Mouretsu Pirates

January 13, 2013

Hey! I heard piracy is good! I heard that piracy is legal! All you need is some sort of letter that allows you to do some legal piracy despite that term sounding like an oxymoron but, hey! Piracy is legal and acceptable! Can it be true?! For real?! Where can I get my hands on that letter because there are lots of anime stuffs that I would love to download. So where? Where can I get that letter… Oh… Wait… What did you say? EHHHH?! Not that kind of piracy you say?! If it is not that kind of piracy then what kind of piracy do you mean? Oh… The kind that boards a ship… Oh… How disappointing. Sheesh… But wait a minute. Still, don’t you think it is a little odd that people who plunder from others is considered legal? WTF does that suppose to mean? Watch Mouretsu Pirates or as in its official English title, Bodacious Space Pirates to learn more about this piracy stuff. Sheesh… What a letdown on piracy…

In the distant future, mankind has been said to have mastered the art of travelling space. Well, at least space travel has become a norm because you have humans living in colonies and on planets far flung across the galaxy. You get the idea. So how does piracy fit into this anime? As we know throughout history, mankind isn’t the kind of species that sits down quietly when some royalty or authoritarian ruler rules with an iron fist. In short, some want to fight for independence. So on this particular planet, Sea of the Morning Star of the Tau Ceti solar system, the people fought against their colonial rulers, Stellar Alliances in a bid for independence over a century ago. Because they lack the firepower needed to fight against the oppressors, they issued this Letter of Marque to pirates, turning their status from criminals into sanctioned privateers and the pirates in returned helped out in providing battle fleets against the Alliance. The war was won and they got their independence. As time passed, there were no new wars and since the pirates are in possession of this letter, they are allowed to keep this letter, renew their pirating (privateer as they call it) licence and only their direct descendents may inherit this business. In short, piracy is some sort of a show business to awe the filthy rich who wants to experience some piracy time. WTF. So our main heroine, Marika Katou, supposedly a normal high school girl and a member of Hakuou Academy’s Yacht Club one day finds out her recently deceased father is a space pirate. In order for his ship, Bentenmaru to continue its legal piracy operations, Marika is drafted to be its captain. Wow. High school girl and pirate. How often do you hear that in the same line? Besides, how often is it do you hear a young female captain pirate? It’s like being a black cowboy, right?

Actually I won’t really go so far to say that this anime is one of the few intelligent animes around but it is better than the current glut of ecchi high school comedies, mindless fanservice or the kind that has a normal high school kid being bestowed super powers, then turned into a hero to save the day. I would say that if you want to enjoy this anime, be prepared for lots of technical stuffs thrown in your face. I’ll have to admit first that I’m not the smartest guy around and just too dumb so watching the initial episodes felt daunting because of all the terms and explanation. The elaborated and perhaps detailed explanation are very much needed to understand the plot and workings so much so that sometimes I had a hard time comprehending what is happening even if I replayed that scene over and over again. I had to resort to read other blogs to grasp the episode (special thanks to Abandoned Factory for clearing up lots of things up – but not everything. Oh, not forgetting Wikia too). So are you ready for some piracy?

Episode 1
We see Marika acing her Yacht Club’s simulation. It’s like she has a natural talent in piloting a ship. Yeah. We know why. Misa Grandwood and Kane McDougal are observing her top notch skills. They follow her to Lamphouse, the cafe where she works part time as a maid with her friend, Mami Endou. Misa introduces herself as an old acquaintance of Ririka, Marika’s mother and wonders if she would like to go to space. When Marika returns home, Misa and Kane pay them a visit and it seems 2 days ago, their captain Gonzaemon has passed away. How? Food poisoning. Hah! Every hard and tough things don’t kill him. It took a simple food poisoning for him to bite the dust. Well, it’s a reminder not to pick up anything you see on the ground and pop it into your mouth. So with Marika still in a dazed what is going on, Misa points out Gonzaemon is her father. The father she never knew. A space pirate. She is the only one who can take over his post. Of course Marika needs time to ponder because everything is too sudden. Why didn’t Ririka tell her about this before? She wanted to wait for the right time. So was that it? Anyway, what’s the deal about becoming legal pirates? Why would she become that? Well, Ririka says to take her time and think about it. Marika did some research and finds they’re telling the truth. More surprising, Ririka was once a captain of Bentenmaru. Next day in class, more surprises in store. Not only Kane becomes her class’ homeroom teacher (Misa becomes the school’s nurse), they’ll be having a new transfer student, Chiaki Kurihara. Looks cold. Looks unfriendly. While working at Lamphouse, a group of strange men enter as customers. Do scary MIBs and ruffians patron the place? Just odd. Chiaki also walks in and orders a parfait (she really enjoys her sweets). Chiaki is here to warn her. Not that Marika could understand. Some guy pops up to tell Marika that her mom requested emergency protection for her since there is trouble at the relay station where Ririka works. Chiaki is suspicious because it is the airport security that is providing protection rather than the police. Ordering Marika to close her eyes, Chiaki pulls out a gun and we see a ‘flashy colourful show’. Chiaki takes Marika’s hand and runs out of the place.

Episode 2
So at a safe place, Chiaki explains it is because she would be the potential captain of Bentenmaru, the reason why that guy is out to kidnap her. The rest of the patrons are probably special military ops. Later Ririka picks up her daughter and she explains a bit of herself as life as a pirate. She brings her to a wasteland and lets her have a taste of firing a blaster. It’s to explain that a pirate fights to impress because a fight is determined before the trigger is pulled. The pirate has the power to decide whether to pull that trigger. With Kane becoming the new advisor for Yacht Club, he prepares the club for a practice space cruise. From the data, the ship that this club has one of the ancient pirate ships used during the independence war known as the Original Seven Hakuchou. So Kane and the Yacht Club members led by its president Jenny Dolittle and vice president Lynn Lambretta, they make preparations and do the usual checking on Odette II. Marika and Chiaki (who is also part of the club) are paired together and the latter thinks Kane wants to know her motives by pairing them together. Marika notices Chiaki hacking the computer. She says Odette II is under electronic attack from the outside and she is trying to block it. Well, it gets heavy here for me. Not that I understand what it’s going on but it isn’t just auto-patrolling and spamming and perhaps someone is trying to hack in. Whatever. So we got the duo explaining about electronic warfare, trying to figure out where the perpetrator is and experiment in fighting back by improvising with the system they have now.

Episode 3
So the battle of who controls who begins. Because Marika activates some security system, the high power consumption causes Odette II’s power breaker to trip. I wonder what excuse she’ll come up with. Anyhow, the hacker escaped. Before the practice cruise, Marika and her classmates tackle the exams. Thank goodness none of them failed. Otherwise it would be just painful to be left behind taking make-up exam while the rest are enjoying their space flight. So with the girls preparing to launch Odette II, everything seems to be going smoothly till the main mast gets stuck while being unfolded. Well, I suppose the best way to fix it is to take a space walk and see what’s the problem. So Marika, Chiaki and some of the girls follow Kane as he guides them to the mast. They see how the mast is jammed and Kane decides to go with Marika’s solution in freeing the mast. With everyone at their designated positions and by Marika’s order, they give the mast a much needed push till it is back to its normal position. Marika sees her planet and despite looking small, it is still very pretty. Just like everything else when compared to the huge endless space is just a small dot, although also feeling scared, Marika is looking forward to it.

Episode 4
Jenny detects 3 ships in the vicinity but 2 of them disappeared. The other one as Kane and Misa know is Bentenmaru. Marika and Chiaki are paired again for the night watch. They realize a ship is trying to jam their signal. They predict that ship will attack them when they reach the back of a certain planet. So in order to detect that ship, they use a high frequency scan and it turns out to be an Alcyon battleship. Running the scan again just to make sure, the ship then disappears from the radar. They report this ghost ship to Kane and he doesn’t want them to think too much about it. Kane reports this to Bentenmaru and Jenny catches Marika and Chiaki trying to eavesdrop on the encrypted conversation. So when Marika reveals what she knows, to her surprise Jenny and the rest already know about her as a pirate candidate. With all the information at your finger tips, it’s not hard to see why. The ghost ship might be after Odette II because of Marika. Marika suggests fighting back not because of trying to be cool but for the sake of her club. I guess everybody’s in. So instead of taking a good rest, Marika is up all night planning how to attack. From what I understand, the plan is to continue maintaining their course so as not to let the ghost ship realize they have discovered their presence. At the same time, they’ll duplicate a fake system so they can hack it and in return hack back. Lynn the hacker discovers the identity of the ghost ship as it turns out to be a little scout drone disguising its signal as Alcyon.

