「茉莉香、決意する」 (Marika, Ketsui Suru)
“Marika Makes a Decision”
“Electronic Warfare, Start!“ Last week’s episode title led me to believe I’d get to see Odette II’s battle against their unknown enemy Lightning 11, only to hold off after some more strategic build-up, so my anticipation for this episode was a bit higher than usual. Much to my pleasant surprise, it didn’t disappoint — both in terms of building suspense in the bridge room with no portrayal of the opposition and depicting how Marika is well-suited to be the next captain of Bentenmaru.
Looking back, I still feel that the pacing could’ve been sped up a bit in these last two episodes, condensing the material into a single twenty-minute showing; however, I’m not adverse to the inherit benefits that come with a series being able to take its time to tell its story. After all, I’ve already gotten a good sense of how well-thought-out the sci-fi aspect is simply from listening to the characters talking amongst themselves about everything from ship protocols to electronic warfare. Nothing is really left open to interpretation in favor of time, as we get to see Marika and the others think through the problems that they encounter. In this day and age, this is a luxury that most light novel adaptations simply don’t have, so I see it as Mouretsu Pirates deciding to invest — not waste — five of its twenty-six episodes to properly illustrate how Marika ultimately decides to succeed her late father. This approach has worked well in terms of establishing the world, characters, and premise, and also comes with the side benefit of shattering the misconception that this series is just about high school girls “playing” space pirates by adding a believable level of seriousness to everything that happens.
While I can’t say I was hinging on all the technical details of what transpired in the Space Yacht Club’s first electronic war, I did find the attention to detail during it all fascinating. This goes doubly for Marika’s strategy itself where the club laid a trap by pretending to be a helpless ship that was getting hacked, and took the care to turn off their radar emitter to make it look like they were troubleshooting it and delay Jenny’s response to make it look like their captain just woke up. Little details like that made the eventual Chihayafuru-like poetry hacking pretty engrossing to watch, but it wasn’t until the moment came for Marika to shine (pun intended) that the whole endeavor really felt worthwhile. It was just awesome to see Marika’s quick thinking turn the tides by reflecting the Tau star’s light at Lightning 11, and then Bentenmaru and Chiaki’s father’s ship, Barbalusa, swooping in and firing their beam cannons. Too cool.
I gather where things go from here should be even cooler though, now that Marika’s decided to become the new captain of Bentenmaru and will take part in real pirate activities. What I’m most looking forward to is seeing the rest of the crew, which Chiaki looks like she’ll be joining as a representative from her father’s ship.