The 8th episode of Pirates introduces a new character in the form of Gruier Serenity, a princess of the nation that shares her name. After the last episode in which an intruder had stowed away, the Bentenmaru gets to see that they’ve taken on a princess who came to them with a specific goal. Marika’s schedule, however, dictates that they have to return home so Gruier enrolls at the same school. Finally, they set off on their mission, and not everything seems right as they look to be sucked into a real battle for the first time.
I think one of the things that I found interesting was the fact that it still did not seem as though Marika had any authority over what was happening on the Bentenmaru at times and at others she seemed to be very important.
Take for instance the initial encounter with Gruier. Everything is tense as they go through negotiating to get her to reveal her identity. As soon as Marika tells Coorie to send the data on the Bentenmaru‘s command succession to her, she reveals her identity and almost all of the tension is gone on the bridge. At that point, Marika struggles to get anyone to help Gruier to show her around. Then, when she does make it up to the bridge, everyone apart from Kane, who showed Gruier around, and Misa continue to work as before. Only Coorie seems to show some sign that protocol would be for them to introduce themselves face-to-face, but it seemed like there was a lack of command on Marika’s part. That may come from the fact that she still sees herself as a captain-in-training.
Later on in the episode, when the rest of the crew should actually be preparing for the mission that lies ahead, they engage in conversation with Gruier while Marika was getting dressed for battle. That’s all well and good for that time, but when it really matters at the end of the episode, they look to Marika to give the orders. It just feels as though the rest of the crew apart from Misa and Kane do not respect Marika as a captain yet.
I can actually see where they are coming from in this regard. The crew collectively could be making more money from their work if Marika was the captain full-time. They really don’t get to see the other part of her life. She may as well live in an entirely different world considering what they know of her.
Then there’s Gruier, a character who I can’t decide is intentionally deceptive or completely obvious in purpose. She sneaks on board the Bentenmaru on her own will looking to work with Marika’s father at first, but ultimately in search of a ghost ship. There’s no more information apart from that, though she reveals that she is able to request more information from home at any time. Plus, Marika seems to believe that she is putting up a front when confronted with crowds of people who want to meet her because she’s a princess.
There also lies one of the problems that seems to pop up frequently in this show from secondary characters. Gruier wants to be involved with the Bentenmaru because it seems exciting. Just as the girls on the Odette II seemed to feel the same way, Gruier already found out the battle has consequences as the Bentenmaru approached the damaged military ships from Gruier’s own fleet. Unfortunately, until one of these battles actually has consequences I don’t see this problem going away.
So next week they will have to resolve the fact they will be going into a possible battle 1-on-5. I think there will probably be some level of negotiating involved, unless Gruier is actually holding on to something more valuable. This was also the first episode not to feature Chiaki. I don’t think that will be a common occurrence in the remaining 18 episode of the series. In addition, we got to see a little hint of Ririka’s pirate past as she suggested they bring Gruier over for dinner. Not a bad idea in my opinion, but Marika ultimately gets to decide that. What I would like to see over the coming episodes is for Marika to begin to exert captain’s authority in non-emergency situations. They don’t take her seriously, so she needs to make them respect her as the captain at all times.