Upbeat Space Adventure! With Pirates! 26 episodes, available on Hulu, Crunchyroll, Netflix.
Some anime exist to tell profound stories and explore the depths of the human condition. Some exist as works of auditory-visual art. Bodacious Space Pirates, on the other hand, is twelve hours of non-stop fun. It is physically impossible not to be grinning like a demented chimp through nearly the entire show, and if you aren't carried away by the sheer levels of enthusiasm, then you are probably in a coma. Despite the raunchy name, there is absolutely nothing raunchy in the entire show, though it is a closet-full of moe cosplay material. The fine details of the plot fall apart under really any scrutiny at all, but that's ok, because the fantastic implausibility of the scenarios only adds to the frenetic, dreamlike atmosphere of wonder. If you prefer being happy over being sad, Bodacious Space Pirates is a must watch.
BSP is not a masterpiece of intricate plotting. Why on earth anyone thinks it is a good idea to give a spaceship and a small business to a high school girl is never adequately explained. But that doesn't really matter because her main qualification seems to be that she is super exited about absolutely everything, and thus she can face down any pirate challenges with raw power of gumption. It does get remarked upon later in the show that, for pirates, they don't do a whole lot of rape, pillage, and/or plunder, and the show answers that by saying instead of these non-pirate things that we do, how about we do other non-pirate things that are slightly more heroic. But, again, that is part of the thrill. No one wants to watch Marika become grizzled and embittered, that would be a completely different show.
I like to call this show "endless" rather than admit it doesn't have an ending. I think it got cancelled from ratings, which makes me all kinds of sad. Plenty of shows finish out the character arcs and then leave us with "but their adventures continued" instead of "and they all lived happily ever after", and I am fine with that, which is why I am conflicted about the ending. On the one hand, Marika's character arc has ended in a pretty safe place, and while I can well imagine what a second season would look like, it would be an addition to, not a completion of, the arc from this season. On the other hand, there was clearly a second season in the works, and one might exist in the manga, since the last few episodes were all about introducing the "vaster space" and the galactic empire and throwing out all sorts of character twists that all looked set to pay off next season. But there won't be a next season as far as I know, so now that we have spent 12 hours being happy, let us spend some time being sad.
I am having trouble thinking what else is quite this happy. Honestly, if you saw the schoolgirls and were hoping for some "bodacious" then go run off to Vividred Operation, you pervert. For a more contemplative and deliberately paced version of BSP, there is a show whose name I have forgotten but is listed on Crunchyroll as "humanity has declined", which I am pretty sure is not actually the name, though I could be wrong. Really, though, if you liked this sort of high action fun the best place to get more are the big weekly shows Fairy Tale and One Piece. Fairy Tale is more fun and One Piece is more adventurous, though both have plenty of both.
BSP is the distilled, concentrated essence of high energy fun. Also, if you are a cosplay fan, BSP is both a great source of concepts as well as being a grand dressing room for moe cosplay. The plot is simple and laughably implausible, and this adds to the exuberant joy that fills the show. And I would be remiss to not note that the animation quality is pretty excellent, especially during some of the loving pans of the space ships and the music is the right kind of loud. It doesn't quite make it into my top five, because for all the noisy excitement there really isn't a lot there, but it is definitely getting an honorable mention because for all that, I have a serious weakness for happy shows.
Based on how much I personally enjoyed it, I give Bodacious Space Pirates a 10/10