Episode 5
Marika further elaborates her plan to limit the enemy’s actions and to buy them more distance from the planet. Unknown to the girls, Kane and Misa are secretly watching over their actions. They must have a lot of faith in the girls for what they’re going to pull off. The hacking begins and the enemy as predicted starts hacking the fake system. Once they think they have fully taken over the system, they send a message to the captain to surrender. Once Jenny sends her reply, it is Lynn’s cue to hack and control their system. However before she could successfully do that, the enemy shuts down their system. Amazingly, the enemy starts shooting long range laser beams without using any radar help but via optical targeting. In short, they’re firing blindly but each shot is getting closer to Odette II. Taking action, they calculate the origin of the shots to locate its position. Instead of accelerating away (the heat may give away Odette II’s location), Marika suggests using the mast foils and blind their enemy via the sunlight. Once the enemy is disabled, their radar picks up pirate ships in the name of Bentenmaru and Barbarusa. Chiaki introduces herself again but this time reveals she is the daughter of Barbarusa’s captain, Kenjou Kurihara. She is glad she came abort Odette II to see the next potential captain of Bentenmaru. Once Odette II finishes its practice cruise, Marika tells Ririka that she will be a space pirate.

Episode 6
Marika is supposed to have a fun outing with Mami but is whisked away by Kane and Misa to do lots of those tedious paper work. You know. Registering for the Letter of Marque and even getting properly dressed for the occasion. Who says being a pirate is easy? Besides, if no piracy is done within 50 days, the letter is rescinded. WTF. No piracy means good, right? So Marika has her first practice simulation as a captain. She fails at her first go. Don’t worry. Nobody is perfect. Then she receives personal training from the rest of the Bentenmaru crew. Including history lessons of piracy and its laws. Man, she’s tired out. Is this the kind of life she wants to go through? Who says life as a pirate captain is easy? Seems Chiaki is also on board for training and this boosts Marika’s morality. Anyway Chiaki is not amused with Marika’s ditzy behaviour because it’ll cause problems for those around her. Marika doesn’t really understand but apologizes anyway. There is only so much one can learn from teaching. The rest is up to experience. Yup, Marika is going to man her first piracy by putting on a piracy show onboard the Princess Apricot luxury liner. There’ll be additional swordplay service too. So it’s really like a show. Marika reading her lines as an invading pirate and making her entry to plunder. Well, the crowd seems to be very amused. Especially a high school girl as a pirate captain. So the swordplay is between Marika and Kane (acting as one of the passengers onboard the liner). Though Kane wins the fight, Marika swiftly takes out her little gun and fires at his chest! Don’t worry, it’s all just an act. This is what they call entertainment? And I guess the passengers have no qualms in handing over their possessions because the insurance company will cover for it. Chiaki soon leaves Bentenmaru to rendezvous with Barbarusa.

Episode 7
Marika fails as Bentenmaru’s captain. At least this is just confined to her dream. Perhaps this captain job is making her grades fall. Sure, she may be a pirate captain but this is no excuse to do badly academically. Pirates are no longer uneducated crude ruffians, you know. Besides, Marika isn’t going to quit school and wants to graduate. Chiaki visits Lampshade but only has Mami for company since Marika is out on a job. So we have Mami telling Chiaki how Marika always does her best and to look after her. So Marika’s job is to do piracy on another ship, Symphony Angel but this ship is being escorted by 3 Corback class escort ships. Once more Marika shows her prowess as the captain as both sides exchange volleys to outdo each other (for the sake of entertainment of that cruiser of course). In the end, with Symphony Angel surrendering, the Corbacks also surrender. Now it’s time to board. Note: Marika in make-up looks hideous. I thought she was going to go on stage as a Chinese opera actress. I prefer her plain smiling face, though. Before Marika could get some deserved rest in her room, the crew detects a stowaway onboard Bentenmaru during their piracy. Someone was genius enough to sneak onboard and holed-up on their ship? From the heat sensor, the stowaway seems to be a child.

Episode 8
The kid is here to see Gonzaemon but couldn’t believe he is dead. She introduces herself as Princess Gruier Serenity, the seventh princess of the Serenity royal family. Well, she really looks like one and after doing some research, they confirm she is the real deal. Gruier is brought to the bridge and we are also officially introduced to Marika’s main crew. We have Kane the helmsman, Misa the physician, Coorie the electronic warfare specialist (thick nerdy glasses she got), Schnitzer the tactical officer (this cyborg looks like a meaner version of Fullmetal Alchemist’s Al), Luca the navigator (eye-patch Red Indian? What does she always ‘see’?), Hyakume the radar and sensor specialist and Sandaime the engine caretaker. Gruier is here to seek a request. She wants them to find the wandering golden ghost ship. Furthermore, there are reports that Gruier is missing despite she claims she is here on her own will and that she had told her officials her whereabouts. Gruier soon becomes a transfer student in Marika’s class (I thought she looked like mini Sailormoon) and of course all the girls flock around her. Who wouldn’t want to be up close with the royal princess? But her transfer is to limit her enemy’s actions because by being popular announcing where she is, kidnappers would think twice before taking action. Misa has received reply from the Serenity side but it feels too soon and fishy. She’ll investigate. One day Marika is called in for an emergency job and eager Gruier tags along. Since they’re rushing, no time to argue. I’m sure Misa’s hell driving gave the girls new nightmares. See how messed up their hair is! Seems there is an unknown ship arriving at the edge of the Tau Ceti system and they are to see who that ship is. Though Gruier identified that ship as a military ship from her Serenity system bringing information about the golden ghost ship, they realize since Serenity isn’t an ally or enemy, they can’t ignore another military ship entering their area or make a big deal out of it. So they turn to pirates to do the job. Once the ships arrive, they scan it as one battleship and 4 escorts and all from Serenity Defence Force. These 5 are chasing their own fellow Corback and this ship seems to have taken damage from its attacks.

Episode 9
Gruier borrows Marika’s uniform to send message to her fleets to stop firing. Marika and Gruier then go meet the Grand Chamberlain of the Privy Council Yotof and his bodyguard heard Catherine on the damage Corback. Yotof assures everything is alright at the palace ever since Gruier left to study abroad. They hand over the requested data on the golden ghost ship before leaving. Back in school, Marika learns from Chiaki that Barbarusa has also been hired by an unknown client to look for the golden ghost ship. In addition to that, they have orders to eliminate others who are looking for it. Gruier is at the Yacht Club because she heard that someone here is a master in faking records. Yup. She needs someone to fake her school attendance records while she goes searching for the ghost ship. Jenny understands the situation and welcomes Gruier into the Yacht Club. Oh, they’re planning another practice cruise so in a way their attendance won’t be affected. Later when Ririka brings Marika to the airport cafeteria for dinner, the Bentenmaru crew are also there. Hyakume explains about the golden ghost ship. It is a first generation colony ship made way before you see all those high tech space warp. In short, the kind of technology whereby interstellar flight would take years to reach its destination. There is also data on sightings of this ghost ship for the past 200 years. I thought it’s like almost everywhere… And it seems it navigates through treacherous areas. Dark nebulae, Black Holes, dwarf star clusters… Man, how did it survive its journey? Maybe that’s why it’s a ghost ship. Maybe that’s why nobody actually could see it. But knowing where they can find the ghost ship and the possible dangers that come along, all that is left is to take action to fulfil the client’s request.

Episode 10
So with Marika’s absence, Chiaki is doing piracy in her place! I think she’s enjoying it. Really. And she looks like she’s born for the part. A natural. While flying through the space storm, Misa kicks Marika and Gruier out of the bridge since minors are limited to working certain hours. How considerate. WTF. Being pirates shouldn’t be bothered about this, right? Unless they can get their licence revoked. While Bentenmaru searches for the ghost ship’s location, Coorie hacks the Serenity buoys for information. The odd part is the buoys contain Gruier’s data and were launched 15 years ago despite Gruier was only born 2 years later. Then one of the buoys detects the presence of the ghost ship so Marika orders to jump to its location. By the time they reach there, the ghost ship has disappeared and caught in the middle of a space storm. There are also hostiles in the form of Serenity fleets so Marika orders to prepare for battle. Despite the fleets splitting into groups, Bentenmaru launches decoys to fool them and even fire a hit-and-run shot to damage the 2 nearest ships. Gruier thought of hailing to her fleets to clear the misunderstanding but Marika refuses because Gruier is supposed to be on a practice cruise with the Yacht Club. Since the Serenity fleets did attempted contact, it shows that they know who they are. Knowing now that the Serenity fleet is searching for the ghost ship, Marika is going to do what pirates do. Pursue the Serenity fleet, beat them to it and take a piece of the action.

