There is a scene with Kanata waking up in Marika's bed and getting an eyeful of a rather mild hint of cleavage... which is the extent of the fanservice you'll get in this movie. The violence is pretty tame too. Nobody gets killed, and any deaths are more or less hinted at.
Version(s) Viewed: Region A Bluray, bilingual.
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace © 2014 Yuichi Sakamoto / Asahi Shimbun Publications Inc. / Project Mo-retsu
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