Bodacious Space Pirates is a new anime series for 2012 which tells the story of Mariko Kato, heir to the pirate ship Bentenmaru following the death of her father, the ship's captain. Bodacious Space Pirates is written by Yūichi Sasamoto (co-writer of Venus Wars), directed by Tatsuo Satō (Stellvia, Martian Successor Nadesico), and animated by Satelight Inc. (Macross Frontier, Hellsing Ultimate). It's already been licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks.
Note - Most folks, including the subbing groups, are referring to the series as Mouretsu Space Pirates, the name of the light novel series this anime is based off of. Mouretsu, as it turns out, means miniskirt. Every other source, from ANN to Wikipedia and even the series logo, show the series is actually called Bodacious Space Pirates.
Three episodes in I'm thinking this may be the best series to air since the end of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Yes, it's that good, and yes there's that much potential. When the series was first announced everything thought, "Miniskirt pirates? Girls with miniskirts in space?! Moe and panty shots here I come!" Thankfully the vast swarms of weeaboo Americans have been left horribly disappointed. With three episodes down and plenty of opportunities, both planet side and in zero-g, there has only been one panty shot. And I only know this because someone on 4chan went to the trouble of freeze framing the otherwise unnoticeable.
There're still plenty of other aspects of the show to drool over
Instead we've been handed a very well throughout series both from a plot and setting mentality. The futuristic setting of Space Pirates is definitely filled with it's fair amount of standard, need not be explained, sci-fi elements. Yet alongside are surprisingly smart and realistic additions like the concept of electronic and psychological warfare. In the third episode a somewhat surprising amount of time is spent on the technical elements of their space suits. Bodacious Space Pirates may feature the most accurate depiction of space since Planetes.
Another key element thus far has been the plot. What's most notable is that things are progressing at a relatively slow pace. There are some folks out there complaining about this but, well, they're all idiots. So far the show has taken it's time developing the setting and characters without being boring or strenuous. I like that they're giving the characters time to slowly work into the inevitable. Not only is it more realistic but it's far more credible in explaining how a teenager could become a captain of a pirate ship (Bandai, take heed). Thus far things have flowed really well and I have ended each episode hungry for more. That's something I haven't been able to say in a long time.
From a production standpoint the series is rock solid. The animation and character designs are well done and consistent. The background music fits the themes of the show well while the opening has been enjoyed by all. While I haven't taken a deeper dive into who's behind the mics, Space Pirates' voice acting sounds pretty solid as well. In fact, I have only one qualm with the series, and that's that we shouldn't be promoting the idea of shooting from the hip. If we're going to punch holes in heavily armored vehicles, can we at least do it with a bit of accuracy?
So, should you be watching this series? Yes. Now.
Do whatever you can to support this series. At this point it appears to be doing poorly over in Japan (based on the Fan Art Index).