When we left off the narrative in Volume 4, the Bentenmaru, Odette 2nd (formerly one of the “original 7” pirate ships of the galactic war, the Whitebird) and the Barbarossa*, captained by Marika, her mother Ririka and Kenjo Kurihara (Chiaki’s Dad) respectively, have teamed up to take on the irritating Jackie Fahrenheit and his plan to takeover the Odette by using the lost “original 7” ship the Blackbird as bait.
In Volume 5 of Miniskirt Pirates, Shirogane Kyuunansen (ミニスカ宇宙海賊 5 白銀の救難船), we learn why. But not for a really long time. The first several hundred pages are what can only be termed “a submarine battle in space.” Yes, the boot finally dropped and this was a novel chock full of military and scifi geekiness, throughout which I missed a good of 53% of what was being said, because I am way too lazy to look up every kanji combination. (This is the reason I want ebooks digitally. It would be so much easier to translate on the fly with digital ebooks.)
So for about 300 of 400+ pages, they maneuver slowly around a red supergiant (coincidentally, a kanji combination I could read, although I have no idea how it’s pronounced) on the verge of going supernova (same), while they shifted positions in 3-dimensional space and put me to sleep every night with brilliant dialogue like “Turning 3 degrees to starboard.”
When we finally learn why Jackie wants the Odette, it’s kind of horrible, really. He has the code for a legendary weapon, the Stellar Slayer, and we don’t have to guess too hard what that does. But it can’t be used without a single piece of critical equipment….that happens to be part of the Odette’s bowsprit. (Bowsprit is the actually word used. I found that interesting.) Jackie’s “client” wants this weapon…and wants to be able to use it.
In order to protect himself, Jackie calls in the Galactic Imperial Navy and the final 100 pages or so are a slow battle with three Galactic warchips, with more turning of three degrees, then two degrees. The final climax comes as, rather unexpectedly, they find that tucked away in an old unused relay station, the Blackbird, a grand heap of junk, with a working transponder, about to be disintegrated in the approaching supernova.
And in the end…it doesn’t end! Argh! I am very ready to see the back end of Jackie, and also find out what’s going to happen, presuming anything does. When (I mean, obviously when) they get the Blackbird, who will captain it? Does Ririka take it over? I hope so.
Back with the crew members, we had a couple of good scenes; Lynn’s computer skills impressed Ririka, and Nora, the Barbarossa’s navigator and Hyakume, the Bentenmaru’s radar and sensor specialist, bond rather cutely on the Silent Whisper.
Volume 6 takes me halfway in the series, but I’m going to have to say that if this arc doesn’t end, I might not read the volume after that. Jackie’s very annoying and I don’t read books about submarine battles for a reason. ^_^; Oh, who am I kidding, I probably will anyway.
Overall – 6
Much more for military and scifi fetistry fanatics than people who follow the characters. I expected it much earlier on, so we’re pretty lucky. There’s almost no service in the book, other than this skanky cover and a bit about Misa’s clothes. The next most servicey thing in the whole book was a detailed comparison of which ship was bigger than the others. Barbarossa wins.
The title translates to “Silver white rescue ship”. As opposed to the black shipwreck of Volume 4. Volume 6 has a red ship in the title.
*Yes, I know they call it the Barabalusa. It still should be the Barbarossa.