Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 22

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This episode doesn’t stray far from the familiar patterns associated with the aftermath of the death of a major character. Rain clouds gather. Tekkadan’s march forward is suddenly halted. Their leader Orga withdraws to his room to be alone, racked with grief and guilt over the decisions he made that cost Biscuit’s life. The iron flower’s petals are wilting.

As predictable as this reaction and its resolution may be, it’s important to remember why they’re predictable: because they’re realistic. The loss of someone both dear to the Tekkadan family and integral to the Tekkadan business reveals that yes, indeed, these are still a bunch of kids. Even Orga can’t deny how few years he’s been alive, nor can he conceal the fact this is the largest loss in his life to date.

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Naturally, as the other kids of Tekkadan deal with their grief without their leader around to share in it, the adults don’t skip a beat. Fareed’s father orders Carta home, telling his chosen pick for Prime Minister that Carta has only proven to be a “worthless tomboy,” which is pretty harsh but not inaccurate. Carta’s job was to stop Makanai, period. She could not attain that result even with superior manpower and equipment. Carta is furious over her latest defeat and wants to keep going after the “space rats”, but follows orders.

The other two, non-shamed members of Carta’s childhood triangle, McGillis and Gaelio, are busy as well. McGillis makes Gaelio confront his prejudice and ignorance over the A-V system (the only thing at this point that can save Ein) by showing him the A-V research that continued even after the war. Gaelio laments the “loss of humanity” needed to embrace A-V, but McGillis remarks, not wrongly, that every time the world has changed, either for better or for worse, it was because someone abandoned or exceeded their humanity.

Revealing a squadron of new (or really old?) mobile suits, McGillis reveals his “plan”: Ein and Gaelio will both undergo the A-V procedure, and together with him eliminate Tekkadan and prove that they should be the ones running Gjallarhorn. In reality, McGillis intends to keep propping up Tekkadan and Kudelia as a relevant threat in order to use them as a stepping stone to power, i.e. overthrowing Gjallarhorn. In other words: he may only be their ally as long as they do what he wants them to do.

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Meanwhile, aboard the Montag ship, one of the “kids” is also moving forward without stopping. That’s Kudelia, and it’s no surprise: she already went through the pain Orga and the others are enduring after the loss of Fumitan. She decided long ago that no matter how much blood ended up on her hands, she wouldn’t stop fighting to become Hope.

That’s an important distinction from becoming a leader, as Makanai suggests after hearing her plans to get him to Edmonton via a train in Anchorage. A leader is just a person. She wants to be more than that, more than a mere human agent whose power is extinguished when she dies. She seeks an enduring transformation and influence. That’s the same area where McGillis is operating.

The adults on the Montag ship are powerless to do anything about the low morale. Merribit wants to do or say something to Orga, but isn’t confident she can get through to him. Laffter and Azee are more comfortable with their role right now, unable to fix the morale, but still committed to doing what they came there to do: support Tekkadan on behalf of Naze.

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As I supected, it’s Mika who breaks Orga out of his funk. Merribit is inches from knocking on his door, but Mika appears, and she suggests they both simply leave him be. But Mika comes right back and crashes Orga’s pity party with some cold hard truths. Way back when they were kids, they had an agreement, one that predates even meeting Biscuit: Mika would do anything, kill anyone for Orga, as long as Orga took the both of them to that place where they belong. That place was never simply an abstract concept for Mika: it’s a place.

Up to this point, since Biscuit died, Orga hadn’t been telling Mika anything. That ends right here and now, with Mika grabbing Orga and asking again and again what he wants him to do. He stands there, ready and waiting to carry out his will. He also puts it to Orga: are they there yet? No. So they must keep going. After bringing Orga back into the present with his eyes re-fixed on the future, lightning strikes; a nice, if on-the-nose touch.

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Orga emerges from his room, musters his boys, and tells them the best way to honor Biscuit is to make sure he rests easy knowing they’re continuing the job they have to do. At the same time, he makes it more about a job, which he probably has to considering how much of a jolt the kids need to keep going; he makes it as much about revenge.

