Moretsu Pirates 9 ~ only those directly involved know the truth

March 4, 2012

Hyakume. It's good to be the pirate.

Episode 9 of Mouretsu Pirates (AKA Fierce Pirates, AKA Bodacious Space Pirates) continues the rising action phase of the Golden Ghost Ship arc. I am amused that this show continues to generate antipathy from anibloggers, while I find it to be well constructed and engaging.

Gruier Serenity. Hey, it's a pirate queen!

The previous episode left us in a bit of a pinch. The Bentenmaru was supposed to rendezvous with a ship from the Serenity Stellar Monarchy, but when it arrived it was under attack by five other Ships — from the same Serenity Monarchy. At first it looks like a gun battle will break out, but Marika manages to defuse the situation without firing a shot. In part this is handled by misleading the Serenity ships into believing that the Bentenmaru is under the direct command of princess Serenity. I want to point out that this matter of Gruier wanting to wear Marika’s outfit was a topic of discussion by the highly intelligent commenters on my blog. Nothing gets by them.

Schnitzer has a weapons system built into his chest.

After commanding the Serenity warships to stand down, a message is received from the first ship that the princess’ dress is ready. When the pirates attach to the ship, they are met by two members of the royal court who claim to be insignificant and say that the palace is a very peaceful place. Nope, nobody has been murdered or anything like that. They turn over the package and return to the home planet. Meanwhile Princess Gruier turns the package — encrypted data about the Golden Ghost Ship — over to Captain Marika and her crew.

Chiaki Kurihara and Marika Katou on a couch in the Space Yacht clubroom.

Marika is surprised to find Chiaki in the Space Yacht clubroom. Chiaki reveals that her father’s pirate ship, the Barbarossa, has also been contracted (via some shady intermediary) to find the Golden Ghost Ship, and to destroy anyone else who is looking for it. I can only assume that Chiaki was cleared by her father to share this information. Otherwise she probably could get into a lot of trouble. How much of a threat is the Barbarossa to the Bentenmaru and her crew?

Mami Endou. Chiaki Omigawa's character had an interesting cameo in this episode.

The princess arrives at the Space Yacht clubroom, as does Jenny Doolittle and her crew. It turns out the princess has some information that the Space Yacht club is the place to go when you need some help beyond what the law allows. This was a cool way to address an issue that I and others have had some concern about: is Marika going to keep pirating after school and weekends, or will this job force her to go on a longer journey?

Let's start by taking Gruier to the simulation dome!

Gruier is made a member of the yacht club, and a club trip is hastily scheduled (so that it won’t conflict with Marika’s exams), thus creating a cover for Gruier’s absence from the school while she joins the Bentenmaru in hunting the Golden Ghost Ship. This is a good example of the very methodical story telling that we saw earlier in the series. I’ll get back to this below, but where others see this show as “slow” (or even “boring”) I see it as being very carefully crafted. Other shows might have ignored the question of how they could take off on a journey without someone noticing, but here we have an explanation being put in place.

The old man that cooks the food.

Later Marika and her mom, Ririka, go out to eat. They go into a room underneath the space port, where an old man cooks. That dude looks like he could kick Schnitzer’s ass! Well the other pirates and Gruier are there as well, and they find out what was on the data cube. The Golden Ghost Ship is actually an ancient colony ship. Since it predates Faster Than Light (FTL) travel, it is equipped for “cold sleep” and is huge, so it probably was conceived as a generation ship, that is, one where those who arrive at a destination are the descendants of those who began the journey. The normally reticent Luca commented that the ship has been traveling in places that are very difficult to navigate “overlapping black holes” and so forth, which explains why it keeps disappearing, like a ghost ship.

The story then time skips to the Bentenmaru taking off on the voyage to find the Golden Ghost Ship of Serenity.

The Golden Ghost Ship of Serenity.

So this week’s episode brought us through a tense encounter with Serenity battleships, the retrieval of the data cube, information from Chiaki on a rival contract for the Barbarossa, the development of a cover story for the princess, the decoding of our first real information about the Golden Ghost Ship, and the departure on the hunt for the ghost ship by the Bentenmaru. In preparing for this post, I thought I would see what others had written about it. I found someone saying they were dropping the series, and this review at Spark Blog:

This episode is just another filler that leads to search for the ghost ship. Sadly, we don’t see any action and for once, I actually got quite “bored” and thought there was going to be action. But, there is really nothing much but the episode just focuses on the relationships between the characters and some certain scenes got boring. I’m mentioning “boring” a bunch of times because it’s overall, boring. I don’t really recommend anyone to watch this episode and it may be skipped unless you want to watch the entire series still or something to waste time on.

Sometimes I wonder if I am watching the same show that other people are watching.

