I am surprised that for a show that has so many mini-skirts that it has not descended into the depths of fanservice. This is a good thing as it at least indicates that the staff is not going for the easy fanservice and aiming for space opera. The whole zero gravity could have resulted in a bunch of uplifted skirts and McDougal could have descended into depravity being the only dude in the yacht club, but again the staff didn’t play it that way. Instead we get a much slower pace of progression where they do make us care about the gravity of Marika’s decision to claim the Captaincy of the Bentenmaru. The first episode made it clear that she wanted to make an informed decision on the matter despite her total surprise to hear that her father had only died recently and that she was heir to a captaincy. This time around we get a delightful moment of mother daughter bonding that is increasingly rare in anime.
More often than not in the realm of anime parents are a general inconvenience that usually gets written out or the mother is reduced to a haremette. Ririka however actually behaves like a mother who actually cares and takes the time to have a heart to heart with Marika. It was wonderfully muted and on the mark. Marika wasn’t mad that Ririka had withheld the secret of her father for so long and honestly admitted that she hardly felt anything because she had never met him. I was happy to see that Marika didn’t go off on Ririka over a father that she never knew, clearly Rirka and Marika have a much deeper relationship and for now the staff isn’t interested in cheap drama for the sake of drama. I really like how Ririka is encouraging Marika to make a decision and not rush to make it. There are so many layers to why Ririka took Marika out for a gun shoot. Part of it was so that if Marika decided to assume the captaincy Marika would know how to operate a weapon and be able to understand that for a pirate intimidation is the name of the game not killing. Ririka isn’t wrong in this assessment as pirates want to capture valuable cargo and a fire fight not only invites loss of lives but also risks the value of the cargo.
Pirates aren’t interested in killing for the sake of killing as a rule. Even today the goal is to capture the crew of cargo ships alive for ransom and in the age of sail the aim was to capture cargo and recruit new crew men. During the age of sail the inherent risks of being a sailor did engender a sense of civility, if a merchant crew gave up without a fight no one would be harmed and they wouldn’t be left to starve those who resisted were often killed but it was important to pirate crews that they do no kill without discretion. During an age of impressment not all sailors wanted to be sailors and skilled sailors like surgeons, boatswains, and navigators had skills that were very difficult to obtain. As such, violence was only employed when necessary as every pirate crew wanted to obtain the services of a surgeon, boatswain, and a skilled navigator. Often they would target bachelors where they could but they were not above forcing a surgeon or skilled navigator to serve if they felt the need for it. Black Bart started out this was as an impressed navigator for a pirate crew.
Ririka also wanted to teach Marika how to defend herself if necessary and tried to elaborate her reasons for becoming a pirate. All this is done without a tone of condescension and it seems clear that Ririka is going through the pains of treating Marika like an adult and wants Marika to make her own decision and have the strength and the conviction to make good on it. Ririka’s reasons for keeping Marika in the dark about her father weren’t selfish and don’t appear to be the result of some acrimony between Ririka and her late husband. It was probably the right thing to do under the circumstances as it is clear that Ririka had expected that her husband would be around a while longer and that when Marika came of age she would be better able to make a decision. Ririka is correct in deducing that a pirate ship was no place to properly raise a child and hence why she gave up that life for something more stable and more importantly more peaceful.
I am glad that Marika isn’t a complete air head and is genuinely trying to get a feel for her situation. I am glad she appreciates that weight of responsibility if she chooses to become a Pirate Captain and is well aware of her limitations. Still there is some potential in Marika as she is a talented pilot, is sailor material, and is capable of acting decisively. While it is clear now that the shady fellows at the maid café were likely just there to protect Marika as well as monitor her, it only deepens the mystery of Chiaki’s motivations as she knows plenty about Marika’s situation but is not part of the Bentenmaru crew. I don’t think that the police, Morningstar Military Intelligence, and Stellar Special Operations are interested in kidnapping Marika. It makes little sense if they are all part of the Morningstar government. It is clear that they are interested in Marika as she is going to be part of their overall military strength and they need to make sure that she isn’t apt to go rogue or start carving out her own pirate empire.
