Moretsu Pirates 14 ~ Captain, it’s an emergency

April 8, 2012

Misa Grandwood discovers a problem on the Bentenmaru.

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.

The five words no boss wants to hear from their subordinates: "Remember that cat-monkey biocontainer"?

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.

Show, agent and proprietor of the Harold Lloyd Insurance Union, delivers some bad news.

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.

Captain Marika Katou gets the bad news from Show.

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.

If you look carefully, you can see that Luca has turned over the Death card.

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?

The Relay Station - external view.

Relay Station - internal view, upper levels.

Marika is joined by a good friend traveling in disguise.

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.

Relay Station - interior (lower levels).

"You find sailors in a port, just like you always have."

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.

I heard yer lookin' fer an able sea hand.

Chiaki's back!

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.

Hakuhou Girls Academy Space Yacht club.

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.

At any rate, the Yacht club members seem eager to help.

It appears they will be taking the Schwartzberg delivery job. What could go wrong?

Bonus Service (Marika as meganeko)

Captain Marika Katou

20 Responses to “Moretsu Pirates 14 ~ Captain, it’s an emergency”

  1. David A. Young Says:

    Yes, I think it entirely natural that her mind would focus on finding “professionals” to crew the ship. As capable as the Yacht Club is, they’re still students — and she’s spent enough time on the Bentenmaru now to know how dangerous things can get. And she’s still hesitant about it, even though she’s obviously going to try to avoid anything remotely iffy. That’s probably wise on her part. Here’s a question: will the yatch club members be able to take the Bentenmaru out with it’s weapons operational?

    Regarding all of the above — this arc looks to be lots of fun!

    • Joojoobees Says:

      “Will the yatch club members be able to take the Bentenmaru out with it’s weapons operational?”

      My guess is that they will have access to the weapons systems, but whether they will understand how to use them is another matter. They aren’t going to have a lot of time to train on the new ship, so I doubt they will even be able to spare time for studying the weapons systems, choosing instead to focus on navigation, life support, etc.

      • David A. Young Says:

        I don’t recall if it showed it in the previews or not, but I’m thinking Chiaki will probably join the crew for this mission, and it’s very likely that even if special licenses are required for heavy weapons use (considering the quasi-official nature of privateering here, not impossible), that she’d already be qualified. Anyway, I was just thinking it would provide the opportunity for some interesting and amusing situations to arise if they were piloting a pirate ship but couldn’t actually shoot at anything…even for dramatic effect.

        In any case, I think It’s going to be fun watching Marika the “Student-Captain” taking on the role of “Captain-Teacher.” And if they actually manage to pull off a mission or two without blowing up the Bentenmaru, Marika will come out of the experience as a Hell of a lot more capable Captain. (Which, considering how good she ALREADY is, is kind of frightening.)

      • Joojoobees Says:

        I think you are right that she has temporarily joined the crew. For one thing she was in the room with the yacht club when they officially decided to take it on. I believe I saw her in the preview as well.

        You have an interesting idea about Chiaki and the weapons license.

        At any rate, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

  2. Cratex Says:

    I think Show is on the level with Marika in this instance – busines is business, and if she loses her license he loses a commission.

    I liked how the episode worked her around to realizing what she needed in a crew, but it was still funny that she didn’t even consider it at first.

    With the yacht club, I don’t think the worry is that they might wreck the Bentenmaru. We’re talking about a bunch of very capable kids used to ignoring rules and pushing the envelope. I think the real worry is their enormous potential for substantial collateral damage. International incidents are not out of the question. I’m expecting a very amusing ride at Marika’s expense.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      You’re probably right. I’m just being paranoid.

      I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.

    • David A. Young Says:

      Agree. I don’t REALLY expect them to do any serious damage to the Bentenmaru — they’re all pretty sharp cookies — But going from the Odette to the Benty is kind of like going from a moped to a Ninja street bike, so there might be a little period of “adjustment” that’s kind of fun. In fact, if I recall, there was a scene in the previews with the regular crew (apparently still in hospital) clustered around a view screen with looks of horror on their faces. I’m guessing they’re watching the girls taking the Bentenmaru out for their first spin around the block.

      • Joojoobees Says:

        I’m looking forward to seeing what that scene is all about. Actually I was wondering if they weren’t just finding out that they had been replaced.

  3. David A. Young Says:


    Yeah, it could be that, too!

    “The YACHT CLUB??? Oy!!!!”

  4. uldihaa Says:

    Oh boy, this was rather fun and, like you said, gave a nice window into a bigger ‘verse. I liked the way people recognized Marika, yet she was mostly oblivious to being the reason for the stares. Gruier is becoming the rather trusty advisor and ‘side-kick’ character for “Pirate Marika”.

