Fena: Pirate Princess
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Fena: Pirate Princess ?
I think the writers of Fena: Pirate Princess grossly overestimated how sympathetic Abel is as a character. He is tragic, to a point – what happened to him and Helena, assuming it wasn't mostly in his head, was absolutely a terrible thing, although I have to think that it was worse for Helena, what with the whole probably-raped-by-the-king-and-burned-at-the-stake thing. And while psychological help wasn't much of a thing in the eighteenth century, it's still not a good look for Abel that his way of dealing with his grief was to obsessively chase a legend and Fena, his probable half-sister, in the goal of…seeing Helena again? That seems a bit less clear, but Abel's grasp on reality is perhaps tenuous enough that he may honestly have believed that he'd be reunited with her upon reaching Eden.
It's that very belief that lends at least a little credence to the idea that what people see on the mysterious island is perhaps only what they want to see. Since we don't see Shitan with the sword he was searching for, we know he didn't try to pick it up and leave the room with it, but perhaps he did try and couldn't take it with him. But more important is the vision Abel sees as he lies bleeding out on the ground in the ribs of Noah's ark: Helena, coming to take him with her to wherever the dead go. Even her words to Fena could just be what Fena wanted, confirmation that she's on the right path and somewhat in charge of her own journey through life. But even if it really, truly happens, the whole thing feels like far too nice an end for Abel. He's been the villain throughout the entire series; he's nearly killed Yukimaru twice, been creepy with his half-sister, killed Grace O'Malley and her crew, and then he gets the equivalent of a happy ending? Beautifully animated as it is (I love his blood falling like rose petals) and as hard as it tries to tug at the heartstrings (and admittedly, mine are fairly easy to tug, especially right now with some family stuff), it just doesn't feel like Abel deserves it. He was at least partly the author of his own miseries, and this gives him a pass on all of them.
Perhaps we're meant to assume that Cody and Meneer Hauptman were pulling the strings. They're certainly being offered up as the Author of the entire situation, or at least two successive Authors, with Fena's dad coming first and Cody taking up the mantle after his death. I'm not quite sure what purpose manipulating Abel would have served, though, because Fena was clearly more than able to come to Eden all on her own. It's not quite a plothole, but it definitely feels like some literary sleight of hand that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The one piece (apart from the aforementioned beautiful scene with Helena) that does work this week is Abel's throwaway line about what Eden is: the Vault of the Earth, a sort of Sargasso Sea of treasures where all of the lost riches of the world wash up. Interestingly enough, he mentions two specific treasures that have ties to the Conquistadores: the San Miguel, a 1551 shipwreck carrying gold looted from the Incas and Aztecs, and La Noche Triste, a battle lost by Cortes and his allies that forced him to abandon looted treasures and leave the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan in 1519. Since the British were doing similar things in the 18th century in North America (and India and…), this is a very interesting comparison to make, as is the comment about the Knights Templar, participants in the Crusades. The mention of Captain Kidd is a little more complex, since many historians now think that Kidd was a victim and scapegoat of changing politics rather than an out-and-out pirate who buried treasure (not a thing pirates actually did, incidentally; ditto with walking the plank), but the idea that there's one single place where all the treasures of the world end up is a neat one. And that treasures of Abrahamic religions – the Ark of the Covenant and Noah's ark – are also there makes a statement about world attitudes when the show is set.
I'm honestly not sure how this show is going to wrap things up. I'm not sure it can. I've enjoyed it, but I do think they may have written themselves into a corner with this one, and even if Yukimaru doesn't bleed out (which I hope he doesn't), I'm not sure there's any coherent ending that can be achieved next week. Do you suppose that there's any way we could all see what we most want to, or is that only a trick that can be accomplished on paper?
discuss this in the forum (220 posts) |