「バルバラル」 (Baru Bararu)
Fena is out at sea with her ‘guards’ the Golbin Knights. The crew makes it to Bar-Baral, one of the seemingly ‘free cities’ that the British govern from the shadows (off the radar). First thing first, provisions and a new outfit for Fena (finally). It’s here that they come face to face with the man Fena had promised her virtue to. Alongside him are a band of women lead pirates sent by O’Malley to support him in retrieving the White Marginal (a.k.a. Fena). It’s also on Bar-Baral where Fena and the twins Kaede and Enju come across a stone similar to the one she possesses. In exchange for a lighter, they discover that the stone originated from an area in Germany.
I was surprised the twins gave ‘Fena’ the title of captain as they came to her defense in the store. But even more so, I was surprised Fena herself didn’t have much more to say to the shopkeeper after he offered the lewd exchange. I thought she’d be a little snarkier a character or at the very least, hold her ground as she did on the night of her nuptials. Where did that spunk go? I hope this will develop in time. Although Fena was the reason for why the story in this episode transpired, she wasn’t its focus. Rather, the band of pirates they encounter take to the screen and brought their own flare into the series. Associates of O’Malley, these women all have their own special ‘skill’. One is a sharpshooter (Hannah), the other is a swordswoman, and another is a heavy-weapon warrior of sorts.
Rather than focusing on this eccentric group, I want to turn my attention to O’Malley who seems to be their leader. With the position, she gives off the air of having a lot of experience, power, and influence. I would have to assume that she’s also our primary villain alongside British soldier Abel who has been chasing after Fena since her escape. I usually appreciate a good strong female lead, villain, or antihero. In the case of Kaizoku Oujo, I’m slowly doubting we’ll see any character with the kind of strength I’m thinking of. Think Balalaika (Black Lagoon). Now that’s a strong, independent woman. In this series, our villain is a fragment of what she could truly be, or at least, that’s how she’s portrayed thus far. For clarity, I’m exhausted from seeing women use their sensuality to seduce, influence, or claim power over men. Women can gain respect in other ways and are good for much more than intimacy. I’ll correct myself if this detail actually serves a valid purpose to the plot but if it doesn’t, this is just baiting.
I am conscious that the series is aiming to gain and appeal to as large an audience as possible, being it’s a Crunchyroll x Adult Swim production. However, there’s far more than sensual women that will attract a male demographic. And the same can be said about the romance between a young innocent girl and her childhood crush (Fena x Yukimaru). The female demographic is smart enough to enjoy a show that doesn’t center just around fulfilling an impossible love affair.
Moving away from my critiques, I do believe that Fena will eventually find her own role to play in all this. Whether she does that as a strong-willed woman or remains a young innocent flower is still to be determined. Perhaps the move from a dress to a pant attire is, in a metaphorical sense, her first step to gaining more agency and confidence. I’m still very much into this series. I’m tuning in each week to see where Fena’s journey will lead.
I am quite interested in what exactly is that Eden they are looking for, and why Royal Navy is taking interest too. At least that slimeball who bought Fena along with her virginity got literally dumped overboard…
This free city that the Pirate O’malley is leading and the British soldier Abel is secretly defending reminds me of the underground boxing matches between the Chinese Martial Artists and British Boxer in IP Man 2.
Do you think O’Malley is Abel’s mistress, or are they rocking the bed as a contract between two parties. You scratch my back and I scratch your’s kind of thing or O’Malley and Abel are mutually into each other—hrm they’re a bunch of baddies so what would I know.
Also seeing the Engineer/Ninja Karin fall in love with food is nice, she must be a closet foodie.
I rather enjoy seeing the other characters on screen. The twins zipping around was fun to watch, and even Yukimaru, whom I wasn’t initially impressed with, seems to have something going for him. At least I respect his ability to stay sort of rational, which Fena sorely lacks (even though it’s not really her fault I guess). Also Yuuki Aoi characters are always lovely.
Glad to say I enjoyed this episode more than the previous two, in no small part due to the lack of Fena focus. A slice-of-life/adventure on the goblin crew minus Fena would be something I might want to watch. I’m glad that Yukimaru has started addressing Fena’s lack of caution, so I hope we’ll see her change and grow throughout this journey. On the other hand, I have absolutely no idea what the other crewmate was praising her for handling herself well for, but oh well.
“Now that’s a strong, independent woman. In this series, our villain is a fragment of what she could truly be, or at least, that’s how she’s portrayed thus far. For clarity, I’m exhausted from seeing women use their sensuality to seduce, influence, or claim power over men. Women can gain respect in other ways and are good for much more than intimacy.”
You are basically replacing one stereotype with the other and then you criticize the show for not using this exact stereotype you have in mind. And to read how someone judges a show on how “progressive” it is, is really tiresome. I’m actually glad the show stays clear of those “ideals” you have in mind. I also have no problem with sensual women and, as a part of the smart female demogrpahic, the really charming “romance” between the FenaxYukimaru.
If you read my criticism, I add in “thus far” and other words that imply there’s room for growth. True I am assuming and judging based on what’s shown so far, but I’ve never been afraid to call myself out in later posts when a show turns things around. It’s the beauty of looking at what’s right in front of you and the beauty of watching a show for an entire season.
Also, addressing your comment about this being a ‘progressive’ show?
The leader of a female pirate squad is half-dressed and this isn’t to appeal to the female demographic. There’s a lot of really good shows (anime or other) that showcase all the aspects that make a woman strong, be it their sexuality, intelligence, etc. But in this case, I don’t see how her character is a sign of this show being ‘progressive’. The first we saw of her (first shot, episode 1) wasn’t of a strong stance/silhouette over the remnants of a burning ship. It was of her lips – painted red (should I share more about this? The red here and context don’t invite thoughts of the suffragists but rather feed into stereotypes of ‘red lips’ being reserved for ‘free’ women – especially back in the 1800s). The second time we see her, in the middle of what is technically a tactical meeting, she’s half-dressed, with a slit at the front of her pants and lying on the bed. And lastly, the next time we see her, she’s completely nude pushing up against the blond white British guy.
You might be tired but I’m more tired of having women be portrayed through a patriarchal lens and then being told that it’s a sign of strength and being progressive. You either feed the beast or starve it.
And finally, I don’t have an ideal image of the “strong woman” but I don’t see how my mention of Balaika falls under a normal stereotype within anime. But feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I’m not very confident about my knowledge of Afghan wars, or women who may have gone there as soldiers, etc.
I’ve been liking Fena’s crew mates much more than I like Fena herself…. which will become a problem in the long run as she is central to this mystery the Goblin Pirates are trying to investigate. She will get to make some major decisions that impacts the whole journey, so her character needs to change noticeably for the better if I am to root for her and stand behind her decisions.
For a show (partly) funded by the west, I didn’t expect to see sleazy characters like the shop keeper in it. Even though we already had the guy who had paid for her. Well, it’s a pirate world. Anyways, the twins surprised my by how they handled the situation. The rest of the cast have yet to do anything out of the ordinary.
Show looks great so far. and the OP is a banger that reminds me of the Magus Bride OP, and yep, same vocalist. A new song for my playlist.
Karin has built a fricking Nautilus in the middle of age of sail.
I am wondering how that Royal Navy officer is intending to track and fight effing submarine with wooden frigate armed with smoothbore canons…
His first move was smart though, he predicted rightly first port of call and used expendable procies.