Bodacious Space Pirates: The Abyss of Hyperspace is a mouthful. It is also the film follow up to Bodacious Space Pirates, the anime based off of the manga. In the tv series, we get to know young Marika and the crew of the Bentenmaru. Now that the get to know you period is over, what kind of mischief is this lot getting into?
Now, one would think that the movie would require previous viewing of the TV series. While I will agree that would be beneficial, it is not necessary at all. I watched the first 10 episodes of the TV series before watching the movie myself. I think this did help me warm up to the characters and have a greater appreciation for the movie, but I definitely think the movie stands on its own.
Abyss of Hyperspace spends enough time for you to effectively get an understanding of what each important character is like without needing the show. Additionally, since the focal point of the story revolves around a new character, that removes a lot of the need to have a working knowledge of the character and why they react the way they do.
The focus of the TV series and movie revolves around a young girl named Marika. At the start of the show, she is just an ordinary girl trying to make her way through school and leading the yacht club. Her life gets flipped-turned upside down when her father dies. She is informed that her father was a space pirate and captain of the ship Bentenmaru.
The Bentenmaru and its crew isn’t necessarily what we think of when we think of pirates today. They commit piracy legally under the letter of marque, a license from the government. As her father’s only descendant, the crew of the Bentenmaru looks to Marika to take over as captain so they can continue to operate legally. The TV series then follows Marika as she begins to start her life juggling her new responsibilities of captain with her schoolwork.
As Abyss of Hyperspace starts, Marika has settled into the hectic mixture of responsibilities between school and piracy. The Bentenmaru is preparing to raid a liner with a recognizable passenger, Kanata. Once they have taken the young boy prisoner, a mystery begins to unfold. The boy’s father was the prominent Professor Mugen and this young boy could be the key to unraveling a mystery.
Kanata and the crew of the Bentenmaru begin to work together to discover a space travel relic that his father left behind for him. In the process, they also uncover details behind a large shadowy conglomerate that controls so much throughout the galaxy subsidiaries and holdings. These mysteries become the focus of the movie during the majority of its middle. This focus helps bring up opportunities for all the characters to get their time.
For a TV show about space piracy, it was never packed with wall-to-wall action. Following in its footsteps, Abyss of Hyperspace is much the same. There is a lot of time focused on giving the characters time to breath and interact with each other through dialog. As a result of this and the short runtime (near 90 minutes), the action is confined mostly to the ending. While the character dialog focus is great, the ending feels just a bit too short when it concludes.
In the end, the movie did feel much like a multi-part episode or arc of the show. The tone and pacing did felt inline with what I had watched previously. For my tastes, it did seem to drag just a little bit in the middle, but I think the character interaction easily makes up for it. Fans of the show might be satisfied with the story, but it may leave some wanting a bigger story and more time with characters they have already invested themselves in. My only real disappointment with the runtime and pacing is I feel like it could have benefited from more time to tell a more developed story.
I think the TV show and the movie both deliver a nice little character driven space opera. It may not be for everyone, but I do think every anime fan should be able to enjoy a viewing of the show and the movie. Even non-anime fans should be able to garner some enjoyment from a viewing. As it tells an effective standalone story, one does not need to see any or all of the show to enjoy the movie. For all fans of space science fiction who watch it, I think Abyss of Hyperspace can be an enjoyable time.
Movie Itself: 3.5/5
Abyss of Hyperspace looks quite beautiful. The animation is rather well done and blends CGI animation quite well. I do feel like some of the CGI heavy scenes don’t look as good as detailed as they should. Occasionally, they looked a little too glossy and smooth for the surrounding animation. This is a minor nitpick as overall; I felt they did a good job of blending the two. The animation overall is quite well represented in the transfer for this disc. The lines look good and the colors are nicely vibrant.
Picture Quality: 4/5
Sentai Filmworks brings us a strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track for this movie. There are two important aspects to the audio track in this movie: dialog and space action. As sparse as the space action might be for the title, the track treats it well. The action on the track is lively and well balanced. The dialog is also equally well treated. All conversations are clean and easy to hear. Nothing really felt over the top, but still fit the movie effectively.
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features and Packaging
- Clean Opening and Closing Animations
- Japanese Promos
A rather unexciting and small list of special features. You get clean copies of the opening and closing animations as well as the Japanese Promos. The promos are probably the most interesting and entertaining to see.
The packaging is pretty average as well. We are looking at just a standard case with artwork featuring many of the main players of the movie.
Packaging and Special Features: 2/5
Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace might surprise some with its pacing and depth. Anyone who goes into it only wanting space battle action might leave disappointed, but that is because they are entering with the wrong expectations. If you want a dialog driven story with a frame of light space piracy and battles, this should satisfy. While I think the show was a more satisfying experience, the movie serves as a good finishing touch. Once again, I think fans of anime will enjoy this movie and fans of the show will enjoy seeing one more adventure with their favorite crew. Technical merits are strong and support this release well. Recommended.