Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 15

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“You cannot truly become an adult.”—our Masked Man McGillis’s words in the cold open. Those words didn’t stick with me throughout this phenomenal episode, but gradually gained significance as things progressed. Masky is surprised by how excited he is. Disguising himself so he can visit Dort, the front lines of the upcoming rebellion, has brought out the little kid in him. The Mask protects his identity, but he’s still exposed and untethered, and we can only guess what he’s up to.

When Mika tells Fumitan he knows something is on her mind (he just doesn’t know what), she talks about things adults are supposed to have, like responsibility. Only hers are dual: both to protect Kudelia and watch her. But hanging out with all these kids, and Kudelia in particular, has brought out the kid in her too, and before she knew it she’d disobeyed orders, irking Noblesse.

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Meanwhile, someone who believes he’s one of the most responsible, pragmatic adults around, Savarin, wears the suit of a salaryman, occupies a cubicle, and informs on his little brother the minute he sees Atra with him. We’ll later learn Savarin has replaced the family of his childhood with the responsibility of adulthood: working to keep the working class society of Dort from exploding into chaos and blood, but also working to preserve his own skin.

The workers are lead by union boss Navona Mingo, who gets Orga’s team out of the line of fire and hides them in the slums, where he casually asks them to join his fight. He seems to shrug off Orga’s declining, but I somehow doubt that’s the end of it. Meanwhile, Gaelio and Ein are ready to go, but the captain of their ship is able to delay him by spewing a lot of bureaucrat-babble that impresses a junior officer. What’s this captain’s angle?

Betrayal is bad no matter who does it, so when Savarin betrays Biscuit, who idolized him and lived his very life by his example, has got to be devastated when Gjallarhorn arrest him and Atra. But the reason they’re doing so is because they believe Atra is Kudelia Aina Bernstein, Goddess of the rebellion. This is a misunderstanding Atra quickly picks up and runs with, to protect Kudelia, her family, from harm.

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This gets her beaten by the Gjallarhorn soldiers trying to get rebellion intel out of her, and the sight of Atra being roughed up, her legs, one missing a boot, dangling from the interrogation chair, is almost too terrible to behold; she is only a child, for crying out loud.

But Atra’s blood is iron; forged and stiffened on Mars from an even younger age than she is now. She knows how to take a beating; she used to endure them every day. Now that she actually has someone to take it for (rather than punishment for some petty slight), she’s all the more resolved. Her toughness in this situation brought a tear to my eye.

Speaking of eyes, when Orga learns through Navona that Biscuit and Atra have been kidnapped, he relays the info to Mika, who tells Fumitan to keep Kudelia safe while he rescues them. The “foolish, innocent child” Kudelia tries to sneak out anyway, but Fumitan stops her, and can’t help but remark how her “clear, honest eyes” haven’t changed since she was a young girl, and how much she’s always hated those eyes and wished they’d cloud up from reality; from adulthood.

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Hope and idealism, like the giddy excitement McGillis is feeling, is for kids. Reality and stern responsibility is for adults. And speak of the masked devil, MaskGillis shows up right there and then, revealing to Kudelia not only how Nobliss Gordon has been using her, but how he’s had one of his own by her side all this time.

Sensing this moment of betrayal could be a chance to finally cloud those eyes, Fumitan does not deny the masked man’s claims, and Kudelia is devastated. Fumitan then leaves Kudelia’s side, but Kudelia can’t help but go after her, even when Masky tries to hold her back and remind her of her responsibility. But is this all a game? Was Mask’s intention to use the truth to put Kudelia in a more vulnerable position?

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It’s a shame Mika wasn’t around to mediate things, but he’s occupied with being a one-man rescue team, finding Atra’s boot in the streets, seemingly following her scent to where she’s being held, crashing a truck into the building, and taking out all the guards off-camera before bursting in.

When he sees the state of Atra, he’s ready to go a little bit further, but there’s no time. Orga arrives in a truck just as Savarin is fingering them for Gjallarhorn once more. Savarin appeals to his brother to see reason and do as his big brother says. Biscuit is appreciative of everything Savarin did for him and his sisters, but he has a new family now, so he goes with Tekkadan, and the brothers are separated, perhaps forever.

Meanwhile, Kudelia is out in the open, searching desperately for Fumitan, while a full-blown armed uprising of Dort’s working class is about to explode on the same streets where she calmly shopped just hours before. She’s too concerned with Fumitan to realize the danger she’s in, or the merit of staying put so Mika and the others could meet up with her.

She’s acting like a child would, only considering one thing at a time and rushing at it with reckless abandon; unknowingly squandering the sacrifice Atra made to keep her safe. But it’s not all her fault—because you cannot truly become an adult.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

19 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 15”

  1. I think the captain is just an overworked dad trying to restrain the young pup that was Galieo, given he mentions he’s missing his daughter’s birthday because of this.

    McGillis has his own angle, we all know that, largely I think he’s looking at Kudelia as a great catalyst for change that he too can ride the waves on to ultimately take control of Gjallahorn from the inside, rooting out the corrupt influence from people like Nobliss and even his own father who are using the organization for their own ends.

