Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 24

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Well, I’m back, after managing to climb my way out of the Ik Kil cenote, and upon my return I’m greeted with one of the hardest-punching episodes of IBO yet, the climactic Battle of Edmonton. What’s interesting is that most of the time, the city itself is completely untouched by the battle, as are its citizens (none of whom we see) and the parliament that is about to convene.

Tekkadan have six hours to get Makanai there, or everything will have been for nothing. But Gjallarhorn is careful not to appear like they’re interfering in Arbrau affairs, while Mika can’t just barrel into the city and wreck up the place, because Makanai would lose all support he has with such a reckless entrance.

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But the clock doesn’t rule this episode. It’s there, but far more important is Orga and Tekkadan’s commitment to demonstrating their version of the Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy: Things have worked out for them so far, so they’re going to keep working out, if only they keep fighting and pressing forward. There’s nowhere for them to retreat to anymore, so it’s not as if they’re swimming in options.

Merribit has an active role in the battle—tending the wounded, which seems like far too big a job for just her and Atra, neither of whom are triage doctors—but she remains convinced they’re doing this all wrong. She’s become the new Biscuit, only she’s even more outwardly opposed to the more reckless plan being implemented, and the costs of which are mounting by the minute; a lot of orphans die today.

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But Merribit isn’t in charge; Orga is, and he has the full support and loyalty of the men…er, boys,along with the tacit approval from Kudelia, who absolutely must get to Parliament with Makanai. In not so many words, Orga tells Merribit to stuff her objections where the sun don’t shine.

Since before they were Tekkadan, they’ve been risking their lives, either for their own purposes or for those of their masters. Tekkadan still has masters of a kind in Teiwaz, Makanai, Kudelia and Montag. But never has the need to put aside worries about losses or political or emotional fallout than now.

Even if Orga were to cave to Merribit’s wishes, what does she suggest: surrender? They’d likely all be killed anyway, and all the higher-ups would do is click their tongues in distant disappointment, lamenting Tekkadan wasn’t who they thought they were and moving on rather quickly.

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So Orga doubles down, hoping even when his boys see their comrades fall, they’ll fight that much harder so the survivors can survive and smile. It is a full understanding that nothing so much as a place to belong comes free, especially for a band of Martian orphans oppressed all their lives: the orphans who fall shall be bricks in the foundation of the survivor’s future; their blood will be the mortar.

But yeah, for all that to happen, some of Tekkadan has to actually, you know, survive. While I liked how the episode started with the battle already trudging on for three days, if you stop and think about it (or watch how quickly they incur losses in the scenes of the battle we get), you see that the show has suddenly gotten awfully darned liberal with Tekkadan’s strength and resources.

But this is an episode about putting a lot of stuff aside, whether it’s how Tekkadan can hold out so long against Gjallarhorn, or how good a wheelwoman Atra is in a pinch. It’s an episode where both the heroes and the show throw caution to the wind and go for it, and the results are far more thrilling than frustrating.

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One could level the criticism that there’s simply too many people fighting for screen time this week, but this also didn’t bother me, as we’re in the climax of the show (barring a third season). So when Eugene suddenly shows up to bail out the mobile workers, we cut to the nervous Makanai faction or Fleurs and Iznario watching from safety, or Gaelio takes Mika on to avenge Carta, I’m fine with all of it.

The most obvious reveal that was coming this week was someone I’ll call “Frankenst’Ein”, but his entrance was still chilling in its ominousness. Laffter and Azee are two of Tekkadan’s best fighters, but the way StEin casts them aside like ragdolls really drives home the point that this guy is bad news. Indeed, Azee, Laffter, and Shino could all be toast, and all in a matter of seconds, which, obviously, would suck.

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Not only that, Ein manages to unite all the disparate battle vectors by working so fast he’s almost everywhere at once, undermining Tekkadan’s gains and wreaking havoc wherever he goes. Once he’s done beating up the mobile suits, the power is switched off in Edmonton so that Ein’s Arab reactor won’t cause any more chaos than he causes by ripping up the streets with another badass entrance.

However, on this point, Ein is outmatched by Kudelia, doing probably the bravest (and stupidest) thing she’s ever done by standing her ground and staring Ein down, daring him to do what he will. By doing so, and throughout his dialogue, Ein is not only revealed as an over-powered, formidable fighting force, but not the stablest of individuals, which is understandable considering how much Crank meant to him (and the fact he no longer has a full body).

Kudelia really is going all-in here, giving clarity to a very complex situation: Ein can kill her right then and there, but there will be consequences for the powers that be. Not only that, Kudelia’s able to distract Ein long enough to allow Mika to blast in to rescue her, along with Orga and Atra, at the last second.

Meanwhile, though it’s almost overshadowed by the impending Mika-Ein duel, I kinda cheered inside when Montag Dazzled the Stage and unmasked himself, proclaiming he’ll be Gaelio’s dancing partner for the duration. Great stuff.

I’ve wagered twenty-four weeks on this show (and would bet twenty-four more) and have been vastly satisfied with the rewards. I’m hoping the finale will net me a windfall. Yes, I have a problem, but I can’t stop now, with the finish line in sight.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

6 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 24”

  1. Glad to see you back! I’ve got a lot to say this week, but a tiny correction:

    “Once he’s done beating up the mobile suits, the power is switched off in Edmonton so that Ein’s Arab reactor won’t cause any more chaos than he causes by ripping up the streets with another badass entrance.”

