Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 16

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Fumitan has seen some things. She’s from the Martian slums, and seen things she was certain would cloud young Kudelia’s honest, ignorant eyes. When Kudelia shows her a bound book with stories about revolution (and an illustration of a golden-haired maiden leading the charge), she decides to give in to Kudelia’s demands to see the outside world, so her world can become larger.

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Despite Fumitan’s insistence, Kudelia reaches out to a young child in the slums with a candy. Immediately, there are three more children and an old man eager for handouts. Kudelia is overwhelmed by the lesson. Fumitan teaches her one more, by hiding in an alley and letting the young miss sweat. When she finally shows herself, Fumitan runs into her arms like a scared child relieved to see her mother. But her eyes didn’t cloud.

And they don’t cloud when Fumitan admits to betraying her, then runs off and hides from her just like that time in the Martian slums. But once again, Kudelia’s eyes remain honest, even as she becomes less ignorant. She doesn’t hate Fumitan; she’ll never hate Fumitan. She just wants to know the whole truth.

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As Mika and Atra search for Kudelia, Fumitan’s escape route is blocked when the space ports are closed in response to the worker protests. As soon as her elevator reaches ground level, two of her “associates” are waiting, and they give her one more chance to “do her job.”

Meanwhile, the more moderate workers’ timing is ruined when their march arrives at the government offices, but Savarin runs into a dead end with peaceful negotiations. There will be no negotiations, and there never were going to be any. The protesters are there, and they’re armed, because they’re all part of the plan.

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And wouldn’t you know, it, for the purposes of completing her betrayal of Kudelia and Tekkadan, Fumitan happens to be in the right place at the right time for Kudelia to spot her and try to get to her. Only she’s blocked from crossing the street by the picket line, and protesters recognize her as the “Maiden of the Revolution” and surround her.

The two goons who accosted Fumitan train a sniper rifle at Kudelia’s position, waiitng for the perfect moment to take her out, hoping to stoke even greater enmity with the oppressed workers, as well as the oppressed everywhere else; everything is being captured on live TV. It’s around this time I’m feeling very nervous about Kudelia.

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This is how Mika and Atra find Kudelia, but Mika sends her back to Orga (with a tender holding of her injured chin). It looks like he’ll go in Full Assault-and-Rescue Mode with Kudelia, like he did with Atra. But something’s not right. I just don’t feel like that’s going to go down, even if the show even further stretches his ability to kick ass without getting a scratch. This situation looks too big even for Mika.

That suspicion proves true, as Gjallarhorn stages a bombing on the government building they can later blame on the protesters, giving them the excuse they need to quell the demonstration, which they do in on of the cruelest, bloodiest way they can: blowing up the mobile workers, launching smoke bombs to obscure the protesters, then laying down sweeping machine gun fire into the cloud.

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Kudelia, somehow, survives the massacre, but she’s surrounded by carnage, and the girl who recognized her dies happy, because she was able to die in the arms of the Maiden of the Revolution, “like a fairy tale.” At this point I’m certain Mika won’t come in time, and he’s not omniscient enough to sniff out the snipers’ nest and kill them before they can get their shot off. So as the smoke clears, they train their crosshairs on Kudelia’s golden head…

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…and Fumitan takes the bullet for her. Just as before in the slums, she couldn’t stay hidden in the alley, in the shadows, just to prove a point. When she saw that illustration, she saw Kudelia’s idealism, and something she could destroy to save her, just as she could have torn or burned that book.

That will teach her the truth of the world, she thought. But that figure in the illustration wasn’t the Maiden of the Revolution, she was Hope Personified, which is apparently what Kudelia is and why her eyes never clouded. Was this practically the most predictable climax to an episode titled “Fumitan Admoss?” You’re damn right. And I didn’t give a rat’s ass; it was a beautifully orchestrated foregone conclusion.

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Who is the Kudelia Mika scoops up, the one who just had a random admirer and Fumitan die right before her eyes? Will she be able to recover, or are those eyes now in store for some clouding? As for the grand plot, everyone involved seems to think it can still be salvaged.