After Orga’s pep talk, Tekkadan gets back to work, and the iron flower’s petals re-sharpen. As the credits roll, we see Makanai and Tekkadan already aboard the train bound for Edmonton, meaning they didn’t have any trouble getting to Anchorage or securing transport. That indicates the next three episodes are going to start taking care of business in earnest.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

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

  1. [quote]Revealing a squadron of new (or really old?) mobile suits, McGillis reveals his plan: Ein and Gaelio will both undergo the procedure and together with him eliminate Tekkadan and prove that they should be the ones running Gjallarhorn. This plan assumes McGillis needed to keep Tekkadan a relevant threat in order to use them as a stepping stone to power. In other words: he was only ever going to be a temporary ally.[/quote]

    Lol, you think McGillis is playing Tekkadan? I think you might want to think about it being the other way around.
    If McGillis is playing anyone, it is certainly all of Gjallerhorn, INCLUDING Gaelio.
    This episode sealed it. He hasn’t let him in on any of his plans, told him about his secret identity, or that he’s working with Tekkadan. He even leads Gaelio astray by saying that “There’s an informant among us.”, knowing that his “friend” would never suspect. McGillis seems to be really counting on Tekkandan and Kudelia to do what he needs them to do, especially considering his own inner monologues and comments to himself in regards to them. No, I think if there is anyone he’s going to betray, it’s going to be Ein and Gaelio. He seems to be pushing at there idea of petty vengeance and pushing for them to both have the A-V procedure for a reason. It’s part of his plan and he seems to be setting them up, but we have yet to see what that will lead to in the end.

    I myself have a felling that he’s aiming at taking out all of the Seven Stars until only he remains so that he can be free to deconstruct and rebuild Gjallerhorn, but time will tell.

    1. I think you might want to think about it being the other way around.

      Would you believe me if I said McGillis was so convincing to Gaelio, that even I was convinced he sought to destroy Tekkadan? ;)

      You’re probably correct though. After all, the “informant” McG speaks of is clearly himself.

      However, I stand by my observation that Tekkadan and Kudelia, like Gaelio and Ein, are “stepping stones to power”, and if neither perform like he needs them to, they will become liabilities rather than assets in his greater plan.

      Let’s not forget what McGillis wants: not just A Better Future, but A Better Future that HE shepherds into existence with his own hands. Everyone around him is a means to that end.

      I’m also reminded of Tekkadan’s new harder stance: “Anyone in our way will be destroyed.” It’s no doubt the same with McGillis: if tools go haywire and cease performing the tasks he requires them to, then he’ll dispose of those tools.

      Of course, to fall out of favor or usefulness, Tekkadan and Kudelia have to let McGillis down somehow, and there’s no evidence of that happening for now.

  2. That was a very good episode. We get to see how the grief affects Tekkadan over Biscuit’s death, but not only that, about how it his Orga the hardest and how all of Tekkadan depends on him. He has no time to adjust to his own sorrow, they need him to tell them what to do next and nobody needs that more than Mika.

    It’s been awhile since we’ve have a serious Mika/Orga talk, but this one definitely takes the cake. We’ve seen Mika and Orga’s co-dependence on each other since the beginning, but here, Orga is so tired and so exausted after what happened to Biscuit and his guilt is great as well, but Mika won’t let him rest. I have always been hesitant to really call Mika “crazy” but this episode shows there is definitely an imbalance there.
    He needs Orga to tell him what to do next, who to kill next, who to destroy next, until they arrive at the place that he promised him. Orga and Mika have a pact, and Mika is going to keep making these demands of Orga until they reach the place they belong, just as Mika will continue to follow Orga’s orders. It’s a little disturbing, but it’s what they’re used to, and it does get Orga moving again.

    Kudelia is showing her mettle as a leader, no matter what she says, but this time it’s Merribit who bemoans that she is feeling useless now.

    There’s also two revelations this episode. It seems that if it wasn’t apparent before, it is now. McGillis is leading on Gaelio. He’s manipulating him, using half-truths and emotional words, when he has his own plans. What is his true goal? Is he going to betray Gaelio? Will Gaelio continue his path to becoming the Garma of this series?

    We learn about the A-V system and how it is related to Gjallerhorn and the Gundams, but why exactly does McGillis really want Ein and Gaelio to get it? There’s a trick here somewhere, but I’m not sure what.

