Moretsu Pirates 6 ~ You have to construct your own internal bearings
February 13, 2012
Now that she is back on land, Marika intends to take it easy. She’ll get in some pirating when her school schedule allows it. And taking it easy is best done on the beach, so episode 6 of Bodacious Space Pirates (Mouretsu Pirates) is going to be the typical beach episode, right? Unfortunately for Marika and her pal, Mami, there’s a little paperwork to be filled out first. This episode had the feel of opening up a brand new volume in the B-Space Pirates saga, and much like the first arc (episodes 1-5), this one takes us in unexpected directions.
Marika and Mami are disappointed to find their day of fun in the sun hijacked by the need to accommodate the bureaucracy. Marika is led by Misa Grandwood to over 20 offices to sign, stamp, and do as necessary to have the Bentenmaru’s Letter of Remarque re-instated. Only when the long day of official business is finally over, does Marika realize how badly she has been had. The Letter of Remarque that she spent all day attaining will expire if they don’t do some pirating within “forty-nine days, nine hours, and twenty-two minutes”. And thus Marika finds her idle days of Summer vacation will be spent toiling on the Bentenmaru in an accelerated ship’s captain training program.
The training regimen is quite grueling, but makes a lot of sense. She runs through emergency situations in a simulation room, gets drilled on electronic warfare basics, engages in hand-to-hand combat practice, studies the ship’s structure, navigational charts, and gets a refresher on pirate history, and the politics that enable them to continue to exist to this day.
There is even a special surprise: Chiaki comes aboard to join in the training sessions for a few days, which, of course, is much more fun for Marika than studying alone. But after a bit of deck swabbing, 海賊の時間だ！Marika takes on her first official act of piracy, as the Bentenmaru attacks the luxury liner, Apricot Princess. And once again my expectations failed to prepare me for what we got. The actual electronic warfare battle that we are, at this point, quite well-prepared to follow, was completely elided, and instead we got a sense that wealthy space-goers (those that ride on luxury liners at any rate) actually enjoy being preyed upon by space pirates, since the danger is low (as long as they hand over their valuables). Even their loss of property is negligible, since the liner is insured, and guests will be reimbursed for their losses. In effect, the encounter is just another diversion for the wealthy passengers, who get to go home and tell everybody that they were attacked by pirates.
Once again deception is a key component to the strategy. In a staged battle, Kane, who previously joined the passengers of the Princess Apricot, “resists” the pirate attack, nearly winning a sword duel with the young pirate captain, only to be treacherously shot “to death”. With the resistance subdued, the rest of the passengers are quite willing to peacefully turn over their jewels and other on-hand valuables.
This show is quite remarkable for sending the story off in unexpected directions. This time we could have expected a proper introduction to the Bentenmaru and its crew, but instead we are forced to guess about most of the new characters by seeing them only in montages, or making comments from the side. We have Marika’s first official piracy, and it is 95% head fake. This isn’t to say it made no sense. Marika needed to lead an attack within the bureaucratically prescribed time frame. A soft target like the Princess Apricot was perfect, and Kane’s staged resistance was a great way to convince anyone wondering if they really needed to part with their fancy watches and what-not.
This was our first chance to see the bridge layout of the Bentenmaru, so I was curious to see what it would be like. By examining various shots, I created the above schematic view. The ?? on the top-left might not even be a station, it could be a weapons locker for all I know. Marika and Kane are the only members of the bridge crew whose functions have been made clear. (I assume, BTW, that Misa’s primary station is not on the bridge as the ship’s doctor probably needs a space equipped for medical analysis and treatment). Marika is the captain, of course, and Kane is the navigator. The rest we might guess from what we saw in this episode. Of those Schnitzer, the robot, seems a likely candidate for security officer, or some such, given his role in training Marika in weapons and hand-to-hand combat.
My guess is that both Hyakume and San-Daime are involved with “engineering”, although it is also quite likely that one of them is responsible for the ship’s weapons systems. San-Daime was shown guiding Marika in the construction of a replica of the Bentenmaru. That would be a pretty good way to learn the structure of the ship. Hyakume was previously shown to have checked out the Odette II for Kane.
Coorie seemed to be taking the lead in teaching Marika electronic warfare. A space pirate ship could probably benefit from having a dedicated bridge officer for electronic warfare, so I’m going to guess that is her role, although her duties might also include other offensive and or defensive systems.
Perhaps it is her outfit, perhaps it is her trance-like expression, or perhaps because it looks like she is staring into a giant crystal ball, but Luca reminds me of some sort of gypsy seer. That impression may have shaped my thinking here, but I am guessing that she is in charge of remote sensing.
Where we go from here is anybody’s guess. If this arc is structured similarly to the last, next episode will still be rising action. On the other hand, this series has shown a capability to overturn my expectations with ease. i guess there is nothing to do, but wait for next week.