Episode 11
While Schnitzer prepares the crew for battle, it is learnt that Queen Serendipity is leading the Serenity ships. Misa teaches Gruier how to wear a space suit. Realizing the fleet may have a good indication of the ghost ship’s next location, Marika orders a hyper-space jump but arrives in the midst of a time-space quake. The spatial rip can tear Bentenmaru apart so leave it to Kane to steer the ship out of the storm. Then the ghost ship appears out of subspace right in from of them and it is this event which is causing the spatial rip. Seems the Serenity fleets have also arrived. Gruier receives message from Serendipity and it turns to be Grunhilde, the eighth princess of the royal family and Gruier’s sister. I thought she looked very much like a boy. Anyway Grunhilde wants Gruier to leave or else she will fire back at them. Gruier thinks she is being manipulated. Suddenly the ghost ship sends out an omni-directional scan as it comes to ‘life’ with the sunlight reflecting its golden exterior. Marika wants to beat the Serenity fleets to the dock in the ghost ship (because the scanning scanned Gruier, it allowed them in). The high speed docking at least didn’t cause any major damages. Gruier wants to take this alone from here but Marika is going to see her duty all the way that she protects her crew and passengers. That includes you, Gruier. Suddenly the ghost ship is about to jump into subspace once more. Brace yourselves!

Episode 12
Inside the ship, Marika, Misa, Hyakume, Schnitzer and several crews escort Gruier to her destination. They also get to know the Serenity fleets have docked at the other end of the ship but rather than facing them, they continue their journey. Thanks to Gruier, the crew easily moves from one section to another as they learn that this ship is one big giant storeroom, gene bank and blueprint for the future of Serenity. Yeah, even livestock frozen in eternal sleep. They won’t find any valuable treasures here because Gruier mentions they have been taken and sold during their times of economic crisis. It’s funny to see Schnitzer using his brute strength to open all the doors. Till he can’t manage the final one and seeks help from the rest of the crew. The final room is Gruier’s destination, the Artificial Womb where all Serenity royals are made ever since the first king. Gruier’s true goal is to destroy this womb and end the royal lineage because she feels the people should be governing and the time of the royal family is over. Grunhilde’s crew (including Yotof and Catherine) also drops in from the other end. As both sides prepare to face off, the sisters argue on their different stance. Grunhilde wants to preserve this because she believes the royal family will help restore glory. Suddenly a blinding light grenade and smoke screen is thrown and the sisters are given sleeping gas. Once Gruier wakes up, she finds herself onboard the Serenity ship and both sides are happily working together. It is learnt that Yotof wanted to stop the sisters from fighting but since they are their servants, they can’t open fire on their princesses. Since Marika isn’t, that’s why she secretly plotted with him to peacefully disarm them. Gruier realizes her attempt to destroy the Artificial Womb was in vain because it had already dried up. If she had done so, she would’ve killed the last baby the womb made. The sisters reconcile and return with the ghost ship to reunite their people. So it’s a job well done for Bentenmaru.

Episode 13
Before Bentenmaru could return, they receive a distress signal from Gruier to turn around. Oh no! Another crisis too soon? Turns out that she just wanted to give Marika and her crew a medal award. A pirate getting an award from a princess? Well, now her popularity is soaring. Back home, Marika learns Ririka wants to change her job. Since Marika is doing fine, she thought of doing what she enjoyed too. Seems that Grunhilde has become a transfer student at Hakuou as well (she got jealous how Gruier bragged how cool this place was and had to see it for herself). Later Gruier talks to Marika alone and wants to properly thank her (I guess a medal wasn’t enough). She couldn’t have done it without her. Before Marika got involved, things on her planet were so messy and split-up. The sisters thought of doing what they can but foolishly got manipulated by both sides. Thanks to Marika’s saviour and advice to take back the ghost ship, Serenity is about to undergo vast changes for the better. Gruier shows Marika an administrator ID. The ring which belonged to Gonzaemon which she used to sneak into Bentenmaru by disabling its security. She wants Marika to have it. With the new school semester in full force, Lynn is now the Yacht Club’s president and they have a few new recruits. One of them being Grunhilde. Marika invites the sisters to her house for dinner. I’m sure it brought back horrible memories how Ririka’s horrible cooking almost killed the entire crew. That bad, huh? Maybe now she improved a lot. Grunhilde, fresh from living her life outside as a princess, didn’t know the spiciness of the mustard and puts it in her mouth. It would’ve been bad if a royalty died at dinner at her house. Marika returns to Bentenmaru and learns her next job is some escort that they can’t let normal transports handle. You can bet it’s something fishy. A bio-container containing cat-monkey? For experiment? Anyway, Marika gets an idea to take the sisters to the zoo. Ririka applies for the licence exam for a large interstellar ship.

Episode 14
While life returns to normal for Marika, it is too quiet to be normal because there hasn’t been any contact from Bentenmaru at their regular intervals. Did something happen to them? Then through Ririka’s handphone, Marika gets a call from Misa. Seems the bio-container of cat-monkeys got loose and some of them are carrying infectious cold-like disease. Yup, all the crew are quarantine in hospital and being treated for this non-fatal illness. Hey. Wait a minute. If Schnitzer is a cyborg, how the hell did he contract the disease?! Did it mess up his circuits? I don’t know. He’s quarantined with his fellow mates for 2 weeks. Seeing this is a good chance for Marika to learn the business end of piracy, she wants her to contact their insurance company, Harold Lloyd Insurance Union. But Ririka has unpleasant memories of that bastard Harold because he always charges a hefty price. She warns Marika to stay sharp since he’s a skilled negotiator. Well, Marika don’t have to worry since this afro guy, Show has taken over 5 years ago. Good thing he is a pacifist. Show tells them that because of the detailed treatment data the hospital might want to get, the Bentenmaru crew will be holed up for at least a month. In this period if there is no piracy, their licence will be cancelled. So Marika has 3 choices. 1) Pray and wait they’ll release early; 2) Kidnap the crew out; 3) Go recruiting. I guess it’s obvious. Ririka tells Marika that the relay station is the best place to recruit. On the day Marika is going recruiting, Gruier tags along to help her in need not as a princess but as a friend. With everyone almost recognizing Marika, Gruier suggests to get a makeover. Hmm… She looks like a career woman. Searching for sailors at the databank, no matter how much they narrow their search down, there are just too many search results to choose from so Gruier asks what is it that Marika looks for in a crew. I’m sure there’re lots of factors but what’s the most important one? Since she doesn’t know, she’ll leave it to Gruier’s ability to judge people. As a princess she might have met lots of people, right? Unfortunately they didn’t find a single crew. Till some burly guy walks up to her and knows she’s hiring. But Marika is suspicious because he easily accepts the job without knowing the specifications. It is revealed this guy is Kenjou, Chiaki’s father. So talking things out, Barbarusa will be taking some jobs that Bentenmaru cancelled and that Marika couldn’t find anybody to join her crew was because Kenjou told them not to sign up if Bentenmaru’s captain asked them. It would be a problem if random people start handling the ship. Oh, the disguise never worked in the first place. And Gruier had so much confidence with it. So after Chiaki kept hinting to dense Marika about finding a crew she can trust, she finally realizes where she could easily recruit them. Yes. The Yacht Club members. Yeah. They’re so eager beaver to join her. Why pass up a chance to ride a real pirate ship and do some real piracy? And this will be their next practice cruise.

Episode 15
Lynn easily hacks the system as Kane to gain permission for the Yacht Club to leave for another practice cruise. Oh, Gruier and Grunhilde are also onboard. And Chiaki helped them to stowaway. The more the merrier. Misa returns with information that they will be isolated for a month and their pirating licence is in danger. So when they realize Marika and her Yacht Club members are heading for Bentenmaru, you bet they have to get down and scramble to type down a manual on how to operate the ship because their ship’s control are very customized. How fast can you type! Get your fingers moving! With the girls in the bridge, can you blame them for not being impressed with the real deal? Until one of them had her curiosity gets the better of her and presses a button which fires a powerful beam! Oh sh*t! Hope the military doesn’t detect that. Better hurry up with the manual… Or else Bentenmaru might not fall apart in the hands of amateurs. They try to start up the engine but everything soon shuts down. Did they screw up somewhere? No use thinking on an empty stomach so Gruier has the girls treated to wonderful sweet stuffs. Wow! I want some too! Look at Chiaki’s happy face… Show contacts Marika and sends over the manual. So after carefully reading it, the girls get Bentenmaru working, much to the relief of its crew. Then Marika needs to practice making hyper-space jump in order for them to do piracy. It hit the crew that they haven’t done one on that yet! The problem is further complicated with the Stellar military vessel coming into the picture after detecting that blast. They need to jump now. However Marika doesn’t really need a manual to do the jump since she has been watching her crew pulling it off. With instructions and orders to her mates, the jump is successful. In the nick of time. Chiaki, Gruier and Grunhilde realize a surveillance camera that the Bentenmaru crew has been watching them. They destroy it and decide not to tell Marika that the manual is sent from them instead of Show to safeguard Marika’s pride.

