Mouretsu Pirates – 05

[WhyNot] Mouretsu Space Pirates - 05 [EC8E5C71].mkv_snapshot_03.47_[2012.02.04_22.12.29] [WhyNot] Mouretsu Space Pirates - 05 [EC8E5C71].mkv_snapshot_05.32_[2012.02.04_22.52.50] [WhyNot] Mouretsu Space Pirates - 05 [EC8E5C71].mkv_snapshot_06.50_[2012.02.04_22.15.31]

I really need to reverse the order of my schoolgirl sci-fi Saturday shows, because watching Mouretsu Pirates after Senshogear is like sipping a delicate Sancerre after downing a big tumbler of Talisker single malt…

Wait, did Ririka really just say “Live long and prosper?”

So, at long last, we have a little but of action at least – though it was about as low key and dignified as action gets.  I confess I was pretty close to the breaking point after the first half of the episode, which was yet more long scenes full of technical dialogue and smiling cute girls.  I confess I have a pet peeve about shows where characters smile too much – “Fam” comes to mind (though it’s gotten better with that lately) and Higashi no Eden was a glaring example of the problem.  As much as that what continues to be a problem for me is that this series is as dry and clinical as a medical textbook most of the time, and the first half of the ep was no exception.

I won’t pretend the last half was revelatory or anything, but it was certainly an improvement.  The electronic sparring between the Odette II and the Lightning II was interesting from an intellectual standpoint, though I confess I’ve never seen an anime that made space combat feel quite so detached and dispassionate.  I’m a bit skeptical that these pampered high schoolers could so easily outsmart brigands who make their livelihood by capturing and raiding other ships, though I suppose it’s all in the service of Marika showing how clever she is, and that genes really do play out.  In the end, I suppose the Lightning managed to fight her to something close to a draw by shutting down their computers and firing the beam cannon using a mechanical scope – the neatest part of the episode for me – and the show gets points for that.  It was only with the arrival of the Bentenmaru and the Barbarossa that things were settled once and for all.

The name of the episode was “Marika makes a decision” and it didn’t disappoint – though given the title of the series that decision had all the suspense of watching paint dry – and now we’re at the point where the series is really going to sink or swim.  The next ep is called “Begin Combat Operations” and we’re finally going to meet the rest of the pirates (including Chiaki’s father and the Barbarossa crew, presumably) and hopefully they’ll bring a much-needed jolt of humor or at least a little edginess to the mix.  I won’t deny the aesthetic appeal of the series, with it’s gorgeous space imagery and loving detail, and the retro feel that recalls the brainy sci-fi anime of twenty or thirty years ago is unusual in this day and age.  But they’ve had their build-up and a damn long one, too, even for a two-cour show – and it’s high time that Mouretsu Pirates kicks into another gear and starts to appeal to the heart and the soul in addition to the brain.  Based on the second half of this episode, there’s finally reason to hope it will. 

[WhyNot] Mouretsu Space Pirates - 05 [EC8E5C71].mkv_snapshot_17.53_[2012.02.04_22.26.55] [WhyNot] Mouretsu Space Pirates - 05 [EC8E5C71].mkv_snapshot_19.31_[2012.02.04_22.28.33] [WhyNot] Mouretsu Space Pirates - 05 [EC8E5C71].mkv_snapshot_20.40_[2012.02.04_22.29.42]
[WhyNot] Mouretsu Space Pirates - 05 [EC8E5C71].mkv_snapshot_20.48_[2012.02.04_22.52.26] [WhyNot] Mouretsu Space Pirates - 05 [EC8E5C71].mkv_snapshot_21.12_[2012.02.04_22.30.14] [WhyNot] Mouretsu Space Pirates - 05 [EC8E5C71].mkv_snapshot_21.42_[2012.02.04_22.30.44]
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14 comments

  1. S

    Can't agree more. The animation is gorgeous but the very long-winded conversations can get a bit tiring. The show is decent but it's hard to get excited when you're not a hardcore sci-fi intellectual.

  2. a

    This anime tittle can make people who expect shonen with fan service in every 5 minutes disappointed. But for sci-fi fans this anime almost star trek alike.I like more this way.

  3. There's definitely a "Trek" vibe here, though I would argue Trek at its best (especially TNG) did a much better job developing its characters than this one has done so far.

  4. a

    Well, we can't expect more from 13 episodes, compare to 7 seasons, 178 episodes of TNG :)

  5. I did say, "so far"! Even so, if you watch the first 5 eps of TNG, I'd argue that you knew the characters a hell of a lot better than you know them here.

  6. F

    Five episodes of TNG is also twice as much as 5 episodes of this.

    I'm going to bet you haven't watched Encounter at Farpoint (which seems a fairly reasonable comparison to the first five episodes of this show, in terms of setup) in the last…oh decade or so.

  7. Aaaaaaaaand… You'd lose. Big TNG fan here, actually.

    It's true that one ep of TNG (Farpoint was a two-parter) equates to two of an anime, so yes it's really 2.5 eps of TNG. But I think Farpoint, while clumsy, does a much, much better job of giving you some insight into who the characters are as people – without sacrificing the world-building.

  8. F

    Fair enough, and I'm also a big Trek fan (well, somewhat lapsed, but hey, I owned Farpoint on VHS, seeing as I was all of 5 when it first aired).

    Anyway, comparing an anime to a US TV series (especially one from that long ago) is a sketchy business, simply due to vastly different ways they are structured.

    On the one hand, Mouretsu is being adapted from an existing story, on the other hand, TNG was building on the 20 year history of Star Trek to that point.

    Mouretsu has a set story arc laid out (presumably at least), while TNG was episodic.

    Maybe Mouretsu could have done more in these five episodes, but then again, maybe it did exactly what it needed and set out to do. There is no platonic ideal for the "proper" amount of character development and world building, you just have to take each production for what it is, and then evaluate how it did once you have a more complete picture.

  9. d

    @Enzo: TNG had a story to begin with. MourPirates needs time to build a premise and show how things work.
    And which is better the Sanceree or the tumbler?
    (i only do sake, umeshu and chardonnay

  10. In a pinch, a dram of single malt scotch is hard to beat. But I live a crisp, stony white wine too. After you've got Islay Scotch whisky on your palate, though, that wine comes off pretty bland.

  11. A

    lololol

    Forgive me Enzo, I honestly laughed out loud when I read about the agony this show has been putting you through. Kudos for sticking with it. If a series ever produced the same reactions you are describing in me I would have dropped it already!

    Still – while I admit that I don't know if I fall into the category of "hard core intellectual sci fi fans", I am definitely enjoying the slow pace of the series, and this weeks' ep was no exception.

    Gambate Enzo! I hope the series becomes more engaging for you soon. :)

    – Flower

  12. It really isn't agony – it's more mixed feelings, really. I wouldn't watch it if it were agony – who has time for that? I just wish it would open up to the audience at least a little.

  13. A

    Ah ha … fair enough … sorry about that … actually would have liked to edit my post a little after I wrote it. I guess I was being more "dramatic" and saying it with a cheerful smile on my face than anything else. Not so easy to convey in written text. :)

    – Flower

  14. A

    The title of the next ep is not "Begin Combat Operations", but "Marika's 1st day at work". "Begin Combat Operations" is her lines in this ep.

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