Ozma‘s no-frills storytelling rolls along, bumpily.
Episode 2 is mostly about the Theseus Empire or Federation, well, Theseus ships commanded by the masked Gido trying to track down the Baldaros, which has escaped with Maya, while Bainas, its captain, tries to escape. Suddenly, in this world of sand and spaceships, we have a submarine combat scenario. Gido launches detectors and tries to use sonar while the Baldaros tries silence and drifting about in underground reefs of rock to mess up the signal. Then something like depth charges are dropped, and anchor things. It’s all very tense and we get lots of threatening horns and tympani punctuations while we watch the good guys sweat it out. Sweat being the word. Under the sand they can’t diffuse heat unless they keep moving, so it starts to get very hot down there. I once read a Clarke novel where they had this problem, but then proved that the heat would peak and get no worse, but apparently no one working on this show has read any hard SF. This is all “transition fields” and clones. Anything to explain away the story. Well, it WAS a tense moment.
Meanwhile Maya, who we’re told though we already know is some unique being, one that doesn’t like extremely hot submarines (sandmarines? No. Subsanders? Subdeserters? Nah.), falls ill, mainly so that the doctor could discover these things about her. While she recovers we have a mess-hall fight that puts the “old” in “old-school,” and meanwhile Maya vanishes after Sam stupidly shows her some intact hovercraft at a shelter known as, er, the “Shelter.” You may have noticed that I’m growing a little annoyed with this show.
It isn’t the concept of “Ideal Children,” i.e. modified clones running the empire, or the sub-sand warfare; that’s all typical SF-fantasy stuff. It’s the hackneyed way they’re presenting it. Maya, fleeing in that hovercraft, muttering clichés, that whole mess-hall fight, the crew’s stock lines, the bad attempts at humor, often make this show hard to watch. It’s a shame, because when they get to a big moment they generally do a decent job. For instance, the moment when Gido retakes Maya and it’s standoff between Sam and some armed guards, when Ozma, apparently called for by Maya, decides to appear. Here, the only badness is in the animation quality. On the other hand, the series is now half-over, and tolerable enough on the whole for me to keep watching.
On the other hand Moretsu Pirates 13 is a between-the-arcs filler episode where nothing much happens at all. You expect some plot-seeding, but apart from Marika receiving her father’s ring (which can circumvent Bentenmaru’s security) from Gruier, I didn’t see much that will matter in the future. Gruier and Grunhilde bond with Marika a little. I suspected Marika invited them over to learn more about her father, but they don’t even mention that, or it’s forgotten after Grunhilde eats some hot mustard. Mami makes her a new pirate uniform because Marika’s a celebrity for her hand in Serenity’s new peace, yet the yacht club has trouble recruiting. They do get four, and since we’re told their names we know they’ll do something eventually. Yeah, very little of anything. Since the show isn’t six episodes long, the characters can relax once in a while.