Mouretsu Pirates 08 – A Galactic Princess and Political Conspiracies
February 27, 2012 Leave a comment
The plot thickens in Mouretsu Pirates this week with the introduction of a princess from an ancient royal family, who apparently managed to sneak aboard the Bentenmaru without being detected. What follows her are several mysteries and a political conspiracy that appears to involve, not only her own planet, but also the crew of the Bentenmaru, and perhaps even the Galactic Empire itself. Mouretsu Pirates is still taking its time however, giving the viewers little clues here and there as to what may come in future episodes, and perhaps even the finale of the season itself.
This week presented us with some curious questions about the Bentenmaru, Marika’s father and the reality of what appears to be a tenuous truce between different star systems. It also demonstrated yet again, Marika’s ability to make on the spot decisions and a tactical mind that is hidden under a slightly dense looking exterior. The mysterious stowaway turns out to be Princess Gruier Serenity, seventh princes of the Serenity royal family, and someone who clearly has deep ties with the Bentenmaru, and particularly with Marika’s father. That she asks for Marika’s father Gonzaemon Kato, assuming that he is still alive and thinking that Marika is lying was rather interesting. What made the entire sequence a little strange was the look of sadness, along with the tone of her voice when she realises (with the help of information provided by Corrie) that Gonzaemon is dead were intriguing. Gruiers relationship with Gonzaemon, and in particular the Bentenmaru will remain a mystery for some time it seems. And while it is clear that she was incredibly attached to him, there is also an ambiguity about their relationship, one that the crew either don’t know about or are feigning ignorance.
The other major mystery of this episode was also courtesy of Gruier Serenity again – she hires the Bentenmaru to search for a ‘golden ghost ship’. In pirate stories a ‘ghost ship’ (golden or not) and treasure usually mean one of three things. Either it is a metaphor for something mystical and amazing, perhaps lost technology or supernatural phenomenon, or it is a literal ghost ship filled with treasure (the treasure can be gold, or again information or technology). There is also the third option where it is both, and in all cases it usually means trouble is on the horizon. In such cases there will almost always be some sort of government or other conspiracy to claim the treasure and its power and use it for nefarious purposes. I do not know yet what this ghost ship is, and what it holds, what is certain however is that there are numerous people all fighting to get their hands on it.
It has become obvious that piracy in this series is partly an act, one put on for space cruiser operators in order to provide entertainment and a chance to encounter a real pirate for the passengers. This episode, however, also demonstrated that pirates take on another, more dangerous role at times. Due to the political struggles that clearly continue between planets, and within planets governments, pirates take on jobs that could be politically, and militarily delicate. They are expendable in a sense, carrying out jobs for anyone and everyone, not taking sides, and importantly, anything that they do, or happens during a mission should not have any political ramifications. What was fascinating this week was how Marika and the crew of the Bentenmaru appeared to be more like royal escorts than pirates – taking the upmost care not to be disrespectful to Princess Gruier Serenity, who has already made it clear that she is perfectly capable of hacking the Bentenmaru’s systems. This in itself suggests something more suspicious is at work, especially when a news report is broadcast saying that Gruier is missing and may have been kidnapped. This also demonstrates the political infighting within the Serenity court – something that the Bentenmaru crew have no become involved with. This is a further problem to Marika who is already juggling her schoolwork, along with being a pirate captain – she now has to deal with political intrigue and fighting amongst royal factions. It was, however, amusing to see the crews reaction the appearance of a Princess on board the ship, and I especially loved Schnitzer’s hilarious reaction and refusal to be the one who shows Gruier around. He might be a robot, but you could almost see the blush on his little metal face.
It is obvious that Gruier has come aboard the Bentenmaru for her own reasons, clearly shown by her deception in sneaking on board, rather than with a fanfare. That she is unwilling to speak to anyone but the captain also suggests that Gonzaemon may have known something about this ship, or simply be someone whom Gruier is willing to trust. It was also curious to discover that the ‘optional extra’ act in last weeks episode appeared to be a convenient way to get Gruier on board the Bentenmaru – and that the warships were a royal escort. I am still unsure about her intentions though, and Gruier appears to be purposefully keeping valuable information from Marika as to what the ghost ship is exactly and its significance in this whole mess. It almost appeared as if Gruier had intentionally tried to make several Serenity warships engage the Bentenmaru in a fight in order to draw out the ghost ship. Seeing her reaction when it becomes abundantly clear that not only is the warship she sent for damaged, but that it is also being chased by four others suggests that she may have underestimated the opposing factions within the Serenity court. I have to wonder why she enlisted a warship to deliver information about the ghost ship to her, when she has also demonstrated her ability to contact the palace through secret, potentially clandestine means. Perhaps this is all part of some deception on her part, and she is attempting to get to the ghost ship without telling the Bentenmaru crew anything, or she is unable to trust people in any real way, which may suggest her relatively suspicious actions.
Misa seems to be a little suspicious of Gruier, but hasn’t said anything yet, perhaps in order to test Marika, and even give her another chance to grow as a captain. For her part, Marika once again should her intelligent decision making skills, along with a little devious streak in her orders and ideas. Hiding the princess in plain sight appears to be a brilliant idea, and while it may sound a little silly at first, it begins to make more sense when you realise that Marika has just surrounded Gruier by a shield made up of girls from her school. I have a feeling that the government of Sea of the Morningstar know full well that Gruier is currently attending Marika’s school – if they can track down and put surveillance on Marika in the first few episodes, they know that a princess from the Serenity royal family is around. While Marika may appear a bit ditzy or dense at times, it has become patently obvious over this series that her true ability is far more fearsome. Right now it seems likely that she has even come up with scenarios where they might have to engage the Serenity warships in order to obtain the information (assuming it exists) – along with various reasons, such as a rival military ship entering the Tau star system. I look forward to seeing what decisions she makes and how she handles a situation that has the potential to turn deadly if handled in the wrong manner. Misa appears to trust Marika’s judgment as well, and while she may not entirely trust Gruier and her reasons for being on board the Bentenmaru, she appears to know that Marika will choose the right course of action.
I look forward to next week, partly because it will either confirm or deny my suspicions as to Gruier’s true reason for being on board the Bentenmaru – I am also curious to find out what her relationship with Gonzaemon was as well. The Space Yacht Club make their triumphant return, with Jenny looking utterly smitten with Gruier – I can only hope that this means we see the Odette II returning to space. It was great seeing Marika being teased this week by the crew and even Gruier, although next week we also see the return of this series true Tsundere, Chiaki. An episode without Chiaki and Marika feeding off one another is a wasted episode at the moment, since they are my favourite relationship in the series. We also have the return of wine being drunk out of beer tankards, something that has been (disgracefully) missing since episode one.