Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 11

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It didn’t happen last week (there was too much going on with Mika coming in to save the day to add one more thing), but it happens here: Akihiro comes face-to-face with his brother Masahiro, who is fighting with pirates. For some reason, perhaps the fact I had a week to let the information settle, the impact of Aki’s hasty story about him and his brother wasn’t lessened by the brief in-show interval between backstory and plot twist.

On the contrary, that Masahiro is among the pirates, piloting mobile suits with other young lads with the same implants as Mika, adds personal stakes to the conflict with the pirates. The Kudal Cadel guy is another goofy throwback bad guy with a resting evil smirkface, but his child pilot minions and Masahiro in particular complicate what could have been a simple matter of “beat the bad pirates and move on.”

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While Takaki isn’t killed, despite ominously telling us what he’s going to do with the rest of his long, long life last week, he is seriously injured, and Tekkadan…has no doctor. When his blood spurts out of his jacket and floats in the low-grav environment, it’s a horrible moment that could lead to an unraveling of morale and cohesion. Even Kudelia freezes at the sight, compelling Merribit to pass her from behind, grab the medkit from her hands, and stabilize Takaki.

Merribit also lets Orga hear about the recklessness in not having a proper doctor aboard in such a dangerous environment, saying he’s “not being a good boss” by letting something like that go on. Orga can’t argue with her on that, and seems glad for the honest criticism. Still, things could have been a lot worse. They could very well get worse, as Naze accepts a challenge from the boorish, bizarre-looking pirate leader Brooke Kabayan, even as he’s suspicious about why the pirates are so eager to take on a far more powerful Teiwaz.

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We spend some time in orbit around and on Earth—I believe for the first time. Ein is already getting ribbed by superiors for his Martian roots, while Fareed and Gaelio visit their boss (and Fareed’s lordly dad) then Gaelio’s family residence, where Fareed’s betrothed (and Gaelio’s little sister) plies him with tea she’s recently learned how to make.

It’s all very civilized and bougie and dollhouse-y, and we see Fareed is as comfortable here as he is on a ship or in a mobile suit. He’s decided to be more or less hands-off with the Kudelia issue. Gaelio and Ein especially may want revenge for slights or lost comrades, but Fareed is playing a longer game (his ultimate goal seems to be running the whole damn operation), and not dirtying his hands with work he doesn’t have to do. It’s apparent the Brewers, the pirates who attacked Tekkadan, are being financially backed by Gjallarhorn, or someone working for it.

In a stark contrast of worlds, we see Masahiro being mercilessly beaten by Kudal for failing to secure the hostage, as the other human debris boy pilots can only stand there and watch. It doesn’t look like it would take much to turn these guys against their harsh pirate masters, the fact that Mika killed Pedro makes at least one of them put revenge ahead of a better life, which they’d certainly have under Orga’s command.

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While waiting for Takaki to wake up, Akihiro runs himself down for having had so much fun being on Tekkadan, and explains how his brother is with the Brewers. He blames himself for everything that happened, because human debris isn’t supposed to have “fun”, meaning the opportunity to explore his potential as both a fighter and a person.

Even freed of oppression, he still wears that red stripe down his jacket to remind himself of his place in the universe. He doesn’t lament what he is, but rather the fact he strayed from the limited view of who he’s allowed to be, programmed into him from years of abuse.

Orga and Mika, however, don’t let him fall in that trap. Orga promises to take responsibility. No more letting Merribit, or Naze, or Mika, or Akihiro down. He’ll help Akihiro get his brother back, if that’s what he wants, as well, because Akihiro’s brother is Tekkadan’s brother.

Tekkadan and the Turbines are portrayed as principled organizations that do things the right way, while the Brewers aren’t, and don’t. They shouldn’t be taken lightly moving forward, but they’re also a good opportunity for Orga to show what Tekkadan can do when looked down on. Here’s hoping they teach the Brewers a lesson.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

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

  1. Well, this was a great episode.
    There was so much great stuff here that I just have to savor it all.

    The fight itself was great, I liked how we got to see two sides that both have A-V systems and how Mika now has a group of weapons that he has to use. His fight with Kudal and the Guison was interesting, Guison’s hammer and armor is it’s strengths, but it runs out of power very quickly.
    Barbatos is able to hold it’s own, but it’s sword is not a sudden kill-all weapon either.
    And while Mika is fighting, the Brewer’s child slave pilots are going after Akihiro and Takaki, to the point that Takaki is captured and severely injured. Akihiro goes right after him, but meets a different little brother instead.

