Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 18

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This is largely an episode that is doing the practical work of moving pieces on the master game board, as well as introducing a few new faces. But it also has some of the most powerful scenes of the entire series, and one of those new faces happens to be the new face of the Maiden of Revolution, Kudelia Aina Bernstein.

Wounded by the loss of Fumitan but now hardened by the wider plight of the people who believe in her, she takes up the baton of destiny. While before she was wide-eyed and often seemed lost, here her stare has grown a lot more resolved and aware.

But this episode is called “Voice”, so it’s not just a new face she’s found in herself, but her voice as well. It’s a voice that’s powerful enough to inspire the larger revolution she didn’t know she was the idol of, and strong enough to stop the Gjallarhorn fleet without firing a shot. Mika is understandably impressed, as am I.

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So is McMask (who continues to have Mustachirato around). He contacts Tekkadan with a business proposal on behalf of the “Montag Company.” It looks like he’s decides to enlist Kudelia’s aid on his crusade to reform Gjallarhorn.

McGillis’ long game has gotten so long, it makes thinking about a potential Gundam rematch with Mika seem like a dinky whim. They’re for all intents and purposes on the same side, due to his and Kudelia’s shared desire for change.

On the other hand, there are some who aren’t so inspired by Kudelia’s voice, like the Gjallarhorn fleet that only stopped because they were ordered to; Gaelio, who’s only looking for a piece of the action, and most notably Ein, who is actually half-Martian and thus mercilessly discriminated against for being “less than human”, which is what Gaelio warns him he’ll become if he undergoes the A-V procedure.

Ein is still inspired by the voice of his late mentor Crank, who for all his toughness was someone who didn’t believe in judging people by lumping them into ordered groups (they chat in a brief but strong flashback scene). He treated everyone equally, and encouraged Ein not to worry about what others think of him. If the A-V can help Ein defeat Tekkadan, so be it.

In terms of wild cards, Ein’s not as flashy as McMask, but he could still exert some influence before the end. In another Gundam, he indeed might be the protagonist, and we can actually empathize with his desire for revenge. However much I like and support Tekkadan and Mika, Mika did kill Crank.

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Another great scene is after McMask’s introductory meeting with Kudelia, Orga, and Naze, in which Orga and Biscuit learn that McMurdo and Nobliss were in cahoots without their knowledge. Biscuit is somewhat miffed by being left out, but Orga isn’t the slightest bit surprised, nor does he feel betrayed

His aniki simply hasn’t deemed him or Tekkadan quite ready for that kind of information, that’s all. His “scurrying at the feet” of greater men who are in the business of outwitting each other. And while Tekkadan are largely now a means to an end – protecting Kudelia – Orga’s talk reminds us they’re not done changing.

In one of the funniest moments of the series, and a very knowing one from the production staff, Mika immediately recognizes McMask as the Chocolate Guy. Yet McGillis doesn’t even skip a beat; after all, he’s not wearing the mask to conceal himself from them, but from his peers.

McMask cannot yet show his hand to the world, but there’s no harm in letting Orga, Biscuit, and Mika (but only them for now) in on his secret, and tell them of his plans to transform Gjallarhorn, and how his goals align with Kudelia.

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But realistically speaking, this has been an extraordinarily rough, draining few days for Kudelia, and she’s continuing to push herself, not sleeping or eating while furiously preparing for negotiations. Atra noticed her legs shaking during her televised speech – something I’m glad we learned through her rather than when it happened. At the time, the show itself, like us, was focused on the voice of Kudelia the Revolutionary; Atra was focused on Kudelia the flesh-and-blood human being.

We’re briefly introduced to the charismatic female commander of the Outer Earth Orbit Regulatory Fleet, who digs eye makeup and may be afflicted with the Gundam equivalent of Chuunibyou, though with the firepower to back up her theatricality. She looks to be a fun and formidable foil to Gaelio as well as Tekkadan. We also meet a female politician and an old whitebeard who considers Kudelia his “Prince Charming.”

Finally, as Akihito trains Shino in the simulators on the Hammerhead, Laffter seems to be throwing out restless vibes that suggest she may have a thing for Akihito. I could totally see her dumping Naze for someone who can give her their full attention…but this could all be just wishful thinking on my part.

