Mouretsu Pirates – 03 Review
I don’t think Marika is the only one at this point who looks forward to some serious action…
Mouretsu Pirates 03 – The Future We Look Forward To Is Not The Present
After another boring Mouretsu Pirates episode I will admit that this series certainly doesn’t care much about pirates kicking ass. It’s not a realistic portrayal of pirates either, at this point it has nothing to do with pirates at all actually. A school-yacht-club with a space-ship and lots of time – that’s the current premise of the show. The cliffhanger of the second episode also led to a rather anti-climactic end. It may not be Tamayura but it surely doesn’t try hard to get away from the image of daily-life-banality. All the little details the sci-fi-setting does right don’t really help when it’s just there and not really part of any plot. I think Mouretsu Pirates has to change quite a few things since right now I can’t imagine myself continuing to watch this pacing for 20+ episodes. Something needs to happen in this series…! Anything, just so that I can actually care about it instead of feeling like I’m watching “~Healing~ – The Sci-Fi-Version”.
The electronic warfare attack ends as Marika and Kurihara offer some resistance which leads to the attacking ship fleeing in surprise. After the finals at school the yacht-club decides to make a short trip with the school’s space-ship. After they started one of the solar-sails doesn’t work properly and so some of the girls have to go out to repair it. They repair it. Well, and that’s all that happens in this episode…
Well, it’s not like this series features any enemies at this point anyway…
All that talk about war, pirates, empires and rebels in the first episode sure had confused me as what to expect from this series. I rather would’ve liked the narrator to talk like he did at the beginning of this episode which was quite different from what the narrator had said before. It sounded more like this down-to-earth lecture of how life isn’t a popcorn-action-movie. And that’s the impression one gets from the whole show.
I still think the lack of a focus is the biggest problem. This series has set up an atmosphere of an easy-going daily life and the characters are restrained in that they have nothing remarkable to offer. This show lacks simply a dazzling element. Something to tell you it’s bigger than life, something that creates the necessary tension to make it interesting watching this and not just a nice way to pass time. In the end what bugs me the most about this slice-of-life-y way of handling the plot is that it isn’t clear why Marika becoming a pirate captain should matter. These three episodes don’t treated this as a way to move forward the plot instead of just making it sound as important as all the girls going on the toilet before repairing the mast of the space-ship. Interesting to note is also that the only action-scene the original had until now was left out by the series.
What worries me, though, are the characters. In this easy-going slice-of-life-y atmosphere they simply become unimportant. You’d think that slice-of-life is all about characters but the big difference to a normal story-driven action-series is that characters need to be explored, need to get depth to push the plot forward. A story like this one that’s satisfied with just letting stuff happen without caring about dramatic impact has no need for that. It’s a clear sign how Marika basically is still the same character as in the first episode, all the revelations and events up till now didn’t change a thing in her and even though she’s not really decisive when it comes to becoming a pirate-captain the Marika from the first episode already left no doubt that she would become a pirate-captain. Of course there’s the premise to blame that nobody would expect otherwise but if that’s the premise why is this series taking the long way around getting to it?
The episode was also rather uneventful and it’s understandable to say it’s actually boring. In the review of episode 2 I explained why it would be better from a narrative standpoint to see Marika fail and in some way she did fail. But before anything interesting or dramatic could come out of this apparently the ‘villains’ fled. They met some resistance and fled… That’s hardly what I’d call a dramatic development. Instead of that the dramatic development of this episode was repairing a mast of the space-ship. No matter how much one liked this episode, one can hardly call it exciting with this kind of plot. Of course the defenders of the series’ decision to go for such a restrained down-to-earth plot would probably argue that not everything should be about explosions and dramatic stunts. And well, I’d say to that: If explosions and drama don’t count then why does she need to become a pirate-captain? This show right now totally ignores the space-pirate-element, it might as well be just about a school-yacht-club doing stuff and having some little problems that need to be solved. In the end I would say Mouretsu Pirates is heading for Aria/Tamayura and so on instead of Pirates of the Caribbean. A story about pirates doesn’t need to be a crazy rollercoaster-ride but they shouldn’t be reenacting Driving Miss Daisy either, I think. Right now this anime just has no tension whatsoever.
The only thing that makes this episode quite entertaining to watch are the character-interactions of Kurihara and Marika. But not even that dynamic relationship can help when essentially nothing happens to inspire any sort of meaningful dialogue.
What quite surprised me how thought-through some of the sci-fi-elements are and while it’s hardly hard sci-fi nor very original, it’s still better than what most mecha-series do with their futuristic setting. It helps making this setting seem more immersive but don’t expect it to be that if you’re paying attention to all the stuff that happens in this episode. It’s not that thought through. Another thing that helps to make this episode enjoyable are the characters. I may not be very happy about how they developed in the last three episodes but none of them are obnoxious or stereotypical. I think, it’s easier to root for characters that show the restraint of not being too special or freaky. On the other hand a characterization that tries to be special and is done right always makes for a more charming character than a restrained characterization. In that way the cast of Mouretsu Pirates is quite good and definitely better than your usual shounen-series-cast but right now I would doubt any of the roles in this series will become as memorable as for example the cast of Steins;Gate. Of course you can get some amazing stuff out of a restrained characterization when you look at series like Usagi Drop. But these are slice-of-life-series and as far as I know Mouretsu Pirates doesn’t want to be a slice-of-life show. So for me there’s quite a difference right now between what I thought this show would be and what it currently is.
The third episode is a rather laid-back episode that ends the last episode’s cliffhanger in a rather uneventful manner. And following that beginning the whole episode might be summarized as “rather uneventful”. The characters, even though they lack any meaningful development, are endearing and the episode has a nice atmosphere resulting out it’s laid-back pacing and solid characterization. Anyone who watches this series for drama or action of any kind will be sorely disappointed, though.