Today we’re proud to present our first Tester’s Corner for Space Pirate Sara from wavedash!
On its surface, Space Pirate Sara may look identical to the hundreds of sci-fi or fantasy-themed nukige out there. And on the surface, it kind of is. Several female protagonists unwillingly engage in hardcore sex involving weird things (weird to some people, at least) like orgies, tentacles, monsters, tentacle monsters, etc.
The sex in Space Pirate Sara is pretty much what you’d expect. What makes the game stand out is how the sex is contextualized and presented.
Having first-person narration by the female protagonist for 99.99% of the game changes how H-scenes are presented, for the better in my opinion. Many of them do not even have a (human) male participant, although a third of them feature futanari (hermaphrodites). So if you like futa (or female protagonists), this game is for you.
A female narrator also affects how the story is portrayed. For a quick run-down: Sara is searching the galaxy for a certain sword and discovers it is being held at a vacation planet. When she and her comrades raid the castle of the planet’s Baronesses, they are defeated and captured. During the day, Sara is trained to be a sex slave; during the night, she assists her second-in-command in breaking into a vault holding the sword.
The story isn’t exactly Oscar material. However, the use of a female narrator changes how the story is portrayed. Compare to other nukige: in Valkyrie Svia, two valkyries must be “conquered” else the world be destroyed; in Slave Witch April, a haughty witch is “conquered” by an abused apprentice. In games like these, there is no real conflict between the girls’ “training” and the story. In fact, they coincide: you want the valkyries to succumb because (a) the world ending is bad and (b) it’s hot; you want the witch to succumb because (a) she’s a giant bitch and (b) it’s hot.
This is not the case in Space Pirate Sara. There are two conflicting, incompatible sides. On one hand, you have Sara, who is searching for a special sword. You empathize with her because you learn about her strengths, her weaknesses, her background, her goals. On the other hand, you have Sara’s enemies, who want to “train” her. You empathize with them because, once again, it’s hot. This dichotomy makes the story unpredictable and engaging.
Perhaps one of the biggest selling points is Space Pirate Sara‘s artist. Seura Isago is a prolific doujinshi manga artist, and also does a bit of hentai manga. The art speaks for itself. But I will also contribute some words: it’s fantastic.
Unrelated tangent warning: I’ve always felt that a large portion of hentai art can be categorized as either vanilla or hardcore. And I do mean purely the art style, not the content. I have a hard time putting my finger on it; the best I can do is that vanilla art has body proportions and facial expressions more similar to a traditional non-hentai anime/manga style, and uses ahegao less often or less extremely.
Space Pirate Sara uses what I would call hardcore art. However, the content is par for the course compared to most sci-fi or fantasy nukige. There’s nothing too extreme. The hardest-core it gets is one scene with some brief asphyxiation.
I’d be remiss not to mention the anime adaptation of Space Pirate Sara. The art and story are better in the eroge, as you might expect. The adaptation is great by hentai anime standards, but still exhibits symptoms of insufficient animation budget. The art style is different in the anime, and different in a bad way. There are also various changes made in the adaptation process that affect how most characters are portrayed. For example, in the eroge, Sylia is used as a foil to Sara’s strength and dignity, but in the anime, she’s more of a fellow prisoner. The anime also barely touches on how terrifying and powerful the twin Baronesses are.
The anime also cuts out a few H-scenes, six by my count. Five of which I would have preferred to see animated over some other scene in the hentai, but three of which are alternate endings. Also missing are some of the original voice actors and the puzzles guarding the Baronesses’ vault, most of which are quite interesting. And frustrating.
At the end of the day, Space Pirate Sara isn’t a fantastically revolutionary eroge. It does enough differently from its competition to be fresh and interesting, and everything it doesn’t do differently is done well. All while doing great in the H department as well. What can I say? It’s hot.