Laevatein: Greetings everyone, I’m Laevatein!
pluffei: And I’m pluffei!
Laevatein: And today, we’re going to talk about Mouretsu Pirates!
pluffei: Yeaahhh, that show. Well, we can start with you, since you like it. What are its pros?
Laevatein: Well, I think I’ll start by looking at the big picture. Mouretsu Pirates is a grand Space Opera with a touch of cute high school girls. Though the characterization starts off kind of weak, I think character development and dynamics are strong in the show. And the plot’s interesting, to boot. Granted, it’s not perfect, but it’s still pretty fun.
pluffei: My knowledge of space operas is next to none, but what I can say is that I feel like the pacing was much too slow for the show to be entertaining. Maybe it’s because the show seems to be aimed at a more niche group that I don’t like it while you do, but in that case I suppose I have every reason to dislike the show.
pluffei: The show isn’t very friendly towards people who don’t normally watch the space opera genre, which, even if the people in charge don’t care, really limits their audience.
Laevatein: Oh, yeah, I agree that it’s a very niche show. Conflict resolutions, for starters, are definitely not normal, but I have to disagree about the pacing. It seems like standard light novel pacing. The first arc, for instance, was six episodes long and not only was it an intro arc, but it also served to get the main character on board for the rest of the series. A lot of light novels seem to do this, too. I guess because of the conflict resolution, it may seem slower.
pluffei: But to decide to take 6 episodes to just get the balling rolling for a 26 episode series is pretty slow for me. It could’ve been done in a couple episodes less, I believe. The whole 6 episodes were just too drawn out for me. Rather than focusing on the beginning, I would’ve preferred if they explained the bases along the way while getting to the good parts. Like the 7 or so lasers at the end of the 5th episode. Fate/zero had this one whole episode of exposition, but then they got it out of the way and got on with the story. For Pirates, I really just wished they got on with the story.
Laevatein: Fate/Zero is kind of exceptional though. It doesn’t follow the normal light novel structuring. For comparison purposes, what other series based on a light novel have you watched?
pluffei: That is a good question. The only ones I know of are Another, Spice and Wolf, Baccano!, Durarara!!, and Bakemonogatari/Nisemonogatari. There are probably more, but I haven’t looked up whether or not they were light novels. However, the fact that it’s a light novel adaptation doesn’t mean the director has to follow it word for word, figuratively. Those first 5 episodes were almost all exposition.
Laevatein: Well, this is kind of a stretch, but let’s take a look at Spice and Wolf. I think, though it had a self contained plot, it was also exposition as well, though it did have a lot of character dynamics. Also, I can’t see anything wrong with exposition, per se.
pluffei: From what I remember of Spice and Wolf, they mixed the exposition with the plot. So the plot was always moving, as opposed to Pirates. And, there’s nothing wrong with exposition if there is a lot to cover, but people who are familiar with space operas more or less understand the setting (etc…) well enough, so a lot of what was explained in Pirates could have been just implied. Like the whole electronic warfare theme. Let’s just jump into that. They spent 3 whole episodes, first to hint at the existence of electronic warfare, then to plan for it, and finally to actually have it “happen.” By golly. If this series were about electronic warfare, then maybe it should’ve been this emphasized, but this series is about pirating. Electronic warfare is but one of its aspects, and I’d much rather the attention get allocated to a more interesting aspect, for example perhaps one unique to this series.
Laevatein: Hmm, I can’t argue with that. There probably was a bit too much emphasis on the electronic warfare for many. But nowadays, the show has definitely gotten into pirating territory, so it’s a bit of a non-issue now. However, to be fair, I think using electronic warfare for conflict resolution purposes is pretty unique, as many space operas just use pew pew lasers to solve conflicts.
pluffei: You have a good point there. Electronic warfare is pretty overlooked even though, hypothetically, it’s probably a more effective win since your war earnings don’t end up as space debris. But how the series dealt with it is a major pacing problem, and one that greatly deterred me, and likely others, from continuing the series. But let’s move on, unless you have anything else to say about this topic?
pluffei: I actually like the characters. One thing you will mention is that there is zero fanservice in Pirates, and I will say the characters aren’t affected by the lack of fanservice. Marika has a pretty likable personality, to me, and everyone else seem level-headed and responsible. If I REALLY wanted to argue about this, I’d just say some of the character designs look kinda silly.
