Anime piracy is on the rise… no, not like that. Like actual pirates. Without even counting One Piece, the sheer number of pirates in anime is both impressive and satisfactory. Since decades ago, daring swashbucklers have sailed the high seas, or the sea of stars, in search of treasure and adventure.
In particular, we love these three pirate ladies… and we even made this list without dipping into the Straw Hats! (It would be a walkover if so — just consider them all equal best.)
Marika Kato, Bodacious Space Pirates
The anime pirate life isn’t necessarily about looting and pillaging. For some, it’s completely about the aesthetic… and occasionally doing a few errands.
In the world of Bodacious Space Pirates, space piracy is now legal… or, rather, space pirates are limited to legal activities. In exchange for running errands and “raiding” spaceships to entertain travelers, they get to fly through the sea of stars. High schooler Mariko Kato discovers that she’s descended from one of the greats, and she gives her all to become the best gosh darn space pirate ever.
Revy, Black Lagoon
From cute and friendly to absolute murder — not every anime pirate is out for a jolly time. Black Lagoon is a more modern look at piracy, revolving around translator Rock who’s been roped in to work for some unsavory sorts. Least savory of all is Revy, a buckwild gunner with a hell of a history and no qualms about shooting to kill. And considering her foes include heavily armed maids and murderous twins, she’s gotta be ready for anything.
Need something lighter? A bonus video gives her a cuter persona: Magical Girl Radical Revy-chan. But instead of magic and friendship, she just shoots guns a lot. So, basically, nothing has changed except the clothes.
If you want to up your anime pirate game, look no further than Leiji Matsumoto. The Captain Harlock creator had more than one space swashbuckler up his sleeve. Take Queen Emeraldas, who originally appeared as a counterpart to the aforementioned Harlock. The fearsome pirate has her own stories (though, as with much of Matsumoto’s work, the canon can be basically anything you want it to be).
Emeraldas is a loner who ends up traveling with a young boy named Hiroshi. Together, the two learn that it’s okay to rely on people when things get hard. She’s also in love with a certain person on the Arcadia… by which we mean Tochiro, she’s in love with Tochiro. And it’s absolutely adorable.
Who are your favorite anime pirates?