glaurung_quena: (Default)
[personal profile] glaurung_quena
The original series of pulp novels is called "miniskirt space pirates," and the anime was released in English as "Bodacious Space Pirates", so you'd think this was a crappy sexist production full of fan service aimed at appealing to arrested adolescent males. It's absolutely not, which is why I'm using the Japanese title up there in the subject.

This is a fun, lighthearted space opera series focusing on girl power, girls working together to overcome adversity, and girls achieving their dreams (which have nothing whatsoever to do with boys or boyfriends). And it is completely devoid of the T&A fanservice bits that marred "Read or Die." The endemic sexism of the Japanese anime industry had to express itself somehow, though, so this lovely feminist series has a title that is almost guaranteed to drive away some of the people who would most appreciate it.

Backstory: In the distant future, humans have colonized the galaxy. A planet orbiting Tau Ceti called Sea of the Morningstar gets tired of being a colony subject to the homeworld, and they launch a war of independence. Lacking a space fleet, they take a page from the 17th century and issue letters of marque to pirates willing to harass the homeworld's fleet. The war is a success, but some bureaucrat made a minor mistake: the letters of marque have no expiration date. Issued to the captains of the pirate ships, they are passed down from parent to child, and you have pirate dynasties, operating with legal sanction.

100 years after the conclusion of the revolution, dozens of the pirate ships chartered during the revolution are still in business. In addition to taking on odd jobs too irregular or too risky for the taste of regular space merchants, the pirate ships get hired by the insurance companies that underwrite interstellar cruise liners. The pirate crews dress up in traditional pirate costumes, raid space liners with guns and swords drawn, and steal valuables from the high class passengers. This is deemed part of the entertainment provided during the voyage, and the cost of hiring the pirates and replacing the stolen valuables is factored into the first class ticket price.

Just prior to the first episode of the series, the pirate captain of the Bentenmaru, one of the first pirate ships commissioned by Sea of the Morningstar, dies. His partner Ririka seems to have decided that a pirate ship was no place to raise a child, so it comes as quite a surprise to 16 year old Marika Kato to learn that she can, if she wants, become the new captain of an honest to gosh pirate ship.

Marika thought she understood her life: she waitressed at an ice cream parlour, attended a fancy girl's high school, and belonged to the space yacht club at the school. Now she has to deal with a pirate crew that isn't quite sure if she has what it takes to command them, and various government agencies and rival pirate ships that are extremely interested in whether or not she plans to assume the mantle of her father (if she doesn't take over the letter of marque, the Bentenmaru's commission will expire and there will be one less pirate ship in the galaxy). Not to mention keeping up with her schoolwork and getting enough sleep.

Fortunately Marika's mom is awesome, her yacht club is full of resourceful girls who have her back, and the Bentenmaru's crew wants her to succeed because they want to keep their pirating gig.

While Read or Die had a few short story arcs to establish characters and then launched into a high drama, high stakes story that took over a dozen episodes to tell, Mouretsu Space Pirates sticks to shorter 2-4 episode stories throughout. The tone is light, the drama and the stakes are real but less nerve-wrackingly intense. Stories alternate between adventures with the yacht club and adventures with the Bentenmaru's crew (which appears to be half female).

Every so often I see people complaining about how North American SF has become too grimdark, too obsessed with dystopias. Japan is one of the places to go for optimistic SF, and this is one example. There doesn't seem to be any poverty in Marika's universe, and crime seems to have been made so rare that people pay to experience the thrill of being robbed. When it is revealed that the president of the yacht club is a lesbian and one of the Bentenmaru's jobs is to aid her lover, this is accepted by everyone without question (although there's quite a bit of blushing and looking away when the reunited lovers embrace).

I strongly recommend this series (26 episodes, plus a movie that feels like another standalone story from the series with a bigger animation budget) to anyone looking for girl-heavy SF that breaks away from the grimdark tone of so much Anglophone SF these days.

(no subject)

Jun. 25th, 2017 11:34 am
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
I've finally deleted my LJ - everything is transferred over here now but it still felt weird to do.

Meanwhile I seem to be having a Chronic Fatigue Flare Up. I've been glandy and floomped on and off for a couple of weeks now and I can't really keep hoping it's just a random lurgy (though obviously being asthmatic in the London heatwave air pollution midweek didn't help)...
Am resting and trying to do looking-after-myself and hoping it won't last too long.

(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:51 pm
halley: (Default)
[personal profile] halley posting in [community profile] lj_refugees

I hope it's alright for me to post this here.

(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:12 pm
jekesta: Peter (from Franklin and Bash) sprinkles sparkling lights over Jared's head (sprinkle)
[personal profile] jekesta
djlKSJDFOIJEWOIFHSODIFSDFS. OH.