  2. Can someone confirm or correct me if I’m wrong – but was Nobliss’s goal to get Kudelia at Dort 2 in order to get her killed so the workers would have another reason to rebel? I’m a bit confused.

    1. Nobliss’ plan was that he sent weapons and MW units with Tekkadan in Kudelia’s name but didn’t tell her anything about it. At the same time, he told the workers that Kudelia, the Maiden of Revolution, was asking for others outside of Mars to rise up and that she was sending these weapons to help via him as a sponsor and her “proxy”. According to the plan, Kudelia and Tekkadan, were to go to Dort 2, where after delivering the arms, Gjallerhorn would get sent in by “anonymous tip” and a Gjallerhorn assassin that Nobliss had hired would kill Kudelia.
      Her death by Gjallerhorn in front of so many witnesses would spark outrage that would spread from the colonies to both Earth and Mars and cause Kudelia to become a martyr that would spur the people that believed in her to rise up, igniting an all out war.

  3. Well, the plot thickens.

    The reunion went about as bad as most people thought between Savarin and Biscuit. Savarin had moved up in the world and it changed him. Yet, he also seemed to be doing it for the sake of the slums and the people there. However, he just took the wrong methods and it cost him his relationship with his family. I’m pretty sure he’ll come back and have a redemptive death or something at the end of this.

    It actually was much easier for Orga and company to get off Dort 2 than I thought, but they can’t go anywhere after Atra and Biscuit get captured.

    Mika going into bloodhound mode was hilarious, but I’m wondering who it was who pointed him the right direction. Was it CharMcGillis?

    By the way, CharMcGillis is cooler than I thought he would be. The mask actually works and the wig isn’t bad. Also, I’m wondering if Gaelio is in on this part of his plan? Does he know McGillis is at the colonies rather than on Earth with his sister?
    Also, the man is very good at finding out the information. He already knows everything that’s going on from Nobliss’ plan, to the entire union rebellion, to Fumitan’s presence, and even where Kudelia was staying at an impromptu hotel. In fact, how the heck did he know that Kudelia and company had gone to Dort 3 rather than Dort 2?

    Also, CharMcGillis seems to be on Kudelia’s side and wants her to live to be the Maiden of Revolution for the people. I’m wondering if that’s McGillis real desire and he’s been acting up until now as we suspected.

    Also, poor Atra. I literally yelled at the screen when she tried to fool them into thinking she was Kudelia. (Though nobody has a picture of Kudelia? I guess word travels very slowly from the Outer Sphere to the Earth Sphere) And then they beat the crap out of poor Atra, and at that point I feared for the lives of everyone there. Because Mika don’t take kindly to anyone touching one of his own.
    In fact, I’m pretty sure he killed everyone in his way getting to her and Biscuit.

    Fumitan finally admits the truth to Kudelia after some reveals from CharMcGillis. It sounds as if she hated Kudelia for some time for her privilege and naivety. However, eventually she found her attitude towards her changing. I’m pretty sure that Fumitan isn’t going to live past next episode. I’m pretty sure we’re in for a redemptive sacrifice.

    So, the rebellion is about to start, but I honestly don’t think they have enough people or weapons to do something this big. Also, Gaelio and crew are just waiting out there in the wings and can’t come in for corrupt political reasons. But I’m sure if a fight breaks out, they will come in guns blazing.

    1. As Fareed discussed with Gaelio I think he wants to use Kudelia as a catalyst to prompt change within Gjallahorn and take over the organization himself to reform it.

      The best case scenario for the union workers is that some kind of last minute negotiations start occurring so they can work towards a final settlement, though it’s a long shot unless Kudelia works some magic once the Fumitan issue is resolved. Tekkadan I know won’t stay on the sidelines not with Galieo hanging out there.

      1. I doubt there will be any negotiations. In the scene with Gaelio and the captain, they said that they have “operations” where they purposefully rile up the poor, restless workers in order to get them to rebel, and then use that as an excuse to bring down the hammer and make an example of them to everyone else that Gjallerhorn is in charge and no protest will be tolerated. The reason why Gaelio couldn’t go to the colonies just yet, was that the presence of one of the Seven Stars would cause the people to be more cautious and they wouldn’t take the bait.
        So, unfortunately, this whole rebellion is really a trap, and one the Gjallerhorn is ready and waiting for.

      2. Gjallahorn yes, but technically this is an internal matter between the Dort company and its workers, if Tekkadan could just keep Gjallahorn distracted enough perhaps the thought of turning Dort into a wasteland will compel the company to reach a settlement and rob Gjallahorn of the excuse for further intervention, crazier stuff can happen is all I’m saying and this is just my long shot best case scenario anyway.

      3. From the way I can understand Gjallerhorn, their authority is pretty absolute in the Earth Sphere and if they want something, I highly doubt Dort would say no. Also, since Dort Company doesn’t seem to care about their workers in the first place considering that these horrible work environments have been the standard for decades, I’m not sure they wouldn’t just let Gjallerhorn handle everything.

      4. Like I said, it largely depends on how the following events play out which might force Sort to reconsider. All I’m giving is an alternative scenario where the union guys and the slums aren’t totally destroyed, but we’ll see.

