The 6th episode of Pirates takes Marika from a promising day of fun with her closest friend from school to learning how to be a pirate in the space of a few days. Marika has to go through the bureaucratic chain of agencies just to be able to obtain the certification that allows her to go pirating. With a time limit of 50 days to begin pirating as one of the conditions of the letter, she gets to work with the crew of the Bentenmaru about learning what goes into it. Finally, she’s given an easy first mission in which to learn how to be a pirate captain.
One of the things that I was interested in was the background that went into making pirates into the privateer role they became in the modern day. Misa went into some of the background on the history of how piracy got to its current shape. Essentially, pirates were drafted in to add to the size of the Galactic Federation forces during the colonies’ war for independence. When that was over, Letters of Marque were given to some pirate ships which would officially be part of the Federation’s forces, but were really just pirating as before.
I think this is probably the best case for the Federation in general. If there is a need for people to pirate, they may as well give a small number of ships the right to do so and hope that the pirates would be self-policing. Those who didn’t have the Letters of Marque would be fighting both against pirates and the Federation if they were doing too much pirating. This allowed the Federation to better expend their ships without having to deal with the root causes that lead people to piracy in the first place.
To get a sense of how much the Letters of Marque mean to the Federation, Marika ran the gamut of agencies in the government just to get approval to become captain of the Bentenmaru. Her activities are going to have an economic activity of some sort when she does pirate, even if they are covered by insurance. Therefore, it makes sense that if the government is signing off on something that has an impact in those areas that she needs to go get approval from all of those agencies. Even the time limit on piracy that Misa points out makes sense. You do not want a bunch of potential pirate captains to suddenly take up piracy years after they’ve been approved and not know the potential impact. It also keeps the number of Letters of Marque that are legal to a much lower number.
Then onto Marika’s own character development in this episode. The previous episodes had focused on how she had already fit the profile of someone who belonged in space based on her ability to act quickly when needed. This episode was about her own need to develop into a pirate captain. The early part was pretty much about learning what could potentially happen as a captain, whether that was forays into open space or hand-to-hand combat.
She did well at those tasks, but the real question was about whether she could handle this in a real scenario. The idea conveyed by the rest of the crew was that it was easier being an honor student who just has to know thing than a captain who has has to use that knowledge in the real world. The mission that Kane arranged actually works out quite well for her. She’s able to lead the team on an actual pirate mission, while learning about how to be a captain. Obviously, the most striking part of this was her exchange with Schnitzer who told her just to be her own captain rather than trying to be like her mother. It all worked out in the end, even if a girls high school student isn’t the most likely person to take seriously in that scenario.
Finally, Marika’s relationship with Chiaki becomes an issue again. It seemed like the two of them had bonded quite well, but this episode marked a return to it being one-sided. Chiaki entered this episode more as an encouragement factor for Marika to continue to learn how to be a captain. The conversation when both were out in space was rather interesting in how Chiaki saw Marika. It seemed as though Chiaki had viewed Marika as someone who put up the act of a light-hearted high school girl as an act, but she was really a determined captain all the way. The fact that Marika was apologizing for acting like she normally did seemed to offend Chiaki as it didn’t fit with her own image of a captain.
After the cruise ship mission, Chiaki was quick to leave without saying anything to Marika. Their relationship continues to be ever more confusing in many ways. Chiaki still seems to refuse to acknowledge any actions Marika takes that do not fit into her own concept of how a captain should act. She’s willing to embrace the Marika who acts decisively under pressures, but not Marika as a whole. However, she isn’t quite able to abandon the feelings of fondness when Marika was treating her like a friend. That presents a conflict that will have to be resolved at some point in the future.
This was a surprisingly entertaining episode. I probably would have wanted more of an introduction from the crew of the Bentenmaru, but there’s no need to do so yet. I think full-blown introductions probably would have interrupted the flow of this episode anyway. I believe next week will see Marika thrown into a much more perilous position as captain of the Bentenmaru. It can’t get any easier than stealing from people who would be paid back by the insurance companies anyway.