Episode 16
Being a pirate captain is tiring. Yeah, after assigning rooms for her girls, she plops down to bed. She’s going to need all the strength for their piracy act. Yeah, she almost ran late for her job and woke up late. Well, Gruier did try to wake her up but she was dead as a log. Anyway, the girls cheer Marika in her captain outfit so she explains the piracy job they’ll be doing on the luxury liner. She and Chiaki caution them that they have to follow procedures. Any mistake, they’ll have to pay the penalty. Besides, they can’t keep the customers waiting as they want to experience piracy. Say what? So are the girls ready? Sudden silence… Suddenly it doesn’t seem so fun anymore with all the complicated stuffs and planning, eh? But I guess if Lynn is going to do it, everyone is happy to give Marika their support. So as they begin their piracy, it had so much blunders that the passengers are laughing in amusement and the liner’s captains are wondering if they are imposters because they are not up to their usual mark. After a rocky landing, now comes Marika and her pirates… What the f*ck is this?! Cosplay club?! The other girls wearing cosplay outfit?! You can thank Mami for that. She spent sleepless nights making them. Look at the bags under her eyes. She must be really passionate about it. The customers are so amused, the girls are enjoying themselves and one of them is even getting hit on! Is this piracy actually?! Everybody had so much fun that even the captain looked forward to further piracy business with Marika. WTF. Once done, the girls celebrate their job well done. Yeah, some even think of putting on a different cosplay outfit next time. Chiaki continues to be Marika’s ‘mother’, telling her to sleep in proper clothes, brush her teeth, etc. At least she’s doing a better job than Ririka. But the Serenity sisters soon tell Marika as they notice Lynn had communicated with someone outside but couldn’t hear what it was. Marika also had noted her strange behaviour but didn’t have time to talk to her. Chiaki thinks she may be a spy because from experience she too was one and the reason she originally joined the Yacht Club. Plus, Lynn is on probation for hacking and perhaps a spy for an organization to steal something from Bentenmaru. Instead of jumping to conclusions and jumping the gun, Marika decides to call Lynn in person and ask them herself. But instead of telling them, she says she has a job for them. That is, to kidnap the former Yacht Club president, Jenny. Ooohh…

Episode 17
Actually Jenny is the one hiring them and the person Lynn has been contacting with. Despite warning from Chiaki that pirates can’t do illegal stuffs, all the more reason why Lynn chose them because of Marika as a talented captain and that she also knows them. The reason of this kidnapping is because Jenny’s family runs the huge interstellar transporting company called Hugh & Dolittle. Jenny is to be the next heir but her uncle Robert prefers a male to inherit it and wants to marry her off to some politician to get her out of the way. Though Jenny has her own little company, she has no time to devote herself to it and wants to enrol at Space University to learn more about running a company. Students there cannot be easily removed by anybody whatsoever. Though the other girls are excited in kidnapping Jenny, Chiaki is against the plan because there are just amateurs, lots of planning are needed, real fights may be involved and more importantly, Marika may lose her pirating licence. But Marika thinks this sounds fun. Having too much job security is bad and is going to accept this request. Suddenly they receive communications of a small ship trying to seek refuge within them. Lynn knows it is Jenny and something must have gone wrong for her to flee. So once they pull Jenny in, Jenny in a bridal gown and Lynn happily reunite. And they kiss!!! In front of the girls! OMG! I didn’t know they were in this kind of relationship. They’re having a second round! Seems the SPs were trying to get her so she ran away. Several trained SPs cannot catch a girl in her wedding dress? Useless. Robert and his men are searching for Jenny but couldn’t find her. The last time they heard her was her contact with Bentenmaru. Robert orders to find out about their insurance company and pressure them from there.

Marika soon gets a message from Show wanting to confirm if Jenny is really on board. Well, he looks screwed upon confirming. He got a message from Hugh & Dolittle that Bentenmaru has kidnapped Jenny and wants her release or else all ties with them will be cut. Jenny confirms the threat is just a lie because this rift happened because of her and Robert. She hired Bentenmaru for her safety. Marika wants Show to observe their discussion on payment before he makes his decision. This is after all business, right? Jenny is willing to give them the ship she came in with (a high tech military ship) and also 10% of the gross profit from her Fairy Jane company for the next 10 years. 10% of 50 trillion per year is how much?! How many zeroes are there?! Wow! Plus, Lynn will throw in some data on customer lists and information. Marika thinks this is not a bad deal and envisions Fairy Jane will grow bigger than Hugh & Little. Besides, this is better than bowing to gullible pressure. As for Show, he allows them to take this job because he too doesn’t like being threatened. Marika also suggests taking them out because this would save Jenny’s arranged marriage and relieve pressure on the insurance company. She sets her next destination to Space University and in the mean time they can formulate a plan. Soon Show contacts the Bentenmaru crew about the next job Marika has. Worried, aren’t they? Even more when Show permitted her to do so because he believes in her luck and potential. Hope it doesn’t run out. And I think they could use some of it now because suddenly they see on their screen Bentenmaru being chased and attacked by Hugh & Dolittle’s fleets! The crew wants to get out now! Their ship is in danger. But Misa thinks they should not budge till Marika contacts them. Because she is their captain.

Episode 18
Even though they jumped, Robert’s fleet still manages to track them down. And the big man himself is here in his Jabberwocky class spaceship. They’re even firing at them. Although they’re just warning shots, they’re extremely close. Despite the officers advising they have fired enough warning shots, Robert orders them to continue. Marika can’t fire back since it will only put them at disadvantage. Knowing Robert will wait for a while to see their actions, Jenny discusses things with the crew. First a little history about her uncle. He is on the company’s board and has been fighting with her father for years. It only worsened when she started Fairy Jane. Not even Jenny knows any weaknesses her uncle has so attacking head on is out of the question. So they’re going to do it indirectly. Junigh Coolph is to be Jenny’s future husband. He is the eldest son of Theodore who is the secretary of Interstellar Transportation. Marrying Jenny with him would mean expanding the company and ties with the Bureau. So if they attack Junigh’s weakness, this might lead to their marriage being called off. Yeah, even Jenny doesn’t like this guy. Her woman’s hunch is telling her that. Thinking about his weakness, she remembers he once hosted a large clandestine party on his private ship. This may lead to something big. The Bentenmaru crew isn’t just bumming around waiting to be released because they are also digging up some dirt on Robert. They discover something big and report to Show. Marika orders her next destination to Junigh’s ship but they need to escape Robert’s fleet first. They surprise they enemies by splitting themselves into 3 (something they learnt during their first encounter with the ghost ship to replicate their ship’s profile and load it onto dummy transponders), charge at them before jumping into the wormhole and completely disappear off their radar. Show informs Marika about the shady accounting records of Hugh and Dolittle. Apparently their security was shoddy that’s why it could be accessed easily.

The girls dock on Junigh’s ship and even hijacked the broadcast to bring to you live what they are going to film. They see Junigh and his little army hailing to a new revolution to overthrow the system. So when Chiaki busts in and gets tough on all those revolution wannabes, they all cower and run! Some revolutionaries they are. Or maybe Chiaki is so pissed and is just letting loose some steam. Junigh is rounded up and he mentions he was just doing this as a hobby. Real or not, Junigh panics and pleads for his life. Man, this shows he’s such a big cry-baby. He’s calling for his daddy! The perfect setting for Jenny to call off her wedding with this wimp. Now the big boss arrives. Robert remains assertive and unmoved with the several threats made. Till Marika shows data of big chunks of money circulating with no clear purpose. There is more. Robert has been sending weapons and fighters to Theodore and other groups who oppose the Stellar Military. There are strict limits to how many one can possess weaponry just as a licence is to a pirate. So a company buying them to improve security seems like the perfect excuse. The ultimate proof came with a recorded conversation with Robert and Theodore. Wow. That guy is so big and important but he doesn’t know how to cover up his tracks properly? Game over, Robert. Back at Bentenmaru, the girls celebrate their success and also a farewell party for Chiaki for she is returning to her father’s side before he gets too naggy. Jenny knows her fight with her uncle isn’t over by a long shot. He might’ve been arrested but knows he’ll pull some strings to get out. She has learnt a lot from Marika and is better prepared to fight him the next time. Jenny and Lynn have a steamy kiss. I think Marika has had enough for today. Misa relays the good news to her mates. Since the results turned out negative, they’ll be released next week.

