Moretsu Pirates – 12

Thanks to technical prowess, elbow grease, and Gruier’s access codes, the crew of the Bentenmaru gain access to the interior of the Golden Ghost Ship. Gruier and Marika are accompanied by Misa, Hyakume, Schnitzer, and a tactical team. They pass by a huge central city, vast empty repositories of long-sold artifacts, a gene bank every animal in the Serenity kingdom preserved in stasis, and finally, the “Rose Spring”, an artificial womb where the members of the Serenity Royal family are born.

When Serenity forces under Grunhilde arrive, a standoff ensues, in which Gruier reveals she’s come to destroy the Rose Spring, as she believes Serenity no longer needs royalty, while Grunhilde is there to retrieve it. As the sisters bandy words, Marika and Schnitzer exchange gestures with Yotof and Catherine. Both princesses are sedated. When Gruier awakens, the situation has been resolved peacefully due to prior plans made by both sides. The last infant is born from the Rose Spring before it drys up, and the Ghost Ship returns to Serenity space, where the two princesses reconcile.

The reveal of the Ghost Ship was awesome enough, this episode really took the grandeur and wonder to the next level by showing us the ship’s amazing contents. The away team glided gracefully from wonder to wonder; we’re duly impressed with the sheer scale and complexity of the thing. But perhaps even more impressive was the fact that the characters didn’t shrink to insignificance in the face of such mindblowing vastness. Marika is upbeat, encouraging, and above all helpful to Gruier, who is no longer merely a client, but a friend.

The episode is alive with awesome character moments, many of them Schnitzer’s, who almost steals the show by not wearing a spacesuit (because he’s awesome like that, hoisting open doors, and even flashing a frikkin’ smile! Hyakume totally geeks out on a mechanical display. But above all, the pirate crew proves they’re the real deal, and their talents haven’t been dullled in the least by the usual contracted entertainments they carry out. The wordless exchange while the princesses was a perfect example of this, and, along with the totally unexpected ending, proved that this series is willing and able to go the extra mile in delivering a smart story without compromising. Also, a baby was born! Not a bad day’s work, really.

Rating: 4

Sket Dance – 50

In the first half, Himeko’s horsing around leads to Bossun’s fingers getting broken. As retribution, he makes her sign a “servant contract”, effectively making her his personal maid, complete with costume and Maiko vernacular. But it turns out to be more of a hassle for Bossun, as he just doesn’t get the satisfaction from it he expected. When he saves her from a batted ball, she learns his hand is actually find, and is none too pleased. In the second half, Jin returns to observe the Sket-dan’s downtime, still hopeful to woo Himeko. However, spending time with her and Bossun reveals to him that the two have a special and powerful bond that is not wise or even possible to get between.

Both parts of this episode deal with the unique and complex relationship between Himeko and Bossun. Suffice it to say the two seem to like things the way they are, even if the way things are baffles most outsiders, such as Jin. Switch, not surprisingly, has a fairly good bead on what the two are all about. He notes that in Bossun’s case, you have a guy who is mature at times but is childish and naive by default, and therefore may not quite understand his feelings for Himeko, and just goes with the flow. While he’s less sure of Himeko, he suspects she harbors feelings of gratitude and respect for Bossun, who delivered her from a life of petty delinquency and set her on the path of using her talents to help others. He did the same thing with Switch.

You have to hand it to Sket Dance, they still have a lot of gas in the tank even after fifty episodes, are able to delve even deeper into this core trio of characters. This was an interesting episode in that the mission was secondary to the actual interaction of Himeko and Bossun. Even though we’ve seen these two act like a married couple, first lovers, and a mother and son before, it all seems new and fresh when observed through Jin’s eyes. Now that all three characters have received considerable backstory, the only major story we can think of that’s still missing is the actual founding of the Sket-dan itself.

Rating: 3.5