Piracy, regardless of its general acceptability, is in the end one thing: The forceful changing of goods from one party to another. From the context of 17th Century sea raids all the way to the debatable modern incarnation of taking a copyrighted file (Which remains a highly contentious issue), that’s remained fairly constant throughout much of history. It can also be said that if a pirate force is welcomed with open arms and given into with little resistance, it sacrifices some sense of original purpose and becomes something of an institution, losing its edge; while privateers perform much of the same duty, they lose some of that cultural mystique because they are working for somebody.
Mouretsu Pirates is very much about space piracy becoming a cultural fixture in a star system, and the expectations therein. It’s reached the point that those who are pirated, at least the ones who can afford to recoup their losses, see it as a rare spectacle to have whatever vessel they might be aboard be boarded and robbed blind by a group of pirates led by a teenage girl. It can be said that this different mentality when regarding piracy takes away the fangs by blurring the line between entertainment and the harsh reality. It can also be said that it makes for one hell of an episode.
After hearing about and seeing the electronic portion in action, we finally got to see the nitty-gritty of lawful piracy/apparent entertainment, from the administrative level all the way to the boarding of a cruise liner. And there was not one time while watching this that I felt bored, or that the entertainment value was in any way compromised by showing what happens when Marika obtains a letter of marquee and how she gets it. Even though it’s mostly paper work, it’s amusing seeing her go about it with the same dazed behavior that most audience members likely would in her position.
What Mouretsu Pirates does best in spite of its slow start is make itself a fun watch with enough quirks to offset the relatively dry history and mechanics of space travel—the presentation that Misa makes is particularly worth mentioning. I know that if any of my instructors took the time to make things that amusing, I’d find class more entertaining. It also brought up the point that I made in the first two paragraphs of this post, that Marika both is and isn’t a pirate, since she does her commandeering under the law.
I doubt this episode’s an indication of what Marika’s main activities will be, since it was incredibly goofy and I doubt they could pull it off for twenty episodes, but it’s still a nice introduction to the world of space piracy and its many facets. The fact that I have a bit of a weakness for training episodes might also play into it, but I found this week’s episode of Mouretsu an absolute thrill, even after last week’s conclusion of the Space Yacht Club arc. If anybody reading this is on the fence after six episodes, I’ll join the throngs of people saying that a six episode litmus test is a must.