Bonus Space Ship Porn (the Bentenmaru commences FTL travel):

21 Responses to “Moretsu Pirates 9 ~ only those directly involved know the truth”

  1. David A. Young Says:

    I share your astonishment at people who find this show “boring.” I really do think the explanation for a lot of this type of thing is simply that people’s brains are wired differently. Depending on how genetics puts your neurons together, the same stimulus provokes different responses. Either that, or those “other” people are just poo-poo heads.

    Be that as it may, this episode was a delight. The meeting of the Princess and the people from the palace is a case in point. There was so much information being conveyed beneath the surface of seemingly very banal conversation — the details of which only the Princess would really understand.

    I’m thinking that by passing along the information on the Barbarossa’s assignment, Chiaki’s enabling Marika to prepare for the contingency in case they should encounter one another. The Barbarossa probably can’t just decide not to engage the Bentenmaru (this would violate their contract), but as long as they both know what’s going on they should be able to “dance around” a head-to-head firefight. They are pretty good theatrics, after all — as long as everybody’s got the same script.

    And what is it about the Golden Ghost Ship that makes finding it so important? As soon as they mentioned the ship was equipped for cold sleep, I thought “Ah ha!” It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they were looking for some ONE more so than some THING.

    On second thought…I’m pretty sure they’re just poo-poo heads.

    • Cratex Says:

      “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they were looking for some ONE”

      Ohh. Now it clicks for me 🙂

    • Joojoobees Says:

      “the details of which only the Princess would really understand”

      My theory is that the princess was about to say something like, “If you’re here, then X is still alive!” The Grand Chamberlain cut her off and said everything was fine back at the palace. If I am right, the royal palace is in even more of a chaotic state than I thought previously.

      Chiaki: That’s a pretty good point. If she didn’t know what was going on, Marika could blunder into a situation in which she basically forced the Barbarossa to attack her. Another point, of course, is that the Barbarossa might not be the only one that received a contract from Gruier’s enemy.

  2. Anonomyous Says:

    Some people just like the “pew pew, bam bam” type of anime only so its not surprising. Same people are likely fans of anyone that appears in the Expendables movie.

    On the reverse side you got the types that sneer at the above type of anime as lacking in depth and sophistication, making them pretty much the same as the ones in the previous paragraph.

    Personally i find Moretsu refreshing for its realistic spacefaring. I’m guessing the political games that will be played will also have a certain sense of realism as well.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I think you make a good point about this cutting both ways. I think mindless action can be fun sometimes, but I also enjoy “serious art”, so I have taken heat from both sides. 🙂

  3. Cratex Says:

    Other than that I managed to make myself a fool over an assumption I made regarding the ‘pirate raids’ on the cruise ships earlier, I’ve really been enjoying this show, for the same reasons as you’ve stated above. Though my son and I were disappointed there was no shooting this episode, it was just as interesting to see how Marika resolved the situation. “Realistically”, a fight at that time and place would have been a Bad Thing for all involved.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Yeah, this show clearly doesn’t want to go down the solve everything by shooting route. They have focussed on electronic warfare, weapons fire mostly as a means of intimidation, Marika’s clever disabling of the ship using the Odette II’s sails, and now a bit of a ruse to defuse the latest situation. I doubt Marika’s luck will hold up forever in this respect, however. She is bound to get into a serious exchange of fire sooner or later.

      • David A. Young Says:

        Unless the previews are intentionally misleading, it looks like that “sooner or later” is going to be next week. Yay! (I DO like the shoot-em-up stuff as well!)

        Good point about the possibility of others having been commissioned to look for the Golden Ghost Ship as well. Something that would be REALLY cool is if a number of ships got involved in a general firefight, and the Bentenmaru and Barbarossa “just happened” to take out all the other ships before the Barbarossa had to retreat for “repairs.” Don’t actually expect to see that, but….

      • Joojoobees Says:

        “Unless the previews are intentionally misleading,”

        It has happened before. With this show, I think I’ll wait and see what happens. Not that I would mind a real fight, and I actually think we should be getting to the point in the story when things get quite dangerous, so next week isn’t that bad a bet.

  4. avvesione Says:

    I think what people have trouble with is Mouretsu Pirate’s unique style of storytelling. Unlike most stories in anime, this anime likes to make sure it covers involves the viewer in every step of the process and making sure every detail is shown. The anime could be like most others and skip most of these steps and explain them in quick dialogue (“Oh, I just hacked into the school system so it looks like you’re there but you can skip now. Isn’t it great?”) but then it’d be like most other anime. The most distinctive and unique aspect of Mouretsu Pirates, and why I love the anime for what it is, is this specific style of storytelling. Without it, I’d imagine this would be a mediocre anime.

