Moretsu Pirates – 19

The Yacht Club begins a thorough cleaning of the Odette II while an exhausted Marika cleans the Bentenmaru on her own. Grunhilde is concerned that her sister Gruier has gotten too close to Marika. While spacing on, Marika loses her father’s ring. When the Bentenmaru crew is discharged and returns to the ship, it is locked down. Grunhilde arrives with the rest of the Yacht Club and the ring, and expertly starts up the ship, impressing the regular crew. When Marika sets the ring down on the desk in her quarters, it reveals the secret recipe to Kato pot-au-feu.

There’s not much to say about this week’s episode. It contained pleasant enough sci-fi slice-of-life, but contained a whole lot of needless worrying on Grunhilde Serenity’s part, had a needless red herring in Marika losing the extremely important ring, and tried to say something about the bond between Marika, her father, and the Serenity sisters, which is a stretch in our opinion. Sure, her dad gave Gruier his ring, but we feel like there was more pragmatism in that then sentimentality. A princess would make a powerful ally for Marika when she came of age and took over from her father.

The ‘bond’ stuff just seemed a little heavy-handed…and we don’t appreciate Gruier shoving huge bags of junk food in front of Marika’s face…is she trying to gorge her into an early grave? What we did like was how Marika was finally portrayed as being worn out and losing her edge as a result. After everything she’s been through, a couple days of sleep and relaxation are a good idea, even though she didn’t really get that. We also like that the Bentenmaru crew is finally out of quarantine and can take their rightful places aboard ship. We have nothing against the Yacht Club, but it’s composed of an awful lot of people, many of whom are extraneous.


Rating: 3

Moretsu Pirates – 18

Robert Dolittle leads a huge fleet and bombards the Bentenmaru with laser fire. As Ai evades the attacks, Marika, Jenny, Chiaki, and the Serenity sisters hatch a plan. The Bentenmaru escapes from the Dolittle fleet, intercepts Jenny’s fiance’s ship, and hacks into interstellar broadcasting, recording live coverage of his unsavory dallying in revolutionary movements. Uncle Robert shows up, but thanks to Marika’s quarantined crew, they have more than enough dirt on the company to have him arrested for corruption and weapons trafficking. Her normal crew tests negative for illness, and Marika and her amateur crew return home triumphant.

The Dolittle arc comes to a sudden, action-packed, rousing, sometimes ridiculous conclusion, but unfortunately it did so in a way that very often stretched and strained credulity, coming off as a bit over-neat and tidy. Let’s start at the beginning: the threat of Doolittle’s fleet is all too-easily brushed aside. One of the cooler little moments in the episode is when we see first-year helmsgirl Ai’s legs shaking as she evades the attacks – this is new territory for her. But her piloting is a little too perfect, as are the FTL girl’s engineering skills and Lynn’s apparently limitless hacking abilities. There’s no doubt these are extremely bright and talented girls, but the Doolittle fleet comes of as pathetically inept.

Then there’s the extremely complicated plan to get Jenny out of her fix. It involves boarding the Glorious Krooph, which just happens to be flying around nearby. Never mind the fact that the crew boards her in that stupid cosplay again (though we have to admit we did enjoy priestess Chiaki with her taped-up gun and disgusted outburst) but there’s a friggin’ army on that ship, not tourists, and they let themselves get captured by a handful of high schoolers? Again the bad guys are just too stupid for words. Broadcasting their raid live to expose Krooph and Dolittle certainly tied those guys’ hands somewhat, but again, how in the hell was Lynn able to do that…and who was making the realtime titles and graphics? This episode was fun, but things were wrapped up too easily and neatly, and the Yacht Club students were simply way too perfect.


Rating: 3

Moretsu Pirates – 16

With the crew getting more comfortable with the Bentenmaru’s systems, Marika announces their first piracy job: the plundering of the luxury liner Princess Apricot, a regular client. The tactical maneuvers prove tricky, but after a rocky docking, the crew boards the liner dressed in cosplay, initially confusing but ultimately charming the customers, and the mission is a surprising success. When Grunhilde reports seeing Lynn talking to someone over the comms, Marika confronts her. Lynn tells her she has a new mission for the Bentenmaru: the kidnapping of former Yacht Club president Jenny Dolittle.

Moretsu (or mouretsu) translates as ‘bodacious’, which is defined as either “excellent” or “audacious in a way considered admirable.” The normal Bentenmaru crew fits the first definition: they’re pros and they’re excellent at their jobs; so much so, they weathered the changing of captains without breaking a sweat. The Yacht Club fits the second definition: it indeed takes audacity to field a trainee crew for a piracy job meant for the first-string crew, and they do an admirable job.