Laevatein: Hahaha, agreed, but I think that’s part of the charm. Like I mentioned earlier, though some of the initial characterization wasn’t the best
the dynamics and development have been really fun. Marika, for instance, is slowly shaping up to be a pretty responsible leader.
pluffei: The character development worked well for me too, actually. It was indeed pretty fun watching Marika bond with her mom, and once you think about it, deciding to become a Captain really is a pretty hard decision for a high school student to make. And also, my examples of really half-assed designs are Yunomoto Izumi and Lynn Lambretta. Like… who did they hire to draw them? Actually, this reminds me that the anime character designs are entirely different from the original light novel ones.
Laevatein: Oh, yeah, I guess some of the character and their designs are pretty forgettable, like much of the space yacht club characters in general. Some of them just seem to be… there. But a good portion of the cast do have presence, like the Bentenmaru crew. I can remember pretty much all of them.
pluffei: Hahah, well, I found a comparison chart of some of the characters in Light Novel vs. Anime designs. I kind of like the light novel designs better, I wish they stuck with that. But we more or less agree on characters, so there’s not much to object about here.
Laevatein: Hmm, well, we’ve already got art out of the way, sort of. Let’s elaborate on that some more. What do you think of the backgrounds and other sort of designs?
pluffei: I’m not an expert on ships, but I thought the ship the Yacht club took on their little voyage was pretty decent looking. But then again, there were a lot of ship and peaceful space scenery shots. This goes back to Space Pirates not having enough action, but it’s true. From the title and the OP, I was expecting something much more hot-blooded.
Laevatein: Actually, at this point, I think some parts have got to be parody. Like, the name not being entirely representative of what’s going on in the show, for instance. However, the characters are badass in their own ways. Bodacious, even!
pluffei: It’s a pity, but I suppose that’s another reason I don’t like the series. My preferences lean more towards action, and since my expectations of action weren’t met, I was too disappointed to continue the series. As for bodacious, the OP song definitely so. It’s really quite catchy. But how goes the later parts of the series? I heard Marika does do some real pirating, but what exactly does that entail?
Laevatein: Raiding ships, taking all the crew’s valuables, the usual space pirating, I assume. Though it’s funny, since everyone actually enjoys getting boarded by pirates, since it almost never happens anymore. Though the cruise liners cover the costs of all this, they get a lot more business from people going on these voyages hoping to get attacked by pirates. Though everyone benefits, boarding ships and the like is still shown as something engaging and exciting.
pluffei: That actually sounds pretty interesting. I believe the show actually starts from a frame of what you mentioned now that I think about it. So if it were me, I’d actually prefer a whole (or even half) episode of one of the middle episodes before I get all the exposition. Sure, I’d be a little confused at first, but then I’d have more of a reason and more of a desire to learn about the backstory and such.
Laevatein: Oh, starting the story in media res, huh? Yeah, that could be beneficial: a taste of what’s to come for those who don’t like electronic warfare, haha. Well, I guess all that’s left is sound. What do you think of the music?
Laevatein: Not at all, I agree. Though I did give the OST a peruse, and I do like many of the tracks. Sad to say I can’t remember a whole lot of them. And the voice acting?
pluffei: My only objection (hah!) here is that Kana Hanazawa is in almost everything these days. She’s getting really overused and there are definitely others suited for the role of Chiaki. However, I’m pleasantly surprised that Marika’s voice actor seems to not have had too many past roles. It’s always nice to hear new (or just different) voices.
Laevatein: I kind of disagree, Kana Hanazawa is playing a rather different role this time around. She’s not the standard cute, airheaded character
nor is she the pretty cold one. Here, she’s cold, sure, but she’s also a straight, to the point one. It felt rather new to me
I think it’s a decent way to prove that voice actors can go beyond what roles they’re typecasted as. But yeah, Marika is pretty great, as well. I have no complaints about the voice acting, in general. And I think I’ve said everything I’ve wanted to say about this show. Do you have anything else?
pluffei: Hm. You’re right about breaking the typecasting; Kana does a good job with being the cold and straightforward one. As someone who likes voice acting a lot, I’d just like to see more variety. But overall this is just a small complaint. It seems the vast majority of my hating on Pirates is just that it didn’t meet expectations on the action front, and that it could’ve done some of the pacing better and thereby making it much more interesting. It’s just a show that had a lot of potential, but didn’t cut it well enough in the beginning to keep me interested.
Laevatein: Mm, yeah, I recognize that the show doesn’t appeal to a large amount of people, for the reasons you mentioned. However, I really enjoy the show, and I find the reasons you listed make the show really refreshing, in some ways.
pluffei: Well, to each their own I suppose.
Laevatein: Anyway, I guess that’s it! Come back next week, where two of our writers will butt heads once again!
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