Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 08

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This week’s IBO opens with the end of the battle from the perspective of the four-man boarding party, as they quickly infiltrate the Hammerhead’s systems and fill the corridors with combustible gas to ensure no firefights. Throughout their operation, Naze sits calmly on the bridge as his crew reports what’s going on, until Orga & Co are literally in the doorway.

The nonchalance with which both Naze and his crew greets them really says a lot about the Turbines; this intrusion may have been a surprise, but they’re not ones to overreact. And as Naze said, they used an “old method” but executed it perfectly. That opinion demonstrates he’s been around the block, tactically speaking.

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Of course, he’s also been around the block sexually speaking. Not only is the entire crew of the Hammerhead female, but nearly all of them are sleeping with him (the OP updated to reflect this). I wasn’t sure about this at first (the reactions on the Tekkadan reps’ faces are absolutely priceless), but Naze is not an ordinary fellow, and all of the women are with him by choice and are fine with sharing him, so who am I to judge? Even Laffter considers him her “darling”, but has to admit the pilot in Barbatos got her juices flowing, too.

They’re not brainwashed or enslaved, but more like a pride of lions, and only one has a mane. And they know when they’ve seen capable soldiers, even if they’re young and raw. So when Orga and Biscuit ask if the Turbines will not only escort them to Earth, but make Tekkadan a subsidiary of Teiwaz, Naze is open to both ideas. Only making either happens requires a visit to his boss, McMurdo Barriston, and there’s a matter of Kudelia possibly being “property.” Did her father arrange a marriage?

Oh, and Maruba? Naze sends him to the mines. grumpycatgood.jpg.

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With the war postponed for now and both ships en route to Teiwaz headquarters, a ship called the Saisei, the crews busy themselves with training, repairs, R&R, etc. Mika seems a little off to Atra (he only ate half his usual portion), and Orga learns why: Mika thinks he screwed up in the battle with Laffter. No one is as tough on him as he himself is.

Atra also thinks Aina could use some cheering up, so they visit the Turbines’ nursery, which is a ridiculous thing to have aboard a mercenary ship, until you realize that like Tekkadan, the Turbines are far more than a group of comrades. They’re family, who have spilled and mixed blood. Regardless, the little babies delight Aina, who Atra is glad can finally relax a little, at least until the next crisis.

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One of those crises is that Tekkadan is pretty much broke back on Mars, due to the scarcity of lucrative clients with Gjallarhorn looming over them. This means Orga and Biscuit must present Naze with a list of stuff they can sell to make ends meet. Naze couldn’t care less about such trifling stuff, and wonders why Orga didn’t take his original deal.

It’s here where Naze learns Tekkadan is a family like his, and breaking it up isn’t an option. Orga tried to come in on equal terms with the Turbine leader, but at the end of the day he’s still a kid by comparison. That’s not to say Naze wasn’t exactly where Orga is sitting at one point in his life, with a paltry harem of two or three women and a lot of self-doubt he couldn’t show to anyone, but which many could see nonetheless.

With Mika getting so upset about “failing him”, Orga feels the pressure to lead and succeed that much stronger, but Biscuit tells him not to get too bent out of shape.

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Laffter and another Turbine pilot are impressed with how hard both Akihito and Mika are working, but Mika reiterates he can’t do anything else. In the end, two very tight-knit but very different types of couples confer. There’s Naze giving Amida his measure of Tekkadan (the money stuff made his butt hurt), while Orga praises Mika for working hard. Mika says he’s working hard so Orga won’t “ditch” him, but obviously he doesn’t have to worry about that, because they’re family.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

20 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 08”

  1. Hmm, I feel like the quiet female ace for the Turbines was rather dismissive on the whole thing regarding Lafter’s fawning over Naze, plus she’s not in the opening, so I don’t think ALL of the females on the ship are in Naze’s harem…

    1. Azee Gurmin, that was her name. But yeah, she doesn’t seem the harem type and sheer probability says that at least a FEW people on the Hammerhead wouldn’t be, so… not that I have anything against Naze, besides extreme envy, but it would show diversity amongst this misfit cast of women if Azee isn’t actually part of said harem.