Episode 19
Lynn seems to have gotten her hands on several shuttle tickets and it will be a waste not to use them. After reaching the relay station, the Yacht Club girls prepare to clean Odette II. Marika decides to clean Bentenmaru by herself. Can she clean a big ship all by herself? I’m sure she learnt how useful gravity could be during cleaning but don’t mix up the order! Or you’ll do double the work cleaning up the mess. I didn’t know the crew had this much junk. Or maybe the girls partied so hard the other day. So tired Marika is but there’s a satisfied look on her face. Next day, the cleaning of Odette II continues but Marika is so a sleepyhead that she trips and accidentally drops her ID ring. Someone picks it up. Marika also continues cleaning Bentenmaru and gets the job done. While Marika is in her club room, she gets an emergency call from Misa to get her ass to Bentenmaru now. Seems the bridge controls are locked and can only be activated with the captain’s ID. Searching to her pockets, she can’t find it. Don’t tell me it’s lost! Start searching! Now you know what it’s like to search a needle in a haystack. Retrace your steps! As long as she didn’t drop it in space. Hopefully. Suddenly all the systems activate. It is Grunhilde who picked up the ID ring. With all the Yacht Club girls coming in and making routine checks on the start-up, wow, Bentenmaru just feels like their second home, eh? You can be rest assured Bentenmaru was in safe hands with these girls around. Grunhilde returns the ID ring to Marika and Gruier says that ring is a bond between the four of them: Gonzaemon, Marika, Grunhilde and Gruier. Sandaime picks up the plushie dolls that Marika had thrown away in the garbage. Now he is going to treasure them more. He’s not going to listen to his captain if she puts a weight ban on personal items onboard. The girls want Kane to come back as their advisor. Since they’re pestering, he’ll think about it. I guess he’s that popular with them. Marika uses the ID ring to accidentally open a file on the family’s recipe to make pot-au-feu. She learns and makes them to perfection much to Ririka’s satisfaction.

Episode 20
Ai Hoshimiya wants to join the 19th Nebula Cup race. This might overlap with Marika’s work and besides, only Ai has piloted a dinghy before. Don’t worry, here comes Kane back as their instructor. What’s with the getup and outfit?! First he makes the girls undergo tough training simulation. Yeah, it nearly killed them and Marika is not too pleased. Grunhilde researches the database on the Cup and learns that Hakuou was banned for 5 years during the 13th Nebula Cup for ignoring safety regulations. Meanwhile the chairwoman and her committee learn Hakuou is participating this year and isn’t too pleased they’ve got the guts to do so. Thinking they won’t follow the rules, they will find one who doesn’t either. They called on Show? Meanwhile Kane shows Ririka a group of men discussing that the Bisque Company isn’t aware of their treaty with Marika that would lead them into fighting each other for the pirates’ power. They are going to teach these guys a lesson. Ririka sees a hooded guy and understands why. Marika after a chat with Ai wonders why she joins the Yacht Club. Then she remembers. It was so she can go to space. Show informs Marika that the committee has hired Bentenmaru as security since they fear Hakuou will be up to their old tricks. This means Marika can’t participate, right? Kane brings the girls in their swimsuits to the beach. No, they’re not here to have fun. The strict coach is going to make a selection test. Yes, by riding a real yacht. The one that sails on water. The first three to make it back qualifies to represent Hakuou. So with the race heating up, those who can’t balance, falls off. Kane even planned some beam shot from Bentenmaru to make huge waves! It’s a tsunami. Hey. If Kane is down here, who is piloting Bentenmaru? Well, Misa seems to be doing a fine job. How long more can she hold? Natalia and Grunhilde reach the finishing line first. Ai catches up from the back to pass everyone else and peeps Marika to the finish line to complete the line-up. Marika hopes he won’t pull off this nasty trick again but Kane notes how greedy she is wanting to race and do pirating at the same time. But she’s glad Ai loves yachts more than ever now. After all that hard work, Kane rewards them by hitting Lamp House to replenish those lost calories with parfaits. It’s on him. Yahoo!

Episode 21
Hakuou must have kicked up some reputation that everybody from participants to staffs fear them! It’s like the demons have arrived! Chiaki who is hired to participate as one of the teams, pulls them away. Seems only Lynn is the one who never knew about their school’s suspension. Oh, she unknowingly had a hand in it too. She remembers during middle school, a couple of girls from Hakuou requested her help in altering the race course. The race became a nightmare and out of 142 entrants, only 2 finished. And the source of it all is here right now… So you can see why everybody is out to get them. And why does Lynn seem so enthusiastic about it all? The chairwoman is so busy trying to ensure that her 5 years of hard work won’t go to waste that she didn’t pay heed to Marika. So without knowing, she allows Marika to use a dinghy before realizing it too late. Marika’s idea is to watch from within the race because Bentenmaru can only watch from afar. The participants get ready to start the race as Gruier flags them off. The chairwoman gets into a dinghy herself and follows Marika. She tries to take Marika out before she does anything but the pirate girl doesn’t understand what gives. Suddenly the solar flares increase the difficulty of the course. As revealed, the committee and other participants have trained hard on this course to avenge their humiliation.

Kane realizes the Bisque Company has made their move and is going to ambush Marika. Because they don’t know which dinghy she is in, they start firing randomly! Kane tells Marika to run because Bisque Company is jealous of her pirate licence and is out to get her. Marika becomes the bait to draw their attention away from the racers. The chairwoman feels guilty for suspecting Marika and is impressed she went so far to protect the race. She wanted to help but got shot down. Then Bentenmaru comes down to help Marika get away. Better hurry because the big ship isn’t made to fly in atmosphere. Hope their thrusters stay. Despite the firepower, they are like sitting ducks as the enemies are in a smaller and swifter ship. They can’t fire their usual cannon as the air distortion will blow away the participants. They can use the beam at the front but how will they get the enemy to get ahead of them? Ai tells them the direction of the wind that will pass. Soon, Bentenmaru gets behind the enemy and fires them out of the sky. However the enemy launches an electromagnetic attack. Though it has no damage on a large ship like Bentenmaru, all electronics stop functioning for Ai who got caught in it. How can she continue the race? Go manual! She opens the hatch and uses the stars to navigate her way. I guess without all those electronics, she gets to see the beauty of the different skies of the planet. In the end, Bisque Company has been arrested, the Nebula Cup saved and Chiaki the underdog emerges the winner with Grunhilde taking second place. Hakuou even receives a letter of thanks from the chairwoman. And Ai is ready to take up the challenge from the next race…

Episode 22
The captain of the Silver Fox Pirates seems to be boasting about his invincibility when an unidentified ship blasts it out of space! Wow. Marika meets the rest of her crew to discuss the recent events about pirate hunters taking down other pirates (that’s what the insurance union is calling it). Marika wonders how many pirates are there since Chiaki’s Barbarusa is the only pirate fleet she knows. Some history lesson from Misa is in cue. Well, they’re about 200 of them during the war and they weren’t all well armed like Bentenmaru. As to maintain the Letter of Marque, the ship needs to be at least as powerful like Bentenmaru. So they’re merely like a cut-off point. Don’t forget, they have the best crew too. What is Marika going to do? Pointing out the circumstances of her exams and the expiring pirate licence, she deduces that the attacks on pirates are getting close to Tau Ceti and there is a possibility Bentenmaru will be targeted. She comes up with an idea that will help their client and renew their licence as well. Back at the Yacht Club, it has been decided that Marika becomes the president after Lynn leaves. She has no say about it since everyone has agreed on the matter. Marika is shuttled by Kane to Bentenmaru and he thinks it’s time for her to get a licence of her own to pilot a shuttle. He also asks her path after graduation. Will she commute from the planet to Bentenmaru or become a real sailor.

Down to business, it seems Bentenmaru will be doing an escort job. Not just an ordinary escort job because Bentenmaru will be protecting another pirate ship, Big Catch led by tough baldy Captain Stone. This prompts a discussion on what makes a pirate a pirate. The Letter of Marque aside, it’s because they act in isolation from others that the military and Stellar Alliance allowed them to exist. But if they start working together, it’ll be like a birth of a new empire. Gee, pirates cooperating? Don’t see that happening ever. Though pirates are lone wolves, if they’re not careful, the government may do them in. So the escort begins. Like other pirate captains, Stone is cocky and thinks the insurance union is scared for them to pull something off like this. Suddenly a big ship jumps into the area. Stone acts first and orders his men to fire at the unidentified ship. Unfortunately the big ship fires back and deals some serious damage to Big Catch and its mini ships. Stone thought the big ship is losing power and takes this chance to run but it soon powers up, moves at incredible zigzag speed and fires the ultimate blast to destroy Big Catch. Suddenly jumping in is another ship. And there is this hologram masked and cape dude standing on it. Wild Tiger from Tiger And Bunny?

