A really big issue comes up in Moretsu Pirates 25. Ironbeard brings it up. Will the pirates in this “frontier” area of space continue working under the letters of marque or will they go off somewhere and be real pirates? It’s rather different than the big issue I THOUGHT they were going to bring up: would the empire allow pirates to band together and become a possibly dangerous force? I guess they don’t care much. Anyway, this big issue is just tossed out there, almost lost among the confusing story line and dramatic moments and Marika and Chiaki making like idols.
First, it took a long time for anyone to wonder what happened to the real Luna. This being the show that it is, they wonder for about five seconds before the real one walks in the door, but it was something I had worried about ever since the android double was shot in the head last week. Marika and the other pirates (and there are tons of them, including three who have a comedy routine they should have retired a long time ago) wonder about other infiltrators while Kane smiles a lot. Meanwhile Ironbeard and Marika’s mom Ririka are heading toward the pirates nest for whatever reason. The Parabellum had chased off the Grand Cross, so while we’re chewing that over Quartz Crystal shows up. I was sitting back and awaiting more confusion when things get fun.
Quartz said it best afterwards. She showed up to get the drop on the pirates, but Marika wound up running the show, and Ironbeard hogged the spotlight. That’s almost literal. Surrounded by angry pirates, Quartz has got her “I hunt pirates routine” going when Marika interrupts. “Let’s fight!” The lights go out and a spotlight appears with Marika in it. Later Ironbeard ups them both by rising on a platform on the floor! Nothing like some grand entrances to relieve the confusion. The pirates nest dining hall has some nice effects built-in. Naturally, Ironbeard gets his own spotlight, but Marika, undaunted and on a roll, demands to know who he is. Quartz is so rattled during all this that when she gets her own spotlight she tries to step out of it.
Ironbeard is there to escort her to safety, but before he leaves we get the Kane situation cleared up, but not Ririka’s. Why the hell is she there again? Why doesn’t she tell her daughter she’s there? Why did Kane switch with his twin when they both had the same motives? Never mind. We get the formal challenge, Marika and Chiaki doing a pirate song, nerds ogling Coorie (in nerd costume), all to get us revved up for next week’s slam-bang confrontation. This episode was confusing and full of flaws, but the show has much momentum now that it doesn’t matter.
Nazo no Kanojo X 12 sets its new standard for romantic moments, when Tsubaki insists on using the old, dirty gauze on his wound rather than get a fresh, clean one–because his girlfriend had put it on. Okay, so there are more traditional romantic highs also set, while the two lovebirds each try to fight off increasing feelings of lust. Tsubaki, as you would expect, is lousy at this kind of struggle (seeing Urabe naked last episode certainly doesn’t help) and so he’s the recipient of a drum solo. Urabe almost loses control as well, but there it shows itself by less-than-precise scissor skills, hence Tsubaki’s tiny wound. Urabe is a better character when something knocks her off-balance, such as Ako (forever stirring the pot) showing her that naked pic, or accidentally injuring Tsubaki, or seeing him hurt again when he tries to AVOID doing something questionable. It’s then when she stops being cold and formidable and we see other human traits from her, like remorse or even affection.
I’m not sure I read the ending of Hyouka 10 correctly. Or rather, I wish the story arc had finished up this episode. On the other hand, it would make sense to continue it when it looked like Houtarou had come up with the solution but actually missed something. The episode is full of moments when people tell Houtarou how clever he is, and so to show that he’s maybe not so clever after all Ibara mentions that thing about the rope. I forgot what Haba had said about it and don’t really want to go and look. Oh, well. We’ll get to that and whatever Chitanda wanted to say (not enough Chitanda this episode) next week. As for Houtarou, I don’t think the praise was getting to him but it’s clear he’s a sucker for certain types of women. Better watch that, Houtarou.
AKB0048 9 brings us a dilemma in storytelling. How it plays out here is simple: Takamina, injured last week, wants to go onstage for a difficult and dangerous concert on a bleak snowy planet controlled by DES, but is overruled. Kanata, the girl destined to someday replace her, is chosen instead. Until Takamina insists minutes before showtime. She nearly kills herself performing, is flown home by the inspired Kanata, etc. But really nothing has changed here. Sooner or later they’ll have to make a decision about when Takamina will bow out. We’re made to care about both characters, so I can only hope the show will handle that moment with grace.
The other story, actually making the concert, made me cringe at first. The mothership is hidden away but the understudies go out to play in the snow, then visit a town with NO IDOLS banners all over the place, and then do an impromptu performance for some kids. Why they just don’t put “Arrest Me!” signs on their backs I don’t know. What’s more, they kind of get away with it, and inspire a strategy for the big performance. This part is fun to watch. They pop up in spotlights and sing and duck away when the DES starts shooting at them. Meanwhile the main concert goes on, almost uninterrupted. Sure, the animation techniques don’t match up well, but that’s been true since the first episode. If you can get past that it’s great eye-candy.