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But what puts this episode over the top for me is the final scene, which is definitely be in my Top 5 of the series so far. It had just about had me in tears needing to be held and consoled by Mika. It’s a scene that rekindles Atra’s strange, beautiful, adorable fantasy, but also shows how Kudelia will find the strength to keep pushing forward.

The burden of her responsibility literally pounding at her head, a lonely Kudelia is joined by Atra, who came to deliver her some lunch, but also comfort and solidarity. Atra wants Kudelia and her to talk to each other more, so that they can share the burden she’s carrying alone. Atra actually forgot the lunch, but Mika brings it, hears their conversation, and joins in. Kudelia may think herself powerless, but that’s the strain of her burden speaking.

Mika thinks she’s amazing, having stopped an attacking fleet in its tracks with her voice. No one can overstate how rare a gift that is, no matter how much luck may have played a role. Mika admits even Orga couldn’t have done what Kudelia did. Mika knows he’s out of the loop about a lot of things and knows he can only do so much, but he also knows what he can do, which is support Kudelia with everything he’s got (which, as we know, is a lot).

Atra concurs with his ‘amazing’ label, and Kudelia is moved to tears, prompting Atra to order Mika to take her in his arms and console her. She’s surprised at first, then leans into the hug. When Atra starts to cry, Mika surprises her by bringing her into the hug as well, simply going by the rules Atra herself laid out regarding consoling ladies.

The three just float there Atra and Kudelia crying it out, and you can just about feel the weight of Kudelia’s burden lessening as it’s distributed among the other two. It’s a beautiful moment, full stop. When she later informs Naze of her approval of the McMask deal, her eyes are still raw from tears, but they’ve never looked more strong or determined, because she has friends who love her and who have her back.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

22 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 18”

  1. Whiteboard guy was the leader of Aruba, one of the four earth power blocs and the one Kudelia was going to negotiate with directly for her areas economic freedom.

  2. Whitebeard, sorry, and his name is Togonosuke Makanai, former prime minister of Arbrau (Canada and Russia and Alaska) Apparently the old woman talking to Fareed’s dad is a member of Arbrau’ s Parliment angling to replace Makanai whose taken refuge in the Oceania Federation after being ousted on embezzlement charges.

    1. Wait, how do you know that? Is this pre-existing Gundam lore, or was this stuff covered in previous IBO episodes and I’m just drawing a blank?

      1. No, it was mentioned in this episode by the reporters who were surrounding the parliament woman that works with Fareed’s dad. Also, the old man’s identity was mentioned way back some episodes when they were explaining the blocs and who Kudelia was supposed to meet.

      2. Episode 6’s elevator scene between Atra, Mikazuki, and Kudelia when the latter explained what her objective was to be exact. Also McMurdo briefly mentioned Makanai during his conversation with Kudelia in episode 9, hence the talk about trading rights over half-metals. And the rest was indeed mentioned by the reporters questioning the lady, whose name is Henri Fleurs apparently. Given the presence of Fareed’s dad it looks like Gjallahorn is trying to cut Kudelia off at the pass as it were by working with Fleurs to trump up these charges against Makanai.

      3. It’s funny, but I heard them mention the name “Henri Fleurs” in the episode, but since “Henri” is such a blatant French masculine name (especially for me, since I’m a French speaker), I never associated it with the woman, but thought they were talking about some other politician. Japan once again, just picking Western names out of a book while blindfolded. *rolls eyes*

  3. I’m sorry, there are reasons that the vast majority of the planet gave up on (or didn’t practice in the first place) polygamy, and I’m not getting over it just because this random anime has decided it’s neat.

    This is a wonderful show and I like it, but it’s weird insistence on the wonders of polygamy pulls me out of the scenes every single time, and it will continue to do so every single time.

    Again, there are reasons, and it’s not just everyone being a little bit too selfish for group sex.

    1. And numerous affairs/sky rocketing divorce rates are a better alternative? Look, I’m not an advocate of the system but I’m not going to call out someone if they’re generally able to make it work and are okay with it. Polygamy doesn’t work for the vast majority of people because it can lead to incredible abuses, and often it does, but for the slim minority that does manage to figure it out I can respect their wishes so long as it is genuinely what they all want/are okay with in the end.

