Mouretsu Pirates 12 – Everything works out in the end if you’re a pirate
March 27, 2012 1 Comment
Thus ends the first major arc of Mouretsu pirates, and what an arc it was, full of political conspiracies, mysteries, ghost ships, and storms in space. It was an excellent end, to what has been an excellent arc – one that demonstrated the abilities of Marika as the Bentenmaru’s captain, along with the mutual trust that her and her crew share. The ghost ship was even more magnificent, and amazing on the inside than it was outside, with full cities, cryogenic labs, and large storage spaces for the wealth and culture of Serenity. It did however hide a far darker, but also far more surprising and amazing secret.
The ship itself was fascinating, truly massive – with a full city inside, in a sense very similar to Macross Frontier, only the city this time is in a cylinder. It was a majestic, but also very forlorn sight, with this brilliant city overgrown with trees and other plants, demonstrating that nature, even when in space, will fight back and eventually takeover. There was also a genetic bank, along with the cryogenic plant near the centre of the ship, storing all the genetic data, along with samples of the original life forms on Serenity. The Queen Serendipity was the ark of the Serenity system, carrying all the necessary genetic material to colonise another planet. However, as Gruier notes, it will only be a copy of what Serenity used to be like, there will be nothing unique. Gruier appears to view this ship with disdain, as if it was folly of her ancestors, something that should not exist.
While this was all fascinating, the centre of the ship contained something truly amazing, a tulip shaped machine that turns out to be the birthplace of the Serenity royal family. To think that Gruier and Grunhilde really were clones, they may look the same, but to think that not only them, but also every member of the Serenity royal family came from this single machine was quite the revelation. This accounts for the royal families unique genetic makeup, along with how Gruier’s name and biometrics were accepted as a password for a probe system set up several years before she was born. They are clones, thus allowing them to maintain their independence from the Galactic Empire, along with continuing the royal line without hindrance. The ships name – Queen Serendipity – makes sense now, and is likely the reason that all Serenity flagships bare that name as well – this was the original flagship of the Serenity system.
We further learn that the Queen Serendipity was once used to store the cultural wealth of Serenity itself – with numerous important cultural artefacts kept in the ships storage rooms. That so much effort was put into creating storage rooms filled with Nitrogen to better preserve everything shows how important this was to the people of Serenity. As Gruier suggests, it is not precious stones or gems, or any form of wealth that is important, it is culture. Culture lasts longer and demonstrates what a society believed in, what it liked, what it viewed as important. Now, culture can of course include jewellery, but there will always be other things, many of them apparently inconsequential, but nonetheless far more important.
Gruier curiously talks about all if this in the past tense, along with saying that Marika will never find what she is after on this ship. The storage rooms turn out to be completely empty, and Gruier tells us that everything had been removed at one point or another during financial difficulties. There is a certain amount of disdain here from Gruier, as if the culture of Serenity means nothing to those who live on the planet. The Queen Serendipity was meant to preserve the culture for future generations, but in the end it was little more than a safe. But Gruier’s reaction suggests that she despises her own planet for viewing its culture as little more than convenient way to get some quick cash. It was a great shame, but demonstrates also the one thing that is viewed as inconsequential by society itself.
Culture is central, but also marginal to society, and it is this marginality that leads to people assuming simply selling paintings, pottery, or hangings because it may raise a lot of money very quickly. It also shows the strange position that the queen Serendipity has with Serenity itself, being immensely important to the continuation of the royal family, and in a sense Serenity itself, while being viewed as a convenient bank account. It is this juxtaposition between notions of replaceable, and irreplaceable that helps to show the complexity of the situation surrounding the Queen Serendipity, and how the solution, and ultimate truth may be difficult for some, if not many people to accept.
While there appears to have been a political conspiracy involving elements of the Serenity court, it turns out that the major conflict was between the princesses themselves. It was about a difference of opinion, with Gruier believing that Serenity no longer needed its royal family, and that it was capable of working on its won. Grunhilde on the other hand believes that the royal family is the one true way to control Serenity, and that without it, the planet, and its surrounding system will lose power and standing. This was a fight for the future – as these princesses see it – of Serenity itself, along with the future of the royal family.
Gruier really had been keeping a lot of information from Marika – we knew nothing about what the Queen Serendipity contained, and even less as to its significance. Gruier wished to destroy the plant at the centre of the ship, believing that the time of the royal family was at an end. She was more than willing to keep Marika outside of the room in the first place, and had even planned on using Marika’s crew to fire upon, and likely kill the Serenity soldiers, along with her sister Grunhilde. Gruier was truly planning on ending the Serenity royal families line, killing Grunhilde, along with herself. It was a scary thought, and one that Marika saw through right away – she knew that Gruier was hiding vital information from her from the very start.
