「海賊狩り」 (Kaizoki Gari)
Turns out life as a pirate still involves the risking of life and limb, as Mouretsu Pirates begins with its final story arc with a bang. Literally. As in explosions.
The beginning of this episode probably had more death and destruction than we have seen in the entire series, even if the battle itself occurred off screen. The sheer size and armament of the mysterious ship definitely gave the impression that whoever this pirate nemesis was, they were a force to be reckoned with – especially when a ship seemingly as well-armed as the Silver Fox was utterly decimated like it was. Although this didn’t bode very well for the Bentenmaru, which was revealed to have the bare minimum armament required for maintaining a Letter of Marque. I actually found this revelation quite refreshing, as far too many times we’ve seen the spaceship or mecha of the main protagonist to simply outclass its enemies by either having the latest and greatest technology, or by fielding the largest number of guns or the biggest one.
With the option of fighting their way out no longer on the table, any resolution to this latest threat would have to fall on the shoulders of Marika and her best-in-the-business crew (which is also the best looking one, at least compared to the crew of the Silver Fox and Big Catch). And once again, she did not disappoint me in the slightest, as our lovely captain uses her wits to do what any crafty high school student excels at: killing two birds with one stone. Like Misa, I too was surprised at Marika’s ingenious plan of escorting the heavily armed Big Catch and thereby fulfilling the work requirements of their Letter of Marque at the same time as better protecting themselves from the pirate hunter. Just goes to show that she has come a long ways as a captain, and is now expected to be on top of everything even more than the adults in her crew.
However, even the best laid plans cannot truly account for every possibility that might arise. Despite the Big Catch’s fleet of support ships and its overconfident but seemingly capable captain, they were no match for the offensive onslaught of the unknown pirate hunter ship. I liked the fact that for once, there was a situation where Marika found herself powerless to affect. Then again, what can you do against a ship that seems like it uses never-before-seen technology from a completely different universe?
I’m very much looking forward to learning exactly who the pale-skinned lady inside of the pirate hunter ship is as well as who the
knight pirate in shining armor the mask is. I don’t really have any theories about who the former is and where she’s from, but I do have some theories about the latter. It’s fairly obvious the Kaburagi T. Kotetsu lookalike is the hooded man from two episodes prior, but what I’m actually curious about is his connection to both Kane and Ririka. Compared to the rest of the crew, the Bentenmaru helmsman was suspiciously calm at the arrival of the second unknown ship, something that Luca appears to have possibly picked up on. My guess is that he and the unknown captain have already worked something out, which is why he knew they would be coming. As for Ririka, with her many absences away from home and the recent acquisition of a large ship piloting license, she could very well be the one behind the helm of the new ship. There is also the theory that the ship’s bold captain is really Gonzaemon, Marika’s father. That said, while I admit this could very well be the case, I would actually prefer it not to be, because I think that her journey to find out more about her father would be resolved too quickly, too easily, and too cleanly if this turned out to be true. With so many new questions to answer, this last arc should make for an exciting conclusion to what is turning out to be one of my favorite shows of this season and last.
- The scene in the shuttle between Kane and Marika was a little awkward to me. For a second, I definitely felt like there could be a possible romantic future between the two, but then the whole teacher aspect really put a weird damper on things, so looks like it’s back to the Marika x Chiaki pairing for the time being.
- Another angle that I would love to be covered if this show possibly gets another season are the issues around Marika being a female captain in a profession that is dominated by ultra-masculine male captains. Sure, many other shows have had ships captained by females, but I can’t really recall one where the focus on the show was on the captain herself, so I think this is an area that is ripe for some good storytelling, even if it might be a little too serious for the likes of Mouretsu Pirates.