    What I enjoyed most about this episode is that it involved everyone into the current story rather than simply dismissing Chiaki and the schoolgirls and showing only Marika and her crew out adventuring. By giving everyone an excuse and bringing them together in a rational manner, we’ll be able to include the entire cast in this story arc. I like that. Hope to see everyone play a role before the end of the winter season.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      The funny thing is, people complain about the logical leaps and shortcuts when they happen — so she’s just gonna start being a ship captain? how does she know how to do all the stuff? wouldn’t it make more sense to start her out on some simpler missions so she gets some experience first? and on and on — but here we have a show that is carefully constructing the story without a bunch of holes and implausible leaps, and people complain that they don’t want to see it. You’re damned if you don’t and you’re damned if you do.

      • David A. Young Says:

        I wonder if there’s a correlation between how detail oriented one naturally is (or “anal-retentive,” as some call it) and how one responds to this type of consideration. I’m a technical editor — VERY detail oriented — and I just LOVE the time and care spent on laying out the story and fleshing out the characters that we see in this anime. It occurs to me that someone whose naturally inclined to want to “get to the point” might very well find this level of detail annoying and/or boring.

        Any Lib Arts Grad Students out there need a thesis? Help yourself. No need to thank me. (Just send money.)

      • Joojoobees Says:

        That’s an intriguing idea. As for the thesis topic, where would that go? Psychology of Literature?

  5. David A. Young Says:

    And the grammatical error in that last entry is intentional, of course, as an exercise for the student.

  6. David A. Young Says:

    Oh, that would DEFINITELY be a psych major kinda thing! : – )

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Too bad I’m not rich. I have often thought it would be nice to be able to direct Grad student research via providing grants in special areas. I wouldn’t mind having my own anime production company while I was at it.

      • David A. Young Says:

        Cool concept! It’d be nice to be able to finance good series that otherwise wouldn’t get picked up for renewal. (Chihayafuru, anyone?) Although I’m sure there’d be tons of legal issues involved in that.

      • Joojoobees Says:

        If I were rich I could afford the lawyers to make it happen.

  7. uldihaa Says:

    I’m finally able to get some watching in*… about a month late but still…

    This series once again goes in a direction I wasn’t expecting, but enjoyed nonetheless. We get a potentially explosive situation (both physically and politically) resolved without the explosions. I liked the way they did it, too. It prevented it from potentially spiraling out of anyone’s control. A nice example of sense prevailing over aggression.

    And the princess in Marika’s pirate uniform almost made me squee out-loud, and I’m both a male and too old to be squeeing. That was just way too cute.

    Chiaki is once again my pick for “Tsundere of the Year” this year. I also loved the way the yacht club so casually greeted her. And I think deep down, she did too.

    I also agree that this show is taking pains to avoid major plot-holes and wallbangers (which are moments that you wonder why the heck the characters are doing this and makes you want to abng your head against a wall at the sheer lack of common sense or logic displayed). These characters have reasons for what they do and it’s shown so that the audience doesn’t have their willing suspension of disbelief pushed beyond it’s tolerance. I’ve said before, this is an animated novel with the exact same pacing and attention to detail I’d expect from a novel.

    As for others not liking it, I wonder if it might be because they’ve been ‘conditioned’ to expect excitement and thrills more often than not in a series. I think they expect that there has to be something “Exciting” every episode. I’m also wondering if they’re definition of “filler” is way more elastic than mine. To me, filler is something in which nothing happens plot-wise or character-wise; you learn nothing plot-relevant, and nothing new about the characters. That if it disappeared, you’d never notice it. But that means that if something is revealed about the plot or characters (and it’s something carried through to the rest of the series) then it’s not filler. A filler-arc, by the way, is something that keeps a long series on the air but is never referenced nor had an impact on future arcs.

    It seems to me that, to them, filler is “nothing exciting happened”. Maybe it’s because they keep subconsciously expecting “One Piece in Space”?

    *I’m so very far behind (T.T). Curse you, Super Robot Wars J (English patched)! Curse you! I can’t believe I’ve been playing this game almost all month, every spare moment of freetime, and still only a little over halfway to the end. But I can’t help it! It’s got Martian Successor Nadesico, Full Metal Panic!, Gundam SEED, Tekkaman Blade, and Brain Powerd** in it. Just the scene of characters reacting to Souske setting explosive traps in the Nadesico makes it worth it.

    **There’s shows like Mazinger Z and the like too. But Super Robots aren’t my preferred mecha. I like Real types more.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I completely agree with you about avoiding plot holes. It is funny, people are quick to complain when there are plot holes, but then when someone carefully does the job of preventing them, they want to complain that he show is more than things blowing up.

      I also agree about “filler” both with your definition (something that avoids affecting the plot) and that people misinterpret episodes that DO affect the plot, but didn’t have a big fight scene as being “filler”, and also the “One Piece in Space” comment. Absolutely! If you go in with that kind of mindset, it is hard to enjoy a show that is built on plot.

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