But Teiwaz’ leader McMurdo Barristan, having watched things unfold on TV, calls Nobliss with an offer to join forces, knowing Kudelia won’t be snuffed out so easily. This is the first solid instance of us knowing Teiwaz was rotten at the top, but it’s not entirely surprising.

For now, the Turbines and Tekkadan are unaware of treachery at the top, but I doubt they’ll go along with it if and when they become aware. Of course, there are more pressing matters: Tekkadan is still trapped on a Dort colony about to explode, and Kudelia probably doesn’t know what their next move should be.

The show is almost telling us “Sure, we knew that you knew what Fumitan’s fate would be. But what will happen now?” I’m not quite sure; there are many possibilities. All I know is that this was one thrilling powerhouse of a Gundam episode.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

15 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 16”

  1. There are two options to McMurdo’s offer, either they work together to manipulate the next conflict with Nobliss, or he’s offering Nobliss a peace offering of putting his original plan aside to back Kudelia fully instead of trying to off her. The real issue, especially if it’s the former, is what Naze will do given his blood oath to both Barristen and Orga.

  2. Damn you, Okadaaaa!!!

    Predictable, but actually an interesting episode. That “A one time charity and saving them are different” line from Fumitan was a a rather harsh, but truthful, lesson.

    Though, there is still something from Fumitan’s narrative. We still don’t know why she chose to be Nobliss’ agent. It seems that she did it under own volition, but what triggered that? I hope they would address this.

    Still, this will definitely going to move Kudelia’s story into an interesting di8rection. Based on the preview for next week, she is going to be the Maiden of the Revolution.

  3. A very sad, but also a very fast paced episode.

    We knew it wasn’t going to go well, but everything just sped out of control after the protest started.

    Kudelia really shows that she’s mostly an icon that people can look up to and inspire others, but I think that after this, she’s going to have to step up in a major way. It will only be a matter of time before her face becomes the symbol of the rebellion. She started out as such a naive innocent that just wanted to learn, but she had to go through something before she could really understand.

    We also see that this was all a plan by Gjallerhorn, and they even brought in the special elite armada, called Arianrhod (I’m betting the white-haired woman is from that fleet considering where the term “Arianrhod” came from and its meaning), that protects the Earth specifically. All of the colonies are being taken down as an example and I wouldn’t put it past them in destroying them all. Gaelio and Ein didn’t seem to like what Gjallerhorn was doing either.

    So, like we all thought, Fumitan sacrifices herself for Kudelia, but how will it effect the Maiden of Revolution? And what about this deal that may go on between Nobliss and McMurdo? And how is Tekkadan going to get back to their ship?

    This looks like this is only just the beginning.

  4. Very good episode. Kudelia’s arc continues to be deeply fascinating. People on other websites have pointed out (repeatedly) that she hasn’t really earned all of the attention she gets. What this episode establishes is that is very much the point. She HASN’T earned it. SHe’s been being used because she’s convenient. She’s smart and she cares, but much more importantly she’s young and pretty and naive; perfect bait for a martyr.

    But, presumably, from here we’re going to begin to see how they miscalculated, because while she is young and pretty and naive, she is also smart and she does care, and by dumb luck she’s attached herself to a VERY skilled little private army that by further dumb luck is rather well-armed. They wanted their own personal Joan of Arc, and it appears that now they’re going to get one.

    That all aside, Joan’s story is not a happy one, so it leaves huge questions as to how this is going to end for Kudelia.

    1. I find that Joan of Arc connection rather fascinating (on a small note, wast that image in the book a reference to an actual artwork?). Another aspect I find fascinating is that Kudelia now seems to be IBO’s central POV character, with both Mikazuki ang Orga serving more as deuteragonists. This is somewhat uncommon for the franchise, as Gundam more often focuses more on the pilot hero, and is somewhat reluctant to use female characters as central characters. Even characters like Relena (Wing) and Lacus (Seed) actually play lesser roles when compared to Kudelia’s narrative role in IBO.

