Moretsu Pirates 17 ~ staying within the lines is nice, but it isn’t enough

April 29, 2012

The bride wore white. Jenny Dolittle takes marriage vows very seriously.

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.

Chiaki isn't afraid to speak her mind.

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.

Jenny's athletic escape.

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.

Lynn Lambretta X Jenny Dolittle.

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.”

Show, proprietor of the Harold Lloyd Insurance Union.

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 Bentenmaru under attack.

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?

Bonus Service (Luca)

Luca: "Silver falling stars, caught in a dark spiral."

8 Responses to “Moretsu Pirates 17 ~ staying within the lines is nice, but it isn’t enough”

  1. Cratex Says:

    I’m taking the Jenny Escape Scene as a story told from her perspective, and thus fragmented and not quite remembered correctly, and I’m sticking to it.

    (If I don’t do such occasionally with this show I don’t know that I would enjoy it as much as I do otherwise.)

    As for the JennyXLynn thing, I’m happy that they are happy and that they are the same gender is pretty irrelevant to me – I got over that sort of thing long ago. I am somewhat bemused at how much anime seems to fall back on “yuri” for subplots, however. I suspect I really just don’t want to know the answer to that, however.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I was wondering about the perspective issue. They definitely treat it as if it were told by Jenny because of when we see those events. I suppose she could have embellished the story in her telling of it.

  2. David A. Young Says:

    To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what the logic was of the thugs showing up in the first place. Jenny was being fitted for her wedding gown. To all appearances the wedding plans were going smoothly, which is what Uncle wanted — so why the goons? Did he intercept the communications between her and Lynn? If that was the case, I wish they’d have told us. Most of this show is done so well that those occasional logic drops stand out even more.

    And aside from that — great episode! Can’t wait for next week. Marika’s obviously got a plan — and I think Uncle Bob’s gonna get seriously rolled by those “stupid girls.”

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I’ve seen people say that the goons were going to assassinate her, but that can’t be right. I was thinking they were going to take her into custody for “safe keeping” until the wedding. If we allow for Cratex’s theory, that her story isn’t necessarily accurate, it could be that there really were no goons, and she just took off when she saw a chance. I tend to doubt Jenny would take liberties to quite that extent, based upon her character and the fact that she was talking to Lynn.

  3. Emperor J Says:

    Actually, it wasn’t just the unoriginal name I was getting at with that particular criticism. I think the fact that it is in completely neutral territory also plays a role. It would be like putting Earth University smack dab in the middle of the Swiss Alps

    • Joojoobees Says:

      I see. Well, I’m not sure what neutral territory means in space anyway. Although with it hosting the children of rich and powerful people, I can imagine there would be a price to pay for shooting up the place.

  4. uldihaa Says:

    I didn’t have any real problem with Jenny’s escape. While we hadn’t seen any sign of her athleticism before, let’s be honest here, we didn’t see much of her at all. She had some lines and scenes in the first arc, but after that she almost completely disappears. What is shown about her is only in relation to the yacht club. She could have been a star in Track and Field.

    As for the thugs, my guess is that they were security for the company sent to check on her and decided to intimidate the ‘spoiled rich girl’; thus they’re probably as skilled as the stereotypical mall-cop. As for the large weapon, it could have been anything from a net-launcher to a bulkhead cutter. They probably picked it specifically to be intimidating.

    I do agree that it was probably just a bit exaggerated by Jenny though.

    I do have to point out that there have been open lesbian couples that are shown to be quite happy. Sailors Neptune and Uranus (from Sailor Moon) spring immediately to mind, for example.

    I’m actually really pleased that the Jenny/Lynn relationship is openly out there. I’d suspected it since the beginning, but thought it was unrequited. I did note Chiaki’s reaction to the kiss though. It brought to mind a thought I’d has in episode 16, when Chiaki is telling Marika to get her PJs on and brush her teeth. Yes, it’s something a mother might say but it’s also something a wife might say as well. I fully acknowledge that this might be due to my Yuri-googles and the fact that I’ve ‘shipped’ Marika and Chiaki from the first episode.

    I do wonder how they plan on using that newly acquired ship they got. And I’m pretty confident that it will be used at some point. This show never drops something like that into a story without using it fully. It’s gotten way too much attention to be a ‘throw-away’ ship.

  5. Joojoobees Says:

    “She could have been a star in Track and Field.”: That’s a good point.

    “Sailors Neptune and Uranus (from Sailor Moon) spring immediately to mind”: But that was 20 years ago! 20 years is a LONG time. Since then there have been a couple, as well, but they are completely overshadowed by the sub-textual couples.

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