    We meet Masahiro, who looks just as surprised to see his big brother here. However, their reunion is cut short and Aki has to get Takaki back to the ship, and Merribit shows her “mom” skills as she gets to work as the ship’s impromptu medical officer. She was right to censure Orga about his lack of a ship’s doctor, but then again, I can understand why he didn’t have one. I mean, where was he going to get one? They didn’t have enough money or time to search for and hire one, and also there’s the fact that they haven’t done so well with outsiders as of yet. However, it is all part of the learning process and Orga will have to find one soon. Though I’m sure Merribit can stay one in that capacity until he hires one. Takaki is going to be fine, though I do have to say that I was really scared for his life.

    I really liked the sidestep we had here with McGillis and Gaelio, who have made it back to Earth in a really speedy fashion. We meet McGillis father and learn that he and Gaelio come from two of the 7 family that started Gjallerhorn (The 7 Stars), but it doesn’t look like McGillis likes his dad very much. Earth looks so beautiful in comparison with Mars, and it looks like there’s plenty of Earth/Mars prejudice to go around. We meet Gaelio’s sister, who is a really cutie-pie, and McGillis seems to like her a lot, though really more as a little sister than a potential wife. In fact there seem to be a lot of things weighing heavily on his mind, so much so that Tekkadan and Kudelia are on the back burner. From what he’s suggesting, he knows about Gjallerhorn’s corruption and seeks to correct it from the inside out. If there was any doubt he’s the maskless Char clone for this series, he continues to seal the deal. I want to know more about his plans now and I am excited to see where things go on his end as well.

    Also, Todo is his informant?! Well I didn’t think that was the last time we would see the guy, but derp-hitler is hilarious, so we’ll see him get his just deserts.

    That snake Kudal and his pig boss have got to go. They treat their child slaves horribly, not only beating them severely, but they all look starved half to death. And while that one kid is in a bit of a rage right now, I really do hope Tekkadan and the Turbines are able to save Masahiro and the rest of them . Tekkadan could always use more additions to the family.

    Akihiro is beating himself up, that slave mentality is very hard to shake and will take a lot of time to get over. I’m glad that someone didn’t try to do the more violent “shaking him out of that mindset” techniques, and instead, they all supported him and swore to get his brother back. Because like they said, Masahiro isn’t just his brother, but theirs now as well.

    I’m really liking the combination of action and development and I can’t wait for the next episode.

    1. When Fareed mentioned an underworld contact looking into things for him I kind of figured it had to be Hitler-stash…

      1. Yeah, I straight up drew a blank when he said “mustache”; probably because I had purged all memory of wretched Todo from my memory…which is probably what Orga & Co did, to their detriment.

        You can’t let a cockroach like him live and expect him to leave you alone.

  2. Okay, onto the fanboy stuff first. Man, I don’t care if the Gusion doesn’t look like your traditional Gundam. That thing IS a Gundam, ’nuff said.

    And I really like how things went down in this episode. I recall what frequent commenter Kalerylan said last week about how interesting it would be if, instead of doing the standard death flag routine, IBO actually defied them and instead go on to build its characters more. Well, that’s what they did here, and with an interesting twist and result.

    For one, Takaki getting badly injured, but surviving is really a better turn than having him get away from the battle unscathed (which would have killed the building tension from last ep). That tense moment in the hangar was dramatic without going hysterical (I like how Ride was frantically calling Takaki’s name and Norba scolding him). And we get to see how the incident really affected everyone. That brief bit of Merribit chastising Orga for not having a doctor on board is nice, I really am hoping to see more of their dynamics here.

    And it is interesting to note that the Brewers seems to serve as a reminder of how far Tekkadan has come from the dark days as CGS, what with the Brewer children having to endure the same abuse from the adults like Kudal and Brooke Kabayan (many Filipino viewers will likely poke fun at his surname. Kabayan means “compatriot” in our language). It also looks like the Turbines won’t be just travel companions anymore and will likely become more involved in the story from here on.

    And, hey, Macky (guy’s got a new nickname aside from Chocolate Man now) actually gets his own slice of life moment. I wonder if he will be the well-intentioned extremist here that has plans that might actually be trying to save the likes of the Tekkadan and Brewer children.

    1. McGillis seems like an elitist like many of his station from Earth seem to be. And yet, I’m not really sure if he really is. He seemed to treat those of Earth and Mars equally. In fact, I would say he’s more REAL with the people of Mars (like when he talked to Mika, Biscuit and even Ein). On Earth and sometimes with Gaelio, he seems to always be talking with double meaning and wearing an invisible mask that doesn’t really show who he really is.

      His words such as “let the sewer rats clean up the sewers” denote him as an elitist that doesn’t care about anything other that Gjallerhorn. However, his words don’t seem to match his actions, as he’s been shown to be pleasant and care about Martians, even while Gaelio thinks of them in a derogatory manner.

