Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 19

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Due to the Dort excursion, it’s been a while since the last big space battle. I was hungry for a new one, and this show delivered a feast with its usual excelent timing. Before the battle commences, however, Kudelia gets her long overdue handshake with Mika.

In her first such attempt (in the very first episode), Mika demurred because his hand was dirty, but she never cared about dirt, and now her hands are dirty too, and whatever their personal inadequacies tell them, they’re on more equal terms than ever, with a united cause.

Kudelia also warmly thanks Orga and Tekkadan for getting her this far (and she’s sure they’ll take her further still), promising to make them all happy. As she glances at Fumitan’s empty chair, it’s also clear she doesn’t want her maid’s sacrifice be in vain, any more than all the other people whose blood is on – and dreams are in – her hands.

We also get a nice symmetry between Commander Carta Issue, who choreographs her men as part of their preparations for battle, and Eugene getting all fired up on Isaribi. Both strive to meet their personal ideal of cool to all around them. Eugene wants to be like Orga. Carta, as it happens, wants to show how far she’s come to McGillis and Gaelio.

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I always knew McGillis and Gaelio went way back, but now we see there was a third member of their childhood clique, the lovely (but also tomboyish in the day) Carta, who is spellbound the moment she first lays eyes on the newly adopted/arrived McGillis.

In the present, she’s pissed McGillis chose Gaelio’s little sister instead of her, and in order to further his career, no less. But Carta herself was only given Ariadne fleet command because of her silver (as opposed to iron) blood. Gaelio sees her as a figurehead, but she takes her role seriously.

As he watches the confrontation unfold between Tekkadan and Carta, McGillis (AKA “Montag”) monologues the importance of “unveiling the past” of those one wishes to predict and control. At the same time, living in the murky past “wastes” the bright future. He’s hoping Tekkadan is taking steps forward, and wants to see that he’s right.

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Speaking of a waste, just imagine if Tekkadan had the manpower and firepower at Carta’s disposal. Carta is rusty, if her blade was ever sharp to begin with. Earth’s orbit may be “her sky” to her and her loyal men, but that title had probably never been challenged in any way until now.

Some may decry how poorly she performs here as making it too easy for Tekkadan to succeed, but I take a different tack: there are good and bad, experienced and inexperienced commanders in Gjallarhorn. Her ability simply doesn’t match (or frankly justify) her arrogance or theatricality.

Faced with an unpredictable and fully committed opponent, Carta is outmaneuvered by “old school” tactics such as the Isaribi using the Brewers’ ship as a physical shield from long-range bombardment, which when destroyed releases a huge cloud of nano-mirror chaff that blinds the fleet, giving Tekkadan time to get the landing party into position.

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To pull off these tactics, Eugene had to control both ships with his A-V system, which takes him to the extent he looks like he’s just seen up someone’s skirt by the time he’s finished. Hopefully, he’ll be okay. The landing party, guarded by Shino, Akihiro, and Mika, is then ambushed by Gaelio and Ein, who in hindsight doesn’t seem so much obsessed with revenge here and now as he is eager to prove to Gaelio that he’s worthy of the trust and opportunities bestowed on him.

In the cold open Eugene and Shiro threw what you might call death flags, but since this is IBO not all death flags are genuine. Nevertheless, with so many people in play, I figured someone else we care about was going to die in this battle, especially when the transport carrying Orga, Kudelia, Atra, Biscuit, and Merribit is targeted. Enter the cavalry: Laffter and Azee, piloting suits modified so as not to tip off Teiwaz involvement.

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Ein has always been an intriguing if one-note character, but he faces another serious setback here as his suit and his body are pierced by Mika when he jumps in front of Gaelio to protect him. Like Carta, Ein simply can’t back up his rage and enthusiasm with actual ability. I doubt he’s dead dead, but he’s in bad shape, and now Gaelio has a another reason to want Tekkadan blood.

When Carta sends out her mobile suit forces, elite though they may be (or believe themselves to be) they can’t hang with Mika, especially when Montag joins the fray (in what I’m guessing is a suit that disguises his identity from Gaelio and Carta, whose reactions to his involvement aren’t seen). One of Carta’s pilots actually does give Mika a pretty hard time, making him miss his opportunity to use the transport ship as a atmospheric entry shield (Barbatos won’t make it on its own).

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Things look bleak for Mika (whose handshake with Kudelia could also be considered a death flag), especially when he thinks back to the convo he had with Orga back when the were kids, which set them on this course. But Mika’s not ready to say goodbye to the world yet; not when he hasn’t yet seen with his own eyes the place they belong Orga talked about.

So as the transport occupants worry and fear the worst during the long, violent atmospheric entry, Mika hitches himself to the mobile suit of the guy he defeated and uses it as an ablative heat shield, safely emerging not long after the transport. Kudelia, Atra, Orga…they’re all elated. Another close call, that’s all. Now, after that exciting space battle, our people are finally on Earth, where several new battles will commence.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

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

  1. I thought this was a moment of salvation for Ein, instead of losing himself to the past he focused on the future by helping Gaelio who picked him back up.

    1. Hmm…I like that way of looking at it. The “future” he helped further may not have him in it, but his was more a sacrifice for Gaelio, who gave him the opportunity to be more than he was, rather than an attempt to merely get revenge on Tekkadan.

