A thoughtful response to current anime.

Mouretsu Pirates – Episode 3

Last episode on Mouretsu Pirates, Marika and her mysterious black-haired classmate were going to try their hands at a little amateur information warfare.  That’s the sort of thing you usually leave to trained professionals, it’s not like you can open the “Advanced” tab on your network settings and check the “make the hackers go away please” box.  I guess we’ll see how well Passion, Friendship, and Justice can substitute for actual training in computer security in episode 3 of Mouretsu Pirates.

…thirty minutes pass…

Staring enraptured at a progress bar as an algorithm does her fighting for her.

Ok, I stand corrected.  Apparently there is a “make the hackers go away” button.  I guess that’s a sensible sort of button to have if you’re a pirate and being hacked constantly.  There is the question of “why isn’t the ‘prevent hacking’ option on by default”, but I guess the OS was recently reinstalled, they haven’t had time to go through and fix all the stuff that comes factory-broken.  I bet their taskbars aren’t auto-hiding yet either.

This was a really, really slow episode.  The highlight of the episode, in terms of excitement, was watching Marika watch the progress bar on her virus-scan (pictured above).  This show is falling into a common sci-fi anime trap: they’re doing lots of sweeping shots of spaceships, and having a lot of people talking about space things, and they’re treating that as if it’s content instead of fluff.   Yeah, I like to look at a pretty solar sail as much as the next nerd, and it’s cool to mention things like the automatic pressure-seal check on your spacesuit.  (Safety is key!)  Those sorts of bits give you the feeling of, wow, we’re really going to space now!  But it’s not enough to go to space, you have to do something while you’re there.  Is that being greedy of me to expect?

This is the fanservice problem all over again.  There’s nothing wrong with fanservice, and there’s nothing wrong with cool space stuff.  Planetes was a show about space garbagemen, and Bakemonogatari opened with a slow-motion pantyshot.  Both were great shows. But the problem is that fanservice and cool space stuff are both appealing to people in their own right, without regard to the plot.  They have a guaranteed audience, so you don’t need to spend as much time worrying about your plot or characters or pacing, you have a core demographic that will buy it just for the docking scenes.   It’s a good business decision, I guess, but it makes for bad art.  The least interesting thing in the world is someone pandering to somebody that isn’t you.  Hopefully things will pick up in the next episode, but I’m a little worried.

Bonus Image Corner:


A whole episode of people looking intense and uttering lines like this.


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