Bodacious Space Pirates 4 ~ Ghost Ship
January 29, 2012
Another excellent episode of Bodacious Space Pirates (Moretsu Pirates) — Now that the voyage of the Odette II is under way, some mysterious things start happening, including the sighting of a Ghost Ship, one that is supposed to have been destroyed for over a hundred years. Besides the cool factor of introducing a ghost ship, this episode did two very good things: it maintained its careful pacing, and it started filling us in on the other characters.
I didn’t spend much time on the various characters in my first post on this series, but another shift, in which Chiaki and Marika are scheduled to work together, shows that these characters have some of the dynamics of a classic combo, Spock and Kirk. Chiaki is prepared with an assortment of facts, and has a cool veneer that can seem condescending. Nevertheless she shows clear admiration at times for Marika’s confidence and intuition. Together they make a great team, Chiaki keeps Marika’s intuitive enthusiasm from becoming mere sloppy recklessness, and Marika’s intuition and decisiveness keeps Chiaki’s careful deliberation from resulting in paralysis.
Kane and Misa, being secretly members of the space pirate ship Bentenmaru, are probably the two characters we are most familiar with outside of Marika herself. This episode brought the revelation that, not only had the pirates bugged the bridge, so they could monitor Marika’s decisions, the club president, Jenny Dolittle, had bugged the faculty communication lines, so their faculty advisors could be monitored. In fact, Captain Dolittle actually knows all about Marika’s relationship to the Bentenmaru, which is, of course, the likely cause behind the mysterious events they have detected.
So far I find all three of these characters likable. Jenny, for example, is willing to accept Marika’s situation as soon as she admits to her situation. She encourages the others in the crew to accept it as well with a very common-sense, “Because of some stuff with her family, bad guys are after Marika.” She asks Marika what she thinks they should do, but won’t accept the recommendation to fight without confirmation that it is grounded upon something. Meanwhile Kane-sensei gets serious cool teacher points for knowing that the students he is responsible for watching over are willingly walking into a fight (with a mysterious ghost ship, no less), but choosing to support them by feigning ignorance.
One more character that has really come alive in this show is the Odette II. It doesn’t have an AI voice, so I don’t mean character in that way. Instead, the show’s hard Science Fiction approach means care has been put into developing the ship so that the design and the systems are consistent and credible. We have previously been introduced to the solar sail and mast systems, as well as the electronic warfare system. This time there was a lot of information about various external monitoring systems (I think “radar” would be too precise a term).
Without diving into the weeds, the crew finds a ship that appears at times on some external observation systems, but not all, and not all the time. Further, Chiaki has noticed an anomalous pattern that suggests someone is jamming the signals the Odette II is receiving (and those they can send). When Marika switches on the weapons locking system (a risky move), she gets a return signal indicated she has found a ship that disappeared 120 years ago. Together Marika, Chiaki, Captain Dolittle, and the rest of the crew prepare for what looks like an up-coming ambush.
Great stuff! I’m sure people are still out there complaining about the pace, but they are wrong. Some people, after episode 3, stated that at least this first part was over, and we could now move on to the Bentenmaru. They are wrong. This show is doing a great job of building a compelling sea yarn set on a space yacht manned by high school girls.
And, since I haven’t linked to the OP yet, here it is. I find it pretty amusing. It is a bit of a combination of something Ali Project would do (particular in the beginning) and then more traditional J-Pop. Enjoy!