      I have a feeling that he wants to get Gjallerhorn to the way it once was as a peacekeeping entity for not just Earth, but the outer spheres as well. He seemed to talk a lot about the entities lack of spread in the outer planets and that is one thing he wants to change. While at first that might sound like a bad thing, you can tell from the way pirates are roaming all over the place and Mars is the way it is that there needs to be changes in law and order as well as economically. Maybe it is that, which he seeks?

      We know from his bio that he himself is an orphan that was adopted in the family he’s in now. I bet that that background had a lot to do with the path that he’s chosen to go on now.

      1. Interesting observation. Yeah, it seems Macky here is just putting up the elitist facade. He is obviously well aware of the problems that might be plaguing Gjallarhorn from within.

        On a side note, Sho Hayami voicing Iznario was amusing as an unintentional jab at Aldnoah Zero, where he voiced Cruhteo.

      2. I knew that was Sho Hayami! Every time I hear him, I think of Aizen, which was the first role I knew him from. He’s in this season’s Comet Lucifer too as a bit part. However, I think playing McGillis’ adopted father that he seems to be at odds with is a good role for him. Hope he lasts longer than Cruhteo. lol

      3. Just a question. I can’t seem to recall the part where it said that McGillis was adopted. Where was it?

      4. I also appreciated meeting Fareed’s betrothed, as all of the elite families at the top of Gjallarhorn intermarriage is probably a given. Gaelio’s sister is charming and kind, but profoundly insulated from the turmoil beyond Earth (like Ange’s sister, only nicer).

        Her’s is basically in the same position Kudelia would be in (and the one Kudelia’s mother was in, and wants her daughter to be in): but like McGillis, Kudelia decided to walk her own path.

        The difference is, Kudelia’s revolutionary path is taking her further and further from the aristocratic life that was laid out for her, while McGillis will keep operating within the system and clensing it from within.

      5. It’s mentioned in his gunpla bio. In fact, all this stuff about the 7 families (The 7 Stars) that started Gjallarhorn and his family was being one of those, was all mentioned a while ago in that same bio, so those of us who read that sort of thing already knew about it, even though it has yet to be revealed in the show.

      6. I thought I recognized her. She also voiced Rurutie (Utawarerumo), Chamo (Rokka no Yuusha), Sento (Amagi Brilliant Park) and Julis (Asterisk War). Nice choice!

      7. I’m not convinced McGillis is going to turn out to be a hero or even anything other than an antagonist but I do think what he is is going to be vital to what this show is going to finally be about.

        People have been waiting and waiting for a war to start because it’s Gundam and there has to be a war right? Plus the show itself has been teasing it. But at this point it would be pretty hard to do a war justice in the time they have left. I do think what we’re going to have here is largely a war of ideas between the old guard and the new. And between the new and the new as well. I think McGillis gets that the old guard is bad, but still believes in the largely unequal power structure.

        Kudelia gets that the power structure is bad, but doesn’t really have a functional alternative. I could see through their battles a third route opening up. Perhaps Gjallarhorn survives, but is reformed to accept representatives from each of the different planets/settlements of the solar system as opposed to simply being an Earth hegemony.

        I find McGillis fascinating, as he seems intended to not only be a foil to our heroes, but also to the other villains. His very existence establishes that the one-not villains like the stache and the pirates are not necessarily due to bad writing, they’re designed like that on purpose.

      8. Oh, I too am not inclined to think of McGillis as a hero or anything. I think at most, he will be an anti-hero in the usual Char clone vein in that he’s trying to change the system but is taking a rather ruthless and morally ambiguous route of trying to do it.

        I think that Gjallerhorn, at least as it originally was, is a necessary evil. It was born out of a world that had the worst war the solar system had ever seen, and it was Gjallerhorn that forced the war to come to an end. Like with what McMurdo was saying, a war has the potential to start up again with the radical changes that Kudelia is trying to initiate. This unrest that could be kindling to a fire for war is what McGillis is trying to stop as he’s stated in the first couple of episodes. Its the reason that he wants to have Kudelia in order to put out the fires of unrest and help to return things to order.

        We’ve heard that both the outer spheres as well as Earth’s economic blocks don’t like Gjallerhorn, especially with how corrupt they have have potentially become. However, it will be interesting in seeing what McGilis’ plan is to shake things up and how Kudelia and Tekkadan will figure into it all.

    2. Ooh, I was mentioned. And yeah, I feel like they handled the death flags perfectly. We got a ton of tension and even fear. I was honestly curious if he was going to die the whole time, but then we get the catharsis of the whole group coming together over it and deciding it’s time to go give as good as they got.

      That scene at the end with Naze/Orga saying ‘let’s teach them about our principles’ overlaid on Mika floating in front of Barbatos was freaking badass.

