Mouretsu Pirates – 01 Review
*sigh* Yeah, you’re right, without robots or androids a maid-café is a really cheap story-idea…
Mouretsu Pirates 01 – The Fluffy World Of Space-Pirates
And once again I don’t have to tell you to stay the hell away from another atrocity. But I should add that this is a far less safe bet than Nisemonogatari. If you’re one of the few hating Bakemonogatari than you know what you’re getting with Nisemonogatari but what about this series? It’s about space pirates obviously but a girl becoming captain of a pirate-ship isn’t quite the material for a ‘Die Hard’-like-action-series, now is it? In fact this episode tries very hard to show you that there’s no real action to be found in any way. It’s an easy-going adventure with little bunnies, rainbows and villains stupid enough to become goofballs. It’s a nice world to live in if you’re a character in Mouretsu Pirates.
Mouretsu Pirates obviously has the great idea that pirates should be nice people you can share a drink with and talk about golf-tournaments and stuff. These pirates aren’t a bunch of rebels, social outcasts and rogues, no, they are the legalized version of traditional family companies. In the fluffy world of Mouretsu Pirates the good side has indeed already won the day. The rebels have their autonomy and all the peace in the world any hippie-convention might wish for.
Years later Marika is spending her days being a normal student who has an unnatural talent for flying and she’s approached by nice but weird people. At home her mother dutifully drops something when Marika tells her about it because that’s the stereotypical thing to do in this situation. A while later the pirates arrive and together with Marika they make sure to deliver the first episode’s punchline before the commercials have to start: Marika is the daughter of a pirate-captain and she has to take over for him. Marika can’t quite believe it and researches what Space Pirates are and yeah, aren’t they the most peaceful bunch of goodies we’ve ever seen in a scifi-series…? Heroes of the rebellion, being legal and Facebook-accounts – that’s not very bad, now is it?
The next day at school she’s confronted by two surprises: First she gets a new teacher who surprisingly is the helmsman of her ship. And they get a transfer student who suspiciously makes it very clear that a transfer student never appears in an anime without reason. But Marika doesn’t quite get the whole pirate-thingy and goes to work and promptly her maid-café (it’s hers, too, for all we know…) fills with really fishy-looking gangsters. But then Kurihara, the transfer-student arrives and while showing off her sweet tooth so that she doesn’t look too bad she’s in the right place at the right time to stop a disguised assassin with shit for brains from killing Marika. And then she flees with Marika because all hell breaks loose in the café. And Marika of course thinks she has found her soulmate or something while following Kurihara.
So technically they aren’t even real pirates…
Pirates in Space: Well, it sure won’t win the Imagination-Award. And girls in abundance… moe also, in case you asked yourself whether that was left out and it’s all about kicking the ass of big bullies called ‘The Empire’ (or something). It’s a story for kids so forget all your dreams about badass-pirates and big space-ship-battles, this story has cotton and sugar written all over it.
The setting is a strange mix of Star Wars and Firefly, especially the latter since the opening strongly reminded me of Serenity’s opening and introduction. The Star Wars part starts when it’s clear that it’s all about rebels fighting the good fight against a big evil empire. Where things kinda take a different turn is when shit hits the fan and the rebels to win the war legalize pirating. Go figure how that’s supposed to work but the pirates also start fighting the good fight – and that makes all the difference apparently. The good guys win and everyone’s happy. That’s when the story starts… Right, all the action has happened already and now we’re supposed to care about what’s happening in the aftermath. Now this will be surely one hell of a goofy affair.
What happens in the story is therefore a really strange affair of mixing naïve kiddo-stuff with shounen-ambitions of (probably) having serious space-battles and whatnot. But it’s surprisingly easy-going in its approach and that starts with having ‘legal pirates’ and ends with the new captain being assaulted by goofballs in suits. I don’t really like the atmosphere as it’s not the kind of thing I had expected when I saw the start of this episode. Instead of Sci-Fi-Action we get another school-setting, a maid-café and a bunch of students saving the universe. In the end it all seemed too light-hearted to work for me as a series that wanted to entertain via action. For example the main-chara researching space pirates doesn’t bring up any sort of violent war-stuff, it’s just these random kiddo-friendly promotion-images showing us that pirate do keep parrots and they pretty much all look like they’re dressing for carnival instead of flying through space to plunder ships and stuff. And the main-chara being part of a maid-café is like the lamest story-idea imaginable. Even in the far future people have to suffer these stereotypes and what the hell was up with that café anyway? The whole time we’re just seeing these two school-girls serving a bunch of evil gangsters and nobody’s like ‘Hey, let’s call the police…’ and where’s the real boss of the café anyway? I would kinda get worried for the fate of my establishment with that kind of customers. And then there was the assassin telling the main-chara he’s from Airport-security trying to protect her following a call from her mother. And the ice-queen-side-kick is so ‘smart’ to question his motives. Well, that’s not like the ‘assassin with a disguise is revealed’-scene works. The disguise has to make at least some sense, the airport-security couldn’t fool a mole for all it’s worth. In the end it really feels like the story doesn’t want to be serious enough to have any impact on me.
That stupid disguise doesn’t even warrant a dramatic rhetoric question. He might as well have declared himself to be a security-guard of Disneyland and it would’ve made just as much sense…
The characters are also the sure way to introduce family-friendly comedy. Nothing threatening about space pirates in this series, I can tell you that. One of them even is a teacher and the ‘cold-hearted professional’ Kurihara which is the main-chara’s sidekick has a real sweet tooth. The main-chara’s mother is of the “I’m acting like a man, har, har!”-variant and just like that she’s drinking pints – of wine. Well, because drinking beer would be bad or something but drinking wine is totally fine, right? The characters have charm, I won’t deny that but it’s the easy-going kind again in the way it doesn’t press them having issues. You know, drama and whatnot, it actually doesn’t fall out of the sky, someone somewhere has to have a problem. And these people in this series have no problems. Why the hell does the girl have to become captain anyway? You’d figure that since she has to become a captain at some point they would care about her having the necessary knowledge to do the job before circumstances force her to do it. But again there’s a series believing its synopsis is some kind of punchline I’m supposed to laugh about. No, simply no, I’ve read the synopsis, I know that she becomes the captain of this pirate-ship so why the hell has her reaction to be that exaggerated? It’s also treated as some kind of cliffhanger in the middle of the series. But I know where this is going so why does the series think I’m actually sitting at the edge of my seat trying to hear why this happens? Indeed it’s difficult to see where the series is going from here on. Because much of the story’s firmly rooted in a slice-of-life-setting of having Marika work at a Maid-café and spending her day at school with one of the pirates there teaching. And I bet that Kurihara gets to tell a very sappy story before this is over. Am I enjoying the series? Yes. Am I caring enough about it to look forward to future episodes? No.
Mouretsu Pirates has the charm of good characterizations and a well done direction. But its easygoing conflict-free portrayal of what Space Pirates are supposed to be has a serious lack of drama and action. Indeed the story makes it clear that this all happens after the big explosions and fireworks have calmed down leaving Marika to be a maid and proper student instead of a real plundering kick-ass pirate. This series has definitely the smell of preaching about decency, I think. But while my score for this may be lower than the one for Nisemonogatari, I think, this is far more solid as it has made clear what it wants to do. So if you’ve liked the first episode, expect to see more of it in the future.