True to the spirit of this series, the mission doesn’t go off without a hitch. There’s nothing routine about it for these kids; it’s hard both to maneuver the ship into position and to provide the proper combination of entertainment and intimidation for their customers, while maintaining their confidence. Chiaki fills in nicely for Misa as Marika’s right-hand-woman, sweating details like finding the crew quarters and even playing the mom at times. And the episode leads on that Lynn is Up To Something like espionage or treachery, but it turns out she wants the Bentenmaru to assist her in abducting her former president, Jenny. Why, we’ll find out another day.


Rating: 3.5

Moretsu Pirates – 14

Marika leaves the bio-container delivery to her crew so she can catch up on her studies, but they open prematurely, infecting her whole crew with flu-like symptons and forcing them into mandatory isolation for up to a month. It falls to Marika to confer with their insurance agent Show, who gives Marika three choices: pray for her crew’s recovery, rescue them before they’re well, or assemble a new crew. If the Bentenmaru is out of action for a month, their license will be revoked, so she choses the third option. Gruier follows her in disguise, and after fashioning a disguise for Marika, they attempt to find new crew members with no success. Chiaki and her father Kenjo meet up with her, warning her not to pick random sailors, but to turn to people she can trust who were right under her nose all along: the yacht club, who are ready and willing to step in to help her.

Moretsu Pirates is about Marika leading the Bentenmaru and its gallant crew on piraty adventures, no? Well, what if you take the crew out of the equation, eh? This episode (or “sailing”) explores this, while introducing Marika to yet another of the less glamorous but still necessary aspects of her job: the business side. It’s a great concept that’s well-executed, thanks to help from Gruier, now a main character, and Chiaki, who suggests the most obvious course of action for Marika to take: recruit the Yacht Club. They have the skill and personality she desires in a crew, but unlike random sailors, she can trust them, too. It’s not surprising that the club president (and former hacker) Lynn Lambretta jumps at the chance to do some piracy; she’s always had that rebellious streak.

Would the academy really be okay with a bunch of minors turning to piracy so willy-nilly? We don’t know, but we do know the Yacht Club was the first thing we thought of when Marika told Ririka she needed to find a temp crew. That she didn’t arrive at that conclusion immediately shows that she’s still not perfect when it comes to running her ship and her business, and she still depends on friends like Chiaki and her dad to steer her to the right decision. While we hope the regular crew gets well soon, we’re looking forward to seeing what Marika and the Yacht Club crew can do in their stead.


Rating: 3.5

Moretsu Pirates – 13

Marika is awarded a medal for her services to Gruier and makes the news, turning her into a local celebrity on Morningstar. The Gruier sisters return there to enroll at the middle school and join the Yacht Club, of which Lynn is now president. Gruier gives Marika the ring she used to stow away; a ring that was Marika’s father’s. She has both Serenity sisters over for dinner. Now that Marika is well-settled into her role as Bentenmaru’s captain, Ririka quits her job and looks to return to space.

This was an impresively-executed slice-of-life episode. It was calm and quiet respite after the high-stakes Serenity arc, and a perfect opportunity to get some character work and make some of the changes we knew were coming to Marika’s life. The producers didn’t waste this opportunity. Not only does Marika have to deal with the fact that she’s now famous, even to mainstream society (not just space pirate circles, that is), but her new position means she can take care of herself, meaning Ririka’s role as her doting mother is coming to an end.

In this regard, Marika is almost like royalty herself. Ririka stepped down as a pirate in order to make sure her daughter got the childhood and upbringing she deserved, while grooming her for command should she choose to take it when her father passed. This was the plan all along – including letting her make the choice herself – it just came sooner due to her father’s sudden demise. We for one am glad she chose both. School, yacht club, pirate captain – it’s a lot to juggle, but she’s certainly comporting herself well so far, and its been a joy to watch. That Ririka seems to be returning to space should make things interesting too.


Rating: 4

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

Moretsu Pirates – 11

Coorie confirms the identity of the Serenity battleship: it’s the Queen Serendipity, the flagship. The Bentenmaru observes the Serenity fleet as it prepares to lure the Golden Ghost Ship. Marika orders an FTL jump into the space-time quake, and the ship endures gravity rings and massive shock waves. At the end of the ordeal, they finally find the massive ghost ship. The Queen Serendipity hails Gruier by name; it’s her younger sister Grunhilde, who insists Gruier withdraw at once, presumably so she can destroy the ship. Gruier refuses, and the Bentenmaru docks within the ghost ship before the fleet gets there. The ghost ship re-enters subspace and prepares to make an FTL jump with the Bentenmaru inside her.

