Moretsu Pirates 14 ~ Captain, it’s an emergency
April 8, 2012
Episode 14 of Mouretsu Pirates (Bodacious Space Pirates) kicks off the third arc of the series. A problem comes up that threatens the very existence of the Bentenmaru, and Captain Marika cannot depend on any of her crew to help her resolve it. A lot of people don’t like the methodical pace of this series, but I thought this was a good set-up to the new arc. It also gave us an opportunity to learn more about some other elements of the setting.
Marika leaves the ship early while the crew makes a delivery, but the next day there is no word from them. There comes a time, as a supervisor, when you can’t be there for a day or a week, and you just have to trust in your team to carry through without you. Anybody who has managed such a team, knows the chill that goes up your spine when a call is finally received from them — meaning something didn’t go as planned. In Captain Marika’s case, that call starts off with the dreaded phrase, “Remember that cat-monkey biocontainer”? Well, the cat-monkeys not only escaped, they were infected with a virus, and the entire crew of the Bentenmaru is now under quarantine in a medical space facility.
Marika calls up the insurance company, to tell them they have to cancel the two jobs they already booked for next week, but is informed that things are far worse than she realizes. This is one of the things I thought was particularly interesting; we have had mention of the Harold Lloyd Insurance Union before, but there hasn’t been a lot of explanation about them. According to Ririka, they are just like mobsters; they take money from both the cruise ships and the pirates. Apparently they also are a nexus of information. Show, the new head of the insurance company, not only knows about the quarantine, he also has information that the crew won’t be released for a month, which creates an existential threat to the Bentenmaru. If they aren’t active with pirate activities during that time, they will lose their pirate license.
Show tells Marika she has three options: Prayer, Kidnapping, or Recruitment. If the crew isn’t better, and she doesn’t want to break them out of quarantine, she must recruit new crew members and run a pirate job to save the Bentenmaru. It strikes me that Show isn’t necessarily trustworthy. He might be correct, but he might just be manipulating Marika to continue to work, since the information about the duration of the quarantine comes from him alone. Maybe that is just my natural distrust of insurance companies. At any rate, Marika chooses to find a new crew to help her run the Bentenmaru while the real crew is absent.
Essentially this sets this arc up as “the regulars are sick, and we need to bring someone in to help us out at work” scenario. Many anime have used this scenario, but it typically is used for a single episode. For example, in Working’!! (that’s the second season) Kyouko calls in two people to replace Jun and Popura. Since Working was a comedy, this led to comic results. What will happen in B-Pirates?
Marika goes to the Relay Station to see if she can find some sailors. Princess Gruier Serenity, traveling in disguise, follows her, and offers her help as a friend. At first I wondered why they were going here of all places, since it didn’t look like a place sailors would hang out. The place looked clean and bright, and rather like a mall. Everybody around them was dressed in business clothes. That was before they headed downstairs.
One thing this episode did was that it enabled them to flesh out the setting a bit. So far our view has been largely restricted to Marika’s school, and the town she lives in, as well as the Bentenmaru and the Odette II. Obviously there are other, very different environments, and here we get a chance to see one of them. I liked the scene with Marika and Gruier in a bar, looking through a holographic menu. Gruier is momentarily tempted by the “Healthy of Outstanding Smoothie”, but the girls play it safe, and order bottled water instead.
We finally get to meet Chiaki’s dad, Kenjo Kurihara, the captain of the space pirate ship Barbarossa. Here we again get confirmation that the insurance companies are a nexus for information. The Barbarossa is taking over one of the two jobs, the raid on the Queen Esmeralda, but Chiaki and her dad also have some advice for Marika. Put together a crew you can trust.
They’re back! Chiaki points out that Marika already has a team of space sailors she can trust: the Hakuhou Girls Academy Space Yacht club. Some bloggers have complained that this was an obvious choice, and Marika should have gone to them right from the start, but I think that misses the careful way these stories are constructed. First Marika was backed into a corner where she needed to hire a substitute crew, then she looked first to professionals, but was asked (first by Princess Gruier, later by Captain Kenjo) how she would make the decision as to who should be hired. This is an important question for a captain, so it is very reasonable for this series to explore the issue, instead of jumping straight to girl on pirate ship action.
It appears they will be taking the Schwartzberg delivery job. What could go wrong?