      1. I didn’t recognize the picture, but who knows. Clearly meant to evoke Joan of Arc though.

        And yeah, it seems like as it has gone on it has become clear that IBO is the story of Kudelia’s hero’s journey. Mika is many things (most of them badass) but he is not really someone who needs to grow into a hero and/or leader. Whoever Mika is, he became him before the story started and he’s mostly fine with it. Orga has a bit more room for growth, but is generally similar. Building Tekkadan was his moment. On the larger stage, it is Kudelia who apparently needs to rise up and change the world. Mika will presumably be her weapon, and he’s generally fine with that.

      2. I don’t think it’s a real art piece, but it’s definitely reminiscent of many other famous pieces about revolution, such as the famous “Liberty Leading the People” by Eugene Delacroix (even though that one features Marianne (the french goddess/symbol for Liberty) instead of Jeanne d’Arc) However, the Japanese and much of the world is only familiar with Jeanne as a female revolutionary warrior figure from Europe, and so I’m pretty much sure that’s who they were trying to show. The Japanese love to make Jeanne a lot more feminine and blond than she’s often portrayed in Western art, so that’s a pretty big clue that the art piece was created for the show.

        As for Kudelia’s role in the story, I think that’s because it’s really just time for her to be pulled from the background and have her own arc. IBO has actually been doing this all along. Orga has had two arcs in the beginning and then with Teiwaz where things leaned more towards his POV and he got some growth regarding being a leader. Akihiro had his not long ago, where you saw a lot from his POV and his growth as he dealt with his past as human debris and trying to shed his slave mindset. Shino had small ones throughout the series, Mika too. Biscuit just had a short one, and so did Fumitan. So, now it’s Kudelia’s turn.

        I think this series does a great job being able to give several characters their day in the sun, more so than many other Gundam series. Kudelia has the main spotlight for right now and probably for another episode or two before it switches to another character.

      3. @IreneSharda
        I agree on the individual arcs, but if you look closer into each arc, each of them is seen through Kudelia’s eyes, making her the series’ central viewpoint character, What more, each of the previous arcs actually contribute little bits to her growing character. of course, I will have to see this to the end to see if my assumption is correct.

      4. @FR
        I’m not so sure about that. Was Orga’s dealing with the Turbines and Teiwaz seen through Kudelia’s eyes? Akihiro’s ? Biscuit’s? Sure, she’s observing parts of it, but the POV for those arcs are through the characters that those arcs were meant for. There are a lot of major parts of those arcs where we don’t even see Kudelia for long amounts of time. With the Turbines, Kudelia has a very small part with everything really being experienced by Orga and his close crew. With Akihiro she has that one moment with the medical supplies and then later with the get well snacks, but most of it is Akihiro interacting with his bros. This series is called Iron Blooded Orphans for a reason, And a majority of the POVs and arcs we get come from the members of Tekkadan. Sure Kudelia gets her moment too, but it’s not enough for me to call her the main character of the entire series.

      5. @IS
        I wouldn’t call her the main character per se. Rather, more of main POV character. since, like I mentioned, the other arcs still connects to her POV, albeit in smaller ways. Of course, the central focus is Tekkadan as the titular Iron Blooded Orphans, but you could also say that Kudelia herself has symbolically became one of those orphans considering how her parents pretty much abandoned her in her journey.

      6. @IreneSharda:

        I actually disagree, I think flamerounin is almost spot on. Because, aside from Akihiro’s arc, she HAS almost always been important to what’s going on (more so than Mika). The first arc of course she was important to, but also the Teiwaz arc was both Orga’s AND hers. McMurdo’s whole thing was pointing out to her that she has to take responsibility for her decisions and their consequences etc. In that arc, she and Orga basically went through the same development (which is what made her weird regression in the Akihiro arc so problematic).

        Kudelia has basically been the deuteragonist to the whole series. However, because the protagonist spot keeps changing (to the point that Mika all but disappears for the majority of half the episodes), her position as the eternal deuteragonist has made the series ‘about’ her, even if individual arcs are about others.

        The whole plot is hers and she (and what people do to her) is what is driving it, even if individual events are about other people.

    1. Standard fiction 101: bullets get stuck in EVERYTHING. People block them, tables block them, walls block them, everything.

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