    Chiaki’s Father was nicely done. And dispite his enormous size, I have a sneaking suspicion he’s very much his daughter’s ‘Daddy’, and is usually wrapped around her finger. One ‘Look’ and he’s probably all, “Okay, okay. I’ll behave.”
    I also liked the way it was, sort of, Chiaki to the rescue.

    Mami, and the yacht club, are awesome as always. Why do I have the impression that Mami is someone who will almost always be successful? Her character just screams ‘Reliable’, ‘Trustworthy’, and ‘Sensible’. I’m seeing a future in design for her, maybe a shop that specializes in the ‘Pirate’ look, or maybe she’ll be the exclusive designer for all ‘professional’ pirates.

    I’m also rather fond of the minor characters in the yacht club getting some real screen-time, like the green haired girl in one of your screen-caps. I think it’s same one dressed as a spaceship (At least I THINK that’s what it was) in the last episode for “Club Recruitment Day”. Talk about enthusiastic… “Fire!” Hehe.

    Anyone else notice the changes to the end credits this episode? Looks like two ‘new’ characters are going to be ‘regulars’ like Chiaki, Mami, and Marika.

    Here’s a bit of speculation (*bonks head for doing this again for this show, knowing full well how often I’ve missed the mark*). It concerns the ‘pirate attacks’ on the cruise ships. I’m not really sure anyone is actually getting ripped off or cheated in this. I’ll try to explain as best I can. Okay, rich bored people want an “exciting” cruise. They pay top dollar (or whatever is the currency) for it to a high-end cruise line. The cruise line contacts their insurance company, whom they know to have contact with pirates, and offers to hire a pirate crew for an ‘attack’. Insurance offers the job to the pirates, the pirates take it, and then make a flashy but harmless (and damageless) ‘attack’. They put on an exciting show, ‘steal’ some baubles and cash, then leave.

    The cruise liner pays them for the job and goes it’s merry way. The pirates turn over the loot to the insurance company, with perhaps another paycheck, the gems and/or money is returned to their owners via the insurance company. The rich got their ‘excitement’ without really lossing anything, the cruise liner gets a reputation as ‘exciting’ (thus more people booking a trip), the pirates get a paycheck (perhaps two), and the insurance gets a reputation as THE insurance agency to go to because they can usually get your stuff back instead of just paying you it’s insured value (a reputation that would appeal to most people). Thus, everyone is happy but no one is really out of anything they weren’t willing to pay out anyway. Does that make sense?

    I started thinking about it when I noticed that the pirates don’t seem to keep anything from the raids, not even a tiny earring. So it made me wonder if they didn’t keep anything, and just returned everything to the insurance company. Perhaps the insurance company pays a ‘ransom’ (really thier half of the hiring fee for the pirates). Just someting I have kicking around in my head.

    I’m really curious if Ririka is planning on being a captain in her own right, even if not as a pirate.

    • David A. Young Says:

      Yeah, that’s kinda the way I saw it. Either that, or since the passengers are expecting/hoping for a raid from the outset, they may leave their really good stuff at home and go with the costume jewlery…which wouldn’t be worth the pirates keeping. In any case, fun and/or profit is had by all. Disney should be so inventive!!

      • Joojoobees Says:

        I’m sure the passengers either know there will be an attack, or have a very good idea there will be one, so it doesn’t make sense to have all of your best jewelry on you when the attack happens.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Mami – “maybe she’ll be the exclusive designer for all ‘professional’ pirates.”

      That’s your spin-off series right there.

      Insurance scam: I think what you say makes a lot of sense. I agree, there is no indication that the pirates keep any of the loot, so it makes sense that it is going back to the Insurance company.

  5. Emperor J Says:

    I think a lot can be said about the role of the insurance company in all of this. They make a generous profit from both sides of the piracy, so of course there’s an incentive for them to make sure the Bentenmaru can continue to do business.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I think it is pretty interesting that the creator chose to highlight the role of the insurance agency. Aside from Gruier, we haven’t seen direct interaction with governments as clients, even though one episode implied the government was the client. The Insurance company seems to be the main one dealing out jobs.

      • David A. Young Says:

        It occurs to me to wonder what the exact relationship between the government and the insurance company is. Having a “private” insurance company doling out the jobs would certainly provide a high degree of “plausible deniability” for any activities the government wanted accomplished but did not want to be directly connected with. (Ya don’t get the idea I LOVE wheels-within-wheels conspiracies, do ya? I suspect that’s probably pushing things too far, though. But one can hope!!!!!)

      • Joojoobees Says:

        Other governments have used “private” companies to run off-the-books operations before, so it certainly isn’t impossible.

  6. Andrew Says:

    Ahah, now I really wanted to see how Marika would manage an attack against Queen Emeraldas. XD

    • Joojoobees Says:

      That would be a great match-up, but I don’t think it is going to happen. I’m pretty sure Chiaki is on the Bentenmaru this week.

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