Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 06


Gundam IBO is so deft at telling its story, crafting compelling characters, and drawing us in to its world, that even an exposition-heavy episode that would have been boring in less capable hands is almost as engrossing and thrilling as the big adrenaline-fueled battles. One reason is easy: people tend to hew closely to what they know, both about themselves and the world.

The company and family that is Tekkadan is between worlds right now, but they have a place and a home in their ship, if only a transitory one. When we watch Atra and Mika act like an old married couple, we’re comforting that however much has changed, both for better or worse, some things haven’t.

Which will make it that much more impactful (and potentially devastating) when the core status quo is seriously challenged. Which it certainly will once Tekkadan reaches out the Jovian mafia, Teiwaz, for help, and Fareed continues his slow-burn pursuit.


But that comes later. IBO recommends we be on our guard by checking in on the outside parties pursuing Tekkadan, but also welcomes us to kick back and enjoy the slice-of-life aboard a ship that’s equal parts military contractor transport, orphanage, school, and embassy.

Like any small community, everyone must pull their weight. Atra has settled in as the cook, and the better food is crucial both for growing young ones and morale of the older ones. Even Fumitan flashes her technical skill, getting hired as communications officer. But until this week, with the exception of securing funding from Nobliss, Kudelia has felt increasingly useless.

She’s being unfair: as she makes clear in her elevator speech to Mika and Atra, she might just have the most important role in Tekkadan’s survival—her pursuit of Martian independence. But she’s still restless and wants to make immediate positive contribution to what she sees as a microcosm of the planet she wishes to free, so I like how she settles on the one important role the ship glaringly lacks: a teacher.

That’s doubly important considering how un- or under-educated Tekkadan’s crew is. Most of the youngest are illiterate like Mika, who doesn’t even know why Kudelia is going to Earth, while Atra doesn’t even know they were headed to Earth (technically, they’re headed to Jupiter for the moment).

Mika smiles a bit when Kudelia says she wants to make everyone happy, because to hear Kudelia, complicating his life by expanding his world through reading and writing is the key to that happiness.


And Kudelia would be right: as long as Mika and the others aren’t properly educated and remain in the dark about how the world works, they’ll always have a disadvantage that makes them vulnerable to those who do. Their potential enemies are getting smarter as the dumb ones exit stage right.

Enter Fumitan, who Orga seems to trust enough to not only make her comms officer on a mission requiring radio silence whenever possible, but leave her alone on the bridge. In my Mika-like ignorance (Mika would trust whoever Orga trusted), I’d hope Fumitan and her close-up eye-narrowing were only a red herring, not something more sinister. But I can’t discount that she’s the new internal threat to Tekkadan, and someone to worry about far more than the hapless Todo.

Similarly, Fareed is light-years ahead of Coral in antagonistic competence. He lets Tekkadan go so he can learn more and more about them, and in particular the weapon that’s keeping them alive. That weapon isn’t the outdated Barbatos (about which he already knows plenty), but its pilot Mika. Fareed reaches out to 2nd Lt. Ein Dalton for more insight into that pilot, and considers rewarding him by letting him join the pursuit mission. “I understand your feelings. I’ll think about it.” So far, that’s Fareed’s credo.

One of the unsung (no pun intended) elements that makes IBO such a great show to immerse oneself in (like an Utawarerumono hot bath) its its excellent score, and the theme that plays under Fareed’s talk with Ein is quintessentially Fareed: quiet, subdued, exacting, and inquisitive, building to more dramatic instrumentation when Ein expresses his desire to avenge his fallen comrades.


Back aboard the Ex-Will-O’-the-Wisp, Biscuit wonders if Tekkadan is suffering from mission bloat on its first mission. Is this simply to tough with the manpower and equipment at their disposal? Shouldn’t they ask for help, like from a subcontractor? Biscuit asks these questions, but he’s fully aware of the answers: no and no. This is Tekkadan’s first mission, and they can’t compromise or fall short on the promises they’ve made.

Orga has to be bold, not just to make a name for the company, or cement the loyalty and confidence of its employees. It’s all for Mika. Her His eyes are there” every time he turns around. Mika is always ready for action; ready to be told what they’re doing next. To Orga, Mika is stronger and cooler than he’ll ever hope to be. So he, in turn, must be as bold and cool as possible.

That leads to taking shortcuts like balancing the fate of the entire mission on the presumption that Fumitan is one of the good guys who shares his values and goals. Or getting in bed with pirates and mobsters. Or embarking on a mission before determining the fate of your well-connected ex-CEO who ran off with a suitcase full of cash. We’ll see if Orga’s increasingly bold stance to carrying out his mission will pay off or lead to his downfall.


Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

7 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 06”

  1. The maid wasn’t alone in the bridge, there were at least 2 others with her and likely keep an eye on her actions. Through she seems to be skilled enough to evade that if she really want

  2. Okay, while I won’t discount the possibility of her being a mole, I’ll assume that Fumitan suddenly showing up technical skills is a gag for now.

    But I gotta say, this is arguably the most Okada of the series so far.While Gundam has always tackled the effects of war on less fortunate, but it often does so from a certain distance. This is perhaps the first series that goes “down and dirty” so to speak with the realities of the aftermath of a war and Okada’s simple and naturally-flowing dialogue devoid of philosophical musings really gives this episode that needed poignancy and actually creates a more interesting discourse.

    1. I don’t pay attention to staff for the most part, so I don’t know about Okada, but I agree on the rest.

      It’s interesting that the show itself is taking Mikazuki’s advice to Kudelia and rather than preaching and talking big it’s just ‘doing'(showing) the cost of war and what it takes to make lives better. It’s also interesting that as of yet no one has even begun to suggest that more war is going to make these kids’ lives better.

      That’s an action movie trap that Gundam always falls into (because war is cool). But here it’s been established pretty well that it’s a job and that’s all. Bettering their lives has to come from somewhere else, whether politics, negotiation, or education.

  3. This was all Orga. Without some of his scenes, that exposition would have really knifed the episode in the guts. Even still, it was crazy how run on those opening diolog-spositions went. Gracious!

  4. Okay finally got a chance to watch the episode.

    It’s a nice story building episode. I am just going to share a few stray thoughts since you already covered everything else.

    1. Orga has a lot of Kamina in him. Now that they explain his rationale behind his decision making, I think the chance of him becoming an antagonist is lowering and the chance of him dying is rising.
    2. Mika really knows nothing – wow. Atra knows a lot more than him. It’s kind of disturbing he is killing people without even bothering to understand the reason.
    3. Back in episode 1 I was thinking that Kudelia would probably teach Mika how to read at some point so that he has a ways to operate mobile suits without the connection. Nice to see it starts now.
    4. I lol at Atra’s reaction to Earth.
    5. There’s a lot of comparison on reddit on Kudelia and Marina – I think that’s inaccurate since Kudelia is a lot more in touched with the action than Marina. Yes they both teach kids – but while Marina was the symbol of peace and normal life, I think Kudelia is more of a symbol of change and a better future.

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