The 21st episode of Pirates sees the dinghy race take place as well as presenting the first true signs of danger for Marika. The yacht club arrives for the race taking place at Planet Calmwind and are targeted by every one of the other teams as well as the organizers. The incident that occurred six years earlier is revisited as well as Lynn’s involvement in that incident. Marika also arrives to provide security for the event, only to be targeted by one of the organizers as well as a company after her personally. After some brief danger and the Bentenmaru’s surprise appearance, the race continues to its conclusion.
Before I get into the silly parts of the episode, of which there were many, I’m going to first go into the back story behind Hakuoh’s exclusion from the race for the five years and the effect it had on everyone else. It ended up being one of those cases of unintended consequences. The upperclassmen who told Lynn to hack into the organizers’ systems all those years ago simply weren’t challenged enough by the course that had been decided. As the story goes, only 2 ships finished, Hakuoh were banned and didn’t return until this episode.
The interesting bit was in how it had raised the level of competition. The challenging course that Lynn had hacked in was now the official course. Plus, the competitors now had the skill to navigate it. I think it’s fair to say that Hakuoh had recognized that the even itself wasn’t challenging it. Without knowing who was giving Lynn orders, it would be hard to tell if there was intent to win or just to make it fun.
Now onto the silliness at the heart of this episode and it begins quite quickly. At the registration area, everyone is afraid of them. You would think they all had shaved heads and looked like rejects from Hokuto no Ken with how everyone was treating them. It wasn’t just that as well, in addition to fearing them, they also hated the Hakuoh team as well. Fortunately, there was no suffering, but I digress.
The hatred starts with the chief organizer, who has flashbacks to the last time Hakuoh is here. She just happens to hate them so much that she completely ignores the girl in full pirate regalia who was asking to borrow a dinghy. At least her chasing after Marika makes sense afterwards. She’s so incompetent that she’s willing to chase after a personal grudge with no basis while interrupting the race she’s in charge of. Well done race organizer. It even goes further when it takes her far too long to realize that Marika is trying to protect the race when the group after her starts firing indiscriminately at the ships in the race. Of course, her only contribution is to get shot down rather quickly. Such is the fate of stereotypical 80s teen movie villains.
Of course, the final bit of stupidity comes from Ai. She was seen in a store buying a book on constellations, she’s then seen reading that book before the race, and then she uses that knowledge to navigate to the finish after her electronics are taken out. That’s a pretty standard contrivance in this series by now as the first two parts were only shown to make the ending make sense. What makes it really silly was that it was completely irrelevant to the race itself. Chiaki and Grunhilde finished first and second with Ai not even making the podium, so all of that drama in knowing how to navigate meant what exactly?
As far as other points of interest, Chiaki was criminally underused for someone who actually won the event that was at the center of the episode. There was also a continuation of part of the plot from last week. A group of men were targeting Marika for her pirate license, which marked the first time that her life was actually threatened by anyone in this series since she decided to become a pirate. It’s a nice change of pace and a sign that perhaps not everything will work out well because she’s a pirate.
That all leads into next week’s episode where someone begins to hunt pirate ships. This will surely lead Marika into a plan where she tries to lure them into a trap only to find she’s over her head. I would think this arc would have to be the final one with just five episodes remaining. Maybe they can make things work out in an interesting and not so silly way this time.