Moretsu Pirates Episodes 8 & 9

I had difficulty with last week’s episode. Nothing difficult in enjoying it, but rather in knowing what to write about. That episode marked the official entrance of Princess Gruier Serenity (Gruelle? Gruyère?) and thus the transitioning of the plot from mostly introduction and characterization, to that of the beginnings of galactic political intrigue. It’s nothing that I wasn’t invested in, but what I’m most grabbed by in episodic analysis is subtext.

To that end, there was little for me to grab a hold of regarding the Princess’s characterization and subtext. My suspicion was that Gruier, while not intentionally obfuscating information, was not completely forthcoming either. She answered questions that were directed at her, and gave measured responses, but there was a sense of political expediency to everything. In other words, I couldn’t get a bead on her and was left with the superficial enjoyment of seeing her antics with the girls of Hakuoh Academy. What this did manage to communicate; however, was that the Princess herself doesn’t seem to be completely in the loop with regards to the political situation in her home system. If her surprised reaction to the ongoing skirmish between Serenity battleships was any indication.

There was notable shock in the Princess’s demeanor on seeing Serenity ships firing upon each other, and it was only through Marika’s quick and decisive thinking that the situation was able to resolve itself. Marika leveraged the Princess’s presence to the Bentenmaru’s advantage, and negotiated her way into an audience with the battleship that was being pursued.

The encounter on the docking bridge with the Chamberlain proved to be incredibly layered and filled with a lot of incidental information. There was the surface appearance of a dress being delivered to the Princess, obfuscating the real intent to deliver pertinent information for Gruier’s search. There was the surface appearance of the Chamberlain and the bodyguard appearing as servant and maid, over the very real capability underneath. This caused Schnitzer to react by setting aside the weapons that the crew brought along for surface appearances, in order to arm themselves with what they considered their real weapons.

The implications of these areas of light, their real weapons, is that efficiency and power could have been lost in the externalization of their force to guns.

And then there was the verbal exchange between Gruier and Yotof the Chamberlain. The Princess was enthusiastic in her reception and greeting, only to be tamped down by Yotof’s proclamation that nothing has happened at the palace. It’s very possible that this is a veiled message meant to appear innocuous, hiding another intent beneath. How much was communicated there? Is she being kept in the dark? Is she keeping others in the dark still? There’s a lot of tension between intention and appearances in the show, and this theme is continued in the interactions here.

Appearance and intention are at odds with each other many times in Moretsu, and the contrast is played for drama and dramatic irony as often as it is for humor in Marika’s case. The conversation between Chiaki and Marika in the Yacht Club’s room was an example of this tension being played for dramatic irony. It showcased a trading of information between the two pirate girls, but also subtly communicated a warning of potential future conflict between them over this job. Due to the differing origins of their orders, they may come into conflict over the golden ghost ship; however, this conversation was just as much an affirmation of their relationship in spite of whatever conflicts are in their immediate future.

This dissonance was played for more light-hearted moments as well, with Endou Mami’s assertions that the Yacht Club was filled with “talented” individuals, obviously alluding to their extralegal capabilities. Before Marika had a chance to correct this assertion, Chiaki confirmed it outright by saying that high school girls don’t typically win at electronic warfare in their first cruise outing and that if anyone needed something, well, illegal, the Yacht Club would be the organization to beseech. What really tickled me was the following imagery that had two contrasting ideas in it. You see a group of girls in high school uniforms with their cute jackets and their red ribbons, but those are still uniforms. What the shot is also trying to communicate simultaneously, is a portrait of a group of hardened soldiers/warriors. They’re in a disciplined line-up and there is a clear chain of command with Dolittle at the top.

