The 24th episode of Pirates begins with a clash between the Bentenmaru and the Grand Cross and ends with confusion on all counts. The story in this episode is essentially one of the Bentenmaru somehow escaping, and finding out how that had come to pass. They make it to the meeting point where Kenjo Kurihara gets Marika up to speed on what will happen. As she has plans of her own, she is confronted by the captain of the Grand Cross who doesn’t reveal much except that the Bentenmaru has a spy. Ultimately, this will hang over the crew’s head as more and more ships with unexpected guests continue to arrive.
This episode was the very definition of throwing things out of nowhere and hoping they stick as though it were assembled by M. Night Shyamalan. The twist of Ririka being on her way to the port where the other pirates are assembling is probably the least shocking of any of them. And by shocking I mean the quality of the writing that makes that happen. There were also the sudden appearances of androids and stealth armor that had never been included before. Also, why exactly did Quartz Christie have to personally appear at the port, and then do nothing? Needless to say, I didn’t find this a very good episode.
What we did have was the relationship between Chiaki and Marika enter the self-parody stage. At the beginning of the series, Chiaki was the cool character with the single quirk of loving chocolate parfaits, but largely knew what she was doing. Now it’s reached the point where she is nothing more than a tsundere character towards Marika, and seems completely useless to the plot. That’s pretty much all she does now is tsundere and make embarrassing faces in each episode that she’s a passenger in.
There was also the narration at the beginning which seemed to be a defenestration of last week’s episode. This week, we learn that the pirates had only ever assembled one time previous to this. The legendary chef, the toasts as the captains all projected themselves above their ships, all of that was on the basis of one meeting. I can’t say it’s entirely meaningless, but planning during a war of independence does seem like something that requires more than one get together.
Then there is the spying problem this episode has, which seems to raise as many questions as it answers. Luca was replaced by an android version of herself, who was then caught by Misa. However, what happened to the real Luca. As for Kane, there’s somehow a reliance on the fact that there is an android Kane that Kane himself knows about in order to make this work. So Kane would have kidnapped Luca, and then used that to hide the existence of android Kane, who was helping Quartz get away. That seems incredibly contrived. Also, why would Quartz need intelligence about the pirates anyway. She can already get to the port undetected, and has vastly superior firepower. But, she is going to sit back and wait for all of them to assemble so she can be defeated. Of course, everything works out when villains are incompetent.
As for next week, my prediction that Ironbeard is Marika’s father is still on. I think that means we’re due for the return of some Blaster Ririka action in the final two episodes. Also, Marika manages to take command of all of the other pirate ships for the final assault on theGrand Cross. Because giant egos will always give in to serving a girl’s high school student with barely adequate grades.