Mouretsu Pirates 05 – Space Battles, Pirate Ships, and One Massive Laser Cannon
February 5, 2012 3 Comments
S0, the prologue or introduction if you will to Mouretsu Pirates has finally finished and Marika has decided to become a space pirate – to which I say ‘Banzai’! Although at least one little surprise awaited us at the end of the episode, something that I had thought about, but had not really looked at in great detail until now.
It has been a fascinating five episodes so far, introducing all the main characters, along with demonstrating why Marika is a true pirate captain in the making. This episode was no exception, with Marika showing everyone her exceptional decision making skills, along with on the spot planning and a clear understanding of tactics and strategy in space warfare. We picked up where we left off last week with the impending space battle against an unknown enemy clearly intent on stopping Marika from becoming the captain of the Bentenmaru. The pacing ahs continued to be excellent; although I think for some people it may be too slow. For me each episode has continued to show us the kind of person Marika is, along with demonstrating her growth when in space and under pressure. In terms of character and story building I feel that this prologue of five episodes has been brilliant, and preferable to merely throwing everything at us in the first episode or two.
While there are many other characters in the show, particularly those in the yacht club, these first five episodes clearly focussed on Marika, for obvious reasons. From the opening we know that she will become the captain of the Bentenmaru, the question was how. What these episodes, and in particularly this latest demonstrated were her qualities as a captain. Yet again we saw Marika essentially in the captains role, even though Jenny the Yacht Club president was in the captains chair, Marika was calling the shots as it were. The first half of the show had a relatively slow pacing, similar to the previous ones, with the club making their final preparations for the upcoming battle. The second half was the actual battle, although, still it was quite a curious one, and very claustrophobic in many ways. The majority of the action took place in the bridge of the Odette II, with Marika and the yacht club preparing for the attack and dealing with the danger of cyber warfare designed to shut down their ship entirely and give their attackers free reign over what the Odette II did.
I found the drama pretty tense actually, and although there was a fair bit of techno babble, as befitting a space opera, it was clear to understand what they were up against. It was fascinating to see the clear decisions made by this group of high school girls, along with the definite orders given out by Jenny, someone who is clearly used to being in command. We also learn that Jenny is not someone to be taken lightly or annoyed, since she is perfectly willing to be both sarcastic and condescending to anyone who tries to take her and her ship for a ride. But as the saying goes ‘best laid plans of mice and men’ – we come across a little issue with their plans, and end up having the ship firing a beam cannon at them with optical sight. As mentioned by Kane, Marika is someone who makes clear, on the spot decisions and sticks with them to the end. In this case she comes up with what I think was clearly the best way of dealing with their attackers. It was a brilliant sight seeing Marika swing into action, adjusting the Odette II’s solar sails and essentially turning the ship into one massive magnifying glass.
As usual both Kane and Misa took a backseat role in all of this, knowing that the girls were attempting to fight off their attackers without their club advisors knowing. To me, both Kane and Misa were there to watch Marika grow; Kane has already demonstrated on several occasions that he fully trusts Marika. We yet again see his trust in this episode, when he is happy to sit back and watch, with full knowledge that if a situation arises where they are needed Marika will not think twice about contacting them. They are there to observe their new captain and nothing more, knowing that in the very near future she will be commanding their ship. Over the past episodes, Kane in particular has grown on me, as he is someone who makes rational decisions, and while is there to protect and guide, will only step in when absolutely necessary, instead allowing people top make mistakes and find out things for themselves. Misa has been a little bland until now unfortunately, and hasn’t really added as much to the story as Kane, I hope that she will get more screen time in the coming episodes.
At least one mystery was cleared up this week as well, it turns out that Chiaki is also a pirate, daughter of Kenjou Kurihara, and captain of the pirate ship, Barbalusa. Her following Marika around begins to make sense, although I am disappointed that the last couple of episodes have lacked that Chiaki Tsundere charm. We now have some divergence among the characters, with Marika becoming the captain of the Bentenmaru, and Chiaki already being the captain of the Barbalusa. Thankfully, it looks as if the Odette II, or Hakuchou as it is known will continue to play a part in the story, and I feel it is highly likely that the yacht club might take part in a bit of piracy themselves. One thing’s for certain if the end sequence, and the preview is to go by, we are going to be getting a lot more space action and flashy effects from now on. It was great to see a space battle even if it was a small one, especially when the Bentenmaru and Barbalusa come flying in at the end to apparently obliterate the threat. The Stella Military’s ships look brilliant as well, like swords, but they are tiny compared to the Odette II.
It will be interesting to see how the story progresses from here; it is still clear to me that the central relationship in Mouretsu Pirates is between Marika and Chiaki. Now, the situation is complicated slightly with Marika being the captain of the Bentenmaru, while Chiaki is the next in line to be captain of the Barbalusa. Chiaki and Marika have become closer of these five episodes and if anything we are seeing Chiaki’s hard shell start to crack under the airheadedness that is Marika. I am looking forward to seeing how their relationship and friendship progress over this series, as I feel it will. It will however be interesting to see how all these groups interact when there are three separate pirate ships involved, although it is clear that the focus will be on the Bentemaru, with the Barbalusa and Odette II as backup ships, there to help when needed. I also have to commend Mouretsu Pirates for the lack of any real fanservice, something that is pretty big considering we have loads of chances where the girls if floating in zero gravity in their school uniforms. I have nothing against fanservice, but it is good to see a decision not to add immense amounts of gratuitous fanservice simply because the case are mainly made up of high school girls floating around in zero gravity wearing short skirts. This demonstrates that the show does not need to have fanservice, instead it is the story and the characters that drive it forward, that and the amazing visuals and space-scapes.
Ririka knew all along that Marika would become the Bentenmaru’s captain, we could see that throughout their interactions, and while she looked slightly taken aback at first, she was not surprised. If anything, I think Ririka was taken aback by the sudden formality of Marika calling her ‘mom’ rather than her name, something that to me signifies the importance of her situation. As a character Marika ahs a lot to learn about pirating and space, but she’s off to a good start, and we can finally see her in that awesome pirate outfit from the opening and ending sequences, plus the Ukulele will return at last! I look forward to seeing the crew of the Bentenmaru at last, who until now have been little more than disembodied faces in the opening and ending sequences, I hope they are as eccentric as they look. And finally, I haven’t mentioned this until now, but the Mouretsu Pirates soundtrack has been brilliant, although I would love to have more epic music like we get during the introductions and previews. So, prologue has finished, bring on the real pirating!