Mouretsu Pirates 09 – The mysterious skill of “faking attendance”
March 6, 2012 Leave a comment
This week was the beginning of the arc that can probably be called ‘Raiders of The Lost Golden Ghost Ship’ – doesn’t quite work, but it is about as apt a description as I could think of. The opening sequences of every Mouretsu Pirates episode have been quite enlightening, serving partly as a recap of the last episode, but also providing some very useful, and detailed background information about certain plot elements, all in an overblown and epic manner. This week was no exception, and this time we learned a little about the Serenity star system – which appears to be part of the Galactic Empire, but there are factions within it who want to break away and rule themselves. This information may seem to be useless, but I feel it provides useful background as to why Gruier, along with other, more shady characters in the Serenity court are after this golden ghost ship. We still have no clue as to why this ghost ship is important, but it is supposedly the first colony ship from the Serenity star system, and quite probably holds important information and even technology on board.
Once again we were treated to the tactical brilliance of Marika, with her ability to assess the situation at a glance and act accordingly. This was also the first time we really got to see ‘captain Marika’, her quick decisions, and apparently strange orders appear at first to catch her crew off guard. Those questioning, and in some cases, puzzled looks showed us that the crew didn’t quite understand what she was thinking. But to see those puzzled expressions change to ones of recognition and amazement, followed by swift action clearly shows us that Marika is a true captain, thinking one, if not far more steps ahead than anyone else on her crew – almost too far ahead perhaps. It was a simple, but effective strategy that showed the pursuers, quite clearly that they were being watch, and more importantly that there was now a record of their aggressive actions in another sovereign nations territory. Marika and Misa also showed us how naïve Gruier can be in some ways – as it seems that she could only think about using her authority as a princess of Serenity to stop the fighting, and even handling the data from the fight herself. This would have been dangerous and probably made the situation worse, instead, having the Bentenmaru, a (powerful) third party hold onto the information was the best course of action (essentially, not letting anyone else know what you know, keep the opponent guessing). The look of awe on Gruier’s face was worth seeing as well, she is clearly taken with Marika, and seems incredibly happy with being addressed as simply ‘Gruier’, rather than in any formal way such as ‘ohime-sama’.
I have to hand it to Marika though, dressing Gruier in her uniform to order the Serenity military to stand-down was a stroke of genius – because as she mentioned, pirates are private military, so without her uniform Marika is simply another high-school girl, not a pirate captain. This little ruse not only gave Gruier a chance to role-play as a pirate captain (and what a cute little pirate captain she makes too), but also provides Marika with a certain amount of anonymity. Marika’s ruse, and overall plan also helped to demonstrate that the Serenity military have yet to fully splinter off into vying factions, and are instead merely following orders from higher-ups. Although, in this case, it appears that Gruier’s subordinates – Grand Chamberlain of the Privy Council Yotof, and Squad Commander Catherine – stole the first ship in order to hand over the information to her personally. That they had to steal a ship in order to do so demonstrates that the factions within the palace are incredibly strong, along with having shadowy dealings. And to further complicate matters, it appears that the Barbarossa has been hired by a known source to also search for the ghost ship, along with being given orders to destroy anyone else that are after it. Again, we know very little about the golden ghost ship, except that it was the first colony ship – but there must be something incredibly important for the various factions on Serenity, to go to such lengths to acquire it.
Chiaki-chan, who gloriously returns to Umi no Akeboshi and in particular to the Yacht Club room only to get a big warm welcome hug from Marika. I missed the interactions between Chiaki and Marika last episode, and while it was only for a brief moment, it was worth it. Seeing Chiaki go all Tsun on Marika, only to show her dere side is always brilliant, and despite being adamant that she has no interesting princesses, Chiaki produced the best, and most overly dramatic courtesy I have ever seen. Chiaki has begun to interact with Marika, and now Mami a lot more it seems, and it is only her cool and collected Tsundere nature that stops her from admitting it – although that façade is quickly broken when the entire Yacht Club calls her ‘Chiaki-chan’, much to her chagrin.
The Yacht Club also made a triumphant return, although in this case it appears that their main role is to provide an alibi for Marika and Gruier by setting up another practice cruise. It is a shame that we have yet to see the Odette II back in action, but it must be only a matter of time. It also appears that Jenny and Gruier have met in more official circumstances, something that helps to underline the immense amount of power that Jenny actually wields. If anything, the Yacht Club are looking far more troublesome and even evil compared to the Space Pirates, who have so far, come across as quite benign, happier to sit down for a few gallons of wine than conducting dangerous and possibly clandestine dealings. Jenny still seems to be one to watch for the duration of the series, and I feel that her extensive list of contacts, along with her families work (fingers in many pies, apples in many barrels) may come in useful for when things really get tricky. It was great though when Gruier announced that she was at the Yacht Club because she had heard that there was an expert in ‘faking attendance’ (courtesy of dark Mami, the evil power behind the throne). While this was incredibly funny, it also helped to further underline how naïve, and in some ways innocent Gruier is.
I have to say that after last week, I have a better opinion of Gruier, and while certain parts about her character and history remain a mystery, she doesn’t quite seem to be as dark as I first thought. We have yet to find out how she knows Gonzaemon though, although Gruier does mention that he taught her the meaning of being informal – and more importantly that she was proud to have known two generations of Kato captains on the Bentenmaru. There is mystery surrounding her in the same way as it surrounds the Bentenmaru and its hereditary captaincy – this suggests that a Kato was the first captain of the Bentenmaru, and that a Kato has captained that ship for 100 years. I’m sure that this point will be key to the final stages of this series, along with some indication as to the importance of the Original Seven pirate ships. And I cant help but think that the Galactic Empire is mixed up in all of this, which is odd since we have yet to see any glimpse of the Empire. Perhaps the mystery surrounding the ghost shop, along with its significance to the Serenity court may shed some light on the situation as a whole.
While this episode was largely exposition, providing some, much needed, background information about the ghost ship, along with an indication as to what Marika is getting herself in to, it was not dull. There are times when we need such episodes, that set us up for what is to come, and it further underlined why Marika is the Bentenmaru’s captain (apart from the hereditary captaincy aspect). This episode ended on an interesting note, firstly with a meeting in what appears to be an underground restaurant (both literally, and of the illegal sort) where Marika further underlined her credentials as a pirate captain, giving clear orders and asserting her authority, in a way that only Marika can. We also had some much needed drinking going on, and my god Ririka certainly drinks a lot – I also had a little laugh at the idea that the restaurants chef was the real power behind Umi no Akeboshi’ star port – food is incredibly important. The episode ended in a very flashy way, with light speed travel, and generally flashy space effects. Next week looks to be a more action packed episode – something that has been missing from previous pirate missions. Marika now has to put her skills to the test in a proper space environment, where a wrong move or decision could spell doom for the Bentenmaru and her crew. These last few weeks, however, has been building up to this, with opportunities provided for Marika to demonstrate her analytical skills and ability to make on the spot decisions. Also, Chiaki seems to get a chance to dress up in Marika’s pirate outfit, and it looks great on her too.