Spoilers for my book. )

I can't tell you what a gift these books are in the midst of 2017. You should all have your pairings of 14 years ago come back to soothe you. Or not soothe, but whatever this is. Maybe if we all make it to 2028 Franklin and Bash will miraculously suddenly return and deal with all their issues from the end of s4 in emotionally wrought ways that at least slightly distract from all the wars and total lack of civil liberties.


(Seth Green is making a thing and Breckin Meyer is going to be in it. WITH HIS ACTUAL FACE. I thought that was never going to happen again.)


My MP has written back to my email about the DUP, and he says that actually he has a lot of friends in the DUP and that although he understands 'concerns from the lgbt community' he feels sure that they can work together for the good of everyone in the country. I hate him so much. And obviously I would really like it if we didn't destroy lgbt rights and everything, but I didn't even mention them. My email was about abortion, it wasn't just vaguely about abortion, I literally told him that he couldn't appropriately represent me in parliament if he didn't think that safeguarding my rights to a clean and safe abortion was important. But no, no reassurances there. I mean LGBT stuff, that's quite political isn't it, and we wouldn't want to mess up and lose votes. But denying basic rights to women... that's a bit more debatable.

(no subject)

Jun. 20th, 2017 04:36 pm
jekesta: Paul and Dylan love each other SO VERY MUCH. (neighbours pairing of yay)
[personal profile] jekesta
01. I think Rita is slowly improving but now I've written that down she'll likely stop. (Edit: She has a new raised red patch just developed. I'm taking her to the vet again in the morning.) I'm shampooing her twice a day because she has long fur so it's the only way to get things to her skin. I have to shampoo her then lock her outside for ten minutes covered in shampoo. Luckily it's good weather for that. She's out there now. Standing at the door. Staring at the door handle. I love her a lot.


02. As though just intuiting the world's lack of care, dreamwidth has eaten up my drafted post of great emotion about my book. Which is fine. But I love it so much I can't really manage, and I was doing well at reading slowly until yesterday I binged loads of it and now I feel sick. Some spoilers. )


03. I am bored. Like a child.

(no subject)

Jun. 17th, 2017 10:55 am
jekesta: Stay with your vehicle (Stay with your vehicle)
[personal profile] jekesta
1. Apparently people (directors) are outraged that 'aeroplane' versions of films are being made available for download by Sony. Pff. How hard could they get over themselves and their artistic fucking vision? Very very very hard. Like it matters if people want to show their children your film without your groundbreaking meaningful very very clever wank joke? Come on now. (!) I have so much nostalgia for the versions of films that used to be shown pre-watershed with the swear words dubbed over and the awkward cuts to take scenes out. I honestly never enjoy Jumping Jack Flash as much as I used to because I miss the weird low voice that used to interrupt every now and then which we honestly didn't even realise was meant to be part of Whoopi Goldberg's lines, we thought it was a fault on the tape. And I'm always a little bit upset when there is swearing in Die Hard. Basically Seth Rogen is all outraged about artistic integrity and I am happy to be on the opposite side of any argument from Seth Rogen.

2. It's always nice when the internet takes time out to hate Joss Whedon. And I know it's not like we lack people hating Joss Whedon any more, but it still feels vaguely reassuring to me when it happens.

3. Day 7: A song to drive to

Immediately on reading this I was trying to pick my favourite car song, and it was going to be difficult, because I love a lot of them but I do think the best one is absolutely Little Deuce Coupe and I also think that's a bit obvious and I might have had to pretend to have a better answer. (I really like 455 Rocket by Kathy Mattea, which is about her wrecking her beautiful car and I love the line 'as we skid I thought I heard the angels sing... it sounded like the beach boys'.)

But then I read the actual question, and the best song to drive to is this, without question:



Because INSTANTLY you are amazing, and every gear change is the coolest you have ever been, and cornering is a dream, and you are basically dancing.

(no subject)

Jun. 13th, 2017 05:58 pm
jekesta: Rita from Prisoner, opening shot b&w (Rita)
[personal profile] jekesta
1. I watched Season 5 of OITNB, closely followed by The Keepers, all in the matter of a few days. I went into one of those states where you are just confused at the idea of men in your television. (What are they, why would we care?) I really liked the Keepers, just because it was all about older women, and they were amazing and brave and interesting, and because it's a documentary it could never go 'oh that is enough women now' it just had more and more and it was beautiful to watch. I also really liked OITNB too.

2. I don't like leeks.

3. A song that makes you want to dance:



(All the versions of this with Marc Bolan's face in them are blocked in my country, I'm not just weirdly denying you his face.)

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