Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 21

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As expected, Gjallarhorn is coming. More specifically, Carta is coming. The Issue family is the Top Dog of the Seven Stars, and she’s coming in force to restore her pride and that of her fleet. Orga’s plan is to help get Makanai and Kudelia to parliament. Kudelia calls upon Montag for transport and he obeys, happy to be of help in the shadows.

But all this is preceded by a rare “Back on Mars” scene, specifically Biscuit’s sisters waiting for his return from Earth. As I saw the place and family he wanted to get back to as soon as possible (which isn’t as soon as he’d like, hence deferring to Orga), I didn’t know it was a bad omen.

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“We’ll worry about the future after we leave here,” says Mika. In the meantime, they’ll crush whoever’s in their way of that future. The target has had to move by necessity, and Biscuits okay with that. “You’d never complain about my reckless ideas,” Orga says to Biscuit in a dark mess hall. “I did complain.

You just weren’t listening.” And so it is with Biscuit’s many death flags early in this episode. They were clear to see, but like Orga, my eyes were focused elsewhere, on all the other issues at hand, like resisting Carta Issue’s imminent assault.

We even see a potential passing of the torch from Biscuit to Merribit, as she visits Orga and assures him he’ll have “plenty of chances” to tell Biscuit how much he needs him and wants him to stay in Tekkadan. Could the foreboding be any more obvious?

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Alas, like Orga, I wasn’t listening, partly because I didn’t want the worst to happen. Biscuit, even with his wavering resolve, was too important to Tekkadan’s survival. And when Carta brings the pain from land air and sea (and one naval captain is the older brother of Orlis, Tekkadan’s first kill), the focus moves from the characters to the latest battle they must fight.

Carta’s got the numbers, but she was born a few centuries too late. Tekkadan doesn’t cut her any slack for her flashy, chivalrous, but ultimately dubious tactics, like clumping her Blonde Squadron and rushing straight ahead, but not before posing and announcing how great they are. I chuckled when a shirtless, impatient Akihito interrupted her sublime little procession by blasting one of her men.

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That being said, Carta has a lot of steel to throw at Tekkadan, and throw she does. It’s just that most of it gets wasted with terrible gameplan that doesn’t try to poke or prod at Tekkadan’s defense, allowing them to exploit a great number of traps and misdirection.

Carta and her men are also not accustomed to fighting guerrillas like Tekkadan, and the uncouth rough-and-tumble melee combat throws them off balance. Meanwhile, thanks to Biscuit’s strategizing, Carta attacked the wrong side of the island in her desire to achieve her mission objective of capturing Kudelia and Makanai.

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When her men get to Makanai’s residence, only fire and smoke greets them, and in the confusion their targets slip away to the landing area where Tekkadan commandeers their own landing craft. Tekkadan knew exactly what their enemy was after and how they’d go about trying to get it.

Carta didn’t know or care what her enemy was up to or how it would fight, and simply thought everything would work out due to sheer brute force and “fortuitousness.” She thought wrong.

Even so, Carta is in the right place at the right time (and Mika is occupied) at one crucial moment when Orga’s Biscuit-piloted Mobile Worker is exposed. Carta is able to slip away and slash it, and Biscuit is able to warn Orga to let go and be thrown from the worker just in time.

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When Mika sees the worker tumble, he goes into a kind of controlled berserk mode, defeating both the suits hounding him and then beating Carta down (though not killing her in a murderous rage, hence the “controlled”). But the damage is done, and the flags this time didn’t lie: Biscuit is crushed by the worker, and due to blown-out ears, isn’t able to hear Orga’s cries.

Biscuit doesn’t want to die there and then, but he can’t overcome the damage done to his flesh and blood. “We will make Tekkadan…” are his final words to a devastated Orga…not “I told you this would happen.” The “we” and “Tekkadan” suggest Biscuit wanted Orga to know it he was with him and with Tekkadan until the end. That his death wasn’t Orga’s fault. Orga can’t just fall into a pit of regret and despair after all; there are a lot more people depending on him to lead their search for a future.

