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Hello folks, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today our crew stand on the brink of a conflict unlike any in recent history, as the disparate pirate community unites in defense of their way of life. Vessels which have for decades been dedicated to entertainment and smuggling will now prep for war, that they might forestall the end of legal piracy. With Marika standing as the young champion of this grand tradition, they will face down a terrifyingly advanced enemy ship, and attest in one voice to the enduring freedom of the stars!

Well, at least, I imagine that’s how things would go if this were a conventional scifi anime. Cathartic faceoffs and decisive battles indeed make for great television spectacle, but this is Bodacious Space Pirates, where history is measured in eras, not inches. It is not just one specific foe that threatens the space pirates; it is the continuous march of capitalism and empire, steadily colonizing the spots where freedom once flourished. Simply defeating this enemy vessel is not enough; if Marika and her compatriots are to survive, they will likely have to reach some accord with the Galactic Empire, to ensure piracy’s continued prosperity. Let’s see how our alliance is shaping up, as we return for another episode of Bodacious Space Pirates!

Episode 24

Even our narrator seems a little more exuberant than usual, speaking in portentous phrases like “the path has opened. But if they cannot overcome the danger facing them, they will never know what awaits.”

A force like the Galactic Empire is basically unstoppable from the perspective of these individual pirates, but that doesn’t mean this conflict is hopeless. They basically just have to make it more appealing/profitable for these companies to not use pirates as target practice, and actively destroying a high tech prototype, thereby costing some corporation untold millions of spacebucks, seems like a fine way to accomplish that

On the other hand, the woman piloting this ship seems to take genuine pleasure in blasting pirates, so she might be a problem regardless of how the bottom line shakes out

The prototype begins its electronic attack, nearly overwhelming the Bentenmaru’s systems. Bodacious Space Pirates rarely engages in actual combat, but even all the way back in the yacht club, it was laying the groundwork for articulating how space combat plays out, and how the battle is often decided by electronic preparation

Even the soundtrack’s getting into it, offering a frantic new rock melody to accompany this increase in visual drama

“Pirates don’t pick fights they can’t win.” Marika really feels like a true captain now, directing her subordinates with total confidence. If anything, her competency is the most “fanciful” part of this whole production, but the show has worked tirelessly to illustrate how she really is the sort of person who can instantly rise to this level of responsibility

Misa recognizes it as well, pushing Chiaki to acknowledge how far Marika has come

Smart use of creaking metallic sound effects as the conflict continues, bolstering the sense that the Bentenmaru is straining to the point of breaking. There’s little more intimidating than knowing some vessel is your only defense against a hostile environment, and hearing that vessel crack and tear around you

“Kane, take care of it.” Marika now also knows exactly what her crew is capable of, allowing them to collectively draw the best out of the Bentenmaru

Interestingly, even their opposing pilot’s hair seems to gleam with digital readouts. Is she actually an AI herself?

The bridge banter emphasizes how much they learned from their prior encounter, including the timing and limitations of its gravity mobility move. Their opponent is vastly more powerful, but knowledge and preparation can help close the gap!

“Crossing paths in the vast depths of space. It’s not romantic at all. It’s crazy.” Having so clearly illustrated all the tactical choices and calculated risks Marika made to survive this encounter, we in the audience can fully appreciate just how hard it was for the Bentenmaru to simply escape that encounter largely unscathed. The crew did every possible thing right, and still had to gamble on hopes like “the enemy ship can’t possibly use that gravity module repeatedly” and “surely their mobility means they’re less prepared for a frontal counterattack.” Always satisfying to see conflict this grounded in coherent dramatic fundamentals, and all the more impressive to see that style of conflict-building applied to something as complex as space combat

And even so, the ship is still a wreck, with fires and massive puncture holes all along its frame

Chiaki’s dad calls the ship and immediately begins embarrassing his daughter, as he is duty-bound to do

Though Coory is generally content to exist as some kind of indigenous gremlin nesting in the Bentenmaru’s comms center, she’s apparently also quite capable of hammering on the sex appeal for a good parts deal before retreating to her blanket cave

Marika is requesting upgrades to the ship’s communication systems that will allow them to command a whole fleet. From mild-mannered high school student to leader of the new pirate alliance in like three months, she’s really mapping a terrifying trajectory here

“When they set their course for the pirate nest, the rest was up to them. It’s not your fault.” Marika has also officially passed the threshold of her actions lacking a body count, as it seems several pirate vessels have already been lost in their attempts to reach the meeting ground

But crucially, she’s still not letting this responsibility change her attitude or ambition. She’s still making jokes after the crew enjoys a meal, and thus still serving as a beacon of confidence for all her subordinates to believe in

And for her part, Chiaki has stopped naturally distrusting Marika’s seemingly erratic instincts, and is now merely intrigued to see what Marika has in mind

Oh shit, the enemy pilot is here! And with Marika being Marika, she still extends this enemy a bright smile

Apparently the pilot’s name is Quartz Christie, and her ship is indeed an Alpha Prototype. Piracy’s on the ropes here, but if they can somehow outmaneuver Quartz and her ship specifically, they might be able to defuse this conflict altogether

Quartz states that she has no particular enmity against pirates, but her further statements seem to contradict this – it seems like she believes scientific and economic progress are inherently noble pursuits, and that by clinging to the embers of an old era, modern pirates are thus “unneeded” and fit to be destroyed

She serves as a useful way to put a human face and motivation on a process that tends to be significantly less personal. It is not generally animosity that causes capitalism to destroy old traditions, but simply a total indifference to anything that does not generate the most possible profit. Individuals can be pleaded or bargained with, but the quest for perpetual economic growth cannot be reasoned with

“It seems we do have a spy.” The episode has consistently been offering little moments of ambiguity regarding Kane’s motives, which personally makes me suspicious that the show is intentionally overselling a red herring, and Kane isn’t actually the spy

Oh my god, why did they send the fortune telling crewmate to tail him, she’s barely less conspicuous than Schnitzer

Yep, it turns out Luca the fortune teller had actually been replaced by an android, and Kane was innocent. You’re not fooling me with that shit, Bodacious Space Pirates!

But apparently Kane does have some secrets of his own

And we end on one final bombshell reveal, as we learn Ririka is actually sailing with Ironbeard towards the pirate nest!

And Done

Whoo, what a goddamn tumultuous episode that was! We got more actual space combat than nearly the rest of the series combined, with all of the careful work spent illustrating both the mechanics of space flight and the individual crewmates of the Bentenmaru coming home to roost. It feels like we’ve truly moved beyond the novelty of “a high schooler is doing what,” and can now enjoy the excitement and camaraderie of Marika and her crew in full alignment, demonstrating with their every cunning play the efficacy of an accomplished pirate crew. Bodacious Space Pirates has built an unimpeachably sturdy dramatic foundation, and now illustrates with its every turn the unique satisfaction of properly grounded characters and conflicts. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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