Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 09

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As the entire episode takes place aboard Teiwaz’s planetary cruiser Saisei, there are no battles this week, except those within the minds of our characters, particularly Orga and Kudelia, who must place Tekkadan and the Martian resistance respectively into larger, more powerful hands. After all, the next steps that need to be made could lead to war.

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That being said, while I have my lingering doubts about Teiwaz and the somewhat inscrutable, almost too friendly McMurdo Barristan, a quick check-in on McGillis, Gaelio, and Ein underscores how tenuous Tekkadan’s position is. They must become stronger, which means aligning themselves with Teiwaz through a blood oath between Naze and Orga.

Meanwhile, Barristan asks Kudelia to make Teiwaz a direct appointee. When Kudelia turns to Mika, he likens her situation to the time he first killed someone: it was a choice her entire future will depend on. It’s also a choice that takes your innocence away, making you less of a child and more of an adult.

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This is an episode filled with young people taking the necessary next steps into adulthood, whether it’s Orga putting aside his pride in an autonomous Tekkadan, Kudelia accepting the blood already on her hands and formalizing her commitment to potentially cause even more of it to be shed.

Orga and the boys also go all out with their celebrating in Saisei’s main street, with Orga drinking way too much (which was probably not much at all) and being offered a handkerchief by a beautiful woman, Merribit (who is unquestionably a cool, confident adult) who tells him adults “have to deal with many things.”

Kudelia also gives Fumitan a necklace that matches her own, a sign she sees her as more than just her maid, and unless I’m seeing things, Fumitan continues to look a bit suspicious while betraying a tinge of guilt over…whatever she’s doing when no one is looking.

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Orga appears passed out, but in reality is listening to Biscuit and Mika as they talk about how Orga’s guts have allowed them to keep “dreaming on” in the face of insurmountable odds, and ekeing through battles they had no business winning but for a hearty helping of luck. Biscuit also expresses his wish that Orga would rely more on them, rather than be the one everyone relies on. That’s what family’s for.

Orga also gets to see something he’s never seen before after waking up; Ride stashing away excess sweets and treats bought from Saisei’s shops, not for himself, but for the younger kids when they cry. Ride may still be so young he still has his spots, but his life has forced him to be an adult for those younger and weaker than him, and Orga is heartened by what he sees and knows he’s making the right decision.

Finally, speaking of stepping into adulthood, there’s one thing Shino needs that he can’t get on either the Tekkadan or Turbine ships. The day after, it’s clear to Yukinojou that Shino got laid, while Eugene proudly/awkwardly mentions to Laffter that he’s an adult now too, having been with his first woman the night before.

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The next day is when everything becomes official between Tekkadan and Teiwaz; between Orga and Naze; between Kudelia and Barristan. Everyone gets dressed up, as adults do, and everyone dons black robes that obscure their distinctive outfits. Orga exchanges his old pride for a new kind: the pride of knowing the house of Tekkadan that he built now stands on firmer ground. Kudelia, too, is no longer in limbo.

Things will probably start to move a lot faster now that Tekkadan is one with Teiwaz. They’ll have to deal with many different things, because that’s what adults do.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

11 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 09”

  1. Since Gjallahron can’t be corrupted with Fareed now in charge of the pursuit I’m guessing Fumitan is secretly working for Nobliss Gordon whose still bent on that profit making “let’s start a war’ scene.

    Also, I’d have agreed to McMurdo Barristan but he has two things going for him, Naze’s personal vouch and the fact that he offered to help refit Mikazuki’s Barbatos with no strings attached. To me he seems like what he says he is, an old man going along with his whim because these kids are allowing him to dream again.

  2. Yeah, Fumitan’s up to something but at this stage I’d say there’s too little to say what. Given she worked for the family the likely possibility is the same conspiracy that involved her father and Gjallarhorn from the beginning, although as KrimsonStriker said, the creepy old businessman is also a possibility.

    I also agree that Teiwaz seems on the level. Partially just due to narrative structure. There are plenty of questionable and antagonistic factions in play already, Teiwaz seems to fit best as a supporting protagonist group. Not to say the show won’t end with Tekkadan having to break ties with them due to a disagreement and stand on their own (furthering all the growing up metaphors) but I don’t think they’re inherently villainous.

