Mouretsu Pirates First Impressions – Pirates, Miniskirts and a Ukelele
January 9, 2012 2 Comments
Mouretsu Pirates started rather nicely, with an introduction to the universe, and why there are pirates roaming around it. The pacing overall felt well done, being about right for a series that is 26 episodes long. One of my major concerns for the series considering it is a Spacer Opera was that there would be far too much crammed into a single episode.
Mouretsu Pirates has everything you could possibly want from a show; it has pirates, girls, miniskirts, A Space Yacht Club, Wine by the jug, and most important of all, a ukulele on the jolly roger (its not actually a ukulele, closer to a Lute or a Mandolin). The story kicks off with a pretty pompous, and quite frankly brilliant introduction to the plot and the universe – complete with epic orchestral music and lots of overlays. We are introduced to Marika Katou, an apparently normal high school girl who is part of the space yacht club and has a part-time job as a waitress in what looks like a classic maid themed café. She is however meant to be the only daughter of a famous space pirate who has recently died, and has been told that only she can inherit his ship the Bentenmaru and go on some pirating adventures, sailing the seven seas (or the space equivalent) and generally cause mayhem, madness and drinking (the older crew members naturally). We also find out that her mother was this pirates wife and was also a pirate herself.
As plot twists go it isn’t the most original but works rather well with this story. Misa and Kane the two-crew members that come to give Marika and Ririka (her mother) the bad news also appear to be looking for new crewmembers for the Bentenmaru. They are shown searching Marika’s schools database for anyone with skills such as hacking, extortion and so on. Now apparently the pirates aboard the Bentenmaru are ‘legal pirates’ since the own a ‘Shiryakusen Menjou’ (Letter of Mark), which says that they are being piratical for the greater good, or more accurately the good of their particular independent planet (this isn’t unusual, have a look at the history of the English fleet during the Tudor period and see how many captains were actually pirates). We are also introduced to the incredibly temperamental transfer student Kurihara Chiaki, who apparently knows an awful lot more about Marika’s current situation than she does herself.
There were a fair few strange moments in this first episode. We have the mystery of the changing wine glasses when Misa and Kane arrive at Marika’s home to break the bad news. One minute Misa and Ririka are drinking wine out of nice classy wine classes, the next they have what look like massive beer glasses you get in Japan, and then for some inexplicable reason they are drinking wine out of massive tankards. It makes no sense, and more importantly, the amount of wine those two women put away is scary, but perhaps to be expected, pirates are a drunken lot after all.
I am also intrigued by the relationship between Marika and Chiaki, which is clearly central to the series if the opening and ending sequences are to b e believed. On the one hand we have the relatively ditzy, yet incredibly intelligent Marika, on the other we have the incredibly Tsundere Chiaki who seems to know an awful lot about Marika’s predicament and knows how to use a gun at that. I feel that this will be the central relationship in the series, and I hope it’s a good one, especially when Chiaki has an almost orgasmic- like ‘dere’ side whenever something sweet is put in front of her. The ‘suspicious Individuals’ who come looking for Marika are also laughable in their absurdity; they are the epitome of government agents, complete with hidden guns, dark glasses and black suits. It’s a nice little touch, which demonstrates that it is not taking itself especially seriously.
I really, honestly enjoyed the first episode of Mouretsu Pirates, it was incredibly entertaining, quite funny and looks to be a potentially very good series. It is not high brow in any way, as a show it knows that the concept itself is a bit on the ridiculous side and simply plays to that, producing an episode that delivers just enough to move the story forward while leaving its trump cards well hidden, to be pulled out in later episodes one hopes. And more importantly, I’m always going to love a series that has a pompous opening, only to follow it up with a ukulele on the Jolly Roger, that’s class right there. The pacing was really nice as well; it felt like a 26 episode series, with neither too much, nor too little being added into the episode. There is still a long way to go, and if the opening sequence is anything to go by, a lot more crewmembers to gather, but this series looks entertaining. I just hope that it continues this way as the series progresses, because if it does, Mouretsu Pirates will easily be one of my favorites for the season.
Oh, and one final thing, I absolutely refuse to call it Bodacious Space Pirates, a title that sounds as if it was thought up by a 1960s surfer. As titles go it is almost as bad as calling Asobi ni Iku Yo, Bombshells From The Sky, or Cat Planet Cuties, just another aspect of certain American companies ruining anime titles for the sake of apparent marketability. Miniskirt Pirates is ok (it is thetitle of the original light novel after all), but I shall call it Mouretsu Pirates, and whoever thought up the name Bodacious Space Pirates should be flapped about the face with a wad of cash or something.