Episode 23
Scan shows that new ship is Parabellum and is registered with the Galactic Empire. For some showy effects, Parabellum forces some sound effects onto Bentenmaru (the bass must be getting to loud) as it tries to ring in the unidentified ship by firing several missiles into it. The enemy then escapes via lightning ship. Parabellum hails Bentenmaru and that guy identifies himself as Ironbeard. He warns that danger will be upon Marika and if nothing is done, all pirates in this region will be wiped out at the hands of that enemy ship called Grand Cross. Coorie does a search but doesn’t find any data on that ship. Fortunately there were no casualties on Big Catch so all the crew are brought onto Bentenmaru for treatment. Though they tried to put out the fire on Big Catch, it reached the ammo store and the ship was blown into smithereens. There goes his pirate career. Stone can tell Marika is a good pirate and sees many similarities in her like her father whom he knows along with Ririka and Misa (nicknamed Bloody Misa then). He thinks Marika is the pirate for the new age. Chiaki returns to Hakuou as representative of Barbarusa to discuss about the pirate hunt. Kenjou suggests forming an alliance with all pirates bearing the Letter of Marque and of course help from Marika. Marika has no qualms in sharing data they’ve collected as they have engaged with Parabellum and Grand Cross. Gruier does her research on Grand Cross thinking it may have come from the Galactic Empire. Seems they are in a hurry constructing some secret project and conducting trial runs on pirates in remote areas. Well, pirate ships are well armed and it won’t make sense if they attack a civilian ship, right?

Chiaki says that the next step is to find the legendary chef. The chef who brought all the pirates together to the table with his great cook and desserts. So good it melted their hearts and thus united them for the war on independence. Yum. I didn’t know pirates had a sweet tooth. You know what they say about the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach. Shouldn’t this legendary chef use his skills to end whatever wars then? Also, all pirate ships still use old communication systems even if they upgrade every other part because of a certain song that summons all pirates. From all the food and parfaits they have eaten today, Marika has a good idea who this legendary chef is and wants Chiaki to come with her. At the airport cafeteria, Marika shows this guy Oyaji as the pirate chef. Marika wants to hold a pirate council. However Oyaji points out the legendary chef is his father. But when he was a young kid and working with him, he saw how all the famous pirates were shining and laughing together in the same room. Asking Marika the meaning of being a pirate, she replies it’s the power to be in space and to be yourself. She wants to go to the wider universe, the reason she became a pirate. Oyaji starts up the old communication radio and plays that song. Sounds like a typical pirate yo-ho-ho song. Using the encrypted data in the song, they extract the location of the pirate nest hidden among the asteroids, gas clouds and stellar debris. Any pirate who hears this song will definitely head there. Bentenmaru sets its destination there when Grand Cross pops up in front of them. If it’s a fight they want, Marika will gladly give it to them.

Episode 24
Marika orders to maintain a distance between the ships. She also knows that pirates don’t pick a fight when they know they can’t win. The ultimate plan is to make a run and jump. Grand Cross begins its quick zigzag patterns and starts firing all it got at Bentenmaru. Bentenmaru turns around and fires back but it charges straight ahead to Grand Cross. They’re going to be Swiss cheese if they take any more of the firing. Kane’s smooth piloting misses Bentenmaru from colliding with Grand Cross and enough to whizz pass it. Grand Cross though decelerating it isn’t going after them. Bentenmaru makes some minimal repairs before jumping to the pirate’s nest. They are greeted by Kenjou. The badly damaged Bentenmaru is in need of some repairs and Marika had this idea of upgrading some parts at the same time. It’s going to cost. But they have a trick up their sleeve. They send in Coorie. No, she’s not going to do some hacking. In fact, I didn’t know Coorie could looks this sexy and hot when she lets her hair down and loses her nerdy glasses! OMG! This blonde bombshell is turning heads wherever she goes! And the repair guy who saw her Bentenmaru emblem, realizes he mustn’t mess with this babe. Seriously. Meanwhile, Luca goes to see Misa about Kane. Marika and Chiaki are having a talk with Kenjou when they get news of several pirates being downed by Grand Cross. They might not even get 10 pirates here. Of course she is not to blame as it was their decision to come. Marika thought she saw Oyaji but it turns out to be his older brother. He’s spunkier and more talkative. In fact the legendary chef had 5 sons, each of them owning a restaurant of their own. Like a chain, huh?

Marika walks around the area when she comes into the pilot of Grand Cross. She introduces herself as Captain Quartz Christie and Grand Cross is someone’s experimental ship. She is impressed with Marika because she is the first pirate to escape Grand Cross. As for her hunting pirates, they provide good experiment subjects. To her, pirates in this era are useless because they just renew their old Letter of Marque and put on a little show. That’s about it. They’re no longer pirates in that sense. If they’re not needed, nobody will care if they’re gone, right? Marika does care and will fight her. She’ll be expecting it too. Quartz turns invisible when Schnitzer and his men drop in. A little too late perhaps? Marika can tell from the way Quartz said things, there was a spy on her ship. Schnitzer assures that the proper measures have been taken. Luca follows Kane but the latter knew she was tailing her all the while. Luca calls out Misa and the ladies corner him. Then Misa takes out her gun and shoots Luca in the head! Hey! She’s still standing. What a well made android, no? This proves that Luca is the spy onboard. Misa shoots and takes her down. How does she know? The real Luca who is only concerned about nothing but work ratted on Kane. I mean, Luca the caring woman? That was the dead giveaway. Now she will have Kane talk. She feels he is hiding things. Hyakume at a distance away verifies with his scanner that this is the real Kane. But nearby, we see another clone of Kane! Not another android! Or his twin brother! No, let it not! Marika gets a call from Ririka. They talk about the repairs on Bentenmaru costing a bomb and that Ririka has informed her school she’ll be absent for 2 weeks. Hope she can graduate at this rate. Oh, seems Ririka is with Ironbeard on Parabellum. Fate?

Episode 25
Luca the android reformatted itself so Hyakume couldn’t find any other details except it was made by the Galactic Empire corporation called Human Torch for a Stellar Military special operation. Speaking of the real Luca, what happened to her? Suddenly she pops right back surprising everyone! With big bags of souvenirs! From her explanation, she went on a vacation but ended up in a different resort when she changed her plan. Didn’t anybody know she was away? So Marika and Kenjou meet to discuss about Quartz. They doubt her as a captain because why would an enemy come here alone. Speaking of which, she is in the pirate council room now. Many of the pirates do not like her, especially a young hot-headed one. The chef reminds them that there shall be no killing in this room. He also lets them know a little secret. There are more pirates out there than those with the Letter of Marque. Quartz has a gold skull on her shoulder and it signifies a space pirate recognized and endorsed by the Galactic Empire. Quartz introduces herself as one of the imperial pioneers and her goal is to hunt pirates. Though the pirates start aiming their guns at her, Marika suggests that they should fight because she’s underestimating them, the reason she is here. They’ll have a fair fight to settle it all but the young pirate isn’t happy with that and threatens to kill Quartz right now. Before that could happen, Ironbeard steps in and claims he is here to bring Quartz back by the orders of the Queen. He too has a gold skull on his shoulder. However Marika wants to know his identity. Is he an ally or enemy? “The end of space”. Huh? Is that a valid answer? One man who can see into the endless future isn’t enough and only when others stand with him will they see the end of space someday. He questions what Marika sees.

The pirates begin their feast as Ironbeard escorts Quartz out. She feels humiliated because she came here to get the drop on here but ended up with him stealing the light and Marika running the show. Ironbeard says her safety is more important than her pride. The young hot-headed pirate and his subordinates aren’t going to let it slide and plans to kill them before they leave. Swiftly, Ririka fires and disables them all. No chance to fight back. Ironbeard suggests considering joining his side but she’s not interested. With Misa and Kane now in the picture, Misa realizes that the Kane clone is his younger twin brother, Shane (his ahoge must be the giveaway). She will deduct Kane’s pay for his missing days and make Shane pay the penalty for being onboard Bentenmaru unauthorized. She’ll bill it to Parabellum. Misa wants to know what was so important that he needed twin helmsmen to learn. Ironbeard replies pirate in this era are given 2 choices. To become true pirates or renew their Letter of Marque and remain pirates for hire. He saw the sparkle in Marika’s eyes and liked it. The pirates continue their meeting and part of the agenda has Marika appointing Coorie as the leader for electronic warfare. Yeah, her other counterparts really dig her. Bentenmaru has been repaired and upgraded enough for Kane to pull off crazy stunts. Then Marika reluctantly transmit the song to all pirates to hear. It was one that she and Chiaki recorded. Man, Chiaki sounded cute but now she must be regretting it. Embarrassing, no? How was she convinced to do it in the first place? Soon Marika transmit a challenge message to Quartz on their time and location of their next battle. She instantly replies with a nasty tone looking forward to the duel. Marika leads the other pirates to their battle with Grand Cross. She’ll show them the soul of a pirate.

