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Mouretsu Pirates: Battle Sails

Mouretsu 05

Allow me to say this episode was not all that surprising, but it held great consistency with the previous episode and turned out almost exactly how I hoped. After five carefully paced episodes, we are rewarded with an aggressive entanglement of significance and witness Marika’s strong points in action. Her latent talent, while of little appeal to myself, can be appreciated at this point, and I feel her native demeanor is strongly in-tune with what will be required of her as captain of the Bentenmaru.

There is still one arguable issue with the procession of battle in how it relies heavily on dialog, a matter of telling vs showing. At times, the conflict of this episode felt like we were inside the inner-monologue of a novice chess battle, which may be attractive to some. Similar statements were said of Death Note, but I feel there needs to be a distinction made between limited and unlimited systems. The conflict faced by Odette II felt to have a finite number of options in terms of technology and possibility as most tactics focused heavily on electronic warfare. I find the value of dialog questionable but can understand how it would be entertaining [1]. And truthfully, I’m willing to accept this issue as is.

The opening narration continues to highlight a more general perspective of each episode. This episode mentioned “memories of the age of exploration,” settling well with my original perception regarding historical context of the Letters of marque. I take from this an understanding that space is still vast and unruly, a place unfit for common travelers. But I found more intrigue in the part about transponders.

“The transponder’s information is human will and goals.”

Fascinating. Given the meaning of this statement, how should these characters trust transponders? I found this message, when distilled, signified a tension between technology and human spirit or will, and it became apparent further into the episode. Marika and the yacht club altered their transponder heading while anticipating, or even encouraging, an attack by an unidentified foe. Lynn created a honeypot intending to trap the foe and reverse their attack, gaining control of their system. Lynn and Marika also discussed the means by which this digital combat was facilitated, expressing that there was human guidance behind skilled attacks and the automate system would be of little use.

In every respect we are shown that the human element plays an important role in the usage of these technologies. It leaves room for a certain amount of unpredictability and surprise. To further clarify the message, the battle escalates when high-technology is completely undermined with the Lightning’s power down. We learn that low-tech is also quite dangerous, when the Lightning begins firing their beam cannon at the Odette II, running strictly on optic targeting.

Marika rises to the occasion in notifying the captain that they should not flee, as their engines would be detected through infrared, possibly a more rudimentary technology of the era. She instead counters with her own effort in targeting the opposition by concentrating the star’s light off the reflective sails. What began as a high-tech electronic battle, ended with a touch of human finesse. The episode was completely brilliant in that respect.

Mouretsu 05

Finally, since this might be the last time we see Ms. Jenny Doolittle, I should say her ojou presence will be missed. Her reaction when Chiaki explained that optical targeting involved aiming with eyesight, as opposed to radar, was priceless. I could have enjoyed the entire episode on that one bit of entertainment, really.


[1] – The World Poker tour has commentary, but is it really needed?

Categories: Winter.


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5 Responses

  1. “The World Poker tour has commentary, but is it really needed?”
    Yes, it’s essential to draw in newcomers, it’s to show the thing is accessible to not just professional poker players. I’ve had a similar experience as someone who started watching Starcraft 2 matchups before even playing the game and knowing the rules. Learning of the ins and outs of its scene, you notice some SC2 commentators have more fans than high-profile players themselves. I don’t understand this criticism of dialogue exposition, as if it’s an annoyance of TV anime budget restraints or that all light novel adaptations are inherently flawed if the director isn’t able to cut down on dialogue because they are light novel adaptations. More likely, the story was adapted in style of Star Trek, Spaceship Operators and similar shows involving tactical space warfare.

    • I understand some things need to be explained in order to moderate the level of accessibility, and Star Trek style may be exactly why it’s this way. I’m not in favor of it is all, as a cinematic style. Less is more, etc.

      And actually, it’s sensible when dealing with technical games like poker or SC2. I’m weary about it in fiction. “Show, don’t tell.”

      • I read this observation elsewhere, the show lacks “inner” character dialogue. They try showing emotions instead of exposing them the same way most shounen adaptations do (and I think that can turn out cool in some cases). I think this is testament they hold to the same principle you’re a fan of, but they weren’t willing to take it all the way.

        • I’ve thought about it, and the lack of inner dialog is fine. And yes, shounen adaptations with inner-debating and what have you use fairly “dumb” means of storytelling in general. But I don’t think there is enough creative resource to re-work every little thing into a proper and innovative “literary” style. So it’s not something we’ll see very often.

          Pirates is a little different because there is so much attention being paid to the adaptation. The director is working hard and it’s turning into something really good. The only contrast I can make is to other fictional “bridges,” like that of Macross or in Crest of the Stars. The dialog between the girls has much more “debate and acknowledgement” to the actions they are performing. If we look at these other series, the characters might state their action, but it’s very clean and tight. They aren’t saying, “I’m going to do this, because… and hope for such-n-such outcome.” The characters do what they need to and the audience is left to fill in the motives and reasons.

          One reason I feel this can be overlooked is because this group of girls in Mouretsu are novices and extra communication is understandable. Maybe we won’t get all the action-commentary once Marika is with an experience crew, at least that is my hope.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] job of not only setting the tone of the proceeding, but framing the progress that we see. As Ryan notes, the most fascinating statement was the notion of ship’s transponder representing human will [...]