      1. They are fictional characters. They don’t have wishes. Nothing in this story, good or bad or otherwise, has anything to do with the wishes of any real people. It is a show. So when it presents an idea, and you are for or against it, you are not for or against the rights or lack of rights of any real people. You are not being understanding of polygamous societies by being okay with it, I am not being not understanding by not liking it. That is not how shows work. You and I are judging a plot, and what we think of said plot.

        Also, the divorce rate is not skyrocketing. Look it up. It DID skyrocket when divorce became acceptable/women had the right to make decisions about their lives (oh nooo) but then it basically stabilized. It was pretty much just artificially low before because people weren’t allowed to.

        I do not like the polygamy thing because it’s ridiculous. It’s not a realistic depiction of an emotional situation. I have watched, enjoyed, and even owned some of the Tenchi Muyo stuff, which hits hard on the polygamy thing. And is completely ridiculous. That’s fine. It’s not trying to present realistic emotional relationships. It’s slapstick and fanservice.

        I do not like the polygamy (which IS, for better or worse, a part of this show that keeps coming back) because it is an emotional/writing cop-out. The writer has set up dramatic romantic tension, and is just sidestepping them all by having everyone randomly okay with polygamy. This is not how people work. I have numerous female friends. I am married. If I told my wife that I liked one of my female friends A LOT and I thought that we should try and make it work she would leave me. Normal romantic stories do not attempt to explain monogamy because it is simply instinctual. Polygamy is not, and screw being PC, the vast majority of societies that do or have practiced polygamy do so because they are (or were) sexist and male-dominated and women have few if any rights, it is not because they understand love differently.

      2. And I’m not talking about real people right now either, I’m talking about the concept in this hypothetical scenario. What I enjoyed about Orphans depiction of it so far is that it doesn’t tip toe/play around with the concept like so many slapstick harem animes, it deals with it as if it were an actual functioning thing. Did I say I disagreed with your objections or the problems with the system? No I specifically cite those same points and why it doesn’t work for the vast MAJORITY of people. It definitely ISN’T for everyone but like everything in life there are exceptions and if some slim minority DOES manage to make it work and mutual consensus is achieved from ALL parties involved then I’m not going to hold it against them for doing so just like I wouldn’t hold it against Laffter for dumping Naze because the concept isn’t working for her any more.

    2. I honestly don’t understand this obsessive fixation with the whole polygamy deal. The series isn’t even saying “Hey kids, go out and do polygamy. It’s the best thing”. All it did was present this a facet of its vision of a future society., nothing more.

      As for Atra, Mika, and Kudelia, the show isn’t even saying that they are in that kind of setup. It still is just part of Atra’s fantasies, something even she has not acted upon on. All thst scene in this ep highlighted was the unique emotional bond that has formed among the three of them, which is not even of the romantic kind.

      1. 1. Half of this is up there.
        2. If they tried to do a love story about 12 year olds, I would also think it was messed up.
        3. The polygamy is a thing. It’s not necessarily how the story will END, but at this point it is very much up a part of the makeup of the plot, and attempting to downplay it is silly. The main supporting characters/mentors not only practice it, they endorse it and attempt to convert others, and one of the main love interests is explicitly aiming for it. Whether or not they go the polygamous route at the end, the love story being told in this show is very much asking the question, “what if they DID all get together?”

        And to me that turns this into a cartoon. As I mentioned above, I actually enjoy Tenchi. BECAUSE Tenchi is silly. This is silly. Polygamous is not a realistic emotional response in the vast majority of the world (nor has it ever been), and where it a realistic response, it is rarely if ever because a guy has ‘a unique emotional bond’ with multiple women. It is because his society has told him he could or should marry multiple women, so he does. His emotions and those women’s emotions be damned.

      2. Beyond that, I also don’t trust it which sort of annoys me more. I firmly believe somewhere between one and all 3 of the triangle will die. They all have numerous things that call for it. Atra basically is an extraneous but important character making her perfect for dying to cause drama, Kudelia is a Joan of Arc expy with obvious connotations, and Mika is the hero who could easily become a martyr to save his friends/the women he loves. To reference the RandomC interviews (which I generally hate) this strikes me as emotionally manipulative in the worst way.

