Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 23

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Commander Carta Issue is ready to accept the consequences for her latest humiliating failure at the hands of Tekkadan, but Lord Iznario says she’s being given one last shot to redeem her pride honor. It’s thanks to an unlikely benefactor: McGillis himself, whom Carta can’t help but blush before when they meet on the stairs.

Carta may believe herself a worthless, humiliating failure, but she forgets that when she and McGillis were kids, she always treated him as an equal, despite everyone around them saying they weren’t because of Gill’s low parentage. All that mattered to Carta was that McGillis was a Fareed, and he should always stand proud and strong.

Now McGillis is simply asking her to do the same, and she will. But who knows the true reasons he wants her to fight Tekkadan once more, and how that coming battle fits into his grand plan to reform Gjallarhorn.

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As the Edmonton Express proceeds unabated, Merribit is increasingly concerned that the orphans of Tekkadan, including Orga, have gone mad in their thirst for revenge, and that it can’t possibly end well. But those same kids she wants to keep out of the fight tell her to back off. They’re fighting for Biscuit, and they will not be denied.

If only Gaelio could fight for his dead friend Ein. We see the toll Ein’s transformation into essentially a half-Gundam takes on Gaelio. Just as the Tekkadan kids are being metaphorically hardened into killers (which Merribit hates), Ein has been literally weaponized. He no longer has the luxury of choice, nor does he want it; he is still “alive” to avenge Crank and his other fallen comrades.

I never thought I’d be comparing Gaelio and Merribit, but here we are: both are appalled and scared of the sudden turn things have taken, but I don’t think either will be able to resist the force of the currents they’re caught up in.

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Even more unsettling is that Carta is, on some level, being thrown to the wolves by McGillis, with Gaelio and Ein sure to follow. Carta doesn’t realize the extent to which killing Biscuit radicalized Tekkadan.

She also quite wrongly assumes their patience and willingness to have a good old-fashioned 3-on-3 duel to decide whether they may pass or whether they hand over Makanai and Kudelia. Mika, in particular, isn’t having it. Why should they? Chivalry in this situation doesn’t do them a damn bit of good.

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Carta magnanimously gives Tekkadan 30 minutes to prepare, but Mika doesn’t need one. He rushes Carta and curb-stomps her two McGillis lookalikes. He doesn’t just disable their suits, he kills them, and then starts mercilessly whaling on an overwhelmed Carta. Even Lafter gets a little squemish at the sight of the carnage.

She rants about how this can’t be and who she is, but Mika doesn’t care about any of that, and neither do the kids who are watching (and won’t let Merribit send them away). Carta and Gjallarhorn are the enemy, and they’re in the way, so they’ll get crushed.

For a few moments, Mika is the bully, the antagonist in this fight, and Carta is like a lamb in the snow I’m feeling sorry for, even though she shouldn’t have expected anything else. It was a little hard to watch.

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A weeping, utterly defeated Carta is only spared from death at the last minute by Gaelio, but her injuries draw comparisons to Ein’s when he was last defeated. Could Carta end up the brain of another Gundam, like him? I don’t know, but Gaelio doesn’t have the heart to tell her he isn’t McGillis. McGillis, presumably, has moved on to other steps in his big plan.

The train makes it to the gleaming city of Edmonton, on time and ready to deposit their passenger right smack-dab in the parliament when the time comes for elections. Orga calls the city “the enemy’s grounds.” Mika listens, as he pops a snack in his mouth, unsurprisingly none the worse for emotional wear after his 3-on-1 beatdown.

But he used to just follow orders; take out those who he’s ordered to take out, because orders were orders. Now he’s finally seeing those he takes out not just as targets, but as enemies; those who stand in the way of Tekkadan getting to a place where they belong. If anything, this realization only makes Mika a more potent weapon.

As for Merribit, she seems to have taken on the thankless mantle of Tekkadan’s conscience, thinking about a future beyond the next battle’s outcome, like Biscuit did before. But is that future the “Final Lie” of the episode’s title?

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

11 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 23”

  1. It’s Edmonton, not Anchorage that the Parliament session is being held at, Anchorage is where they docked at and departed from on the train with Edmonton being the destination.

  2. I was hoping we would get to see more of Carta and her relationship with Gaelio and McGillis, but oh well. Really felt bad for her though.

