Mouretsu Pirates 10 – No rest for the wicked
March 13, 2012 Leave a comment
For the past few weeks I have been paying more attention to the introduction of Mouretsu Pirates. Not only does it provide a useful recap of last episode, along with background detail, I feel certain now that it also has certain hints about the significance of certain elements within the episode itself. It should be quite important since this week marked the start of the quest for the golden ghost ship by our intrepid crew of adventurer’s, pirates, princess’ and high school students aboard the Bentenmaru. And, judging by the introduction, all is not well within the Galactic Empire, with certain elements wishing to break away and have their independence.
With this in mind, the ghost ship may prove to be a significant artefact in what may be a galactic wide war or conspiracy. The big picture, however, remains unclear, and we have yet to even find out why the ghost ship is so important, along with why it is creating fissures within the Serenity hierarchy. There have been hints since episode eight about the significance of that ghost ship, along with how the royal family of Serenity fits into all of this. What this week does provide though are more clues about the ghost ship and its importance to the Serenity royalty, along with what appears to be other elements in the galaxy. On another note, we now have further proof that all is not as it appears among the Serenity royalty, and at the moment it looks as if Princess Gruier may even be a clone, since she bears a striking resemblance to another member of the Serenity royal family. Then again, this is all speculation on my part, and I may be proven wrong in coming episodes – still its nice to have little things like this that make you think.
While searching for the ghost ship, the Bentenaru come across a series of probes set up by the last Serenity expedition to look for this mysterious ship. Corrie points out that she managed to hack into their systems, but what was striking about this was the method she used. Corrie appears to have hacked into the probe network by using Gruier’s name and biometrics as the key – this is incredibly strange since the network was put in place several years before Gruier was even born. Now, genetic markers can be identified across generations, but it seems very odd that the biometric data was already in place two years before Gruier could have even been conceived. Gruier makes some cryptic comment about the royal family being a little special, and that their unique makeup has allowed them to maintain Serenity’s independent for all these years.
This suggests that the Serenity royalty are biological pass codes to their own technology, and potentially even clone themselves. However, we really don’t know much more than that, and what we do know makes this entire situation even stranger, and potentially far more dangerous than anyone may have first suspected. We already have evidence that Gruier has some special abilities – she was able to sneak on board the Bentenmaru without detection, along with sending and receiving messages by unknown means – all points to some strange abilities, that again may be tied up with whatever is on board this ghost ship. Furthermore she also mentions that if they cannot track the ghost ship, it will come to her if necessary – another very odd comment that makes me wonder who on earth she is, along with questions about the Serenity royalty and the ghost ship itself.
This episode had a greater focus on space than previously, with more time spent looking at the technical details and elements that make up flying and navigating in space. The Bentenmaru for example carries a finite amount of equipment, and things such as probes are both valuable, but also easily lost due to the circumstances that they are deployed in. In order to help with navigating this part of space, the Bentenmaru launches a number of small probes, but due to the conditions in space they are likely to be unrecoverable, they are therefore an expensive, and a costly one. This helps to demonstrate that space pirates have to work with the equipment they have to hand, and do not have an endless supply of ammunition or probes that other military vessels have at their disposal.
Of course as we already know, the Bentenmaru is not the only one after this mysterious ghost ship, and no sooner has it been detected but an entire fleet appears on the Bentenmaru’s radar. With this we are once again treat to Marika’s mastery of tactics, along with her ability to make on the spot decisions. She may be a bit of a dunce and airheaded at times, but when it is needed, her leadership abilities are spectacular. As we already know, Marika is something of a workaholic at times, and it was fascinating to see Misa categorically state that minors can only work an eight hour day. Marika’s ability to plan, along with making on the spot decisions was further demonstrated when the Bentenmaru gets involved with the Serenity military. The serenity fleet splits into three groups to widen their search range and Marika decides that the best course of action would be to boldly attack the smallest group. Her decision is a fascinating one, she has clearly thought this was the best course of action and instead of fighting like the Serenity Corback’s clearly expect her to, instead fires to knock out their censors and escape instead. As Misa points out, the blood of Captain Kato runs in her veins, and this week was the clearest indication yet that pirating is in Marika’s blood.
We were also given shown further aspects of Gruier’s character this week, and it is quite clear that she is both naïve and far to trusting. That she pleads with Marika to let her talk to the Serenity military, clearly thinking that this must all be some big mistake and seeing that their seventh princess is aboard the ships will stop attacking. Marika obviously refuses, explaining to her that their best trump card right now is Gruier herself, but this appears to be lost, at least in part, on Gruier. She to readily believes that the Serenity military are all on her side, and also forgets that at that current point in time both Marika and Gruier are on a practice cruise with the yacht club, and the Bentenmaru are still undertaking their pirating missions in another part of space. Gruier shows how little she seems to understand their current situation, this is further enhanced by her apparent (and probably genuine) concern when the Bentenmaru had to launch probes in order to widen their search and navigate a storm bit of space.
It’s curious, but also quite enlightening that Gruier feels sorry for the Bentenmaru and its crew when they have to launch the probes, especially when she was the one who hired them in the first place. To me we see more of Gruier’s naivety; she feels sorry for the crew and offers to reimburse them for all equipment damaged or loss during their search. But, she entirely misses the strategic importance of launching the probes, along with demonstrating her lack of understanding when it comes to surviving in space. All of this was fascinating and clearly demonstrates that Marika is a captain, everyone on her crew acknowledges it now, (especially Sandaime who is giddy with excitement). She is a bold character, and one who is embracing her pirating heritage, and taking on a little of a dramatic streak, something that looks brilliant.
One of the highlights of this week’s episode however has to be seeing Chiaki cosplaying as Marika. It was a very odd way to start off the episode, a little whacky, but incredibly entertaining to watch. In order to keep their hunt fro the ghost ship a secret – at least for a while – Marika and the Bentenmaru are meant to still be doing their usual pirating shows, while Gruier is on a yacht club practice cruise. Seeing Chiaki do her best Marika impression with the crew of the Barbarossa as her backup was brilliant, and she was clearly getting into the role, along with getting her first taste of pirate theatrics. It was brilliant to see her starting to adore Marika’s pirate costume, going so far as to consider altering it slightly to fit her better. It does however point to the idea that cruise ship operators don’t really pay much attention to what the pirates look like as long as they put on a good show for their guests.
Next week promises to be an exciting one, not only does the crew finally discover this mysterious ghost ship, but another member of the Serenity royalty comes into the picture, one who appears to have significantly more clout with the Serenity military is her uniform is anything to go by. It is becoming abundantly clear that all is not quite right with Serenity, and now that Gruier is pitted against her sister, someone who appears to be far more at home in military dress, things will get tense, and exciting. This has been a slow burning show, taking its time to build up the characters, something that I will be eternally glad for. Far too often there are shows that shove everything in your face within the first three episodes and then try to explain what on earth is going on for the next half a season. In the case of Mouretsu Pirates, we have had a steady build up, and finally that is paying dividends, with excellent space fights, along with far more character and plot development.