This episode returned to the Mars-based first ED, which was a nice move. Now I finally understand what the corn at the very end is about. It represents the quiet, peaceful life of farming with his sisters Biscuit was fighting for until the end, but could not quite reach. But for everyone else, the struggle continues.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

9 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 21”

  1. Well that sucks. I thought they would just keep killing off people I don’t care that much about, but they finally killed a character I learned to really like. :(

  2. Not Biscuit! Not Biscuit! NOOOOOOO!

    this was arguably a lot better handled than Fumitan’s death. They did well by laying out Biscuit’s backstory long before this moment. And I like how to minor details like the open radio channels that have been present since ep 1 played a role in here.

  3. For a show that plays with death flags and Gundam expectations… this was a straight forward Gundam archetype. The foreshadowing was heavy handed, the villain(s) was comically dumb and uninteresting, and the entire reason Biscuit and Orga are in danger in the first place is nonsensical. What are they doing just hanging around in the open near skirmishing mobile suits???

    The death itself was well handled, and the rest of the combat was okay, but the meat and potatoes did not impress here.

    1. That is actually similar to the series’ opening battles where Orga, pretty much commanded in the open. Probably has to do with the handwave of Ahab reactors jamming radio communications a lot that they actually have to be close by to properly communicate.

      1. I’ve very much enjoyed this and Gundam Thunderbolt for playing with the old formula, setting and flavors. This ep just felt unimaginative by comparison. (I had the same complaint about Krank’s ‘tragic’ death early on) Now if biscuit had left them only to be blown up at sea!

      2. I for one was satisfied by Biscuit’s end. The logistics that got him in a vulnerable enough position to be smashed by Carta didn’t feel too contrived, because of where my mind as the viewer was at.

        The telegraphing of his death was all too obvious, but as I was watching the episode, I was more absorbed in the battle itself and all its moving pieces, rather than distracted by Bis getting positioned in the wrong place at the wrong time to get iced.

        As such, it came as a surprise in the narrower immediate moment, despite there being no doubt Bis was a goner in the wider view. In that moment, I didn’t expect Carta to get away from Mika.

        This had the dual effect of making Mika look less perfectly perfect (always a good thing), but also means Mika and Orga will share the guilt over Biscuit’s demise (though I wouldn’t blame either of them; casualties happen in battle, and Biscuit simply ran out of luck).

      3. The telegraphing of his death was all too obvious, but as I was watching the episode, I was more absorbed in the battle itself and all its moving pieces, rather than distracted by Bis getting positioned in the wrong place at the wrong time to get iced.”

        From a writing perspective, implementing death flags have become very tricky nowadays. Too few and your audience will accuse you of pulling a contrived asspull. Too many and you risk broadcasting an obvious twist. And the hardest part is that this is all subjective from audience to audience.

        Still, I got to commend the series for being able to maintain that suspense and shock with the way they built Biscuit over the course of the series and endeared him to the viewer. before killing him That was something I wish they could have done better with Fumitan’s character arc.

  4. I finally got a chance to see this episode, and just wow.

    The first part was a little slow, and I saw all the death flags building. But I thought it a ruse, just like all the others. If anyone was going to bite it, I thought for sure it would be Shino, but for it to be Biscuit, one of the three main gears of Tekkadan. I should have known the moment that he took the field, but I thought it was going to be a red herring.

    Going back to the battle, it was really nice to see and it was cool seeing Orga leading again and Tekkadan doing shirtless land battles. Carta and her blonds were just outmatched by kids who could care less about propriety and flamboyant words. Akihiro shooting one of them right as they were finishing their speech was hilarious.

    Carta really cared about her men, but she was an awful leader. And when she went after Orga, Mika went nuts. His voice was absolutely chilling once he’d caught her and asked her what she she was doing. Even Barbatos had this scary shadowed look with its shadowed green eyes.

    But Biscuit without any thought to himself protected Orga. While, as sad as it is to see him go, and I’m in shock at it, Biscuit IS replaceable while Orga is not. To see him crushed under the machine and wanting so much not to die, and to protect his sisters and send them to school, and yet, the MW had crushed him so. Even if he had lived, he probably would have been paralyzed from the waist down. And that cry from Orga was so guttural and heart-wrenching.

    Farewell Biscuit, we even broke out Orphans no Namida just for you. We will all miss you.

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