It’s out of the frying pan and into…a larger, meaner frying pan this week, as the danger gets kicked up to 11. After flying through one hell of an astronomical gauntlet, the Bentenmaru emerges in a clearing and the Golden Ghost Ship gets a regal reveal that’s full of awe. The damn thing is 24 kilometers long and made of gold, after all! Gruier finds herself at odds with her sister, whom she believes is being manipulated. Their conversation isn’t exactly cordial, and it’s a strong moment for Gruier, who’d been a little mousey up to this point. We came away from this episode liking her a lot more.

While the space gauntlet, princess face-off and ghost ship reveals were the main set pieces this week, this episode has a lot more to offfer. Marika continues to progress as a fine pirate captain when she has Gruier leave the bridge to suit up while she reiterates to her crew that their safety, and that of the ship, is her top priority. “If things get bad, we run,” she says – they’ll help Gruier as much as they can, but they aren’t about to die for her. Kane also exhibits some boss flying skills by performing a backwards combat landing into the ghost ship hangar, leading to Marika’s line of the week: “We got smacked in the butt!”


Rating: 4

Moretsu Pirates – 10

As Chiaki continues normal pirating activities posing as Marika, Marika, Gruier and the Bentenmaru enter a stormy corner of space where the ghost ship was last seen and explore. They discover a Serenity surveillance buoy network and Coorie hacks into it. Using it, they discover a massive spacial anomoly that is most likely the ghost ship, but a large fleet of Serenity warships are also in the vicinity. Marika orders them to intercept the smallest of the fleet’s three squadrons and successfully disable their sensors. Gruier offers to make them stand down, but it would give up the game too early in Marika’s judgement. Her plan is to stay silent, shadow the fleet, and swoop in when they find the ghost ship.

Funny; a minor can command a pirate ship into ion storms, but she can’t legally work more than eight hours a day. In any case, our confusion about Gruier joining the yacht club was cleared up, leaving us feeling quite foolish in retrospect: it’s supposed to be a secret that she and Marika are off in search of the ghost ship. Thus, as far as anyone’s concerned, Marika is pillaging cruise ships, Gruier is on a practice cruise with the club, and Bob’s theoretically yer uncle. We like the subterfuge…and it seems Chiaki likes Maria’s pirate uniform – after a couple minor alterations.

Our concerns of the series getting too “comfortable” in the Tau Ceti system were also put to rest, as we join the Bentenmaru deep in remote, stormy “seas” being pelted by cosmic debris. Marika shows she’s her father’s daughter once again by taking charge, making quick decisions on the fly, and sticking to them. Her daring charge on the two Corbacks was a great little maneuver, and denying Gruier’s request to clear up the “misunderstanding” with their opponents was a good decision. The Bentenmaru can observe the fleet’s search, thus hastening its eventual discovery.


Rating: 3.5

Moretsu Pirates – 08

The stowaway turns out to be Princess Gruier of the old and powerful Serenity royal family. She boarded the Bentenmaru of her own accord to request that they investigate the legendary Golden Ghost Ship. When media reports the princess is missing, Marika decides to enroll her at her school on Morningstar, limiting her enemies’ moves. A sudden job hits, in which the Bentenmaru must intercept an escort ship from Serenity carrying palace records relating to the ghost ship. When it arrives, it appears damaged, and is being pursued by a battleship and four other escorts – also Serenity affiliated.

Whether she’s there by her own will or not, the whole “Princess stowaway” premise was very well represented in the annals of Star Trek. Members of royalty often tend to act spoiled and aloof to their reluctant spacefaring hosts. Princess Gruier may be a downright silly-looking character, but she’s very polite, once she learns Marika is indeed the father of the captain she sought out. It seems a bit rash for a young princess to sneak aboard a pirate ship to make such a seemingly odd request, but perhaps we can chalk it up to no one in Serenity taking her seriously.

Of course, the events in the closing moments of the episode, like those last week, will likely have the biggest effect on where the story will go next week. We’ve got apparent Serenity-on-Serenity battle, and a Bentenmaru that will need to take a side. For now though, the main crew is formerly introduced in the guise of Gruier meeting them. They’re a most colorful group. With all these sudden royal circumstances, Marika’s pirate captain training has already burst out of its cruise ship-raiding mold.


Rating: 3.5