Mouretsu Pirates 20 – Ride the winds of change
May 24, 2012 Leave a comment
Throughout this series we have seen Marika come across various problems and issues, many of them are large, but there are also those of a smaller, more personal nature. When it came to the larger problems, Marika could rely on her friends and crew to do what was necessary in order to overcome whatever challenge lay ahead. However, for the more personal issues, she only has herself to work out what is necessary and what she needs to do. This week once again presented Marika with something new to think about, not a problem per se, but still something incredibly important and essential to her life as a pirate.
But, once again we are shown something from the murkier side of society, an area that a space pirate must be knowledgeable of and capable of working within, or occasionally against. We have been told on numerous occasions that there is a no hostility treaty with regards to Marika Katou, thus providing her protection for the time being. It is clear that this treaty was only considered because it was in the best interests of those in power. By having a local pirate who also happens to be incredibly well known due to her links with the Serenity Royal Family – along with uncovering the corruption that Robert Dolittle had been involved in – as a stable presence within the immediate area of Umi no Akeboshi, there is a certain amount of stability.
Going back to recent discussions of the Letter of Marque, it is quite clear that those in power of the planet and the immediate area are using the influence that it provides for their own purposes. But, it is clear that such peace or stability is fragile, and the presence of other space pirates in the immediate area, those who are not bound by the various treaties that exist with the Bentenmaru are upsetting the balance. But, at the same time, we are shown that when a pirate ship isn’t considered useful, the powers that be (military, politicians, etc) are quite willing to discard them. What is fascinating is that there appears to be someone with the power and influence to create a treaty between the rulers of Umi no Akeboshi, someone who works from within the shadows. Ririka and Kane clearly know who he is, although for now he will clearly remain a mystery, quite deliberately so.
Within this whole situation we are further shown how the crew of the Bentenmaru are working behind the scenes in order to allow Marika a stable and happy high school life. While Marika may be an exceptional captain, someone with abilities that everyone on board the Bentenmaru acknowledges, she is still in high school. In a sense, the Bentenmaru are protecting her from particular underworld elements within the Mouretsu universe until she has graduated. This may at first appear to be cheating, with Marika blissfully unaware of the apparent danger that she is almost always in. However, throughout the series it has never been a single person who saves the day or manages to solve the current problem or crisis.
This series is about a large group of people, and while Marika may be at the centre of the story and of her crew, she has to trust, and rely upon others in order to make her decisions mean something. That the crew are worried about her and are still protecting her once again demonstrates this curious position that Marika finds herself. She may have inherited the Bentenmaru’s captaincy, but at the same time, she has yet to truly realise what she wants to do with her life. Her decisions, and attitude towards her duties and work reflect her upbringing in a sense, with an individualistic approach to piracy that many may consider to be little more than a performance for rich cruise goers.
She has inherited this from her mother Ririka, who, upon hearing of the potential trouble that Marika may find herself in upon graduating, her immediate answer is that it is up to Marika to decide on her own future. At the moment Marika is protected by the treaty until she graduates, but at that time there is no telling what will happen, the military of government may consider her presence to be too much of a threat to their power base. The point is, that her future is not yet decided, and the path that she takes in life, along with her attachment to the Bentenmaru is for her to decide. This attitude is precisely why Marika decided to help Jenny in the previous arc, and will most likely help to shape her attitude towards life and piracy in general.
Marika has finally realised what she wants to do with her life, and the announcement that the Hakuoh Academy Yacht Club will take part in Nebula Cup helped to strengthen her resolve. It is clear that to Marika, her only reason for joining the Yacht Club was to go to space, as if something intangible was drawing her up into the sky. She is now in space as a pirate captain, and in a sense, her place in the Yacht Club is no longer needed, although she is still happy to help. We have seen on numerous occasions that Marika’s personality appears to change subtly when in space – while on the ground she is often quite absent minded and a bit ditzy, but when in the captains chair, she is decisive and straightforward. In a sense, the Bentenmaru’s crew worrying about what will happen when she graduates is wasted effort; her path in life has already been decided.
The Nebula Cup does present a curious challenge for Marika however, and while she may not be competing as a sailor for the club, she still has her job as a pirate to consider. The strange conundrum that Marika finds herself in (although she does not, as yet know it) is that the Bentenmaru appears to have been hired to provide security, a curious job for a pirate at the best of times. That it appears to be seen as a countermeasure to the Hakuoh Academy Yacht Club adds an interesting twist to this whole affair. It is hilarious to see that Hakuoh Academy Yacht Club are referred to as demons, and considering their abilities it is not hard to see why. Having a yacht club full of people who could easily run their own pirate ship and probably make a hefty profit might not appeal to what looks to be a legal, if a bit of an extreme yacht race.
On a final note, seeing Kane in full on PE Teacher mode was absolutely brilliant, he has the flair to make such a role work. Admittedly, using what appears to be some sort of sonic burst from the Bentenmaru in order to create some massive waves to surf on does come across as a little extreme. But still, it was an excellent way of demonstrating the Yacht Clubs ability to thrive under pressure, and also how Marika will never give up as long as there is a chance of succeeding. It will be interesting to see how Marika manages to deal with such a situation, by both protecting the race, while at the same time making sure her friends and fellow club members remain safe.