Category Archives: Mouretsu Pirates

Mouretsu Pirates

One of the reasons why I hit myself for camping the autograph line too much at AX 2012 is because I wanted to stalk down Sato and talk shop about Mouretsu Pirates. I also want to talk about Flower of Rinne but maybe we can write about that after season 2.

There is this silly irony going on, too, because the last episode aired in Japan during AX. If it aired on Thursday I could have camped out at his press gig and filed questions there, on Friday. But by the time it aired Saturday AM Pacific time, I only had one shot to talk about it, and it’s at his autograph line. It would’ve been the best if they just screened episode 26 at the con and did a Q&A right afterwards. (I guess that is one major AX fail on the part of AX?)

So yes, there’s the movie announcement. So yes, I have questions about the way the last episode collates the plot thread in the last anime-original arc. I also think that one cosplayer I saw in line dressed up as Marika has it right: I too rather like the anime-original stuff.

The thing is, episode 25 was just so good. There was no way the arc could end in just one episode while topping 25. And to some extent that was the same with Nadesico as well, except that one actually capped a different narrative thread in the last episode, resulting in that inter-spatial spat and kiss. I’m not so hopeful about the announced movie as a result. It’s wiser to just take what’s on the table.

Author is a little slow on the uptake but he is correct–all those calligraphic end cards are direct works of director Sato. He signs off using that little character doohicky. If I recall correctly the voice actress for Marika also writes for a particular episode earlier on, but other than that slide, every one is a Tatsuo Sato work.

Some other burning questions I might ask:

  • What’s up with the name? Aside from the people who call it “Mouretsu Uchuu Kaizoku” I think the other permutations seem kind of interesting, wondering if there’s anything behind it.
  • The movie? The movie.
  • How do you depict three dimensional fleet combat?
  • What’s up with the chef’s sons? And what is up with those giants?
  • How do you deal with FTL transmission of the pirate songs?
  • Isn’t the final battle just a scaled-up version of the yacht club’s little mission?

Well, it can continue on. Maybe it’s easier if I just wait until the movie becomes available.

PS. Is it me or in the past 5 days every blog I follow (for example, Anipages) updated several times? Is there a mandate to update your blog this past week even if your average blog post/wk rate is below 1? What is this?


Mouretsu Pirates Are Like Maid Cafe Maids

I mentioned it elsewhere but let’s drill down on the maid cafe aspect of Mouretsu Pirates. Yes, the maid cafe. I think it’s important to realize why it exists, why it plays a role in Marika’s life, and what it really means so far. For sure, it is beyond merely fanservice.

I think it’s important to go to episode 1 and understand why the two spying Bentenmaru members went on a discussion on anachronism. To be sure, the maid cafe is a fad-sort of thing. It is costume play. The best maid cafe in Japan actually provides that sort of European-y high class atmosphere for your dining pleasure. But 99.9% of maid cafes are just normal cafe with a cosplay theme, and the stuff we do at a maid cafe different is pretty much unique to them. It’s closer to a host club than a cafe sometimes.

To say that something like a maid cafe survives in to the distant future, hundreds of years later, and then in a civilization light years away from Earth? It’s close to text book anachronism.

The same can be said of piracy; or perhaps better put, privateering. If you subscribe to a Star Trek-ish view of the future, well-managed societies, even space-faring, probably would not need to take up arms to plunder luxury space cruiser-liners. Spaceships are still expensive, it makes little logical sense to jostle billion-dollar wares and putting your life on the line to rob what may be carried on persons, unless everyone is hauling millions of dollars worth of gear on them. I mean, of course, space travel may be something very inexpensive in Marika’s world. I don’t know. But it seems unlikely given how big of a deal it is to travel to the stars. That is a setting’s leeway.

Certainly it makes even less sense for privateers, who pirate out of some hired-gun contract. Aren’t they technically employed? I would imagine they pirate out of some personal desire to make careers out of it.

Here is the first thing to consider. Maids working at a maid cafe provides the illusion that they are maids hosting their masters and madams or whatever they call their patrons. They aren’t actually maids in the “live in” or “indentured servant” or “slave” sense of the term as it is classically used. Right, they’re just paid to roleplay. In the same manner, Bentenmaru’s brand of piracy is the same kind of put-on show where everyone go through some kind of preconception about space piracy (And…who has these kinds of preconceptions? And more importantly, what are they?). Instead of a maid uniform, Marika wears some ludicrous Harlock-lite thing.

In other words, maid cafe maids aren’t really maids, they just pretend to fit your maid-fitting fantasies and take your money. Likewise Marika’s space piracy is  not really about piracy (they’re privateers to begin with), they just pretend to fit your pirate-themed fantasies and take your money.

To segue to the next point, the Maid Cafe crosses with Piracy, in that both are also jobs. That make money. You know there is some value in having kids take up a part-time job when they are in  high school or college, the whole training in the work place sort of thing. Gone is the concept of a pirate being some kind of romantic Kentucky-born actor. In, is the idea that, at least on the Strip in Vegas, they don’t literally rob those who stand and watch the free show at the Treasure Island hotel. It still beats being a plain robber on the high seas, I suppose, because real pirates don’t last very long. I thought the Maid Cafe thing actually comes around and becomes not only an useful metaphor but also a fitting job for Marika in terms of the career trajectory she’s on.

