Bitchin’ Space Pirates 4 – Man the Battlestation!
We’re finally getting our first space battle next episode, which is pretty cool. Here and there, however, there are rumblings of our good ol’ space piratey show being too slow-paced. I cannot deny the show is setting a deliberate pace; however, I don’t mind so much because I’m digging the way the show is setting up Marika with the tools she needs to be a proper captain. This is her trial before she’s ready to captain a real group of pirates. When I think about that, I can’t help but wonder if that’s part of the problem people perceive with the show’s pacing.
We do often take it for granted that teen protagonists in anime are going to be pretty fuckin’ awesome at whatever the plot requires them to do. It’s one of those silly contrivances we as fans take for granted, because we know a lot of anime is targeting a teenage audience (or younger), so we sweep that aside so that we can better enjoy what we watch. These teen protagonists don’t take a rosy path through their stories. There are often trials they must face, but most often they’re facing these trials when they’ve already assumed the role the story wants them to take. They’re in the middle of the fire, and it’s do-or-die, and you can think up another stupid cliche with which to end this sentence.
The difference with Pirates, though, is that Marika has yet to assume the role of pirate captain; rather, it’s as if she’s auditioning for that role. The way it’s framed in the story, it’s of course inevitable that Marika will be the next captain of the Bettenmaru. She is next in line by blood, and she already possesses some skills that make her stand out to Kane and Misa. Marika’s skills are unrefined, though, and that’s a big part of what I’m liking about the development of the series so far. She’s being given an opportunity to hone and focus her skills and grow into someone who could be a good captain before she assumes the position. There will still be growing pains (I doubt she’ll command the respect of her crew from the start), but Marika will at least be prepared beforehand.
Maybe I’m omitting obvious examples from my mind (it wouldn’t be the first time my awful memory has failed me, as you faithful readers often point out!), but off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything else that’s allowed for such a slow burn for the protagonist to develop the skills to be kickass and awesome without relegating it to a montage or something. I don’t want to say the show is treating this “realistically”, because it’s friggin’ space pirates, after all, but I do think there is genuine thought put into how the story and characters have developed thus far.
I just can’t look at how the story has developed and think it’s gone that way because the creators have nothing to tell. Marika’s chemistry with Chiaki and the way her skills are slowly but surely coming to the forefront are telling plenty.
I like the development of Marika’s fellow students knowing about her connection to the Bettenmaru; would have been pretty silly to try to keep it silly and then have to come up with some lame explanation for Marika’s sudden disappearance from class. I wondered last week what would become of Marika’s classmates once she ascends to captainhood, and this has me more curious, since everyone seems to be proving themselves capable of keeping a ship running smoothly. Perhaps they’re simply Marika’s test crew, there to show that she is capable of leading a group of people to glory among the stars.