There was progress in Marika’s actions as captain. She made clear decisions regarding the Bentenmaru‘s protocol during the initial skirmish encounter, not backing down and quickly leveraging the assets available to her advantage. There was progress in Gruier’s character as well. She was more forthcoming about information regarding the job within her interactions with Marika throughout, and was more willing to display a sort of vulnerability in her reaching out and asking others for help. This trust that the Princess was giving to the crew was responded to by Marika in another scene that highlighted the Captain’s growing confidence and assertiveness. Marika met Gruier’s outreach with clarity, and honesty. She and her crew will do all in their power to meet the Princess’s demands, but even the sincerest intentions can fail. In the dingy intimacy and claustrophobic safety of a secluded underground diner, lots were cast in each others’ favors. They may not succeed, but you can still believe anyway.

Addendum

6 Comments

Filed under Episodics, Moretsu Pirates

6 responses to “Moretsu Pirates Episodes 8 & 9

  1. L

    Hi,

    I’ve been reading this blog for some time. I really liked your posts on Mawaru Penguindrum. Moretsu Pirates is a fun show and Marika is developing nicely. The princess seems to be based on Sailor Moon with her hair, features and name. Also the mention of real weapons pricked my interest. I hope you continue your posts.

    • Thank you! That means a lot to me that you liked our Penguindrum posts. It was a lot of effort but completely worth it to see how much people enjoyed them.

      That’s one of the things I like about Pirates, is the careful attention to the characters. I think it’s something that a lot of people really pay attention to in this show if you ask me, but I’m fond of looking at that angle.

      And yeah, the Princess is a total Sailor Moon shout out. There’s actually a lot of shout outs in this series. If you look closely, Misa Grandwood is a shoutout to Nia from Gurren Lagann and so is Sandaime, and Kane MacDougal’s name is a shoutout to Outlaw Star. You got a good eye for spying that Sailor Moon reference, and I don’t think it’s an accident either.

  2. I was waiting to read your thoughts vuc, I have to agree with episode eight there wasn’t much to really talk about with the whole introduction of Princess Gruier…this is just another case of plot is dull bring in the blonde loli character to keep people watching! Sure Gruier is a very interesting character and I can tell she might be hiding something from Marika still.

    I kept thinking Gruier ran away from home to become a pirate? However I think she just wants something or someone from the Golden Ghost Ship. Like a important person? They did mention the whole cyro-sleep system so a few bloggers are guessing she is looking for someone on board. I thought it was some treasure but not anymore they were saying in episode nine the tech is very old so I can’t see anyone wanting it for some “advanced tech”

    I wondered about those “real” weapons just lights? I guess they work like Iron-Man’s chest beam/hand cannons! I can see a cyborg with weapons like that. As for Chiaki and Marika eventually fighting each other I can see happening soon! After all they are competing pirate crews.

    Cliffhangers man! THOSE DAMN CLIFFHANGER EPISODES! Oh well they have to stretch this series over 26 episodes so I guess that is going to happen.

    • Yeah, I didn’t dislike 8, I just didn’t have much to say is all. The Princess seems to be a good person, but there’s obviously something she’s hiding or just can’t say to the others. That tends to happen when you have a lot of power and responsibility.

      But you know what? I didn’t even CONSIDER the fact that she could be looking for someone! That could very well be… My thoughts were… you know? I’m not sure. Maybe there are some records to the history of her people she wants to look up, or maybe there’s old technology that’s really powerful or extremely valuable. But the fact that they took the time to mention the fact that there was a cryo-sleep system on board could mean something important like that. My first thought was that it was mentioned to kinda highlight how old the ship is given that everyone can travel faster than light now.

      We’ll see!

  3. I was thinking that this was the first time I might catch you writing less than 750 words, but to no avail. Anyways, enjoy reading your posts as always. If not for you, I probably would have dropped this series already.

    • It was close, Joe. If I had made a separate post for episode 8 it very well could’ve ended up just those first two paragraphs and maybe an outro. Almost embarrassing…

      Thanks for reading by the way. People don’t admit to it often enough, but blogging anime is more satisfying when you know there are others out there who’re either enjoying what you write, or at least are paying attention enough to disagree. It made the Penguindrum posts crazy ridiculous to write each week with how much back and forth it generated in discussion.

      Thanks, pal.

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