Since the last newsletter we've kicked things off the spring in a big way! First we announced 3 new spring titles: Hiiro no Kakera, OZMA, and Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos. We held our fourth annual Global Shinkai Day and honored those who did wonders during and past 3/11 on The Live Show. With more announcements coming around the corner, you definitely don't want to miss a single thing here!
Piracy has been around for just about as long as ships have traversed the seas. At some point in the mid-13th century, King Henry III became the first known monarch to grant commissions to the captains of private sailing vessels giving them sovereign right to act on behalf of the issuing nation to attack and plunder the ships of enemy nations as acts of war. After about 50 years, this royal writ came to be known as a Letter of Marque, and thus the privateer (or corsair, if you were French) was born.
Pirates, no matter what flavor they came in, had to be uncommonly resourceful in order to be successful and survive. In the case of privateers, they may have had the blessings of a nation, but they didn’t necessarily have their backing; those who operated illegally had to also evade or face off against pirate hunters and military ships alike. As such, pirates often utilized various tactics and ruses de guerre (or ruses of war), such as psychological warfare, to deceive their target or collect valuable intelligence from them.
Marika Kato is a naturally talented sailor, as demonstrated by her performance in space skiff simulators, who discovers that she is the only child of the former captain of the space pirate ship, Bentenmaru. As of Captain Kato’s passing, she is, by law, the sole inheritor of his ship and its Letter of Marque, issued by her home planet, Sea of the Morning Star. Until that point, she thought of space pirates as an extinct artifact from a war over a century past, but upon learning that they were still around – and still legal – she reluctantly embraces her calling, and demonstrates that her pedigree has granted her much more than just the ability to sail a ship.
Her mother, once a space pirate aboard the Bentenmaru herself known by the moniker “Blaster Ririka,” teaches Marika that a major part of being a space pirate is psychological. A pirate’s ability to convince her target of her strength and superiority can often end a confrontation before it leads to combat, though having a big gun handy really helps. Such is another ruse de guerre that a pirate must master.
Marika doesn’t jump into her new role straight away, instead taking time to mull over her choices. In the course of the events that gradually lead her to her final decision, the show takes the opportunity to introduce us to the world around her and that despite the obvious technological advances, many other things have survived through the centuries. Some of the newer tech seems to be a perfectly natural progression from today’s gadgets, such as the integration between an analog magazine and digital displays, but what the show likes to remind us is that there is nothing quite like good old human effort and ingenuity.
As the heir-apparent of the Bentenmaru, all eyes are on Marika, and her days of living and playing as a normal schoolgirl are gone. Marika tests her sailing chops with her school’s yachting club, where many of her fellow club members turn out to be hiding a few secrets of their own. Some of Bentenmaru’s crew members infiltrate her school to pose as staff members, going so far as to become her homeroom teacher and advisor to her club, and they plan a voyage to sail the school’s own yacht, the Odette II, around the solar system.
Besides the unconventional display of space naval tactics and warfare, another thing to watch out for are the subtle displays that characters exhibit throughout the series. Watch for characters’ reactions to certain events – are there hidden meanings to their expressions that speak to more secrets, or are they another ruse to throw us off guard? Kane McDougal, Bentenmaru’s helmsman who is posing as Marika’s homeroom teacher and club advisor, drinks plenty of beer, but also seems to enjoy a good tea. Chiaki seems cold and distant, but often reveals a more girly side and is embarrassed by Marika’s display of affection. These little character quirks do more for character development than exposition ever could.
Then there’s the series’ setting and how the use of technology and environment can really tell you a lot about the world and the era it’s in. Observe the wasteland that Ririka takes Marika to during their mother-daughter chat. All those wrecked ships speak to a horrendous war resulting from Sea of the Morning Star’s declaration of independence. The existence of a tank shows that the fighting wasn’t just up in space either. Given how powerful a handheld weapon is in Marika’s time, one wonders how much destruction had to have been unleashed during the war.
