"What are you watching?" "It's about a rebellion and government sponsored mercenaries, but in space." "What's it called?" "Bodacious Space Pirates" "..." "..." "Want to watch a documentary on polar bears?"
These are not today's surly pirates who kidnap and extort or even those of yesteryear who rape and plunder but- well, in three episodes there hasn't been much of any kind of piracy. The assumption is that there will be pillaging and perhaps even looting at some point, it may even take place in space but whether these endeavours will be bodacious is the primary question.
So far, this is the restrained story of a high-school girl on a distant planet who has been informed of her lineage as some kind of omega pirate and her largely indifferent acceptance and eventual indulgence of this revelation. It's a foregone decision when the opening animation sees the heroine wearing a fashion mash-up of pirate regalia and school uniform (all the pomp with extra sexiness) and her crew, for the most part, seems already in place.
This errs on the side of hard science fiction though with attention paid to humdrum mechanical failures and touch-typing cyber warfare rather than running gun fights and the fierce abandon of sundering ships and razing ports that the series' title suggests. It's hard to imagine any of the preppy private school girls knocking back grog and getting into a bar scrap when, at the end of the third episode, they are sailing languorously through space on their yacht. It's to be somewhat expected when their pirate emblem includes pig-tails and a mandolin alongside the standard Jolly Roger skull and bones.
The attention to "realistic" elements of space travel seem especially ill placed when comparing space battles to naval battles is ripe for incredulity. But this is from the creator of the under appreciated Stellvia so the slow-and-steady approach isn't without precedence, as is the scandal-free crew composition of girls with a sole male teacher. Were it not for the form-hugging space suits and brief foray into locker-room sexual harassment, the series would be, so far at least, pleasingly sexless.
The shred-metal opening belies a thus far quieter and more thoughtful approach to what could have been another Nadesico - noisy and gung-ho. With a title like this you could be forgiven for expecting something more high octane and, while the potential is certainly there, the likelihood of it kicking-off wanes with each slow burning episode. If the gradual reveal of this universe's history and the focus on a character's personal dramas appeals more than the inevitable scuffle with the Interstellar Alliance then this may well turn out to be a worthwhile sleeper hit.