「茉莉香、招待する」 (Marika, Shoutai Suru)
“Marika Sends an Invitation”
This series doesn’t leave any rock unturned. After the events that transpired on the ghost ship, I mentioned I wanted a brief explanation behind the princesses’ motives – and lo and behold, Mouretsu Pirates delivers the just right amount of backstory in this episode to satisfy my curiosity. More impressively, it manages to do this without becoming too entangled into the messy topic that galactic politics can be, and remains focused on what this show is truly about: Marika.
Usually, the pirate captain archetype is that they tend to be egotistical. After all, they’re the captain of their very own ship, they never follow any rules or laws, and all they basically yearn for in life are glory and riches. As far as I can tell, Marika isn’t cut from the same cloth; she wants neither fame nor fortune, and is a bit uncomfortable with her newfound stardom after being tricked by Gruier into attending a public medal presentation on Serenity that was broadcast throughout the galaxy. It was quite endearing to see Marika’s misgivings about her new celebrity status, especially when everyone else embraced it so easily.
Even Marika’s high school has reaped the benefits of her popularity with many new students coming in all because of her. I can’t blame them though – who wouldn’t want to attend school with such a loveable and charming girl? About the only thing that didn’t benefit from Marika’s fame was the yacht club, but it’s not all that unexpected because the club is pretty intimidating, being full of talented girls like Lynn, who’s taken over from Jenny as the club president. I admit I was a little relieved to hear of the club’s recruitment troubles because it’s already hard enough to keep track of all the girls’ names with their limited screen time. Unfortunately, the show decided that there weren’t enough and added three new ones for us remember (from left to right): Natalia Grennorth (Ise Mariya), Hoshimaya Ai (Kayano Ai), and Yoshitomi Yayoi (Nanjo Yoshino). Luckily, we already know the fourth and final new addition to the yacht club: Grunhilde Serenity, looking quite meek in her school uniform compared to the military dress uniform she donned before.
I swear, if Marika were a guy, this show would turn into a romantic harem in no time at all. She already plays the “knight on the shining horse” role so well – maybe even better than most male characters. This raises the question of which girl would the best for Marika. After the first seven episodes, I would definitely have picked Chiaki, but lately Princess Gruier has stolen the top spot, if not Marika’s heart. Unlike Chiaki, Gruier is refreshingly honest; she doesn’t pretend that she’s there for the parfait, but to thank Marika privately instead. As a bit of a political junkie, I found her explanation of the Serenity backstory and her motivations fascinating, even if it could have used more details. That said, I do think that any more would have been too distracting from what was the true intent of the scene, which was Marika and Gruier’s bonding. There was even a “promise” ring involved!
So what’s a person to do after being pseudo-confessed to? Why, invite her and her sister over to your house and cook them dinner of course! Despite Luca’s ominous divination, the dinner was a “romantic” success (other than feeding the sister hot mustard). Everyone can learn a thing or two from Marika: have the girl bond with your mother while you befriend her sister. Just don’t take it too far, or there might be two girls falling head over heels for you. I know I’ve already fallen for Marika.
ED3: 「透明な夜空 〜瞬く星に包まれて〜」 (Toumei na Yozora ~Matataku Hoshi ni Tsutsumarete~) by 小松未可子 (Komatsu Mikako)
Watch the 3rd ED!: Streaming ▼
「茉莉香、募集する」 (Marika, Boshuu Suru)
“Marika Goes Recruiting”
After the mention in the previous episode about the ship taking on a biological container of cat-monkey hybrids, it was pretty obvious something would go wrong and lead Marika and company to immediately set off on another crazy adventure. With a potentially dangerous cargo like that, the possibilities were endless too. Were they going to unknowingly use it as a biological weapon, be framed for it, and then find themselves embroiled in yet another galactic power struggle? Or would it be something even more sinister, like an attempted assassination? Turns out, I was only half right; only Marika would be going on an adventure because those purple critters incapacitated the entire crew with some sort of unknown infection while she was away at school. I didn’t even know cyborgs could get sick!
In any case, with the Bentenmaru crew out of commission and quarantined for possibly an entire month, I was looking forward to seeing just how much Marika has grown and matured as a captain when she’s not able to rely on her crew. First off, she had to deal with Shou (Yasumoto Hiroki), the insurance agent who gives the Bentenmaru its contracts, and it’s clear from the start that she’s not yet fully comfortable handling all the duties expected of her, or even used to her status as a local celebrity. For a girl who’s normally calm and collected as of late, there were many times in this episode where she was nervously squirming about, most likely because she found herself in unfamiliar situations and there was no one, like Misa in particular, who could give her any advice. Even Gruier, who probably notices that her girlfriend was distressed and then dons the most obvious of disguises to follow her, wasn’t enough to inspire Marika’s confidence again. Not that I mind, since Marika is quite adorable when she’s flustered (or when forced to wear a mini-skirted suit “disguise”).
I’m not even sure why Gruier wanted to disguise Marika before they went to search for a crew. Wouldn’t it be better to let everyone know that Marika’s the famous Bentenmaru captain and thereby attract highly qualified people who would want to work for the best in the business? Gruier’s hilariously bad choice of disguises also probably ended up hurting more than it helped – just imagine two girls dressed in suits and sunglasses, asking these rough and tumble pirate types to crew their ship. Who would want to work for people who don’t look like they a thing about pirating, or even sailing for that matter? When three potential sailors actually approached Marika, I thought they were just out to swindle her or something, but the group turned out to be Chiaki, her father Kurihara Kenjo (Matsumoto Yasunori), the captain of the Barbarossa, and his crew. I predicted that they would temporarily crew the Bentenmaru to help Marika keep her letter of marque active, but they do make a valid point however: she shouldn’t let any stranger off the street crew her precious ship, only people whom she already knows and trusts. And aside from the original crewmembers, there’s no one else that she trusts more than the Hakuoh Jogakuin Yacht Club, having already worked with them on a ship before.
Judging from the preview (and the expressions of the actual crewmembers), I’m not sure that having a pirate ship crewed by high school girls is the best and most prudent decision, but at least it’s guaranteed to be the most entertaining one. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? It’s not like they appear to be completely in awe of everything… In any case, I am definitely looking forward to the next episode because Miniskirt Space Pirates, your time has finally arrived!