Mouretsu Pirates 18 – Pirates as outlaws
May 9, 2012 Leave a comment
Two weeks ago I talked about and explored the idea of pirates as performers, bringing a sense of the carnivalesque to peoples lives. They put on a show for rich passengers on cruise liners in order to maintain their position within society. There is also the notion that in order to keep their Letter of Marque pirates need to keep putting on these shows, and are in a sense more akin to travelling performers than rogues or outlaws.
And last week we saw opposing opinions on what it means to be a pirate, with Chiaki claiming that what was needed is to stick to the law and effectively be controlled by the conditions of the Letter of Marque. On the other hand Marika views pirates as they perhaps should be, rogues, outlaws, people who live on the edges of society, coming and going when they pleased. She may acknowledge the power and significance of owning a Letter of Marque, however, she is not bound by it, instead using it to her advantage.
What I did not mention was the reactions of Marika’s crew to her decision to effectively declare war on Robert Dolittle. It is clear that the crew have become so used to the idea of piracy as a performance that they are as against her decision as Chiaki is. Seeing Hyakume and Sandaime get frustrated, annoyed and even angry at the idea that Marika is putting ‘their’ ship in needless danger perhaps demonstrates how not only the children of pirates, but also many pirates themselves have become complacent. To them the ship itself is so important that they wont consider taking on dangerous jobs, the idea of losing the freedom that the Bentenmaru gives them may be far too scary a thought for so pirates to even consider Marika’s course of action.
Misa however is a little different, she may acknowledge the importance of the Letter of Marque, along with staying on good terms with galactic governments, but for her, Marika is the captain, and therefore her word and decisions are law. To Misa there is the implicit understanding that Marika does not make decisions lightly, but more than that, she understands what it means to be a pirate and knows full well the dangerous line between legal and illegal that pirates must tread. Therefore, Marika’s decision must be accepted and as the crew of the Bentenmaru they have to back her up, and provide all the help that they possibly can from their quarantine zone.
Seeing the crew in action, hacking into the Hugh and Dolittle servers, discovering all the illegal files and then sending them to Marika through a third party (Show) demonstrates their ability to meander between the legal and illegal whenever they fell like it. It is this power to think outside the box (an overused phrase, but adequate for this situation) that makes pirates so dangerous, and actually makes Robert Dolittle’s downfall inevitable. His contempt for pirates demonstrates how he, and perhaps many others view them as simply a flying attraction, travelling performers with little understanding or knowledge of combat or politics.
Similarly, Marika, knowing full well the dangers that she has now put the Yacht Club in follows through with her mission, using all the options that she has available. But more than that, she knows the skill of the Yacht Club and can trust them to keep the Bentenmaru safe under enemy fire while she formulates a plan with Jenny, Gruier, Grunhilde and Chiaki. Gruier and Grunhilde once again demonstrate the lessons that they have learned from growing up in the politically poisonous environment of the Serenity Royal Court.
That they are quite happy to use people’s weaknesses against them once again shows that you do not need to be on the straight and narrow as a pirate. This is perhaps what Chiaki and members of the Bentenmaru crew have missed, they might be bound by the Letter of Marque, but no one else is. Robert Dolittle is quite happy to use bribery, blackmail and other nefarious means with which to achieve his goals, and if someone like him can act in this way, there is no reason for pirates to act any different.
The comment at the end of this episode suggesting that you don’t want to make a women angry is quite apt and sums up the mistakes and problems that Robert Dolittle had in this arc. Marika is perfectly happy, and willing to use secret data to blackmail Robert publicly, she has no qualms about humiliating people and using their own ignorance and pride against them. However, that she can happily do it while hijacking the airwaves and broadcasting the entire show live demonstrates her ability to turn the idea of pirates as performers into a weapon.
She puts on a performance for everyone, however, unlike the previous performances, this one has an air of danger, and it is this ability to stake her pride, and even her life that make Marika such an outstanding captain and pirate. She turns the performance into a weapon, one that is far more dangerous than people may assume. Marika is not afraid of being labelled as an outcast, a rogue, or perhaps even an outlaw, and in a sense revels in the ability to work outside the law like this.
It has become clear that for Marika, as long as the prize is big enough she is willing to take the risk, regardless of the legality of the mission of the dangers that lie ahead. It seems that the Bentenmaru’s crew have recognised and understood this, and in a sense, her presence is subtly changing them into the pirates that they perhaps once were. We may not have seen any other pirate ships in this series so far, aside from the Barbalussa, however, it is clear that Marika’s approach to piracy differs from many others. It appears that many people now see pirates as simply an attraction, entertainment with an element of danger, and at least from Robert Dolittle’s reaction, they are not seen as a threat.
However, Marika seems to have changed that in some small way, showing not only her crew, but others out there, that pirates are not to be taken lightly, and in a sense she is bringing back that element of danger and unpredictability that pirates may have almost lost. To Marika, Ririka has always been this mountain that she wants to be able to stand beside as an equal – something that was clearly explained to Chiaki earlier on. And in a sense, Marika is bringing back that element of danger that Ririka, and perhaps even her father – what little we know about him – brought to the Bentenmaru.