The 13th episode of Pirates evokes more of a slice-of-life feel as it hits the halfway point. Marika returns home as a local celebrity for her exploits for Serenity. However, change is in the air as the new school year starts and brings with it a change in status for much of the cast. Then, Marika invites Gruier and Grunhilde over for dinner where they all have fun, even if their was nearly a diplomatic incident involving hot mustard. The episode ends with much of the cast moving on to the next job at hand.
The two dominant themes in this episode were people changing over time and characters trying to do what they wanted to do. These are somewhat related as time and circumstances force people into different roles, being able to do what one wants represents freedom. Even the idea of not knowing what to do is liberating for Gruier at the end of the episode.
On to characters changing. We get our first look at it early in the episode. Marika is now a local celebrity as a famous space pirate. Mami recognizes the Marika has promotional power as they begin their 2nd year of high school. The yacht club membership has rolled over with Jenny graduated and Lynn the new club president. Naturally they keep in touch because you shippers out there know why.
More interesting was the focus on Ririka. She was in the middle of a vacation she was using to find a different job. This allowed her to be home to cook the meal at the center of the episode that was observed by the Bentenmaru crew. Here’s where Misa’s history with Ririka came in.
Ririka as a pirate had loved to cook, she was just very bad at it. She became better at it with experience which was forced on her by having Marika. She had changed as a person over the years as well as the freedom of being a pirate. That would be changing though because with her daughter now able to survive on her own, she would now be able to do what she wanted to do again.
Which leads into the other theme. Ririka is trying to regain some of that life she had as a pirate. She’s applying for a license to run a large interstellar ship. Meanwhile, Gruier and Grunhilde continue/start attending the same school as Marika because they want to. The people living under the Serenity royal family now have more control with an elected body getting more power. This means Gruier’s fate is more open than it would have been in an earlier age. Now even she can do what she wants rather than be locked into the royal family route. Even Misa wants to go back to work as the school nurse because it looks like fun. Kane was about done with high school girls, so that probably rules that out.
As far as other points of interest in this episode, I did note the 2 different time-lapse jokes thrown into the episode. The first was Marika being called back urgently by Gruier only to then reappear at home with Mami as though nothing had happened. Then later, she tells Ririka she can wake up on her own followed immediately by her panicking to get to school on time on her bicycle. I also liked the banter on the bridge when it was suggested the Schnitzer become a gym teacher.
As far as future plot events go, the next episode looks like Marika and Gruier go on a recruiting trip to add to the crew. I was more interested in the ring that Gruier used to get on the ship in the first place. This could be something telegraphed from miles away. Someone gets a hold of that ring and uses it to take control of the Bentenmaru. There’s also Ririka’s new job. What are the chances that she encounters Marika while they are both working, and how awkward would that be?