Episode 26
Bentenmaru and the other pirate ships arrive at the battlefield. Seems there isn’t just one Grand Cross but three of them! And Quartz is singlehandedly controlling them all. Coorie begins her synchronized hacking with her other counterparts and she’s so damn good because she’s using her feet for additional hacking! Oh sh*t! All the pirate ships are well spread out so as not to come into friendly fire and to also see each other’s position. One of the Grand Cross beings its zigzag pattern and targets one of the pirate ships. However the pirate ships self destructs and it turns out to be an illusion trick. Grand Cross goes into recharge mode so all the other pirates use this chance to fire all they’ve got and destroy Grand Cross number 1. The second Grand Cross tries to escape the firepower using chaff. Its operations temporarily shut down so Barbarusa sticks a huge missile into it. Another one bites the dust. For the final Grand Cross that Quartz is on, Marika and some of the other pirates take her by surprise by boarding the ship. Kenjou asks Chiaki’s what she’ll do next. He loves this job and this fight is for his pride. He wonders if she will go with Marika. While the other pirates take on those useless android guards in Grand Cross, Marika, Hyakume and Schnitzer make their way to where Quartz is piloting the ship. She wants to continue her conversation about pirates being unneeded. She can’t say about the show they put on and sometimes get carried away. But she knows she is here. The captain of Bentenmaru, Marika Katou exists right now. If that’s not an answer, it’s okay because that wasn’t a question too.

Schnitzer is going to apprehend her but Quartz escapes in her pod. She warns them to get off since the ship will self-destruct. She also wants Marika to come to the vast sea because there is someone who desires that. The pirates leave Grand Cross as it self-destructs. Marika announces their successful failure. They failed to take over the ship but everyone did a good job and were victorious. Quartz notes she got the combat data she needed, destroyed the evidence but lost her pride. She hopes to meet Marika someday. Jenny and her crew board Odette II to take over the piloting by the Yacht Club up in the middle of their cruise. Jenny and Lynn have their moment together. Good thing they didn’t kiss. Once Lynn graduates, she’ll really come after her. Parabellum picks up the Yacht Club members so they can return to school and sit for their exam while Jenny assures she’ll guide Odette II back. It seems this was a job requested by Gruier. She thanks Ironbeard and recognizes him as Gonzaemon. So he’s not dead yet? Asking if he has met Marika, he replies he is just a space pirate named Ironbeard. Marika wants to continue her life as a high school girl pirate. That means she needs to get back and take the exams and pass them, right? Don’t worry, Marika aces them (despite waking up late on the important day). The Yacht Club members welcome Chiaki who will be joining them at Hakuou again. But Marika isn’t with them. Understandably, she’s in another one of those jobs with Bentenmaru.

There is No Business Like Piracy Business
I won’t say it was smooth sailing all the way for me. When this series first started, it was very tough on me because of all the terms and words put into the conversation. My Japanese isn’t that good and the worst part was even trying to read the English subtitles was as hard. Is my English that bad too? It’s not that the subs were bad either. Somehow I just couldn’t grasp and understand all the explanations no matter how many times I replay that scene, reread and reread that sentence over and over again. Hence watching the first half of this series felt like torture and everything moved ‘slowly’. Even the opening narration of each episode felt so philosophical and dramatic that it made me think that I was going to watch a serious documentary show or a Shakespeare play. Same case with the next episode preview. So when it comes to all that tactical explanations and such and even in the simplest forms, I’m lost. I’d be just staring at the screen with my eyes squint and my mouth big and wide open. It was a complete turn off listening to the words so I just ‘admire’ the battle scenes. They may not be the best space battles but at least they are enough to keep me occupied and a ‘salvation’ (or relief) in contrast to the conversation. What else more can you expect from a pirate ship? Shoot laser beams and missiles, that’s about it. You don’t expect it to transform into a robot and pull off some killer technique moves, don’t you?

Marika has grown to fit into her role as a pirate captain nicely. We see her make mature and better decisions with each passing job and mission. She truly lives up to her father’s legacy and is definitely going to surpass that at the rate things are going. Everyone is expecting great things from her and I’m pretty sure she will live up to that. I’m sure she would put Jack Sparrow and Captain Hook look like babies. Looks like life is going to get busier and more hectic now that she is in her third year of her high school and the president of the Yacht Club in addition to be Bentenmaru’s captain. Oh, let’s not forget the part time waitress job at Lamphouse. She’s got a lot on her plate but it looks like she’s capable of handling it all. Now that she has achieved her dream of going into space, will she expand that dream by going further? Space is vast so it will be an adventure of a lifetime to venture into other areas. Bravely going to where no high school girl pirate has one before. Speaking of Gonzaemon, now that it is revealed he is still alive at the end, was his death faked so that they could rope in Marika as the captain? Well, Ironbeard is the captain of Parabellum which is endorsed by the Galactic Empire. So I feel there’s more than meets the eye of what happened. Since Marika doesn’t really know her father, I doubt she would recognize him even if they meet with him unmasked. She couldn’t at the pirate nest, right?

No captain would be where he would be without his trusty crew. The main crew of Bentenmaru may be a colourful bunch but it is a shame that they aren’t really fleshed out more than we already know. I would certainly like to know about Schnitzer’s origins. I believe he is the only cyborg that I see in this series. Don’t other pirates have a cyborg like him too? Quartz’s mindless androids don’t count. Misa is strict with Marika initially, the way she acts and leaves the decisions to Marika in her early days as captain. She is somewhat like her mentor (what else is there for a physician to do especially when Bentenmaru goes into battle?) so it’s best to let the captain do some thinking instead of being spoon fed. Anyhow, just like the other crew, she is very supportive of Marika. Kane’s calm and friendly personality makes him easy to get along with as with the same case with Hyakume. Only difference is one is a hot handsome hunk and the other an old almost scruffy guy. Oops.  Sandaime is the most worrisome character. He’s always worried about his engines and because of the crazy stunts that Marika pull, he can’t help agonize that he’ll lose both his babies. He’s already so young and filled with such anxiety. He is also probably the only Bentenmaru crew that we know who has other hobbies other than work: Collecting plushies. Coorie may look like a typical computer geek and a very good one. So it was shocking when she had her ‘other’ beautiful self. It’s like so unbelievable. Believe me, those looks are real and not CG! The other odd thing about Coorie is that she likes eating snacks while at work. Maybe it helps her brains think. Her hands (and sometimes feet) are already full. Now her mouth is also full. Amazing, isn’t it? Finally there is the most mysterious of the crew, Luca. Always talking with a deadpan voice and seeing things that nobody is interested in (sometimes she too can’t see what it is that she saw. Confused?). But if you pay close attention, there are very rare moments that Luca displays small emotion like a little smile. It’s like a rare gem if you ever get to see this. Ririka as an ex-member of Bentenmaru is a strong willed lady and lets her daughter charts her own path in life. I wonder if she has finally decided to join Ironbeard seeing she is on his ship at the end.