      1. Naze: “Crewmembers on this ship are all my women.”
        Biscuit: “All of them?!”
        Aina: “They’re your wives?”
        Naze: “I guess that’s what it means.”

        I’m not sure; Naze did say “all my women”, but the rest was speculation by Biscuit and Aina that he only half-heartedly agreed with. Also, there are only seven women with him in the OP, including Amida and Laffter.

        In any case, here’s another parallel with Cross Ange: Naze, like Zola and later Hilda, has a harem, and it’s not a big deal or a gimmick, but an integral part of the characters and their motivations.

        Even if they aren’t all sexual partners, the Turbines are clearly more than just a team of pros; they’re a family, like Tekkadan.

    2. My theory is that like the courts of kings in time past, they are all part of his harem but not all of them are sleeping with him – because at the end of the day there are always favorites.

      1. I’ll subscribe to that! No doubt Naze sensed the discomfort, wonder, and let’s face it, ignorance of the “Iron-Blooded Virgins” before him and chose his words carefully enough to keep them wondering.

        The preview for next week has a lot of traditional Japanese dress, so we may be dealing with courts and kings soon.

  2. Hmm… not really sure how to feel about the harem thing. In principle, it wasn’t shown to be particularly exploitative; they didn’t even use it for any fanservice of any sort and everyone else just seemed uncomfortable about it, which is actually a rather realistic reaction so in a way I think it was handled well.

    Not good, not bad, just a thing that happened. At least from a writing perspective.

    But from a larger perspective, I do kind of think it was a bad idea. Not because it’s sexist or whatever (though it sort of is) but because it’s distracting. As can already be seen from the responses to this review, the harem is the only thing that anyone took away from this episode. Instead of being another link in the ongoing story of Tekkadan, this episode was basically the one where we find out about Naze’s harem, and then spend the rest of the episode going ‘wait, he can’t mean ALL the women, can he!?’ The weight of the idea was greater than its use to the actual plot of the show.

    1. No offense, but it’s OBJECTIVELY distracting. You’ve got 6 replies here and the only thing any of them are talking about are the harem (And I’d bet you money that’s all that will be discussed about this episode almost everywhere). Nothing else is being discussed. I specifically said it wasn’t bad because it wasn’t. They didn’t treat it like anyone was a thing or a sex object or whatever and I agree with braverade that the idea was likely to show that there are different kinds of families.

      None of that changes the fact that the weird decision to give a side character, even a GOOD side character, a massive harem has completely overshadowed everything else about the episode. It’s also one of the only episodes of the show that I felt had next to no forward momentum.

      What forward momentum there was is probably important (joining Teiwaz) and there were a couple of nice character moments (Orga acting his age, Mika having self-doubt) but pretty much all of it could have been done in a couple of minutes.

    2. That’s really the danger when you put in some, shall we say, non-socially conforming concepts. It tends to stand out. But, like I already said, it actually presents an interesting view of the concept of family (which seems to be one of the series’ general themes) once the audience gets over the “exoticness” of the idea. Of course, whether or not they do get over it will depend entirely on the viewer.

    3. I had the advantage of knowing the harem things was coming from the revealed bios of the girls from the gunpla models, so I was a little queasy with this episode and how they were going to present everything. However, I like the fact that they didn’t dwell on it and exploit it, and they just said a few lines, a few awkward glances, and then that was it. So, for that I was very grateful.

      And believe me, the harem wasn’t the only thing I took away from this episode, the relationship and the development of Mika and Orga too way high priority to me than that.

      1. 1. I actually did like how they handled the harem from a writing standpoint. I liked that aside from one scene with one guy being jealous, most everyone else was just uncomfortable about it, because you would be.

        2. The only real problem I had with it was related to the same thing that I felt made it written well. It made ME uncomfortable. Because with any plot device, I always start mentally tracing it back and so my brain starts trying to imagine a situation where in a modern society 25 women or whatever the crew of a ship is would all agree to screw the same guy. And I can’t. And it causes a kind of white noise while I watch the show because, even more than giant robots and martian colonies, it tells me it’s a SHOW.

