Space Pirate Mito Vol. #1 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Space Pirate Mito

Space Pirate Mito Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     December 08, 2002
Release Date: November 26, 2002

Space Pirate Mito Vol. #1
© Media Blasters

What They Say
Honor thy firepower and mother.

Mito isn't just another space pirate, she's a three foot tall childlike alien with enough guts to outshine a supernova. She's known as the galaxy's most dangerous pirate, a wanted criminal who destroys a dozen police space cruisers every day before breakfast. But all she really wants is to be called "Mom." Aoi, her earthbound son, has no idea about his mother's infamous career, or even what she really looks like. She's always worn her mom-suit around him, but that gets destroyed when the Galactic Patrol follows her to Earth. Aoi's in for an adventure that will bring him to all corners of the universe, with the first working mom to carry a pulse rifle!

The Review!
Loud, bright and full of energy, Space Pirate Mito is one of the most outgoing series I’ve seen in quite some time going by the first quarter of the series here.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Though fairly recent, it’s like most TV series and uses the basics of a stereo mix without doing a whole lot in terms of directionality across the forward soundstage. Dialogue is clear and crisp throughout and we didn’t notice any dropouts or distortions, but this falls under your basic decent sounding television track.

The transfer for this show isn’t quite as bright as a number of other series that have come out recently, but it’s definitely employing a solid array of colors, giving it a very loud feel at times. The transfer here is pretty solid with a good rendition of the colors, no cross coloration and only a few areas of noticeable aliasing. The series feels close to Lost Universe in how it’s going to look, as there’s a mix of traditional animation and then spaceship animation for some scenes being done in full computer generation mode. Those scenes naturally look much sharper, which in turn gives the regular animation scenes look a little more flat and almost grainy.

Almost cartoony looking, the front cover features the curvaceous look of Space Pirate Mito with a solid science fiction background, though with the amusing subtitle of “Call Me Mom”. It’s an eye-catch cover to be sure, though I’m going to guess at least a few people would question for a minute or two if it’s really anime based on the look. The back cover has a number of screenshots from the show and a decent summary of what to expect. The basic production information as well as technical information is listed here as well. Extra points for listing both the episode numbers and the volume number on the disc, but minus a point for listing a feature (outtakes) that’s not on the disc. The insert provides some more artwork and chapter listings for all four episodes.

The main menu is a bright character filled piece of static animation with the selections ringed around it. The opening song plays along and loops very well, considering how badly some menus stop at the wrong point and loop again. Access times are nice and fast and the layout, thought bright, fits perfectly with the series and there’s all kinds of neat little things to see if you spend the time with it.

The only extra included is a textless opening sequence, which is surprising since I’d expect a hyper series like this to have some dub outtakes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Originally called Stellar Buster Mito, this is a series that’s pretty much got the adrenaline going and doesn’t really stop for more than a few seconds here and there. The premise, or at least one aspect of it, it pretty original and interesting. We’re introduced to fifteen year old Aoi as he waits for his mother to arrive by train. She’s a professional model in New York, so she’s been away for over a year, and is often away it seems. His father passed away ten years ago, so the two of them are close, but separated by distance. Unfortunately, she doesn’t show up while he waits for her.

Up in space, we’re introduced to the infamous space pirate Mito and her large crew of aliens. What’s interesting or annoying about the crew, depending on your perspective, is that so many of them are just humanoid animals but done up in a more cartoony style. There’s some humanoid crew in there, such as some cyborgs and other mysterious types, but Mito appears to be the main real human there. Mito doesn’t quite match the description we’re given of her though as a tall voluptuous woman with long orange red hair. What we get is something more akin to an early teenage girl with bright red hair and glasses. In fact, she’s almost pre-teen or younger looking.

What we learn is that the tall version of Mito is actually a “Mail Suit”, or an exosuit as the dub calls it. Mito has a wide variety of these suits in different outfits and styles, which partially explains the mystery of how she managed on Earth in the past. How she dealt with Aoi’s father, never mind actually birthing a human child, isn’t really gone into here, but I don’t think that’s really the point either. The size issue is an interesting device, but it hasn’t really been employed here beyond the obvious sight gags and Aoi not believing what’s going on, even though he’s seen MiniMito coming out of the suit.

Mito’s time on Earth now is a rather bad one for her, as just before making the return, she ended up in combat with the galactic authorities, and their big bad leader acquired a picture of Mito’s son, so he’s sent off his troops to try and find him. These people all appear to be “regular” people, but also of the miniature size. They take to Earth as well as can be (since they’re not oxy breathers, they go through some interesting motions to adapt) and do what any hunter would do; enroll in high school to find the boy.

These early episodes revolve around introductions and Mito trying to keep things as normal as possible for Aoi, though it’s hard to do when the “cops” can throw a gadget onto a soda vending machine and have it instantly convert into a powerful vending-machine mecha. Aoi’s previous relationship with his fellow students gets even worse now that his mother is actually around and also that there are now others who are after him, though they’re misunderstood in their intentions. Things move very fast here with quick dialogue in both languages. The show has an overall soft feeling to it with a muted color base, but lots of bright ones mixed in. It seems more in tune with some 80’s series than anything released more recently.

The opening episodes here didn’t do a heck of a lot for me, since it seemed to be trying a bit too hard and too fast to do so much, but without providing enough information to really attach to the characters. There’s some interesting concepts in here, notably the Mail Suit, so I’m intrigued enough to see where it’s all going to go, but I’ve lost my love for series that get overly hyper and don’t produce much. This one looks to have a chance to overcome that, but it’s too early to tell now to be sure.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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