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Bodacious Space Pirates – Episode 14

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today, if weather permits, I was thinking about taking a brief space flight, and perhaps checking in on the crew of the Bentenmaru.

Last episode saw Marika solidifying her alliance with the Serenity royal family, by which I mean she invited the princesses to her house for dinner. Marika possesses a unique combination of amiability and confidence that makes it easy for her to disarm basically anyone, turning political negotiations and pirate standoffs alike into conversations between friends. She is a master of drawing others into her pace, and as the leader of a crew of rowdy rapscallions, that skill is likely even more important than her general competency and intelligence.

Of course, Marika is at her best when she has a Spock to balance her inherent Kirk-ness – thus I’m hoping this episode will see the return of Chiaki, and more delightful bickering between our main pair. But whatever the future holds, I’m sure we’re in for a pleasant time as we return to Bodacious Space Pirates!

Episode 14

“History does not exist in space.” Rather than exposition, our narrator is now regaling us with philosophy, and reflecting on how space untouched by mankind is essentially timeless. History isn’t just the passage of time, but the passage of observed time – but as the narrator notes, if humanity continues to expand, our lines of observed time will spread throughout the universe like a blooming flower, and create a lineage of history through all of space

This speech concludes with Ririka once again asking Gruier what she wants to do, naturally implying that Marika has set a history-shaping machine in motion through her first adventure

The cast photo at the end of the OP has now been updated, adding in Gruier’s associates and the new yacht club members

Ooh, lovely opening shot of the Bentenmaru contrasted against some grey planet. Between this and Space Battleship Yamato, I’m really gaining an appreciation for this style of composition, that uses a planet to cast the main ship in a natural silhouette. A composition that simultaneously celebrates the beauty of a ship’s form and the impossible vastness of space

Marika and her crew are back to the standard schedule of staged pirate performances and delivery runs. Marika says she dislikes performing for an audience, and I can actually believe it – her secret weapon is her ability to immediately reach sincere connection with others, which these performances don’t allow

Next week they have a scheduled pirate appearance on the Queen Esmeraldas luxury cruiser, a nod to Leiji Matsumoto’s Queen Emeraldas

It seems the bio-container they’re transporting may put up some kind of a fight

Yep, looks like we’re in for a horror vignette on board the Bentenmaru. Meanwhile, Marika is busy checking out Mami’s new flower accessories

“You might be in the news a lot more, right?” “I don’t think so…” Marika’s lack of ego is frankly a bit out of step with her genuine importance, but that’s part of what makes her so disarming

The Bentenmaru misses its usual check-in with Marika

The entire crew is in isolation on a medical ship. I love the quiet visual joke of Schnitzer at the end of this lineup, still awkwardly resigned to a medical cot in spite of his robotic body

The entire ship was overrun with disease-infected cat-monkeys

Misa tells her to call the insurance company. “You’re the captain, and this is a good chance for you to learn the business end.” How extremely typical of this show, to relegate “our ship is being overrun with cat-monkeys!” to exposition in order to instead focus on “Marika learns how to file an insurance claim”

Their insurance contact is Harold, of the Harold Lloyd Insurance Union. Ririka is not a fan

“Naturally, pirates get in a lot of trouble, so they need insurance.” Of course. What kind of reckless maniac would go pirating without their pirating insurance!?

This yacht club member’s silly puppy hat brings me joy every time I see it

The actual insurance agent is a guy named Show, who apparently took over for Harold five years ago

“One month of no activity means the Bentenmaru’s pirate license will be revoked.” Ooh, I like where this is going. So with the actual crew stuck in isolation, we finally have an excuse to bring the yacht club on board, in order to save the ship’s pirate license. We’ve got a fun arc ahead of us!

“Prayer, kidnapping, or recruitment – which do you think is the best choice?” Marika can be extremely scary sometimes

I appreciate how Show makes such deliberate use of this holographic display medium, creating a full performance out of his movement relative to the camera. An insurance agent has to know how to control the flow of a conversation

Ririka suggests she visit the relay station to find potential recruits

Oh my god, Gruier’s disguise is so adorable. Love that hat-shades combo

“I came here not as a representative of the royal family, but as Gruier.” Gruier is perhaps a little too smart for her own good. She’s clever enough to find herself directly embroiled in these thorny adventures, but not so clever as to get out of them, and also willfully oblivious of how her status impacts the consequences of her actions, regardless of how she intends them to be perceived

Marika’s somewhat the same, though. As they reach the relay station, Marika is surprised to be recognized by basically everyone

The relay station itself is a satisfyingly grounded scifi invention. It’s not some glorious, flavorful space dive – it’s essentially a roadside mall, with the same antiseptic look you’d expect from a layover station

Gruier gets new suits for both of them, resulting in a rare moment of Marika being genuinely flustered

Gruier’s really excelling here, actually. Marika’s great at thinking on her feet, but also possesses an impulsivity that makes her both a good captain and a not-so-good philosopher. In contrast, Gruier is able to raise key questions like “what is the most important thing you want in a crew?” to guide Marika’s search

Some very fun character acting for Marika as she convinces Gruier to spearhead their recruitment efforts. Not so much fluid movement, but excellent key poses, and the jerkiness of motion actually works for this strained request

That said, bringing a second child along probably does not inspire much confidence among their potential recruits

I like the shading as they settle down at a local bar. This show’s color design is very good at conveying the odd, dehumanizing light of digital displays

Three burly dudes offer to join the crew

Marika’s no fool, though. “You don’t look so hard-up for work that you’d join without asking what the job was”

Oh shit, it’s Chiaki’s dad! His name is Kenjo Kurihara, captain of the pirate ship Barbalusa

“Your ship looks as old as the Bentenmaru.” “Piloting with the newest stuff dulls my senses as a sailor.” This is actually true, and applicable across far more disciplines than just space pirating. The more the computer takes care of the work for you, the less you’re capable of doing that work without the computer, or even worse, knowing when the computer is doing it wrong. Automation tends to dull proficiency – for a more approachable example, I’m perpetually thankful to have grown up on a pre-streaming internet, so I know how to find media outside of streaming’s narrow channels

Kenjo is taking on the Esmeralda job

Kenjo asks the key question again, and this time Marika has an answer: “whether I can trust them”

And still Chiaki has to spell it out for her. Goddamnit, Marika

“Okay! So our next practice cruise will be pirating on the Bentenmaru.” I wonder if that requires a permission slip from the parents

And Done

We’re doing it! It took a full dang episode of Marika wandering in circles around the obvious solution, but we are at last bringing the yacht club on board the Bentenmaru, and it looks like Chiaki may even be sticking around for the ride. This is basically the combination of variables Bodacious Space Pirates has been quietly promising since its very beginning, so I am eager to see Marika’s greek chorus of overexcited classmates fuss and fawn over her pirate ship. The yacht club is taking to the stars, ready to commence a reign of terror over the Sea of the Morningstar!

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