Moretsu Pirates 17 ~ staying within the lines is nice, but it isn’t enough
April 29, 2012
Episode 17 of Mouretsu Pirates (Bodacious Space Pirates) pulls another twist in the storyline. While the regular crew of the Bentenmaru are still hospitalized, an unforeseen event brings a shooting war to the substitute crew. Meanwhile the aniblogiverse is heating up over a little PDA.
In the set-up, everyone is excited to help Jenny out, by “kidnapping” her (actually helping her escape to Space University). Despite everyone else’s enthusiasm, Chiaki speaks up. She doesn’t think it is a good idea, because it could result in the Bentenmaru losing its pirating license (the letter of remarque). Marika listens to Chiaki’s advice but decides to move ahead anyway. Chiaki doesn’t get upset that her advice wasn’t taken, but she is also unafraid to raise similar concerns later. To me Chiaki is a model employee. She raised legitimate concerns about risks involved in the project, but she accepted the
project sponsor’s captain’s decision when it was made. This section also reminded me of something I recently read, about the Dwight Schrute School of Business Process Improvement.
The best solution might not be the most popular or people-friendly at first.
Another thing to note: some people have complained that Space University isn’t a great name, but if we are to be honest it really isn’t any worse a name than Tokyo University, which is probably the school it is modeled after.
Then, surprise! The kidnapping isn’t necessary after all, as Jenny shows up on her own, after escaping from the Ultimate Fairy (admittedly it would have been pretty cool if Space U. had been named Ultimate Fairy University — UFU — instead). Her escape has also brought some criticism from Emperor J and Shinmaru, with Shinmaru describing it as full of “action movie logic”. This time I think the criticism is warranted. It is pretty clear that scene was boarded to look cool, not to make the most sense. For example, in the shot above, you can see that Jenny did some crazy roll as she tumbled past the guards, so that she could move in one direction, while looking back at her pursuers. If you look closely, you can see that both of her feet are up in the air, as is the hand that is holding the gun, which means she is doing some sort of hand-spring with a twist. Now we have never seen Jenny doing acrobatics before, so it is very fair to describe this sequence as over the top. Further, one of her assailants seems to be holding a bazooka.
This episode has been raising temperatures around the aniblogisphere because Lynn and Jenny actually kiss, and openly admit that they are in a relationship. The amount of subtextual yuri in anime is currently off the charts, but it almost always stays at the subtextual level. Occasionally there is a character who imagines things that makes her nose bleed, but it is surprisingly rare, given how omnipresent the subtext is, for a couple of women to declare that they are mutually in love. It is almost as if there are certain rules about the presentation of lesbians in anime: they can be suggested but not stated, or be comical elements, or be villains, but they can not be a happy, open couple. It is because this scene breaks the rules about yuri in anime that it comes off as powerful. As Marika says in this episode, “Staying within the lines is nice, but it isn’t enough.”
Even though the Bentenmaru doesn’t perform the kidnapping, the insurance company calls to tell them they have been declared kidnappers and he’ll need to drop them, unless they return Jenny to her family. Again the insurance company is the central player. He also acts as a conduit for information between all relevant parties.
Marika’s scene here was obviously decisive, because she competed on the Insurance company’s terms and yet brought about a favorable outcome. Well, there still is the matter of Jenny’s family to resolve.
The episode ends with the Bentenmaru attempting to outrun the small fleet that the Hugh and Dolittle Corporation has sent to attack them. Now the mettle of the substitute crew will truly be tested. Can Marika get Jenny to Space University without being blown up?