Fena: Pirate Princess
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Fena: Pirate Princess ?
There are moments when I wonder if someone just came up with a list of old-fashioned things that sounded cool and based the plot of Fena: Pirate Princess on that: Jeanne d'Arc, El Dorado, Eden, Abel, pirates, ninja, submarine, etc. Then I thought, “If they really can bring all of these things together, it will be really amazing and I'm here for that.”
This week, as you may have noticed, things take a turn for the increasingly Biblical with the addition of Eden to the list – apparently that's what lies at the site of the coordinates discovered last episode. That frankly makes more sense than El Dorado, because Jeanne d'Arc is a religious figure and we've already got a guy named Abel. But more interesting is the idea that Eden and El Dorado could be the same place, or that El Dorado is a site within Eden. It certainly follows the three motives for the Age of Exploration as laid out by my eighth-grade history teacher: money, power, and God. If Eden and El Dorado both exist in the same place, that's all three right there, because whoever controls money and God has all the power, especially in the 18th century. That idea also takes at least a little of the sting out of the implication that King Solomon is hanging out in El Dorado with one of Japan's three Sacred Treasures. (If the Golem of Prague is the next addition to the list, I will start laughing, though.)
I don't think that the title of this week's episode was intended to conjure up Fletcher Christian and the famous Bounty mutiny, but it's a good word for the shifting loyalties that we see on display. Shitan revealing his true motives certainly does lead to Yukimaru fully rebelling, and being cast adrift, or marooned, were actual punishments for unsuccessful mutineers, so his voluntary exit from the submarine carries some additional weight. Most striking to me was the fact that only Yukimaru left – either that's a sign of his generally stubborn nature or it's intended to show how absolutely terrifying Shitan's brother Kei is, because the moment his name was mentioned, everyone backed off very quickly. If even the twins aren't willing to follow Yukimaru back to Fena, the man must be the true goblin of the tales – the one who spawned the stories about how goblins only kill women and children, when we know from earlier in the episode that their policy is the exact opposite.
The rumors about the Japanese on Goblin Island tie in with the casting of Fena as a witch in that both are examples of how people who were deemed Other by mainstream European society were treated. The Japanese look different and have skills that the British don't recognize, so therefore they must be evil supernatural beings. (See Christina Rosetti's The Goblin Market or George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin for two stories that specifically equate foreigners or the lower classes with goblins.) The idea of only poppies blooming where the goblins have been is another mark of the demonization of Asians, because the poppy is specifically associated with opium. Further throwing Fena in with this band by association (which to the British would be a damning thing at this time) continues her branding as a witch, something which is brought up again this week, specifically in the context of her being able to charm – often code for “seduce” – men to do her bidding.
Certainly that seems to be what a ludicrously jealous Grace O'Malley thinks. She's livid when she sees the necklace Charlotte stole from Fena, mistakenly thinking it's the same one she gave Abel, a revelation that muddies the waters about Abel's and Fena's relationship. It looks like the show is going with “all English people are blondes” rather than Abel and Fena being related (and it's worth noting that of the pirates, Mary Read was also English and is also blonde), and that perhaps Grace bought Abel the pendant because she saw the one in the painting of Helena des Armoises, who turns out to be Fena's mother. Since Abel is more than a little obsessed with Helena, it could easily have been an attempt by Grace to worm into his heart.
In any event, Grace's mutiny against Abel's directive not to hurt Fena is not doing her any favors. First she brings her with bruised wrists and a bloody throat, then she breaks into the cabin to attack her. Not great plans if she's trying to win Abel's love, and it certainly makes it look like all she was actually getting from him was a physical relationship and that he only slept with her because it was convenient. And now he's apparently made one very, very bad miscalculation: Grace is a pirate. She's got the joli rouge flag flying, and in the nautical language of pirate flags, that means “no quarter given.” The last we hear from Grace, she's ordering them to tack and ready the cannons. Add that to the color of her pirate flag, and it seems certain that she's not planning to let anyone on Abel's ship leave it alive.
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