Welcome to Winter Watch, a look at the latest anime season. This time we continue to watch and observe Bodacious Space Pirates as we see Marika finally don her pirate robes for the first time!
Episode 6: Marika's First Day at Work
Summary: Forced to embark on an act of piracy to prevent her letter of marque from being revoked Marika learns the skills and tricks to what being a pirate really are.
Air Date: 02/18/2012
Run Time: 24:09
Warning: This article contains MASSIVE spoilers. We recommend watching the episode HERE first
So after Misa ferrets Marika around for a bit, in a scene that I couldn’t help but interpret as funny little jab at federal bureaucracies, and we get our first major plot arc since Marika found out that she was the daughter of a pirate captain. After getting her Letter of Marque she finds out that unless she carries out an act of legal piracy her status as captain will be revoked. From the start I like this for two reasons. One it adds urgency to the events and actions of the show, and two it necessitates that we finally get to see Marika on the Bentenmaru. Marika is put through simulations and training sessions to help give her the skills necessary to be a “pirate.” The first scene of these is such a shameless rip-off of Star Trek’s Kobayashi Maru that I honestly couldn’t help but smile. The importance here is that Marika is being trained because while she has potential she is woefully inexperienced at actually captaining a real ship.
The problem here is that the show proceeds to barrage the audience with an entire cast of characters without properly introducing or establishing their purpose. Now you could make the claim that this was the intent of the writers for the audience to better relate to feeling of overwhelming that is overpowering Marika. The problem is that things go a little to fast for me to be able to absorb anything that’s happening. Especially so when there’s suddenly this robot demon looking thing and a lady with an eye patch who appear to be of importance of the ship, but I wouldn’t know because I don’t know who they are or what they do. However who cares when Chiaki is back, and she conveniently needs to learn how to be a "pirate" too!
Now it’s time to deal with the elephant in the closet with this episode and that’s the major “plot twist.” As it is explained in a funny collage presented by Misa “piracy” doesn’t exist anymore. In fact our privateers are members of the galactic army and are forbidden from doing any actual piracy. Instead, they earn money by entertaining space cruises and their guests by "boarding and robbing" them as a form of entertainment meaning they have been relegated to the role of actors and charlatans since the great space war many years ago.
This totally sucks. You mean to tell me…we’ve gone through five episodes of self reflection and knowing our place only to find out that our characters are to be relegated to role of entertainers? That’s really deflating and it means that you know whole set piece on the cruiser is a farce. If the character isn’t in any sort of risk that sucks all of the tension out of the scenes that follow and it means that you know nothing of consequence will occur during this scene on the cruiser. Sure Kane gets shot but you know he didn't really get shot. I honestly feel like this show just blue balled me. Chiaki leaves the Bentenmaru for unspecified reasons and her defiance about not enjoying Marika’s presence when she really does ends the episode.
Man. MAAAAAAAAAAAN. This whole plot twist totally took the wind out of my sails. I have the growing hunch that the entire show isn’t going to be about the cast being entertainers but if that’s the case and the entire show is going to be about perpetuating a farce I don’t think I can watch this entire show. I really, really wanted this show to be something else because it looked like and it was paced exactly like a space adventure like Firefly. that fact that it looks like it isn't going to be that is just disappointing. Anyways the character Marika and Chiaki continue to be the highlights of the show and I have the hunch that Chiaki is in the same boat as me about this whole “piracy” business. That said I can’t help but feel totally gypped with this episode.
-- ZombiePie is a moderator and community director at Giant Bomb. You can follow him on Twitter @GiantBombSquad!