Bodacious Space Pirates is a show that has surprised and will likely continue to surprise as the season goes on. You’d better keep an eye on it or it might hit you when you least expect it to. After all, deception, surprise, and ambush are just how pirates do things.
If there’s one thing you can count on in almost any sports series, it’s strong character development. After all, you need somebody to root for when they’re down to the final seconds of the championship game where the main characters are behind by one, and the evil rich kids from the private school need to be put in their place!
Kakeru Aizawa is a manager of his high school’s soccer team, led by his star big brother Suguru. Suguru is a genius youth-league player, having previously competed in--and won!--an International Youth game between Japan and Brazil. Kakeru is completely blown away by his brother’s skill, and decides to hang back as a manager, letting his brother shine as a star player.
Kakeru has his reasons for not wanting to play, just like how he goes off to an empty park every night to practice soccer by himself. Suguru wants to play alongside his brother, for them to enjoy soccer together. But a sudden parting will force the brothers apart, and now Kakeru will have to carry his team to victory without his genius brother leading the charge.
The story talks about Kaito Kirishima, a high school boy and motion film photography hobbyist. After figuring himself in a mysterious explosion while out one night testing his camera, he wakes up the following morning with little recollection of what had happened. Unfazed by the bizarre event, he goes to school as if nothing happened. After announcing his plans of producing an amateur film during the summer break, he meets a certain Ichika Takatsuki after inadvertently having his best friend walk up to her and ask her to star in the said film. Unknown to Kaito, Ichika is actually an alien from a distant planet, and after a series of uncalculated events, she ends up living together with Kaito for the remainder of the summer as they shoot their film.
In fact, it's in the resonance to character development where one may find some sort of appeal in the show. All the characters seem to be tied up in a sort of "following the leader" love race of sorts, where each person has a romantic interest in someone else. Imagine person A loving person B, but person B loves person C, and person C just so happens to love person D… exactly like that. At first, I found this hilarious and somewhat laughable, but each character had their own way of dealing with it - and it was, surprisingly, very convincing. For what the show lacks in twists and something I could sink my teeth into, Waiting in the Summer focused much of its initial 4 episodes laying down the character relationships more than anything else, perhaps (and hopefully) hinting towards a very interesting twist of sorts somewhere down the line.
And this is weird when you think about it. I'm watching the show thinking that its "predictable" (as far as the romantic comedy genre is concerned), and yet I feel like there's a twist that's about to occur that's gonna pull the rug swiftly from beneath my feet. It's this reason why the show has a strangely unique appeal to it that keeps one watching, albeit riddled with a nagging sense of "oh, I've seen that before…" or "Boy A and Girl A are obviously into each other - get it over with." Given the right approach, this show has the potential to become something great - this much, I believe is true.
So what is it, really? Just another romantic comedy knock off trying to look a little more bizarre by throwing aliens and video cameras into the mix? I really don't know, and all I can do is wait and hope for the best. As love can be a waiting game at best, so does this show it seems. It may be a little less than engaging for the more love-struck of the bunch out there looking for a more emotionally charged show, but for those looking for a casual release in the form of a summer break 5 months or so early, then this show won't displease. I'll be waiting to see what happens in that summer indeed - and hopefully, so will you.
Chihaya lost to Yumi by four cards. The loss is a painful one, but after watching Dr. Harada and Tsuboguchi play their hearts out, she realizes she still has much to learn. Meanwhile, Arata lost in the fourth round of the West qualifier. He regrets spending time away from karuta and practices hard to make up. Both of them are learning and taking the next step forward.
After arriving in the Republic of Podokea, Gon, Leorio, and Kurapika board a tour bus to Kukuroo Mountain, where Killua lives. However, they're blocked by a massive gate. Anyone who attempts to enter through the side door is eaten by the watchdog. Gon tells the guard that they are friends of Killua and asks to be let in.
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