Mouretsu Pirates – 02 Review
Marika learned this episode that with great power comes great responsibility. She also learned that having a bigger gun than your opponent is always a good plan.
Mouretsu Pirates 02 – A Pirate-Spaceship Is Just The Kind Of Thing Every School Should Have
Pirates are about doing whatever the hell you want BUT you can’t have fun. And if that tells us anything then that being a pirate is as dull a job as being an office-clerk. That explains why this series is in no hurry to show us what being a space-pirate is like. Instead we get to see a field-day of the yacht-club with the school’s own pirate-space-ship. And electronic warfare, a lot of really exciting electronic warfare. Apparently it involves a lot of button-mashing. And that’s supposed to be entertaining to watch, yeah, button-mashing, that’s just the kind of thing I prefer to seeing pirates kick ass…
After Kurihara has rescued Marika she tells her what an ignorant klutz she is. Marika though is too cheerful to be concerned about it and as Kurihara has predicted she’s soon picked up by Kane. Later Marika’s driving with her mother to some deserted wasteland where she shows off the firepower of a heavy rifle. Handing Marika a lighter gun she tells her about how pirates have the freedom to do what they want at the price of carrying the full burden of the consequences. It’s just a dull speech about the meaning of freedom basically and pirates are the epitome of freedom in this setting.
The next day at school Kane announces to take over the yacht-club and wants everyone to drive the school’s own pirate-space-ship. Onboard everyone’s frantic as children usually are but when Kurihara and Marika are alone they start to talk about the events of the day before. Marika asks then what Kurihara is doing and she says she’s fending off attempts to hack into the ships. Marika decides to help her despite her inexperience…
Perhaps they should’ve introduced some cyberpunky elements to make electronic warfare more fun than seeing someone staring at screens and typing constantly…
Some people say that it’s the journey that counts and not the destination. But well, you know how these things usually are, usually the exception proves the rule. And Mouretsu Pirates comes close to be that exception because the journey isn’t very exciting right now and the destination seems more promising.
Mouretsu Pirates takes its sweet time getting anywhere apparently, mostly because it has time. We’re talking about 20+ episodes here and if this show thinks the main-character becoming a pirate-captain is a finale-worty-conclusion then this will be one hell of a dull journey. The first episode hinted at the prospect of the sky-pirates trying to recruit people from Marika’s school but this episode didn’t start with that plot and instead took things very slow. Indeed I would say that the series right now lacks focus. You’d think that Marika becoming a space-pirate no matter what would be a good reason for staying focused but this series seems to be in no hurry to get anywhere. Just looking at the villains it’s strange to present them as such faceless unthreatening entities. The thrill of danger isn’t something this series looks for currently, I can tell you that.
Indeed this series is still very easy-going and the atmosphere is one of friendship and lighthearted fun. You see that especially with that deep-frozen sidekick Marika has. She’s completely serious, professional and whatnot but Marika is constantly in a good mood. This may be the foundation for those two’s relationship but this thing gets another meaning when the plot offers no reason not to be cheerful instead of cold and professional. It almost seems that when she starts to take things serious the plot itself tries to show her with the help of Marika that there’s no need to be like that.
Well, actually everyone with a gun has to decide that. It’s not like pirates are the only ones who can have a conflict of conscience. But I guess we are in for some “pirates are the heroes of the universe”-situations in the future judging by this speech…
The best part of this episode definitely are the characters which are quite good. Marika doesn’t try to ignore what she has found out about her past but simply doesn’t believe it which is a normal reaction, I would say. Her life doesn’t change and yet everything has changed with the knowledge she received in the last episode. That she neither panics nor shrugs it off as if it were normal is a good sign that some thought was put into the dialogues and the characters. Also, it’s nice how the continuity was shown as Marika and her side-kick talk about the last episode without making it a “Previously on Mouretsu Pirates…”-recap. I think that’s the aspect which saves this series from becoming a total bore at this point since nothing much is happening and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Some decisions regarding Marika are strange, though, not bad, just unusual. Marika is a strange hero-character for an anime. Usually when you have these teenagers prowling around they are complete nobodies who then miraculously discover that they can carry elephants on their pinky finger or something like that. But in this series Marika’s competence isn’t a surprise. First of all nobody goes “OMG! Her talent is the best thing since the talent of the first person who sliced bread!”, instead everyone takes it for granted that she’s special in some way. Just her being a daughter of someone awesome is a normal trope to explain away great talents but this series doesn’t have such a ridiculously exaggerated reaction to it as most other shounen-series do. When Marika’s father is mentioned nobody starts to whisper out of awe and reverence for him. Well, I hope they don’t start doing that in the future when the revelations of the past kick in. The other thing which is strange that the main-character itself discovers his talents usually during the story. Sure, most of the times there’s some reason for the character to train hard, do shit about some shit and stuff like that. But the main-character is never quite sure that he or she can do the things he/she has to do. In this second episode, though, Marika shows a sort of confidence shounen-heroes usually lack these days (thanks Evangelion for that trope…). It’s not a nagging sort of self-confidence or a miraculous wonder-machine like Lelouch from Code Geass or Gai from Guilty Crown have, Marika is just very determined.
That said, I hope the “cliffhanger” at the end of this episode ends in her failing at the start of the next episode. To begin with it wasn’t really a cliffhanger. It’s not the kind where I go “Oh, I just have to watch the next episode!” because a cliffhanger of that type usually has you asking what’s supposed to happen next. What this ending did instead was asking me to choose between two obvious possibilities. So this is about whether Marika fails or whether she succeeds. Now the obvious thing for the series to do would be to let Marika succeed but come on, everyone expects the hero to save the day. The smarter choice would be to see her fail and then base an episode around the consequences of that failure. That sounds far more exciting than seeing Marika prove herself that easily.
Mouretsu Pirates doesn’t seem to think very highly of hurrying to where the action happens. Instead it settles down into a sort-of slice-of-life-y situation where the good characters can shine. Without a real focus, though, I’m getting a bit impatient if the series doesn’t make it clear what its goals are for the near future.