Anyways, this fake-pirate thing is a nice headtrick. But at the same time it makes you wonder what is going to happen to the actual piracy aspect of it. I suppose by today’s standards, gone are the stories about a maid (eg., Mahoromatic) and in are the stories about people pretending to be maids (eg., … Mahoromatic and every other anime with a pretty girl in it). The same could apply exactly to pirates, if there were enough pirate anime around to make a statement about piracy (if not, just blame One Piece). I mean fictional accounts of pirates are wonderful and all but it would be a whole new adventure when our play-to-pay pirates run into some dangerous situations and still go through the same piracy hijinks. It’s like if your live-in maid was a hamster of epic (erotic) proportions, or if your live-in maid had a thing for breast enlargement and ran on batteries.

I guess, the real question left to ask is, just what about piracy can we expect of Mouretsu Pirates? Because both maid cafes and space privateering, arguably, are anachronisms. What is the spin? Would it involve getting into a dangerous situation and being able to get out of it using Marika’s talents at decision making, while at the end, to never forget ring up a customer? These are important qualities to cultivate at a young age, folks.

Two girls one cup indeed.

PS. What about the Marika in a school uniform? That one is the fun one to talk about.


Judge Book by Cover: Winter 2011 Edition

Another year, another season, another activity under the sun. Three-ep test time, right?

Danshi Koukosei no Nichijou – Nichibros is great fun. But I am not compelled. I think Nichijou was more compelling, despite significantly less gut-busting fun. Maybe it will grow on me. Maybe not. It’s still a lot of fun though.

Symphogear – Only if Polyphonica was like this. That said I ought to drop it. Wake me up when Minami Takayama shows up again. What is up with Nana Mizuki and crap anime anyways? At any rate, the weird feeling that I should go suffer through Blood-C first before this prompts me to do that first before watching any more Symphogear. Which is probably unlikely.

Kill Me Baby – It’ll probably be fun to watch at 2x speed. But not for me.

Ano Natsu de Matteru – Probably my most anticipated anime coming out of the first 3 episodes. There is a warmth to the characters and the animation radiates love. Kind of like how iM@S was. And believe it or not, Ichigo Morino (kind of wondering what would go with Umino) takes the spot of the first fixed pose PVC moe girl figure I ever owned. But actually, even if none of what I said just now is true, I would’ve put AnoNatsu in the #1 spot on the strength of episode 3 alone. It’s just a terrific piece of witty rom-com in the span of 23 minutes. It’s this kind of stuff that elevates late-night otaku fantasy into the realm of something that can be taken seriously as entertainment.

Mouretsu Pirates – Definitely my most anticipated anime going into this season. Does not disappoint. I am fine with the slow pace.

Rinne no Lagrange – This and Aquarion fight a bitter fight to see if it can fit into my even more restricted anime viewing time. It has an edge because it is on Hulu.

Aquarion EVOL – Just like the old series. But unfortunately I didn’t like the old show that much. I get the feeling it will be a mid-season call for this one, or will it have more staying power than Gundam AGE? One weird thing I noticed is how watching the OP and ED without any subtitles drastically improved my viewing experience. It’s like there is a saturation point in terms of what happens on every cut at any given time. The credits actually reduces the load on my sensory organs, but the subtitles (especially my favorite Karaoke subs) pushes it way over the edge and you missout that immersive experience as your eyes begin to ignore the stuff the subs breaks out from one moving frame to the other. Or at least it was for me.

High School DxD – Boobs are great, aren’t they?

Nisemonogatari – I wish I could just say “Boobs are great, aren’t they?” Definitely will finish it, simply because despite how much I find Nisioisin’s tricks worthless, they are quite entertaining. Also, at this point how can anyone take this show beyond pure fanservice? I have a hard time taking it seriously at all, maybe at the most as a funny word problem.

Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai! – Better known as Papakiki or “Listen to Me Girls, I Am Your Father!” it is more like, well, a planewreck than a train wreck. The first two episodes does a great job making a serious matter serious in this heavily saturated genre of man meets loli. The only question left is will the man meats loli? Also, the sempai character is kind of interesting.

Knight in the Area – Sums up why I have a hard time embracing shows like Cross Game, which I further contemplate if it has to do with why sports manga will never fly in America. Also, carwreck lol.

Another – I generally dislike horror as a genre, but this show is so gorgeous I don’t know if I can drop it. Also, Chihiro vibes where? Episode 3 ends with a very nice punch. Too bad she was my favorite moe character in the show; also makes a great first target.

Amagami SS+ – Glad it only has 2-ep arcs. First arc was kind of dreadful actually. But at this point I might as well finish. Good thing about 2-ep arcs is that any bad stuff only lasts for so long before another two reroll. Rihoko arc has proved to capture a bit more of the charm from the first series already!

