「乙女のピンチ！」 (Otome no Pinchi!)
“Maidens in a Pinch!”
I suppose that the supply shortage subplot was going to come up sooner or later—as it must for any story involving a ship lost at sea and far from home. But of course, the Harekaze has been allowed home and is only a bit more than a day away, which means it would never have been as tense as a more traditional tale of a sailing vessel becalmed at sea and resorting to cannibalising the crew starting from the cabin boy up. And let us not forget that the crisis in question was over toilet paper, because I guess simple food and water just wouldn’t be stupid enough (that said, let us never downplay the seriousness of a lack of 2-ply). So it’ fairly obvious that supplies will not be the thrust of he episode—it seems that Hai-Furi allows itself to get serious only when it comes to the main plot. What, then, would this episode be about?
At first, I thought this episode would slow the pace to take some time to do some world building, which is something I’m completely fine with. I had asked for more of the world of Hai-Furi outside of the hull of the Harekaze in previous weeks, and so I was actually pretty excited when it looked like the crew were actually going ashore (even if it’s for something silly like going shopping as wanted fugitives. And yes, we did get a bit of world building—it’s not unimaginable, for example, that there will be off shore shopping complexes if Japan was getting swallowed by the sea. There was woefully little of it, though, and most of what we saw was just the same as 21st century anyway (the old ships and the futuristic speeders being notable anachronisms in opposite directions). Apparently, the shopping trip was mostly an excuse for character development for the Deputy Captain, who seems the black sheep of her accomplished family and envies the snazzy hat. It’s curious how the Deputy Captain is so far more developed than the actual Captain, the latter of whom is still mostly a blob of genki airhead who sometimes moonlights as responsible ship mum. I’m sure we’ll get more of her, though, when we learn the fate of the Musashi.
The main plot chugs along as well, and it’s certainly not what I had been expecting. It’s a ‘suddenly, rabid zombies!’ development, via plague rats or mind-control gerbils or whatever, and I’m not sure what to make of it. So, certain ships were spared only because they kept cats? That’s, er, different, I suppose (not that high school girls fighting zombies on warships is a particularly explored genre). I suppose it’ll make for a good source of dramatic irony so long as the cast don’t figure out the connection. I do wonder, though, why anime characters never seem to be able to see glowing eyes the same way the audience can. It’s a convention of the medium, I suppose.
Overall, it was a slower paced episode, with more development and less action, by which I mean a lack of the crowd pleasing cannon fire and explosions that we’ve been blessed with every episode up until now. Instead, we get this puny thing, which just does not compare. Not even the kung fu action could make up for the loss of calibre. I can understand if there’s some disappointment in this department, but the Harekaze apparently got some new guns in this episode, which wouldn’t have happened unless they were going to use them at some point. Since we’re still only four episodes in, not even at the mid-series climax, I’m sure they’ll find plenty of opportunities to do so.