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The Enemy’s the Pirates!

From time to time, incredibly middle of the road, largely forgettable anime comes along that is by and large relegated to the annuls of history. It’s certainly not a hidden gem, and it doesn’t even have an advantage of at least being so bad it’s good. The Enemy’s the Pirates! is one more example of such a series. It is perfectly serviceable but has nothing to it that draws the viewer in. The characters are fairly typical of 80s anime, the art is respectable, the music gets the job done, and the story is a silly tale of unusual space pirates and the defence force tasked with stopping them. However, it has nothing to hold viewers' attention, and its attempts to do so are stale.

In the distant future, humans have colonized space and as civilization has expanded so has crime. Space pirates have become a big problem with various syndicates getting up to no good in the various sectors. To combat this the Division of Space Protection (DSP) was formed. It’s a law enforcement division that specializes in dealing with space pirates. The Enemy’s the Pirates! focuses on a particular team, a young man named Latell, his partner Apulo, a cat-like alien with a huge appetite, and Marsha, who has recently joined the team. They’re investigating a particularly illusive pirate leader named Youmei, who has been getting up to no good throughout the solar system. In time, this leads to the discovery of the CAT system which can turn an unsuspecting population into cats.

As one can likely surmise, this isn’t a show that takes itself seriously, and tries to be a comedy with Apulo eating everything in sight, he and Latell getting into arguments, additional characters turning out that they also don’t Apulo very much, and general shenanigans with people transforming into felines. It isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s definitely not good either. If anything, this OVA feels like a missed opportunity. In the right hands, it probably could have been a fun little series, as it stands the show simply goes through the motions without having anything that really helps it to stand out and be special in some way. Arguably the bit about people turning into cats attempts this, but it feels forced.

The same can be said for the art. It’s certainly not good, but it isn’t terrible either. Character design is typical of the late 80s, scenery and spaceships are serviceable, and the animation quality is fair. About the only saving grace that The Enemy’s the Pirates! art has is that the various cats in it are kind of cute, so people who like those little fur balls may get a kick out of that, and that’s being extremely generous.

Meanwhile, music throughout the series is standard late 80s rock. Fans of the genre may find a song or two that they like, but there isn’t much in the way of standout performances. The theme is actually pretty good, but as the series goes on things get quite repetitive and it becomes increasingly boring. There just aren’t enough quality pieces or variety to help flesh out the soundtrack.

There really isn’t much reason to actually watch this series. It’s basically a historical footnote that is best skipped. It has nothing terribly good or bad about it to justify investing the time in watching it. Maybe people who insist on watching any form of media with space pirates in it will insist of giving it a go, but for everyone else it’s just not worth it. There are plenty of other anime series out there of the era that are far more worthwhile to check out.

- IroIro
May 15, 2020

More Outer Space Anime:

- Maris the Chojo Anime Review

- Photon: The Idiot Adventures Anime Review

- Space Fantasia 1001 Nights Anime Review

Directed by: Katsuhisa Yamada
Studio: Madhouse
Released: 1990
Episodes: 6

The Enemy's the Pirates Image 1
Cover Art

The Enemy's the Pirates Image 2
Youmei the pirate boss

The Enemy's the Pirates Image 3
Apulo and Latell

The Enemy's the Pirates Image 4
Petroa freaking out