「閃光の彷徨者(ワンダラー)」 (Senkou no Houkou-sha (Wandaraa))
“Wanderer of Light”
The depths of space haven’t looked this breathtakingly beautiful or this dangerous in a long time. Nebulae that look as if painted by a divine hand bring a certain measure of beauty in an otherwise unforgiving place – one that is continually beset by cosmic storms, black lightning, and space-time continuum quakes. Space, in the Mouretsu Pirates universe, is equal parts splendor and danger. Hundreds of planets may be colonized and interstellar travel may be a commonplace occurrence, but there are also areas where space is still a wild frontier – a place where the best and most talented people are needed for a space vessel to safely travel between the stars and avoid a silent and cold grave.
The Bentenmaru crew is full of these people, and it’s been a joy each week to discover all the crewmembers’ individual talents. After all, with the Maracot-class flagship of the Serenity Defense Forces, its six Corback-class escorts breathing down their neck, and all these interstellar hazards threatening to tear the ship in half, the responsibility of keeping the Bentenmaru and its crew safe may be Marika’s to bear, but she must also depend on her crew to turn her decisions into successful ones. And in this episode, much of the job fell into the capable hands of one Kane MacDougall.
We’ve already seen that he is a consummate professional, but it was definitely refreshing to finally see the full extent of his abilities when the situation calls for it (and when the limiters are deactivated too). Needless to say, he did not disappoint. It was a sheer blast watching his steely determination as he expertly wielded the ship’s wheel to safely navigate through all manner of deadly space phenomena like the aforementioned space-time quakes and tricky FTL jumps, and nowhere was his skill more evident than when he sped backwards toward the ghost ship in order to dock with it while the enemy was in hot pursuit. Kane isn’t perfect though; I cringed a little while watching his terrible parking job inside the golden ghost ship, and I’m not sure I’d trust him at the driver’s seat of my car just yet.
Even Princess Gruier, Bentenmaru’s newest (unofficial) crewmember, was able to show why she belonged with the rest of the crew as the arrival of the golden ghost ship Queen Serendipity forced a confrontation with the Serenity flagship that shares its name. (I know it’s tradition and all, but talk about a non-intimidating name.) Seeing Gruier face off with her younger sister Grunhilde (Kanemoto Hisako), the 8th Princess and supposed ruler of Serenity, had its share of surprises such as the significance of Grunhilde’s military outfit and the appearance of Gruier’s unexpected new demeanor. I wasn’t expecting to see this new side of hers, but it was wonderful to finally see her act more like a mature and regal princess than a lost and confused child who struggled to comprehend Marika’s actions, and it is a side of her that will be needed as she enters the ghost ship.
With its golden glow a sight to behold even amidst the grandeur of the nebula, we finally know the actual appearance of the ghost ship, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait until next week to see what secrets await inside. Its arrival, as well as Grunhilde’s, spawned more questions than it answers, but I don’t mind one bit because I am hoping this series will take time unraveling the plot and its mysteries in the same detailed manner it has explained all the intricacies of interstellar travel and combat. Finally discovering what Grunhilde is after would be a welcome development this far into the series, but personally, I’d be happy with some more piracy action. More specifically, I want to see the skills and talents of another Bentenmaru crewmember, the cyborg Schnitzer at long last getting the chance to gun someone down. After all, isn’t that half the fun of being a pirate?
- Interesting to think about how their FTL drives might work, specifically whether it is a warp drive or a hyperspace drive? The mention of a rift implies that their drives are of the hyperspace variety, which could explain their use in a triangular prism on the source of the space-time quake to create a large tear in a concentrated location in the fabric of space-time, and draw the enormous ghost ship out of subspace.
- Full-length images: 01.5, 06, 26, 26.5, 27