Mouretsu Pirates 13 – One adventure ends, another begins
April 4, 2012 Leave a comment
Well, the hunt for the Gold Ghost ship is finally over and a sense of normality has returned to the crew of the Bentenmaru and Marika, well almost. To think that Gruier would send Marika a message claiming that Serenity is in more danger than ever – of course it isn’t, and she simply uses that excuse to bring the Bentenmaru back in order to present Marika with a medal. This episode was however quite an interesting one, being more slice-of-life than the recent arc, and with a similar feel to the very first episodes. It was a chance for the characters to take stock of what has happened and plan for their future. It was also a handy way of tying up certain loose plot points from the Ghost Ship arc, although it has to be said that there still remains many questions left unanswered.
It was fascinating to see how Marika dealt with her sudden fame on Umi no Akeboshi – becoming a local celebrity, along with being called ‘Marika-sama’ by all the girls at her school doesn’t appear to have changed her in any way. That is one of the qualities that makes Marika such a fascinating character to watch, she is quite ditzy, but makes split second decisions, along with having an incredibly mind and tactical ability, and yet she is still very down to earth. Her ability not to let such fame get to her shows that Marika is mature, and that she is capable of not only dealing with the dangers of space, but also negotiating the politics of being a famous space pirate captain. In a sense, Marika is on her way to being as famous, if not more so than Ririka, someone who as we found out earlier in the series she wishes to be capable of standing next to. Again, that is an interesting element of her character, she does not want to surpass anyone and be better than they are, she merely wishes to feel that she has the right to stand next to her own mother.
Ririka finally made an appearance this week after being left out of the series for the entirety of the Ghost Ship arc, and it appears that she ahs plans for her future. She has decided that because Marika has finally demonstrated the ability to stand on her own two feet that she will try and do what she wants. The mother daughter relationship between Rirka and Marika has always been a rather informal one, with both calling each other by the first names. It is a very intimate relationship, and Marika cares about Ririka as much as her mother cares about her – they both want the other to be happy and do what they want. It is a brilliant family dynamic, and one that allows them to freely accept the others choices and move on with their dreams. Seeing Marika fully support Ririka in her decision to find another career was a touching moment, especially when Ririka was anxious that Marika might object.
Misa provides further proof that people can change and adapt to their surroundings, with her description of Ririka’s cooking when she first joined the Bentenmaru’s crew. To think that someone who nearly killed the crew twice could cook such delicious food for the princesses shows how far Ririka has come. Misa muses that perhaps she is no longer ‘Blaster Ririka’ but instead Kato Ririka, Marikas proud mother and someone else entirely. People can change, and often what is needed is a drastic change of events, in this case Ririka having a proper family and a daughter that she loves and cares for. And yet, by allowing Marika to make her own choices, Ririka, while clearly quite sad at her daughter growing up, must also be very proud. And it further emphasizes the idea that people never stay the same, they always change depending on their circumstances, along with who they have around them.
This is clearly demonstrated in the changes that the Serenity system is undergoing, helped along by the arrival of the Ghost Ship. Gruier and Grunhilde have started a dramatic change to the system, one that appears ser to change the way it is governed forever. Gruier further acknowledges that her course of action was not the right one, and that Marika saved Serenity from civil war. Acknowledging ones one flaws is important, yet incredibly difficult, and seeing both Gruier and Grunhilde come to terms with their past, along with their heritage demonstrates how much they have grown in such a short time.
This episode finally brought to light what I had suspected from the very beginning – that Serenity had been split into rival factions. The different factions wanted to gain control over Serenity, some believing that the royal family was essential, while others considered royalty to be old fashioned. Gruier and Grunhilde thought that they were acting on their own, but in their naivety, they allowed the vying factions to manipulate and control their desires. By bringing back to Ghost Ship to show the people of Serenity their past, this conflict was averted, along with the acknowledgement that while the royal family may still be needed, its place within Serenity politics may indeed be at an end. Gruier claims that Marika was the one who truly ended the conflict, a claim that Marika obviously suggests that she merely showed the way, and it was Gruier and Grunhilde who brought the conflict to an eventual end. We also found out how Gruier managed to get on board the Bentenmaru without detection – apparently Gonzaemon gave her the captains ID ring. By handing over the ring to Marika, not only is Gruier fully acknowledging her as Gonzaemon’s successor, it also appears to be an element of catharsis for her. Perhaps there is a redeeming quality to this small gesture for Gruier – she deliberately kept Marika in the dark throughout the Ghost Ship arc, but by returning the ring to the Bentenmaru’s captain it is bringing that part of her life to a close.
This episode was a nice break from the action, although it still pushed the story along with further plot and character developments. This is one of the elements that I like about Mouretsu Pirates, no matter how inconsequential something might seem; it always appears to be important to the story in some small way. There are never any superfluous elements to the series, with simple acts such as cooking dinner for the Serenity princesses still serving as an important part of the story. Next week looks to be an interesting episode, with Gruier and Marika off on a recruitment drive – although it’s not entirely clear what they are recruiting for at the moment. I am interested to see where the story takes us from here as next weeks preview does not give much away. I am certain that there will be one larger arc left in the series, possibly involving the Galactic Empire, but this is still only speculation. So far as series go Mouretsu Pirates has been a fascinating one, with interesting characters and excellent pacing. Some people do seem to have been put off this show by the pacing though, with many clearly expecting lots of space battles and action every episode. While such series are enjoyable, I am really enjoying this one, and the slower pace has been a nice change, with the focus instead on the characters and their relationships.