      2. I can see what you mean, and I was and still am uncomfortable with it and probably will always be. To me, there was really no need for the ship to be a harem. You can’t just have a bunch of women as the crew of a ship, without the audience thinking they are either all lesbians, or they are all screwing the one male crewmember. I don’t understand why the group couldn’t just be what they are, similar to Isaribi and its practically, completely male crew is. Just a crew that thinks of itself as family. No harems needed. But I can already see I’m the minority on this, as most comments I see are just on how “awesome” Naze is for having so many hot girls at his beck and call.

        But again, to me, that was the least of what the episode had to offer, but honestly, I’ll kind of be glad when it’s just the Tekkadan group on their own again. The Hammerhead is good for a visit, I really don’t care to stay long.

  3. I actually don’t find that part of Naze’s harem distracting. In fact, it was an interesting and amusing take on what seems to be one of the series’ emerging themes: that of family (a fairly uncommon Gundam theme, but one that Okada seems to love a lot).

    And it’s really nice to see Orga act like a kid for once. Naze definitely gave him some sensible advice that will surely help him a lot in the future.

    1. I felt the same way. And if I could add to that theme, that not all families look alike, either. It’s also really cool hat the Turbines, who started out as an enemy/obstacle, are proving to be something far more complex and interesting, and all in two episodes and change.

  4. This episode had me pretty afraid at first. It could have potentially been the first big misstep this show has taken. However, I am very pleased with the result and this continues to be my favorite show of the season.

    Despite the new addition of Naze and his harem, I really liked that they never really diverged from the Orphans and their point of view. They are the center of the story and I’m glad that they have kept it that way, even with the addition of all these girls. I like that the focus continues to stay on Orga and Mika, and we see new sides to both characters once again.

    Orga is once again faced with the pressures of leadership and he’s trying his very best to do his best by his men. And now it looks like he’s finally going to get a mentor of his own, who has gone through the same things that he has. Orga has always done whatever was necessary for his men, but we’ve seen that sometimes he doesn’t realize his own importance and that he has to continue to live for them. For without him, they are nothing. I like how Naze wasn’t exactly teaching Orga this, but was actually simply pulling out things that Orga already knew but hadn’t put a name to. Such as the fact that Tekkadan is a family. I’m sure every member actually knows this, but Naze actually pulled it out into the open. Orga is maturing to becoming a better leader, and I love how he put the fact that those of Tekkadan “can’t” leave, they are bonded by blood stronger than iron. And that they have to be led by someone who is one of them and bonded by that same blood.

    Mika on the other hand, also seems like he might just have some abandonment issues? He stresses that he must keep training and doing better, and it was like he felt that he had betrayed Orga’s expectations by not winning the battle. He can’t have that and thus isn’t even himself after the battle, and later trains day and night to get better. And in the end, he states that he must get better so that Orga doesn’t ditch him?! This really caught my attention, and makes me think that perhaps Mika still has issues with abandonment and is afraid of Orga leaving him, and that contributes to the codependent relationship that the two have?

    Both Mika, Orga, and their men are growing and maturing, and I’m really glad that they may be gaining a helping hand from the Turbines and Teiwez. As for the new girls, I honestly don’t really care much about them. They are okay, but I’m not as excited in regards to them as many of the male members of the fandom that I have seen about, but whatevs.
    I am interested in how this new deal will go and in what’s going on with Kudelia. I hope everything goes well, even though for some reason, I have this sickening feeling in my stomach that something is going to go wrong.

    1. I agree with most of your points. This was my least favorite episode of the show for a number of reasons but at the same time, that’s not saying much because the show is still my favorite and the series is still really good.

      I do like being reminded that Orga is a person too. He can come across as uber-competent at times and it’s nice to be reminded that he’s essentially doing that on purpose; a kid playing at being a grown-up. I also like the emphasis on ‘living.’ As many viewers have pointed out, Orga flies a lot of death flags but I think for that exact reason, killing him would be a stereotypical move that would weaken the show. Him living is a much better direction.

      Mika continues to be a fascinating conundrum of a character. He’s taciturn done right, which is rare in anime or media in general. He’s not emotionless in any way, shape, or form (unlike what’s-his-name from Aldnoah Zero). He’s kind to his friends, ferocious to his enemies, and has his own wants and fears. He’s just really hard to read because he keeps it so bottled up.