Marika, yet again demonstrates her ability to pan ahead, coming up with the best solution without losing lives or hurting anyone. In this case, the plan was devised during last episode when she sent Gruier away from the bridge – showing forward thinking, and covering all her options. That she sent a secret message to Yotof, and trusted him fully to allow for peaceful resolution shows her ability to think ahead and come to a better, and peaceful solution to any problem. But, it also shows guts – she could not have been entirely sure that Yotof got her message, and had even less certainty that he was willing to help. That showed astounding bravery and trust on Marika’s part – there was a certainty there that her plan would succeed, along with a devious streak that she was capable of pulling this off without alerting either Gruier or Grunhilde.
Marika also told Gruier something quite profound at the beginning of this episode, something that was actually quite profound, and helped to demonstrate Gruier’s inability to think objectively. To be told that what you cant do yourself, you can rely on others, along with Marika suggesting that no one will offer their hand to someone doesn’t try to help themselves was a nice little moment. She seemed to be trying to guide Gruier, telling her that there are always other options, but most important of all, there is little point in Marika helping her if she is unwilling to try things for herself. That has been one of the major points of this series, Gruier’s intransigence – she is unwilling, and perhaps incapable of taking advice and trying to think through things again.
She is willing to use Space Pirates to kill her sister – because, as Marika says, the Serenity troops would never fire upon royalty – and yet seems to be incredibly unhappy at doing so. Gruier cannot, or perhaps does not want to fully trust those aboard the Bentenmaru, she sees Marika as another Captain Kato, but continues to keep valuable information from her. In short, Gruier is immature, she may be only thirteen years old, but seems to trying to act as someone far older. She is trying to take the entire fate of Serenity onto her shoulders without thinking of the consequences, but at the same time feels incredibly guilty about using Marika and the Bentenmaru. Marika in this episode shows her that there are always other options, and that by trusting people there will always be other opportunities and different ways of doing things. In a sense, much like Misa suggests, Marika is the prince to Gruier’s princess, along with being their ultimate saviour.
In the end, the Gene Plant turned out to be dead, completely drained of all genetic material, except for one – Gruier and Grunhilde came just in time to see the last member of the Serenity royal family to be born on the Queen Serendipity. It was an interesting resolution to this arc, with Gruier, and Grunhilde acknowledging that their beliefs and ideals had nearly destroyed something of tremendous value. Their rash actions nearly lead to the death of their recently born younger sister, along with the loss of an immensely important cultural artefact in the form of the ship itself. The Queen Serendipity was on its way back to the Serenity system, something that should be seen as immensely important. Seeing Gruier and Grunhilde together on the bridge announcing the return of the first, and arguably greatest ship in Serenity’s history demonstrates that there will always be another option available. But, it did not fully clear up the potential political conspiracies underlying this whole story – we still no nothing about the situation on Serenity for example, and we dont yet fully now the reasons behind Gruier, and Grunhilde’s actions. There is also still the possibility that Grunhilde was initially being manipulated by someone in the shadows, although the intervention of Yotof probably broke their hold over her. So, there are as many questions left unanswered as answered, something that is not necessarily bad, and could potentially lead into the second half of this series.
Marika’s role in this arc cannot be overstated – her ability to think ahead of almost everyone else, along with her quick decision making arguably saved everyone involved. But, she never got ahead of herself, trusting everyone of her crew to do their jobs and back up her decisions. Gruier’s comment that Marika was exactly like her father remains an interesting final remark, especially because of the look that Kane and Coorie shared. I have to wonder how much like her father and mother Marika is – there are clearly elements there, and perhaps it is this likeness to two immensely famous, but also successful pirates that helps her crew to acknowledge her skills and abilities. In the end, everything was resolved, and the Bentenmaru flew off into the space equivalent of the sunset – well, a nice sparkly space-scape.
Next week marks the start of a new arc, taking place on Umi no Akeboshi, and at Hakuhou Girls Academy, and with the triumphant return of the Space Yacht Club and all that it entails. It looks like things have settled down on Serenity, so Gruier and Grunhilde have decided to go to school at Hakuhou Academy, and of course, Grunhilde will join the Yacht Club. I cant help but think that Jenny has been secretly planning this all along, her influence must be tremendous, and now she has both heirs to the Serenity throne in her club. But, the focus of next week seems to be a dinner party at the Kato’s, with Gruier and Grunhilde coming around to be teased by Ririko. It might look like a filler episode, but considering how this series has been progressing, it would be wrong to discount any episode, since there will almost always be something important mentioned. Still, it’s a nice break after these last couple of episodes, and nice to see Umi no Akeboshi once again.
And one last point, more of a continuation of my displeasure at the ridiculous name that Mouretsu Pirates has been given for its American release. Mouretsu has various meanings, but the most common are: violent, vehement, raging, stout, intense, spirited, stormy – and it is more likely to mean ‘spirited’ in the context of this series. This further goes to show that it is lazy American’s coming up with stupid names for shows, not even bothering to look at the meaning behind the series itself. I feel it is important to recognize the original names of series, and by changing it, you are ignoring a large element of the series itself.