「オデット二世、出航！」 (Odetto Nisei, Shukkou!)
“Odette II, Sets Sail!”
Depending on who you ask, this third episode of Mouretsu Pirates can range anywhere from the most boring and uneventful showing of all time to the most fascinating and immersive one to grace anime in a while. Personally, I’m closer to the latter end of the spectrum, being a longtime (but not die-hard) fan of the Star Trek series from The Next Generation onwards, so I found myself pretty absorbed in all the depiction of hacking countermeasures and sci-fi spaceship protocols this time around. Not a whole lot happened this episode, as we saw nothing from the other spaceship that was trying to hack into Odette II and the biggest problem turned out to be a stuck mast, yet time seemed to whisk away and the episode was over before I knew it. I attribute that partly to trying to take in every detail in preparation for this post, but I’m also genuinely curious about whether or not this series will turn out to be the space opera that I’m hoping it’ll be. Thus far, it hasn’t disappointed in that regard by taking a slower approach in building the story — something that older anime fans such as myself can appreciate because we have the patience for it.
As things continue to work toward Marika becoming the new captain of Bentenmaru, one of the benefits of this slower pacing is already seen in the portrayal of Kane’s character. In these last two episodes, I’m amazed by how he’s already changed my image of him from the easygoing alcohol-loving helmsman that he originally made himself out to be. Now, I see him as a much more dependable character, and one who will have a profound role in Marika’s growth as a space pirate captain. Like we saw here, he’s quite capable of handling a crew of teenage girls, maintaining a consistent level of professionalism and actually acting like a teacher by having them think through a problem on their own. His focus is of course Marika, whom he gives every opportunity to lead the group like a captain would, but it appears to extend beyond that since Bentenmaru is looking to recruit more crew members. The end result, at least from a viewer perspective, is a very respectable character whom I’ve already taken a liking to rather than someone I’m completely indifferent toward because his better qualities were simply glossed over.
Equally promising is how Mouretsu Pirates still doesn’t intent to flaunt its “bodacious” tagline, save for maybe one scene in this episode, which neatly sidesteps the potential problem where this series could be perceived as a bunch of high school girls playing astronauts. Despite the nearly all-female cast, the series hasn’t come off as such, allowing it to maintain a believable level of seriousness that will work in its favor down the stretch. The practice cruise around the Tau star looks like it’ll be the first thing to test that seriousness by presenting some interesting challenges to both Marika and the Space Yacht Club, and should provide a good first taste of some of the conflicts in this series. At the moment, I’m most intrigued by the fact that the Odette II is an actual “sailing” spaceship though. Instead of a typical sailboat that relies on wind for propulsion, the Odette’s masts appear to be solar panels that absorb sunlight. For whatever reason — maybe the sci-fi geek in me — I just find that really cool, so I’m looking forward to see it gain maximum speed as it circles the Tau star next time.