I am a bit intrigued by ship design in Space Pirates, if the Odette II is any indication then it seems that ship design is still pretty rudimentary as reutilizing old ship hulls and re-purposing them over and over again could be standard practice. If nothing else the layout of the Odette II is utilitarian with that central spine and adjacent pods that can be changed out for a variety of purposes. Still while the Odette II is long in the tooth it is one of the original seven that formed the Privateer flotilla when Morningstar declared independence so it is at least indicative of when the layout for the Bentenmaru given that both were commissioned around the same time. Nevertheless I wish my high school had a pirate ship at its disposal.
I am curious though if they plan on integrating the Yacht club into the Bentenmaru crew or if they’re just going to part time it on the Odette II. Still it seems a forgone conclusion that Chiaki is going to join Marika and I am glad that they are making a process of it. Chiaki knows more about what is actually going on but I wonder what her angle is and I am glad that Kane is keeping an eye on her without being too obvious about it. I like that Chiaki was willing to defer to Marika’s decision and progressively got on the same page about what was going on when they spotted the hacking attempt. Chiaki wasn’t going out of her way to be adversarial and it was fun watching Marika slowly win Chiaki over despite Chiaki’s icy demeanor.
This is your XO, ExecutiveOtaku
Welcome aboard the Mouretsu Pirates posts, nuggets. Crusader has command of this ship, and from today on I’m your XO. So don’t frack about or you’ll answer to me, got it?
Never expected this show to turn out so well. The preview materials seemed like this was headed straight for the fanservice, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the lack of it, and by how good the characters are. Crusader already wrote about the great dynamic between Marika and her mother, so I’ll just say that I’m on the same page as my comrade there. Instead of parents who are never there, or insignificant, Ririka is a solid character with backstory and an active role in present events. Marika has been a fun heroine thus far too. She’s comes off as sort of clumsy at times, but she’s not brain damaged clumsy moe, and she’s smart too. She picks things up pretty quickly and is HOT BLOODED enough to lead a pirate ship, as evidenced by her taking the initiative in responding to the cyber attack on the school yacht at the end of the episode. Chiaki still remains a bit more of a mystery, as I’m sure she’s intended to be at this point, but she’s also had a solid showing. Her serious demeanor, and then the way her eyes lit up over the parfait, is what makes this show in a nutshell. It seems to handle being a serious-ish adventure show with its large comedy element very well. The OP was probably the first indication to me, it’s just so fun and energetic, and from that point I knew I’d be watching this show. It also has MAI WAIFU of the Season.
Do not claim.
I also have to say that I’m really enjoying the Outlaw Star influences in this show. The ship designs are roughly similar, as are the opening narration sequences. It’s a similar sort of universe with 18th century sorts of piracy, modern day kinds of criminal groups, and sci-fi skewed towards the fun, action-y side rather than pure realism. It doesn’t have the Hong Kong action films or Taoist influences that Outlaw Star had, but otherwise it feels like it shares a lot in common in terms of the kind of universe it’s set in. I have to assume that the creator was a fan of Outlaw Star, and I audibly cheered when they revealed Kane’s last name to be McDougal. One of the old crew of the Bentenmaru seen in the OP and ED sequences also looks like an antagonist from the old series. Now we’ll just have to see if the ship gets arms, heh.
Marika’s reactions really make some of the moments and jokes in this show. She’s reminding me a bit of Yoko from Starship Girl Yamamoto Yoko. Hmmm, wonder if that was another influence on this show at all?
With all this love for the show, I do have a few concerns. It’s dodged the fanservice bullet, it’s next test will be whether it can manage to avoid the high school stuff as much as possible. I’d much, much rather see Marika and co. go out in search of adventure and leave behind their everyday lives, but I worry that they’ll be splitting time between being pirates and high school students. Somehow. There’s too much temptation for this show (or any other with high school characters) to have them spend lots of time in school and have split-lives between adventure and everyday. The everyday would just be boring in this case though, and there are plenty of high school comedy and slice of life shows out there, so why bother with it? This show has the potential to be really cool but I feel that the high school stuff could drag it down a bit. But I guess it sells or something, or else there wouldn’t be so many shows set in fracking high schools. So say we all!
Yes, isn’t she? And a great way to end this post, too.