    Overall, this episode was what I wanted the last one to be. Instead of the overlong focus on the strange harem thing and relatively little character development, here we got a ton of character development for a ton of characters as well as some interesting new ones. I’m intrigued by the woman in the bar. Could she be being set up to be a love interest/whatever for Orga? Tough to say with so little to go on, but they went out of their way to say her name and show her for no reason, so I’d say she’s far more important than she seems.

    I have to say, I’m not thrilled to see Barbatos wielding a katana in the opening. The mace was such a fun departure from standard gundam weaponry and they’d been using it so well, to go back to a sword (which I’m sure will be presented as having a near-perfect cutting edge) is a bit disappointing. Hopefully it’s just yet one more stage in Barbatos’s development, and we’ll see more interesting weapons later.

  3. Aside from the theme of coming into adulthood, the episode is also interesting in that it also marks the banding together of two groups that has essentially been shunned by society. While Teiwaz does have its influence, it is still considered as a “bad” organization/mafie by the larger populace. And Tekkadan is still viewed as a bunch of space rats.

    This puts Kudelia in an interesting position, being part of that society. But, in order for her to achieve her goals, she knows all too well that she must transcend that and bind these groups together under her.

    I also liked how deftly the episode incorporates the idea of sex being a prelude to adulthood. It avoids being too vulgar, yet is very frank in saying that, yes, experiencing (as opposed to just learning about) sex is one of the marks of a boy’s or girl’s transition to manhood or womanhood. This one is arguably one of the rarities in Gundam, as the franchise most often skirts around the topic (the only one that did touch a bit on this one is, amusingly, Gundam Seed). So, to quote one forum goer, how the heck is Mari Okada pulling this off? hehehehe!

    Oh, and I know it’s impossible but I kinda ship Lafter and Eugene.

    1. My first thought was that Lafter would be attracted to Mika’s piloting prowess, as he was the first person able to “heat her up” so to speak. But it’s clear she’s fine with the man she has, Naze. (I also liked Amida’s monologue about all the love Naze has to give, so much that she’s totally fine with sharing him.)

      Still, that little moment with Lafter helping Eugene with his formal dress was adorable, especially considering that Eugene certainly looks at women a little differently after last night.

      But yeah, no shot.

      1. See, I disagree with all this almost entirely. I thought Amida’s monologue was exceedingly strange and a weird attempt by the writing staff to justify the very strange harem thing which went back to being inconsequential this episode and really should just be left there given how strange it is.

        And the Lafter situation is an example of why I’m not a huge fan of the harem. They basically doubled the number of named characters yet none of them can be used for any form of relationship tension because THERE’S A SPACE HAREM. MAYBE, if Naze were the main character, a space harem would be an idea that could be explored in an interesting manner, as it is I just feel like it’s locked off a ton of story possibilities in service of one very questionable one.

        As I said last episode, I think they’ve handled the writing of the space harem well, I just don’t think the idea itself has any merit.

      2. That’s ridiculous, it wasn’t about justifying the harem but giving Atra a bit of perspective and development, thus most certainly serving a function.

  4. Mika’s speech to Kudelia and openly admit to how much the decision of first kill changed his life really got to me. Mika is so self aware and even though he may not understand the bigger picture he is honest to himself.

    This brings me back to a question that has been at the back of my mind. I have often wondered exactly how old Mika is – he is short, a lot shorter than some of the other people in the show – but he is so wise sometimes it’s scary. We know Mika killed someone (first person??) 8 years ago in PP315. I estimate he was somewhere between 5-8 (no way he was younger than 5, don’t think even Okada would do that) and Orga was around 10. I personally like to think he was 7 then and he is 15 now because that seems like a more believable age — and lack of food just made him short. Maybe we will get another clue to this next episode during the flashback.

    Back to the episode – Kudelia made her decision – which is great. I am happy to see her acknowledge the need to shed blood this early in the series (I assume this may be a 2 core series). She is really becoming my favorite Gundam princess. I haven’t liked a female non-fighting character in a mecha show as much as I like her in such a long time. She shows constant growth but at the same time keeps to her goals and ideals.

    1. I too subscribe to the idea he’s older than he looks. 15 seems most likely, while Kudelia is 17-18 and Atra 14-16. All semi-educated guesses.

    2. Mika is treated as one of the ‘older’ members of Tekkadan and Orga treats him as an equal (even a superior in a way) so I never thought for a second that he was much younger than them. While the specific years are hard to say, I’d be surprised if he’s more than a year younger than the other ‘adult’ members. I really just think he’s short.

      And I wouldn’t say he needs a lack of food as a reason. People can simply be short.

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