      I will say I continue to not like the sword, and amusingly enough that’s because they actually used it REALISTICALLY, as in swords don’t do any good against heavy armor. For this enemy, Mika’s upgrade was actually a downgrade. I’d like to see him get the mace back out and have a bashing brawl with the hammer gundam.

      I also love that the (not yet revealed) enemy mech is a gundam. The idea that being a gundam in this universe is a quality is really neat, because it means you can use it like it’s presumably going to be used here; this strangely powerful but otherwise unremarkable machine is going to be REVEALED as a gundam. That’s really cool. Because they’ve always been beholden to the design of a gundam before, having something be revealed to be a gundam has never really been possible.

      Just a great episode all around. This show continues to just be solid. It’s not that it breaks tropes or is unique, but it does what it does and it does it really well almost every minute.

      1. The Gusion being a Gundam was kinda spoiled to those following the series announcements, even before the show started. Still, I really like the definition of “Gundam” in this series being one of those machines that have a unique frame. It real;ly allows the series to play around with design, while still maintaining a unifying them. Though, of course, the unconventional Gundam designs might not be to everyone’s tastes (Just take a look at the initial reaction when the Gusion was announced to be a gundam).

        Sadly though, it is likely that we will only see less than 10 of the supposed 72 gundams. We’re already halfway in and only four have been confirmed to appear (Barbatos, Gusion, the yet to be shown Kimaris, and an unnamed one to be revealed later). I guess their in-story explanation here is that many of the 72 units have been destroyed in the Calamity war.

      2. I know it was spoiled, but you have to allow the show to be separate a little. There’s still room for the idea of ‘gundam’ in this setting to expand. And that’s cool.

        And I don’t worry so much about fan reactions. Most long-running franchises have a VERY LOUD, but all in all relatively small portion of fans whose entire raison d’etre is making sure that nothing in their beloved franchise is ever allowed to change. Star Wars, Star Trek, comics of all stripes, Gundam, etc, etc. They’re always there. You can’t do anything about them because they will never go away, and you can’t listen to them (to much) because, despite their volume, there’s never actually enough of them to support their franchise all on their own.

      3. Don’t worry, we see the mace again in the preview, so Mika is still going to be using it. It IS a better weapon to use against the Gusion’s hammer, in comparison to the sword.

        I am very glad that the Turbines are so supportive of Tekkadan and they care not only about Takaki, but about getting Akihiro’s little brother back. I wonder what their plan will be to do that though, considering that the boys of Tekkadan know all too well that the Brewers are going to send their most “expendable” pilots out to fight and die first. I’m assuming that it’s not just Masahiro they’ll be after, but all the kids (more efficient that way since it would take too long to identify which of the grunts was Masahiro and I doubt the kid would want to leave his fellow human debris behind), so how do they turn an angry, but forced enemy into their allies during a battle, without killing any of their opponents?

        I trust Orga and Biscuit to come up with a plan, and I’ll be interested to see what it is. I really don’t want to see this all end in tragedy like the show’s tone might be suggesting. I want more subversion.

        Though, now that I think about it, it could be the actions of Kudal and the pirates that spur the human debris pilots to defect. Similar to how the Third Group didn’t really decide to mutiny until the First Group betrayed them and left them to die, costing many their lives and then had the audacity to beat them afterwards. The First Group was the cause of their own downfall. Perhaps Kudal, Brooke, and the rest of the Brewers will do the same and be their own worst enemy.

      4. Oh, I didn’t watch the preview (an oversight, I usually do). That’s great news. Love the mace, and it really does work better here anyway. I find it funny that when he finally gets an upgrade (the sword) it’s actually a downgrade. Though it does make you wonder if he will get a beam saber at some point since that gets around the weakness of swords vs metal.

      5. @kalerylan
        For the beam sabers, I kinda wish we don’t (and I am a longtime Gundam fan). There is something really visceral about the physical weapons they are using, which really fits into the overall tone of the series, and reintroducing beam weapons somehow feels like it would lessen that.

      6. Oh I agree, I actually like the mace and kind of hope it stays, I was just literally speculating since they gave him a sword, but then realistically showed that it doesn’t really work against big metal suits, so he’s apparently going back to the mace, but maybe they’ll use that as a developmental stage to jump to sabers.

        That said, there’s been no implication of tech development the way other gundam series do, so we may not see any advances in the usual vein, and I’m fine with that.

        Even if they did do a saber, I hope it would be more in the vein of SEED’s ‘ship cutting swords’ than the traditional lightsaber because that would be closer to the great physical weighty weapons we’ve had so far, but I’ll be very happy if he keeps the mace or some variant throughout the series.

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