    But, man, this isn’t fun anymore. It’s downright horrifying. This episode is a terrifying reminder that, even if Mika and the other Tekkadan kids do have their lighter side, they are still the scarred products of the society that has basically forsaken them. As Mika demonstrates once again, they don’t care about chivalry and other niceties, because they were never on the receiving end of those before . They will fight to survive.

    And Merribit’s motherly fears for these kids is certainly justified. They are slowly nearing the point of no return, and she is powerless to stop that.

    1. Also, Mika and McGillis show an interesting contrast. But seem to really cherish their friends. But, while Mika is willing to lose his humanity and kill to protect them, McGillis is willing to lose his own humanity and sacrifice his his to attain a greater good, perhaps even for the benefit of Mika and his friends.

      1. No matter how I look at it, Mika’s conduct and the rest of Tekkadan’s (the children’s) sentiment is just wrong! Sure, push comes to shove but it looks like this plot device of rage and revenge seems to be being forced down our throats all the sudden. So will this flow of hatred spiral on throughout the rest of the series? I dread to think how that will turn out every time a friend or comrade dies in battle.

        And here’s a thought. How do we know what Mika said to Orga regarding Biscuit’s decision to quit was the truth? For all we know Mika just said what Orga wanted to hear because Mika could not stand of the thought of Orga losing it and not be able to direct him in what to do. I find Mika really disturbing if not sinister. In his own way he has somewhat manipulated Orga in giving him the reason for his existence, and that is to kill anyone that gets in his, if not Tekkadan’s, way.

      2. And that is what’s horrifying about this episode. IBO has never been been idealistic right from the start (something that is rather surprising, considering that it’s a Mari Okada work), and the ep really drills that down.

        Sure, push comes to shove, but these kids have been so brutalized their entire lives that, even the gentleness shown by people like Merribit and the other adults is not enough to control that seething rage within their immature minds. So, long story short, instead of having one character moralizing about how revenge is bad, IBO decides to to show that lesson to us (and the kids) in the most brutal way possible.

      3. I always knew McGillis had the potential to sacrifice his friends. It’s has really been there since the beginning, since they decided to purposefully have McGillis and Gaelio be expys of Char and Garma.
        It really all comes down to if he ever thought of either of them as friends in the first place. If not, it’s really not betrayal, at least for him. McGillis as of right now doesn’t seem to actually have any real friends, however we’ll have to see what in his past led him to this and what his connection to the Montags are. He’s definitely dedicated to his goal–whatever it is.

        Mika is incredibly loyal to his friends, and he has always been ready to kill to protect them. With both these characters, I’m not sure if either has really changed that much. It’s just with McGillis, we’re just starting to get the whole picture.

      4. @wiked-I,

        Just have to comment on your thought about Mika lying to Orga about what Biscuit told him.

        Mika is not that kind of character.

        He is very straight forward. I believe the scene where he confronts Orga should tell anyone about his character.

        Mika is Orga’s club.

        So lying about Biscuit, indeed any kind of subterfuge on Mika’s part (outside of combat), just wouldn’t occur to him.

  3. Well, finally got a chance to see the episode and it was quite a doozy.

    As much as they tried to give Tekkadan an uglier sheen here, but I really don’t care. They are still the heroes of this show in my eyes. They have gone through so much and lost so much, and Biscuit was the last straw. Mika is right in that Carta would have kept coming after them, and as everyone says, “all is fair in love and war”.
    Sure their minds are on revenge, but they are angry and it’s warrented that they would be angry. Sure the kids are there, but they are more than just kids, they are a part of Tekkadan just like everyone else.

    No one was going to stop Mika, the only one with the power to do that, is Orga. And even he knows to just let Mika go sometimes.

    I wish I could agree with Merribit, but she really just seemed annoying and whiny this episode. She doesn’t know Tekkadan as well as she thinks she does. She sees them as little kids that are nice and happy, not really knowing the life that they led before this and all they have gone through together. She has only had a taste. So, when the kids told her this is something that they needed to do, I believed them.

    Also, while some might think Orga mistepped, I think he did right considering his men. He knew when to let Mika go at it, and he knew when to stop him. He also had a good feeling of what kind of catharsis Tekkadan needed. So, now they can all go on to the next phase.