Though Chiaki’s initial goal to stick around Marika was to see if she is worthy to become a pirate captain, I wonder why she continues to keep sticking around at certain points. It’s not like she admitted she is her friend but of course we know deep down inside she truly cares for her. Heck, sometimes I feel that when Chiaki starts reminding Marika about certain stuffs, I thought Chiaki was acting like her substitute mother! So eventually both of them forge some kind of friendship and it’s not clear if Chiaki would join Marika’s crew or stick around with daddy in Barbarusa. My guts tell me she might just do the former. If there is one thing about Chiaki, I thought she would have looked cuter if she smiled more often. I don’t know, maybe she was born with that ‘unfriendly’ face (I seem to get this expression each time I look at her). Despite being serious most of the time, Chiaki isn’t really a robot as we get to see glimpses of her face cheering up. Especially when it involves sweet desserts. She should put that expression up more often. Gruier and Grunhilde are both friendly princesses who are not interested in their royal position. Though Grunhilde is quieter than her sister, both do not like to be left out and love to help out whenever they can. To a point, Gruier would even encourage the use of underhanded tactics when needed. Who says princesses are always goody-two-shoes? However after their arc of the golden ghost ship closes, their roles became minimal and their role is just as good as the other members of the Yacht Club. I don’t know. I just felt they became insignificant. Gruier certainly looks very different when she dons her princess outfit and Hakuou’s uniform. While she truly looks like a princess in the former, I can’t help think that she somewhat resembles Sailormoon in the latter. Those blonde dumplings hairstyle… Do I see a resemblance? As for Grunhilde, I thought she was a boy because when she first appeared it, she was wearing a military coat. Then in her high school uniform, I thought she was Sailormoon’s sister…

As for the other minor characters, I guess they’re rather okay. Show is a flamboyant pacifist and as Bentenmaru’s insurance agent, he gladly handles and sets up jobs for them. I don’t think I need to comment on Jenny and Lynn. Perhaps this show needs some yuri after some pirating action. There are hardly any real villains in this series and the most I would only pinpoint Robert. Big powerful guys in big powerful corporations. Typical traits and setup for typical villains. Junigh is a wimp. Period. The Serenity fleets were just internal conflict while Quartz was just under orders from the Empire. Hmm… I don’t know much about the Galactic Empire but I smell that if they’re going to make another sequel or story, maybe there’ll be some conspiracy from the highest ruling body in the universe. You don’t really see other pirates fighting each other, don’t you? They may look tough but they aren’t cold bloodthirsty killers like we know. Speaking of the other pirate captains, it was amusing to see the bunch of them that made it to the pirate nest. Even their looks varied. From frail looking old men to one that looks like a monkey (he bends spoons with his mind power?) and to one that even looks like a ninja! WTF?! Ninja pirate? Well, there is no rule to say that pirates should all have beards, one hand for a hook, a wooden pegleg and a parrot on his shoulder. I would prefer very much Marika’s pirate outfit. Yeah. Pirate in a mini skirt. You can’t beat that!

When you think about it, pirates putting on a piracy show isn’t real piracy and just a show. Maybe they’ll do something about terrorism too? The real meaning of piracy is lost but I guess this can’t be help since you seriously don’t want a real pirate to ransack and hurt people. Even ordinary folks are not afraid of them but look forward in awe! Especially rich people. I didn’t know insurance companies are that rich to compensate their losses. So really. Pirates may just be another fancy name for entertainer-cum-odd-jobs. Besides, you don’t get the feel that the pirates here are powerful enough to take on the Galactic Empire themselves. If they unite like what they did against Grand Cross then they may stand a chance but how often do you see pirates work together? So it brings the question of who are the shady ones in the universe. The Galactic Empire and military aren’t 100% angelic so for things that need to be done without hurting their reputation or diplomatic ties, pirates are used as backdoor to get such things done. After all, pirates aren’t really bound by the so called laws but you don’t see them breaking any of them and they still pretty much stick within them. See how they follow the rules to get their Letter of Marque renewed? Thus pirates only have their own pride and freedom to follow. They are just like any other team that emphasizes on loyalty, trust, friendship and cooperation and may be much better than the so called righteous people up there in power.

The series divides itself into several mini arcs so in terms of the flow of the storyline it is not so ‘taxing’. It flows smoothly and seamlessly from one to another as it when an arc finishes, another one begins. But sometimes I just thought that there were so many potential, it would have been good to see some of the minor on-goings expanded or answer some of the questions that bugged me. Maybe it was because of the wordy conversations that tire me out so I wasn’t paying attention.  For instance, there were many stuffs I didn’t follow for the golden ghost ship arc. If the ship was drifting for a very, very, very long time, how can the last life on it be just born? Not only that, from what I understand all the royalties are born here so where does Gruier and Grunhilde come from then? Unless their genes and blueprint were taken from this ship if that is what they’re implied. But then again, that last baby… Because Bentenmaru is the focus of this series, we are only told in brief about the backgrounds of other characters. For example, I would be interested to know how Lynn turned out into a troubled hacker. One of my favourite segments is the quote of the episode that is right at the end of the episode. Spoken by one of the characters during that episode, it’s entertaining to read some of them since it probably sums up the important event for that episode. Like the first episode’s quote of “Whoever heard of a legal pirate?”. Some are amusing (“Breakfast beats worrying”, “The illegal skill faking attendance”, “Everything works out when you’re a pirate”, “Make out the receipt to Bentenmaru”, “Dad, I’ll kill you!”, that scribble on using the gravity for garbage is funny too), some gives you something to think about (“Everyone is just a dot in space”, “But you are not alone in space”, “There are times when trying harder isn’t enough”, “What do you think is most important”), some felt like orders (“Begin combat operations”, “Pursue them, beat them to it and take a piece of the action”, “Then let’s take them out”), some just statements (“The time has come!”, “My treat”, “I love chikuwa!” – okay, this one should go into the next category which is…) and some that makes you go WTF (“I don’t know yet”, “Pow! Pyan!”). Are you inspired just yet?

For the voice acting, for me the most surprising one has to be Yui Horie as Coorie. Because she wasn’t in her usual sweet girl role like Kotori in Da Capo or assertive part such as Masako in Mawaru Penguindrum, it was hard to recognize her in that nerdy voice at first. Once I got to know it was her, then it became clearer. I also couldn’t recognize Haruka Tomatsu as Gruier since the character she played really sounded like a sweet princess. It is definitely different from her usual spunky voice like Lala in To Love-Ru and Yuka in Natsuiro Kiseki. Kana Hanazawa wasn’t in her retard mode like how I used to hear her in Kobato or Mayo Chiki’s Kureha. She’s like Kamisama Doll’s Mahiru but instead with lots of angst, has more seriousness that sends warning waves that you won’t want to mess with her. Though she sometimes put up her rare cute side. Since Hisako Kanemoto didn’t go “~de geso” like Ika from Shinryaku! Ika Musume, I guess I couldn’t recognize her as Grunhilde here ;p. Other casts include Mikako Komatsu as Marika (Neko in K), Shizuka Itou as Misa (Haruka in Amagami SS), Masaya Matsukaze as Kane (Ren in Jigoku Shoujo), Kaoru Mizuhara as Luca (Misao in Lucky Star), Kenta Miyake as Schnitzer (Klaus in Hayate No Gotoku), Keiji Fujiwara as Hyakume (Sven in Black Cat), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Sandaime (Narumi in Kamisama No Memo-chou), Rina Satou as Jenny (Misaka in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun), Youko Hikasa as Lynn (Mio in K-ON!), Chiaki Omigawa as Mami (Minko in Hanasaku Iroha), Hiroki Yasumoto as Show (Sado in Bleach), Yuko Kaida as Ririka (Ryomou in Ikkitousen), Rikiya Koyama as Ironbeard/Narrator (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero) and Yuko Sanpei as Quartz (Hajime in Natsu No Arashi).

I’m sure the stunning and wild rock electric guitar play of the opening theme must have caught your attention. I found out that this guitar riff is provided by Megadeath’s guitarist, Marty Friedman. But it is the all-female idol group of Momoiro Clover Z that sings Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyoukyoku – Dai-Shichi Gakushou Mugen No Ai (phew. What a mouthful), which overall sounds like an orchestra symphony mixed with rock music. Really. They also sing the main ending theme entitled Lost Child. Feels a bit techno. There are also special ending themes like the one for the 13th episode, Toumei Na Yozora ~Shibataku Hoshi Ni Tsutsumarete~ is a slow-moderate pop ballad while the 16th episodes’ Black Holly plays to a faster beat. The final episode’s Mirai Funaji feels like a fitting happy anime song for a happy anime ending. All are sung by Mikako Komatsu but if you ask me, I don’t think her voice is suitable for singing because she sounds a little flat. Sometimes it also feels that the music overwhelms her voice that it doesn’t make her voice stand out and blended into the background with the music.

You can say that piracy have come a long way since the old days when crude pirates used to plunder and pillage villages, loot treasures and terrorize the sea. In the new age, this piracy business really does give a new name and meaning to the term piracy itself. Treasure is no longer a sturdy box but the vast openness of space. You can even hire them to do all sorts of jobs and when you need an army to rebel against the tyrant, who better than to call the pirates themselves, eh? Wow. They certainly can do everything. I hope. Need to fix a leak in the roof? Call the pirates. Need to find your lost cat? Call the pirates. Need that special delivery of a super rare delicious food from across the galaxy that you can’t wait to sink your teeth in? Call the pirates. There’s something strange in your neighbourhood and who are you going to call? Call the pirates. I need to download tons of animes and cool songs from Pirate Bay. Call the authorities! Boo hoo! Unfortunately that is indeed what is called digital piracy. But why do I get a feeling that pirated versions are better than the originals?

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