Mouretsu Pirates 06 – It’s A Pirates Life For Me, Drink Up Me’earties Yo Ho!
February 13, 2012 Leave a comment
The prologue has finished, Marika has decided to become captain of the Bentenmaru – bring on the paperwork. If anything, this episode taught as how much bureaucracy is involved in becoming a pirate captain, probably more than you need to buy a house. It was also an excellent episode that had a significant amount of both character, and plot progression. This week was a so a rather fun and lighthearted look at Marika’s new surroundings and what her life as a Pirate captain will be like. Watching Marika get strung along by the rest of her crew, and even going with the flow, carrying out all her duties, which even includes making Plastic models of the Bentenmaru.
Marika seems to be the most surprised at how quickly she is thrown into the life of a space pirate, clearly assuming – as she mentions right at the beginning – that she can continue her happy high school life until she graduates. The setting does make quite a dramatic shift from the space Yacht Club which has graced out presence for the past few episodes to the Bentenmaru. And while we are not introduced to the entire crew – something that is unlikely to happen – we do get to see the more important members of the bridge crew. We are briefly introduced to Hyakume, Luca, Schinitzer, San-Daime and Coorie, along with Misa and Kane in more piratical looking clothes this time around.
We were also given a mesmerizing in-depth look at the world of Ume no Akeboshi, which provided some simply breathtaking vistas, something that I would have liked more of in previous episodes. I love Space Opera series, but there are times when it is nice to see the planets that the ships fly past, and in this case the planet that was at the center of a Galactic war 100 years before the present day in the series. Along with our little planet side tour, we were provided with a history of space pirates, courtesy of Misa and her simply amazing hand-made storyboards. It’s great to see Misa presenting quite a serious history of space pirates with these incredibly storyboards, all the while Marika and Chiaki wondering how on earth she has made the, even commenting on whether or not she likes handicraft. It is these little touches that make for an entertaining series, even when there are important details being explained that have an impact on our heroine’s current situation, it is never overly serious.
Interestingly enough, Misa’s explanation demonstrates the ambiguity surround being a Space Pirate, and how their status is open to constant interpretation. It appears that the Galactic Empire that stopped the War of Independence between the Colony Federation and the Suzerain Planets appears to formally recognize space pirates as a private military. This helps to explain why Marika becoming the next potential captain of the Bentenmaru got so much attention from government agencies and military organizations. It also means – as explained in the episode – that they have to be constantly active in order for their Letter of Marque to remain valid, while being tactical and choosing the right targets to attack or raid. What is open to interpretation, as brilliantly demonstrated in this episode, is whether they are purely there as entertainment or are actual pirates who have both modernized and adapted their approach to piracy to fit their current situation. From this episode and the preview of next weeks episode it seems pretty clear that it is the latter – they have adapted their approach to piracy in order to loot all the gold, jewels and rum, while being careful not to take human lives needlessly. Misa was pretty clear when she pointed out that they get into life-or-death situations, and that there are other parties out in the vastness of space that will not hesitate to shoot them down. It is clear that the ambiguity surrounding being a space pirate is both a strength and a weakness, and many other interested parties see them as nuisances, but also as potential threat due to their private army status.
Perhaps the main reason for the excitement of the Princess Apricot’s passengers is the rarity of space pirates, where being robbed by one must seem as a once in a lifetime experience. It appears that there is an implicit understanding amongst many of the passengers that space pirates do not kill unnecessarily, and that simply handing over their valuables will secure their safety and give them a once in a lifetime experience. Kane, posing as a passenger on board the Princess Apricot helpfully points out to two ladies who are evidently new to the whole concept of space pirates – and seem to be genuinely afraid for their lives – that there is nothing to worry about, the cruise liner covers all space pirate costs with its insurance. If anything, that a cruise liner will have space pirates written into its insurance helps to demonstrate the fine line between serious space piracy and entertainment factor. Of course there is always the possibility of passengers fighting back, and Kane goes on board the cruise liner to put on an act of defiance and defeat thus (hopefully) minimizing the chances of such resistance happening.
Seeing Marika carry out a textbook robbery of a cruise ship – quite literally reading her lines from a book – is a sight to behold, and does cross the line between work and entertainment. It is clear from the reactions of the Bentenmaru’s crew that this is simply another day at the office, with many of them getting rid of their normal, everyday overalls to put on clothes befitting a pirate – scars and eye patches were in much abundance. I really enjoyed watching Marika really get into the part of a pirate captain, right down to the swashbuckling swordplay with Kane; it was a spectacular act. I am curious to see what happens in the future as the crew do have to prepare for every eventuality, and naturally not every job will be like this one, with many being more serious and more to do with the private military aspect of being a space pirate.
What this episode also demonstrated was Marika’s growth as a pirate captain along with her friendship with Chiaki. It was fascinating to watch how Marika took on board the lessons, and importantly we also saw the main crewmembers reactions to their new captain. It is telling when one of them says that having a captain who finishes things flawlessly – as Marika appears to have done with her tests – is not necessarily what they want. Chiaki’s return to Marika’s side further demonstrated how these two characters work perfectly together. Marika may be able to make split second decisions and do things almost flawlessly, but she needs the stead guidance of Chiaki, along with her friendship to work to her full potential. Seeing Chiaki switch into Tsundere mode as Marika rushes to hug her is beautiful, and entertaing to watch.
It is this interaction and relationship, which is key to the series I feel, and have mentioned it on several other occasions. What is interesting is that Chiaki constantly berates Marika about her personality, at one point even suggesting that Marika’s ditzy personality is little more than an act to get out of responsibility. Marika is an interesting character partly because of her personality; she is airheaded at times, but also has the ability to make split-second decisions and think outside the box when needed – perfectly shown with her quick thinking during the crisis in episode 5. This may in fact annoy and frustrate Chiaki, as she might be seeing in Marika qualities that she wants, along with the ability to do things her own way. Chiaki even mentions when she arrives on the Bentenmaru that she has never had the opportunity to do anything pirate related even though she is the daughter of a pirate captain. So, while she may live on a pirate ship, it seems she has yet to be able to do anything involving the ship. This makes her annoyance, and at times anger at Marika far more interesting, but also gives us the opportunity to see Chiaki come out of her shell and go a little crazy as her friendship with Marika continues to deepen. When she finally leaves the ship at the end of the training she does mention that no one is alone in space, half addressing an earlier comment by Marika, but also seemingly talking to herself, perhaps about her own situation.
This episode was something of a crossover, bridging the gap between Marika’s relatively normal high school life in the prologue to that of being captain of the Bentenmaru. It demonstrated the laws and regulations about being a pirate, along with drilling into Marika the necessity of trust amongst her crew and her. We also saw that while Marika may have the instincts of a captain, she is a long way from being a captain, and must learn to think outside the box, do things differently and perhaps rely on others more. While the fight at the end may seem a little superfluous, it was another step on Marika’s journey down the road of being a pirate captain, and as Schnitzer (the big metal guy) points out to her, its not what other people are like that is important, it is who you are yourself. This episode did however bring up an interesting question, if the war from. The ambiguity of being a space pirate is quite fascinating and brings to mind any questions about the entire situation. It seems clear from the preview that space is far from being this harmonious place, but rather one of constant conflict, trouble and dodgy boundaries. It will be fascinating to see how Marika grows as a person and a captain now that she is firmly ensconced in her fathers chair and cabin.