    Another revelation is that Naze actually doesn’t really have a harem in as much as he has a floating women’s shelter. It’s kind of how I surmised in the beginning. He calls them all “his women” but they are really just women he has picked up and given homes. The idea that they are all his wives are simply assumptions that Tekkadan gained and her never really confirmed or denied. And it makes sense, since Amida is the only one he really gives any attention anyway.

    This is great news for all those who want Lafter and Akihiro together. She’s not as attached as we thought.

    And so they are all on their way to the parliament by going though Alaska (what is it with Gundam and Alaska?) and Orga is back to talking with his men and they are out for revenge. The older people are against it (and Japan seems to have this anti-revenge rhetoric that is everything), but I hope that Mika and the others kick the crap out of those Gjallerhorn stooges. Carta seems to be going to the Crank route next time, so we’ll have to see how Mika stomps on her this next time.

    1. One of the best parts of this episode is seeing Kudelia be the most clear-headed, capable, useful person at the moment, a great reversal from all those times she had to sit around and watch battles unfold.

      Makanai’s line about her enjoying “bossing men around” was exactly what a grizzled old man like that would say to her.

      What is his true goal? … Is he going to betray Gaelio? … Why exactly does McGillis really want Ein and Gaelio to get it?

      Questions like this make it hard to trust McGillis, despite all he’s done for Kudelia and Tekkadan. But they’re also what make him such a neat, multi-faceted character.

      I too appreciated the clarification of the Turbines situation.

    2. Another revelation is that Naze actually doesn’t really have a harem in as much as he has a floating women’s shelter. It’s kind of how I surmised in the beginning. He calls them all “his women” but they are really just women he has picked up and given homes. The idea that they are all his wives are simply assumptions that Tekkadan gained and her never really confirmed or denied. And it makes sense, since Amida is the only one he really gives any attention anyway.

      That”s what I found amusing about the whole Turbines affair. All the fuss about the harem, both in-universe and out of it (remember Kalerylan’s lengthy rants about the topic and how that “destroyed” a supposedly good show for him/her?) were brought about by people jumping hastily towards assumptions. The fact that Naze and his harem (well, he does technically still has a harem, it’s just not the whole ship, as we first thought), and the show ran away with that makes this all the more hilarious.

      We learn about the A-V system and how it is related to Gjallerhorn and the Gundams, but why exactly does McGillis really want Ein and Gaelio to get it? There’s a trick here somewhere, but I’m not sure what.

      I think what McGillis wants here is to increase Gaelio’s capabilities for whatever plans he has in store. Gaelio is already a competent pilot without the AV, but he can be evenly matched by unlearned kids who have the systems on their backs (literally). Besides, just like the other Gundam frames , the Kimaris itself was build around the the system, so what better way to use it than have a pilot that can fully use its capabilities.

  3. I like how Mika’s pep talk to Orga was made in his own unique way. It might sound rather selfish at first, but it is certainly a nice slap to remind Orga that he also made a “selfish” promise, not only to Mika, but also to the other kids who dep0end on him, that he must fulfill. It also give another interesting glimpse at Mika’s psyche and their dynamics.

    1. It also reminds me that once upon a time, in the beginning, people used to think that Mika was subservient to Orga and that Orga was taking advantage of him. But Mika actually CHOOSES to be the submissive one in this relationship, he CHOOSES to follow Orga’s orders, as that makes the most sense to him. But make no mistake, as seen here, he can quell Orga into submission himself, if it so suited him.
      Their relationship is so old, that I really think that only Biscuit had some idea what was going on there from what Orga told him, but I don’t even think HE understood the whole picture of what kind of relationship the two have.

  4. There’s an interesting little detail on the map that Kudelia points to. It seems that Sydney, Australia has also been reduced to a massive crater as it was in the UC universe.

  5. Mika makes this show… but not without Orga. Mika without Orga is why Aldnoah.Zero was so flawed: you need a contrast for the unstoppable hero and it can’t just be the villain

    1. I agree. And IBO triumphs over Aldnoah by having not only Orga, but also a plethora of other interesting characters surrounding Mika. The whole cast and how Mika interacts with them is what separates him by a long mile from the wish fulfillment caricature that Inaho was.

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