      I can’t rule out the possibility he ends up bedridden or maimed by this attack (if he’s still alive); now it falls on Gaelio what to do with Ein’s sacrifice.

  2. Oh wow that was a great action packed episode!! Awesome animation! And glad Mika somehow found a dead suit to protect him. (though of course in reality, I really don’t think it would do him that much good, but I am watching Gundam so I don’t expect reality).

    Wild guess – I think Ein may be paralyzed from this, but he will then finally get his wish of getting a version of the A-V on him?

    1. I see Mika as someone with incredibly good luck — someone who, say, can improvise an enemy mobile suit as a shield, and…it just works out for him. And that’s fine; a group like Tekkadan needs all the dumb luck it can get!

      Gaelio was initially put off by Ein’s desire to undergo the A-V procedure, but if A-V can give Ein a new lease on life and usefulness, then I doubt Gaelio would deprive his savior of it.

    2. I don’t think A-V would work on Ein. They established in the beginning of the series that it only works on people whose bodies are still growing (i.e. children), because the system requires the nanobots that are put into the body to build an extra lobe in the brain that controls spacial awareness, I’m pretty sure Ein is too old for such a procedure to work. Plus, for the most part, the A-V system just helps with the fact that none of these kids have had the time or learning background to actually train in these mechs, so the system is needed for them to know how to pilot. Ein has trained already, so the system would only give him a very small edge.

    3. Rewatched the ep. I think it wasn’t all luck for Mika on that one. It was probably the suit he defeated just moments earlier that didn’t drift too far from him.

  3. That was an excellent episode!

    It was so tense and exciting. We get more background on everyone and all of our cast gets a chance to shine as out heroes finally make it to Earth.

    Cmdr Carta Issue, who I assume is also one of the Seven Stars is one weird woman who is spoiled and snobbish and has an inferiority complex. She’s a figure-head and it shows, she orders people around but she doesn’t seem to have really any idea of how to command at all. She is infatuated with McGillis, so much so that she’s surrounded herself with blonds. I have a feeling that she cares nothing about him though.

    Speaking of McGillis, he seems to be true in what he’s trying to accomplish and wants to see if Tekkadan is strong enough to push forward with their ideal and beliefs. We also get a hint at his background when he says that his REAL name is Montag, and somehow I don’t think he’s lying. To see them all as kids, McGillis stands out amongst them. Honestly he reminded me of a blond Mika. He seem to harbor a lot of anger and hate and has for some time.

    The fights were just plain awesome, Carta is incompetent but her men are very loyal. Tekkadan shows their mischievous fighting chops as Eugene shows why he’s the helmsman and that he can be very cool when he wants to be. Seeing him drive those two ships on his own using his AV system was just plain awesome.

    But that wasn’t the end of it. Shino and Akihiro show their chops with the Turbine girls providing much needed backup. I loved seeing Mika go all out against Gaelio and Ein going serious. I don’t think he’s dead, but he’s going to be out of commission for awhile. Gaelio is going to want to get revenge.

    Meanwhile, the best part of the fight was seeing McGillis and Mika out fighting together with their medieval mech weapons of a mace and broadswords. Them fighting back to back was just so overwhelmingly amazing. I feel like I’m just gushing now.

    And then there was that reentry scene with Mika trying to catch up and seeing Atra getting torn apart worrying for him and Orga also falling apart. However, he remembers what he and Orga talked about as kids and Mika survives riding another mech down, to the cheers of everyone.

    But now that they’re on Earth, what will happen next? It looks like they get to their destination pretty quickly, but we’ll have to see where the talk goes.

  4. Okay, this was a bit of the typical Gundam “atmospheric reentry” episode . But, based on the preview , they actually do get to their destination, unlike the usual story with this ep where they would veer way off course.

    And, okay, I take back whatever I said last time about Carta. She is a bumbling commander. But what I like here is that, unline other bumbling commanders of Gundam lore, they actually give her a backstory,, which is surprisingly interesting (and certainly very Okada-esque). I wonder how this will play out in her own subplot (considering that monologue of McGillis about “unraveling the past”), and I am actually hoping to see her a bit longer.

    1. I also liked Carta, and appreciated getting a little backstory to explain her actions and motivations; I also dug her distinctive look.

      Her “McGillis Lookalike Reverse Harem” (MLRH) is funny, weird, and sad, in equal fashion. The flashback indicated McGillis was Carta’s first love, but that love was unrequited, time passed, and he chose someone else.

      Now she has to settle for facsimiles (albeit a lot of them), as she leads an untested, largely ceremonial fleet that simply wasn’t ready for Tekkadan’s guerrilla space tactics.

      1. Though I do hope that she does graduate from the bumbling commander role if she will be appearing more. That schtick kinda gets old fast. Though, I really liked that utter lack of formality and respect Gaelio showed when conversing with her, adds that interesting dynamic between them. I now wnt to see her interact with McGillis.

        But, considering that she is being billed (by fans at least) as a comedic version of Zeta Gundam’s Haman Karn, I am intriguede to see just far how that one will go.. Owing to her almost fanatical infatuation with McGillis (which she tries the darnest to hide), I wouldn’t be surprised if she actually sides with him in the later conflicts. .

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