      3. Whoa there, tiger. It seems you are too eager to force your own moral views onto the series.

        Polygamous is not a realistic emotional response in the vast majority of the world (nor has it ever been), and where it a realistic response, it is rarely if ever because a guy has ‘a unique emotional bond’ with multiple women. It is because his society has told him he could or should marry multiple women, so he does.

        That’s my whole point. This particular theme is simply a part of the series’ vision of a future society. Again, IBO is, in essence, a piece of speculative fiction, so, who are we to say that its notion of a future world are “incorrect” based on our present views of morality? Heck, how sure are we that our present moral views would still remain some 600-700 years from now?

        And to me that turns this into a cartoon.

        Ahhh, but this was already a cartoon from the start, what with the “silly” ideas of giant robots bashing each other with hammers and boys getting those weird things on their backs. Again, it seems you want to limit the series’ vision to9 suit your own views instead of actually exploring the world that it has crafted. (yes, even its “unsavory” bits).

        Ah, but this is going far too long. The episode wasn’t even one bit about harems.

  4. Mika instantly recognizing Masked Man as McGillis seems to be a hilarious jab on that ludicrous Mask/Luin deal in Reco. And that lady commander’s intro was downright hilarious. But I guess tthis is a deceit. Considering how prominent she is in the OP, she is probably going to be a formidable one (and in this show, it seems the more lighthearted characters are the ones you have to be careful of).

    And Hey, we finally got that backstory of why Ein is so attached to Crank. That was honestly long overdue *though to be fair, the show hasn’t really dwelt much on Ein for it to be a lingering issue).

    But wow!, McGillis actually revealing himself to Tekkadan and offering to join forces with them definitely t5hrew the story into an interesting loop. That really deepens the intrigue on what his plans really are.

  5. So we are finally getting to Earth and into the game of space politics.

    Kudelia is growing up, but she looks like she’s trying to change and change too much too fast.

    We have several different factions we are being introduced to here that are on Earth, and none of them seem very trustworthy, even this guy that she’s supposed to meet. Kudelia’s speech got them to stop, but I’m not sure for how long. We have this new over the top commander girl who looks like she wants to take them down. McGillis’ dad and some woman are also doing some shady stuff as well. And who was the little boy in the car?

    McGillis actually shows his hand, and he wants to form an alliance with Tekkadan, Kudelia and the Turbines. He shows himself as head of a group called Montag Corp and he wants to help so that they can help him. And from what he was saying with derp-Hitler (yes, he makes his return too) he seems sincere in wanting their help.

    I love that Mika recognized him right away and McGillis didn’t deny it at all, however, he does request that they keep his secret. As he says, he has no reason to trick them, especially since someone like Mika could see right through it.

    However, this move makes me wonder if he’s really working with Gaelio. Gaelio still seems stuck on taking down Tekkadan for some stupid reason, even after we get Ein’s backstory about being half-Martian and how Crank inspired him.

    Well, it looks like we’re back in the fight as they are still trying to get Earth and they’ve partnered with McGillis to get them there. Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend basic thing. And Mika is giving both his ladies as hug as they try to make the best of this sticky situation.

    However, with the full on battle next week, I’m going to bet they don’t get to Earth where they wanted to.

    1. Just to clarify but according to what I’ve read the lady talking to Fareed’s dad is a member of the Arbrau Parliament who helped oust Makanai, the former Prime Minister and person Kudelia was supposed to meet, on trumped up embezzlement charges, likely at Gjallahorn’s urging to try and head Kudelia off.

      1. That makes sense, I just got a chance to read the new bios that came out, so now that scene makes a lot of sense. Though, considering McGillis, Nobliss, and McMurdo’s habits of keeping up with all the political news and the current situation of things, I would think at least one of them would inform Kudelia that the status quo has changed in terms of the person she was to meet, even if it was for their own purposes.

      2. The event seems rather recent so I suspect they likely haven’t quite got up to date since they’ve been busy with the events at Dort 2 but I figure they’ll find out once they hit planetside soon enough.

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