Inu x Boku SS – I’m blogging it over at Jtor, and so far it is a deviation from what we typically expect out of David Pro. While I’m not holding my breath on it I expect it to be actually entertaining enough along the lines of, say, Maid-sama. Except instead of the annoying feminist blunders, it’ll have a lot of fujoshi baits. Or I hope. Ending is a great little nod.

Thermae Romae – It’s short and sweet. Being educational is a bonus. Also I’m really happy that it is only 6 eps long, because I’m not sure how much more of this I can handle.

Poyopoyo – It’s short and sweet and I can handle cats like this.

Recorder and Randsell – It’s short. Watching this on CR makes me wonder why am I not watching Morita-san or GDGT Fairies instead? But being on CR and being short means I can watch it on the commute.


Details in Space, Details from Space

There is just one comment I want to make:

How do you deal with an audience who is going to point out that those girls are working in zero-gravity with skirts? In a show where they’ve tried to, well, avoid showing anything underneath skirts? Tried to, because it seems that they did in Mouretsu Pirates anyway.

How do you deal with an audience who is going to ask themselves “Wait, how do you get cellular reception underwater?”

I guess this is where I grin and nod to your typical Tatsuo Sato anime.

I think that is one of the continuing challenges to make content for an increasingly fanatic and jaded crowd; like a sea of Simpson’s Comic Book Guys. But some people just have the touch.

Two girls, one cup.

The forbidden uniform. The forbidden line. What is next?!

Wait… Disney will never license this show, right? Just like Ocean Waves, right? LOL.


Mouretsu Pirates Is 75% Baked

Coming into this season I am only looking forward to one show: Mouretsu Pirates. So now that we’ve had the very initial tastes here are just some thoughts.

  • I’m glad Tatsuo Sato, for the most part, delivered the things I wanted. Or at least, it’s on the menu if it isn’t in the show already. Time will tell if this will be any good, of course. But in the season of judging-book-by-cover I think we’re well ahead of the curve on episode 1. Tatsuo Sato is also the really only reason I’m looking forward to this (but…not Rinne no Lagrange for some reason).
  • Speaking of judging book by cover (or by Director), I don’t know why so many people gets turned off just by the title and the way how this show tries to lure people in by its protagonist. It’s a little post-Haruhi-ish I suppose, and some people are just allergic to that. If it was only like that. And okay, it’s fine to get hung up on the name. Even if it seems a lot of people get hung up by the name. But dropping the show or not even trying it because of the name? Really? Okay they use the word “Bodacious,” which I suppose may not fit the idea of the show so well (time will tell), but they also used the word Pirate, which, as we will see, is not even correct. But criticizing choice of English words for an anime to this extent? Com’on man.
  • And one more thing about the names: “uchuu kaizoku” is …probably less of a mouthful than “uchuu privateers” or some equvalent? And I guess everyone knows who is a space pirate. Marika has some high standards to live up to!
  • The basic premise is that in the age of seafaring colonization, some independent entities were either hired or pardoned by rival governments to rage wars on opposing parties. The word is better used as Privateers. Letter of Marque and all. Copy and paste that into our new SF anime and you get how Marika becomes a “pirate.” But if they are legal pirates then how does it work? That exact question is actually raised within the show when Marika reads up on all this. Seems to me the show might actually, you know, involve this question in its script beyond posing it?
  • The basic idea of this anime is an anachronism. I mean, don’t we use the concept of “security contractor” for this basic idea nowadays? So I suppose it isn’t a surprise when the show also asks the question about anachronism in a literal sense. Well, it is still surprising because it’s awfully 4th-wall-ish. It was used in the context of how a maid cafe could still exist–I think people who are digging their space pirates probably aren’t digging Akiba maid cafes unless they enjoy maid cafes, an overlap that is probably not as big as some may like. And I think a lot of people get the wrong idea about the show because it was promoted in a way where Marika serves at a maid cafe. Well, Ruri serves in a cat pajama too? LOL. I guess Sato still had an explanation for it, maid outfit or cat outfit alike.
  • All this is just to say there are a lot of room in the script to flex wit. And I think that is single-handed the best thing that makes Nadesico such an epic and classic SF anime. That self-awareness is signature.
  • The fundamental mastery of science fiction is the ability to explain things away sufficiently. The key here is sufficiently. A lot of anime adaptations are lazy in this regard, and a few explains the wrong thing too much (think Madoka). Sato’s? They’re top notch and spot on.
  • Looking at some first impression posts, I see people complaining about pacing. I think those people can DIAF. The pacing is actually pretty solid for a show that has to expand so much effort on world building. If anything I think the pacing is well above-average, compared to shows like Fate/Zero.
  • Also, that opening sequence where Marika lands that simulation shuttle? Totally unrealistic. But slick like Satelight’s space mecha stuff.
  • I find the coloring on the characters…also typical of Satelight. Well, nothing wrong with that per se.
  • Wine in a beer mug, LOL.

Makes me wonder what would Tatsuo Sato do with a Yamamoto Yohko-sort of story. Is Mouretsu Space Pirates it? Maybe?