    As for Carta, she fought a good fight, but she was too used to the rules. And that’s useless against a group like Tekkadan. We all knew she was going to die. You don’t kill a character like Biscuit and live. But I like how they had Mika curbstomp her, but didn’t give him the finishing blow.

    As for McGillis, I can’t really hate the man. It’s like when Char betrayed Garma, I didn’t hate him. Gaelio and Carta are getting played. I basically figured that out episodes ago. Ein too (poor guy, they really turned him into a machine?). But I really want to see what McGillis’ plans really are. We see him as a little boy and he was ostracized even then, and from the way they said that he ate a lot and was just learning how to read, I have to think that he came from a background similar to Tekkadan before he was adopted.

    I’m not even really sure he betrayed Tekkadan, or at least as much as he used them as a tool to get rid of Carta and Gaelio. I really am trying to see why though. What is his overall plan?

    Well next week, we fight in the city as they all go up against Robo-Ein and Gaelio. Though I still wonder why McGills wanted Ein in that suit? It must be part of his plan somehow.

    1. As much as they tried to give Tekkadan an uglier sheen here…They are still the heroes of this show

      Oh, most definitely. I didn’t mean to imply Mika and Tekkadan were the bad guys this week, just that the actual bad guys were portrayed in a particularly vulnerable and sympathetic light, so there was more going on here than simply kicking the ass of the bad guys who richly deserved an ass-kicking. They did deserve it, but people like Carta are as much victims of their own upbringing and ignorance as they are agents of malice. I’m glad the writing has brought a degree of complexity to everyone, not just the heroes.

      Gaelio and Carta are getting played

      When I think of Gaelio and Carta, I can’t help but think about why they are who they are. Their entire lives they have been trying to live up to their great names, which means walking very narrow and exacting roads, and never stopping to think about the blood and misery that made those roads possible. Compare that to McGillis, who clearly comes from humbler beginnings and may even have experienced suffering of the other orphans prior to being adopted.

      Merribit…doesn’t know Tekkadan as well as she thinks she does

      True: she’s trying to be the adult, the caring mother for these lost children, when she’s come in very late in the game. We don’t know about her past, but something tells me if she had a similar past to say, Atra, we would have (A) heard about it by now and (B) she wouldn’t have acted the way she did this week. She would have understood better why things had to go down this way.

      Kudelia, on the other hand, knows Tekkadan a little better, and has also been through the wringer of tragic loss, which steeled before Biscuit bought it. She’s in this for the long haul and needs Tekkadan to be her shield. She has a job to do; so do they, so she’s not going to quibble about their methods if this is how they want to deal with their loss.

      As for McGillis, I can’t really hate the man

      Tekkadan only exists because of the corruption and oppression of the system. That’s also why I can’t hate McGillis either, even though I’m still not sure exactly what he’s up to. For now it feels like he wants to end the reign of a system that breeds more Tekkadans. Whether he can or not or is simply a hubristic idealist, we’ll soon find out.

      But we can see that the world the current Gjallarhorn is protecting just isn’t sustainable. Pretty soon, the little guys, the stomped-on guys, stomp back.

  4. “Just as the Tekkadan kids are being metaphorically hardened into killers (which Merribit hates)”

    I think Tekkadan were always “killlers” just that that was a side that Merribit rarely saw. All of them have been trained for years in a PMC to be able to fight and to kill as well as any soldier, sometimes even better since the 1st group used to dump all the hard jobs on them.
    So, while I can understand her want to protect them, I think she doesn’t completely understand them either. Orga does, even if he himself is slightly caught up in his anger, that’s why he let the kids answer for him when she tried to get him to leave the younger ones out of it.
    I actually kind of find it funny that last week, every one felt cheated that Mika didn’t curbstomp Carta when he had her caught after she freshly killed Biscuit, but when he actually finally does this week, suddenly everyone is horrified.
    I personally didn’t mind finally seeing his unleashed rage. It was a chance to finally see what he can do when unleashed, and I think he needed that. Plus Carta has been the one to chase them down over and over, it’s not like they specifically sought her out to kill her. In a way, they are really just doing the same thing they’ve been doing in defending themselves, just that they’re no longer going to roll over and get stepped on anymore. They will take out whatever enemy that tries to stop them, because you can be sure that their enemy will be trying to do the same.

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