April 22, 2012

The Hakuoh Pirates' First Job

This episode of Bodacious Space Pirates was largely humorous with less adventure and more silliness than usual. There was a serious point though.There are no longer ANY training wheels. Marika is well and truly in command now. She OWNS this, and although she has a solid XO there is really no one to fall back on.

Also: I didn't see this coming.

The XO is shocked too! At what, we won't tell.

Bodacious Space Pirates really is an intriguing show. Set in the FAR FAR FAR future, the story of a 16 year old girl, who due to an unlikely set of circumstances,* ends up in charge of an interstellar privateer is obviously a thing of whimsy. However, it is surprisingly down to earth and thoughtful in other ways.

One of the things that has impressed me is that it actually deals with leadership. I mentioned in an earlier post that Marika, the young CO, was initially thrown into a position not unlike that of a green ensign or "90 day wonder". That is, she had considerable skill, but zero experience and found herself in command of a small unit, virtually every member of which has been doing their jobs far longer than her. She had to learn to delegate, take advice and cope with the fact that the buck stops with her. It is upon her decisions that the crew will live or die (or go bankrupt...the privateer is a business after all). This has been handled with far more intelligence and subtly than one has any right to expect from a sci-fi cartoon.

Now they've turned this on its head and Marika is in a situation where SHE is the veteran and has to train, mentor and direct people who, while they are volunteers, have very rudimentary training, and not all of them have gotten their heads around the fact that this is a real job, and not just a lark. Marika and her acting XO handle this quite well. The writing on this is impressive.  It's like 12 O'Clock High with zap guns.

This show has a 16 year old female protagonist and it is (very occasionally) set in a high school, and yet it is not a teen angst show, or a show about slacking or raging against an unfair world.

If I had a daughter, I'd want her to watch this.

 This show actually has a lot in common with Heinlein's juvies in that it's is aspirational. Marika is a young adult who is dealing with life's challenges as an adult. She does not run from her responsibilities, and while she takes them seriously she does so with good humor.

  ...and humor is an important thing to have when things go all higgly piggly...

  Quite aside from all that, the premise is pretty clever....

The treaty loophole** that allows the planet to keep highly regulated privateers as naval auxiliaries, combined with the "official" synergy between the insurance companies, the Cruise Lines and the Privateers...is just inspired.

 The action is superb, the characters are likeable and 16 episodes in we haven't had a single upskirt shot yet. I'm quite impressed.

UPDATE: Slightly spoilerish explanations for * and ** added below the fold.

Here's the piratical premise as explained over several episodes.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 02:21 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 I was shocked at that surprise as well (my jaw literally dropped open). 

As to that "treaty loophole" that keeps the privateers running, I do wonder if the author/planetary government plans for a more militaristic role for them in the future.  The regular crew does seem to be fully capable of real small arms combat, and the ship has full-power anti-ship armaments.  None of that seems to be needed for their usual jobs....

Posted by: Siergen at Sat Apr 28 21:05:01 2012 (3/gGt)

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