      1. I’m still not sure Orga won’t die in the future at some point, but like many have pointed out, there’s really no one who could take his place right now, and so Tekkadan would fall without him. Until then he must live.
        However, a bit of the catch 22 of Naze’s conversation is that a real leader must be ready to both live AND die for those they lead. Orga’s sure about one side of that, but Naze reminded him of the other side. If Orga had said that he would live to see the company through, Naze would have still come at him, asking if he was willing to “die for them” as well. From what we can gather, Orga and most of the men of Tekkadan, all pretty much raised themselves before coming there. Orga seems to have been an orphan an on his own for a very long time, he’s really had no one to lean on or teach him, and so he pulls everything on himself. It also shows that he’s been without an actual family for so long that he has a hard time describing it and doesn’t realize that that was what Tekkadan was. Biscuit, who has a blood family on top of this one, knew what Orga was trying to describe, but probably never thought about themselves like that.

        Also, does anybody but me think that keeping Marbura alive is a bad idea?

      2. I actually laughed at the almost-throwaway line about Maruba being sent off to the mines, since that’s all he deserved! I think the show is done with him, like Todo, as an outdated villain that’s past his expiration. I could be wrong, of course.

        In a purely practical sense, Eugene, backed up by Biscuit, Shino, and Akihito, could probably keep Tekkadan going if they were to lose Orga, but Mika certainly wouldn’t be the same. It would depend mightily on how he dies, if he dies (and I hope he doesn’t, as there’s plenty of drama without such an occurance).

        Orga’s past may be a lot simpler than we think, but even if it is, I wonder if Naze’s assertion that Orga must be “ready to live” as well as die for his family is a kind of hint he’ll be brought even deeper into the fold of Teiwaz.

        Orga has insisted at this point that he wants both Teiwaz’s help and for Tekkadan to remain intact. But at the end of the that’s not realistic and may not be possible. If Teiwaz’s leader decides there’s a better use for a man of Orga’s charisma than running a ragtag private security/courier force, he may have to decide what’s more important: being together OR being alive.

      3. I just brought up Maruba since the guy came back into the series for a only a couple of episodes, just to be brought right back out again. But then again, he might just be serving as a plot device.

        You are right that Eugene might just be able to be Tekkadan’s leader as he used to be the third group leader again. However, it would take a lot of maturing for him to be on the level of Orga, and like Orga, he would need all the sub-leaders to support him.
        Mika might just fall apart though.

        I think Orga would rather die then to separate Tekkadan or leave them, and if Teiwez gives him some kind of ultimatum, I have to think that he would choose his own men in a heartbeat. There’s also the fact of Orga’s codependent relationship with Mika, Orga needs Mika and his men as much as they need him. Orga can’t leave them anymore than they can him. if Teiwez gets between him and them, then they’re going to have to separate from them. Orga has to live for Tekkadan, not live separate from them. Teiwez may seem like a godsend now, but I don’t completely trust them yet.

  5. Humm… Mika seems to be operating under the impression that he must earn his keep in order to be in part of Orga’s group. It makes me wonder if that was their deal in the beginning or if that’s just Mika’s illogical fear?

    Looks like I will get my with with Naze taking a bit of a mentor role for Orga (because Orga really has a lot to learn).

    I am interested in the whole idea that Aina is the big boss’ property. What does that mean? She would have been killed had the earlier plans worked out – so I really don’t think her father sold her to be the wife of the big boss, I feel like it must be another person doing – perhaps the man who is sponsoring her journey (you know that fat old sweaty old man)?

    I am still looking forward to see what the first big failure will be. Things didn’t 100% go Orga’s way but so far things haven’t been all that bad. I know something will go bad probably sometime mid series, but what will cause it – I want to know!!

    1. Abandonment issues are not uncommon with orphans, Mika has obviously been living on his own for years since he was very young. We don’t know what his life was like before he met Orga. He could have felt abandoned by his parents when they died, or he could have been used and discarded after that. But whatever it was, it basically scarred him to the point that despite the fact that Orga has shown steadily over the years that he never will, he still has the fear in him that if he’s no longer useful to Orga, he will be thrown away.

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