  4. Developing into a rather good twisty political tale. It’s interesting that by choosing to not make the show about a war in the traditional sense of Gundam they’ve been able to make it about how wars can start, both in feelings of discontent and in the manipulation of those at the top.

    It also makes all of the series’ philosophical musings on the nature of adults rather fascinating as a true ‘adult’ (at least in this philosophical version) cannot effect change. Adults understand that some things are impossible, that the world does not always work out how we want, and that sometimes we just have to accept things that suck. Children don’t. A child can still believe in the impossible. Changing the world is impossible, except when it’s not.

    On another note, from the perspective of what is at the end of the day an action anime, I like how this plot is also allowing the story to hone in on our heroes. Kudelia continuing to live is a huge wrench in their plans. Dead, her message is theirs to manipulate, but while she lives, she can change things. And Mika is the X-factor. No one knows about him since he’s a nobody, and therefore no one accounts for the fact that he has tendency to forcefully destroy half their plans and flipping murder anyone that gets in the way. Qualities (in both of them) that I’m sure will only increase as the plot goes on. It makes it very exciting to watch the two of them do their thing.

    1. Speaking of action, while so of the more, shall we say, more traditionalist, viewers complain that it is boring, I actually find the show’s active decision to limit the mecha battles to be a really good choice, as it again puts the focus back on the characters and let them do stuff, instead of having them sit idly in the cockpit chairs and babble while the bots do all the action..

      And the robot action itself is very pragmatic, never wasting time to do so,e “cool” pose, which actually does great in making the scenes more intense and fulfilling despite their limited number.

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    2. Yeah, I really like that this is about characters first mecha second, and that Mika is if anything more dangerous out of the cockpit. Gundam pilots are often useless on the ground (with Kira for example being rather famously terrible at combat) but Mika is a force of pure reckoning in or out of the cockpit. That could easily slide into Marty Stu territory, and arguably it does, but because he’s a cog in the plot rather than the central element (if anything, Kudelia is the central element) it doesn’t seem like the universe is moving to his whim. Especially since the show does a good job of presenting a conflict that one supersoldier can’t really effect.

      1. I think what makes Mika different from full-blown Marty Stus like Aldnoah Zero’s Inaho is that the show actually shows Mika’s feats to be actually within his believable capabilities, as shown by the narrative. He can go as a one-man rescue team because he is trained to be such. Also, the series does good by showing that he does have his limits and that he is surrounded by other as capable as he is, albeit in different fronts. This avoids the “supersoldier Marty Stu” character that oh so many mecha shows seem to be obsessed with.

  5. Wow! this one actually turned out better than I expected. That subplot between Biscuit and Savarin (who, by the way, still fits the food theme of the Griffon family, as savarin is a kind of cake) turned ou8t less melodramatic than what I thought it would be.

    And , oh my, I am quite surprised at how much Atra has grown from that awkward teenager at the start of the series. Seeing her bravely take all that beating, which as braverade said, she is already used to, was just heartbreaking. Kudelia could certainly learn a thing or two from her, what with the “Maiden of the Rebellion” being so often indecisive about her actions. Though to be fair with Kudelia, deespite her being a celebrated public figure (as effectively built by the politicians around her), she is still a teenager who has yet to fully grasp the burden of adulthood thrust upon her by those parties who made her.

    (I guess Gjallarhorn exerts a considerable amount of control over the media for the Dort-3 people to make that mistake., you makes sense).

    And okay, I am definitely intrigued with McGillis’ Masked persona now. Rather than Char, he is becoming more like a way less omnicidal version of Rau Le Creuset (from Seed), with him actively playi8ng both sides to meet his plans.

    1. “Rather than Char, he is becoming more like a way less omnicidal version of Rau Le Creuset (from Seed), with him actively playi8ng both sides to meet his plans.”
      Considering Rau himself is a Char Clone, they all really come from the same well. Though also, if you recall, Char played both sides as well for his own benefit and that of others over the years.

      I want to see how McGillis’ plan unfolds and if Gaelio knows about him being at the colonies or if McGillis is playing Gaelio too. If so, Gaelio’s journey to being the first “Garma Clone” will be complete. :p

      1. I guess it’s due to Char being the more popular and his story well established (hence , the prolifiration of Char clones), but Rau was was somewhat more enigmatic in his actions (which made him stand out among the clones), This is what I noticed Macky is shaping into.

    2. I find Kudelia interesting and this a little unfair, but what’s interesting is it’s unfair IN the show. And that’s the point. Kudelia was never really trying to be the ‘maiden of the rebellion.’ She’s just a teenager who believes in making the world a better place and speaks her mind, which are good qualities.

      However, the adults and politicians around her manipulated her into a far larger position than she ever earned. So it’s logical (and good plot-work) that she doesn’t live up to her image and responsibilities, because they were never hers. She didn’t create them. Kudelia the figure is a tool of those in power, Kudelia the person is incidental (and they would like to be dead). Seeing her grow into a different Kudelia the figure that is able to stop them and put a wrench in their attempt to manipulate her image and legacy should be very exciting.

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