The 9th episode of Pirates finally sees Marika taking control of the Bentenmaru on her own terms. The crisis at the end of the last episode is resolved quickly by a communication by Gruier. They get some information on the ghost ship that they are trying to find, but in order to maintain appearance they have to go to the yacht club for help. Jenny ultimately agrees to help them; along with Gruier becoming an official member, so they can search for the ship while appearing to be attending class. In the end, the probable route of the ghost ship is deciphered, but Marika is firmly in charge by then.
There were really two things I thought were of interest in this episode. My concern over Gruier was pretty much resolved and also Marika seemed to be taking charge as captain.
Let’s just start off with the first of those. In episode 8, I felt as though Gruier was holding something back. That lingering feeling could have been caused by any number of things like not providing information or having a dual motive. Thankfully, that seemed to all be resolved by the time she went to the yacht club.
Chiaki’s re-entry into the series is well timed because it provides an interesting contrast. She had always had a problem with everyone adding “-chan” to her name because it felt too familiar to her. When she meets Gruier for the first time she’s extremely formal. Gruier gets some of the same treatment from the yacht club, but when she officially becomes a yacht club member all formalities cease. She’s just Gruier, and that pleases her immensely. Meanwhile, Chiaki’s pretty much stuck with the familiar name and doesn’t appreciate it.
Ultimately, I think that feeling was really just a sense that Gruier wanted to be treated differently from the princess. She just wanted to be normal. It’s really a cliche plot point, but it makes sense.
As for Marika, she really begins to take the captaincy. She’s absolutely decisive when it comes to communicating the Bentenmaru‘s existence to the other ships and telling Gruier to send the message to the other ships to stop. However, she’s not so commanding afterwards when the crisis seems over and the information Gruier requested has to be handed over. Fortunately, Gruier makes certain that the entire bridge crew knows that she thinks Marika is the equal to her father.
The more impressive part I think comes at the end of the episode when Ririka invites her to dinner with the rest of the crew and Gruier. This seemed to represent a changing of the guard of sorts as they essentially had a planning meeting for the mission to track down the ghost ship in their dining room. Ririka had never actually been captain of the Bentenmaru, but had maintained contacts to arrange such a meeting. Yet, by the end of this conversation there was little doubt who was in charge.
After Marika is given the information about the ghost ship, she simply dismisses it as irrelevant. They simply have to get to the ship. At that point, it was fairly obvious that the crew was completely behind her. In order to get Gruier behind her, she had to tell her that there was a possibility they wouldn’t find it. That small amount of truth had Gruier on board with the mission. By this point, Marika seems to have everything firmly under control, which is exactly what you would expect from someone in a position of responsibility.
As far a minor points in this episode, it’s worth mentioning Chiaki some more in the fact that she was looking up interstellar law as it pertains to Serenity when it came to this crisis. Chiaki is training to be a captain as well, so at this point is seems like she feels as though she is trying to compete with Chiaki on a knowledge basis on what to do as a captain of a pirate ship.
Next week is shaping up to be another potential conflict between the Bentenmaru and ships from Serenity. I can’t really see too much going on though. There simply hasn’t been the real threat of danger to anyone in this series yet. Perhaps, it’s time for that to change.