Bitchin’ Space Pirates 5 – Live Long and Prosper
Our first real taste of space pirate battle is in this episode, and it’s fairly fun. It’s actually an interesting contrast to what we normally think of regarding pirate battles. Just as modern conveniences move people more away from face-to-face interaction, piracy in space relies less on actual pirates boarding other ships and taking over than invasion from afar and mind games.
It’s just as Ririka posits during her talk with Marika: Image is the most important weapon of all. The invading pirates make an assumption about the image of the crew of the crew of the Odetta II — that they’re a bunch of silly high school girls who would crumble under pressure — and paid for it. Meanwhile, Marika and her crew used simple, intelligent deception to maintain an advantageous image until the time they needed to spring a counterattack.
I really enjoyed seeing the various ways the crew kept up their deceit until just the right time — controlling the speed of the radar adjustment and the like. All simple tactics that take advantage of the enemy’s arrogance. It’s especially fun to see the girls literally giggling as they smoothly execute their plan, although that leads to a bit of arrogance on their end, too, which then leads to them being surprised by the enemy going “OK, fuck this” and blasting away with the beam cannon. That in itself is a nice counter-strategy from a group that finally realized it wasn’t dealing with a bunch of silly idiots.
The bit with the beam cannon actually gave me a big laugh, particularly Jenny’s reaction to it: The fact that she can’t comprehend how anyone could use such a low-tech aiming device is hilarious. It’s probably how people weaned on the current generation of video games react to people who regularly play NES games. (Yep, video game fans: There exists a generation of kids whose first systems were the current generation, and a slightly older group who will be nostalgic for the PlayStation 2. Everyone weaned on the SNES and Genesis feel friggin’ old right now, and everyone weaned on NES and earlier can go ahead and feel fucking ancient.) They must have someone with a pretty sharp eye on board, because the adjustments they continually made to track the Odetta II were pretty good.
The adjustment to that is a classic trick — everyone ever has used bright lights to blind the sniper. This is just on a much larger scale. If Marika’s worries about frying the ship are accurate (and they probably are), then it’s also like burning ants with a magnifying glass on a much larger scale. But, yes, a good way of using what they have on the ship rather than worrying about what they don’t have (aka traditional weapons). They probably weren’t in any real danger, though, since the cavalry was on its way once Kane and Misa saw the emergency lights go wild. Still, it’s nice that the girls were able to work through the problem using their wits and guile rather than relying on the adults to totally bail them out.
The reveal with Chiaki isn’t surprising to anyone, but it does make me curious about what role she’ll play as the series continues. Considering that she’s the captain of her own ship, I doubt she’ll jump ship to hang out with Marika, unless Marika has piqued her curiosity that much. At the same time, though, she’s not going to become a heavy rival since she went out of her way to help and work with Marika so much. Maybe she’ll be a friendly rival at most, and often an ally.