    The power wasn’t shut own FOR Ein, It went off BECAUSE of Ein. He wasn’t supposed to go into the city with a mobile suit, it was the same reason that no mobile suits went in the city from either side. The Ahab reactors completely messes with the electricity similarly to having a flying EMP.

  2. Okay, here we go.

    Even before this episode was over, one quote kept replaying in my head over and over again:

    “They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!!!!!”

    This was such a heartpounding episode, never before in Gundam, have I felt such feeling and such tension for the common soldier. This is not just about the star mobile suit pilots, this is about the entire group, the entire organization, all of Tekkadan fighting together to give themselves a better tomorrow.

    No longer is this about revenge, this is about survival, about pushing forward to a better future, about not rolling over and letting the bullies step on you. Tekkadan swore to finish the job, and finish the job they shall. Even if they all must die, they will continue to push forward for a better tomorrow for those that did survive.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve felt a real “battle zone” feel from a mech series, but IBO accomplished that. Gjallerhorn is only biding for time, not realizing that they are sacrificing their lives for the whims of one man that is trying to gain more and more power unto himself. And so for three days, Tekkadan has battled Gjallerhorn in an attempt to break through and get Makanai to the church on time. They haven’t had much rest and little food, and they can’t send in their mobile suits because of the effect the Ahab reactors would have. They are low on everything, including manpower, and so Orga has to make some heartbreaking decisions. He knows that many will die on his orders, but it’s there only way right now. Gjallerhorn will never let them go, and they have sworn to finish this job, and finish they shall.

    Orga is shaken by what he knows he must do, but Mika encourages him. They have trusted him with everything they are, he can trust them to get the job done.
    And so, Orga makes the best speech in the whole darn series and asks them to risk their lives with him in order to make a better tomorrow for Tekkadan.

    Merribit is once again against this, but what do you want him to do exactly? He can’t back down, he can’t run away. There is no way around it, except forward. And this is for more than just Tekkadan, all of Mars and the other parts of the Outer Sphere all ride on this. Someone on MAL actually pointed out something interesting in that, Merribit is really learning the same lesson that Kudelia learned way back in the beginning of the show. At the start, it was she who was saying how wrong it was and that they should think more of their own lives, and it was Mika that taught her that sure his life is important, but so is everyone else’s out there, and so he is willing to risk it to protect others. Notice now, that while Kudelia does bear looks of hardened despair similar to what Orga has at times, she no longer says anything. She has learned that lesson. That sure is wrong, but it’s a wrong world they live in. It’s wrong, but they are from a part of a world that has been wrong since the beginning. They don’t have any choices left. Even if it’s wrong, it’s still what must be done.

    Tekkadan reminds me of revolutionaries from something like Les Miserables, or pretty much any American Revolution war movie. They are outnumber and out gunned and yet still they go on. And that tree of liberty still has to be watered from time to time…

    Eugene, Chad, Dante, and even the kids from the Brewers have come to help, as they just found their place and don’t want to lose it. This is a fight for their survival as well.

    Gaelio and Ein come on the scene, and it becomes obvious that Ein is pretty much insane at this point. They take down Azee, Lafter, and Shino. I’m not sure if they are all dead, but it is quite likely.
    He then goes to take down Kudelia who has gotten into the city, but she is having none of this. I love her attitude here. Atra, Mika, and Orga though come to her rescue as Ein goes to kill her. Mika left the fighting of Gaelio, to McGillis and his Grimgarde that has now arrived at the scene.

    How will this all end? Makanai will obviously get there in time, Mika will have to fight and destroy Ein in one last battle. Gaelio and McGillis will have to fight, and I don’t think Gaelio will win this one. Someone has to take the reigns of Gjallerhorn.
    Unless…McGillis all this time has been grooming Gaelio to take this spot? We’ll have to see.

    I don’t know if this series will have a second season. But even if it doesn’t I won’t mind if they end it next week with Tekkadan winning and Makanai becoming PM once more.

  3. Quick clarification but Tekkadan was reinforced with mobile worker hardware from Teiwaz while at Anchorage in 18. And also, Ein caused that blackout with his Ahab reactor, they’re not supposed to send mobile suits into a city so I’m betting Ein just did it on his own initiative.

  4. But this is an episode about putting a lot of stuff aside, whether it’s how Tekkadan can hold out so long against Gjallarhorn, or how good a wheelwoman Atra is in a pinch.

    Though it is a bit of a strethc, I would owe Tekkadan lasting for three days to them using guerilla tactics against Gjallarhorn’s more conventional warfare. It isn’t uncommon for guerilla forces to last against a larger army in combat. Though, how Eugene and his crew managed to enter the battlefield undetected is beyond me, but eh.

    As for Atra suddenly showing up driving skills, this one felt like a hilarious unintentional jab at how Eddelrittou pulled off the same feat at the end of Aldnoah Zero’s first season. They’re both petite women, so you have to wonder how they even managed to reach the pedals with their feet. And to seemingly drive joke home further, they both drove a Humvee.

    As for the other parts of the episode, I like how Merribit’s opening narration drove home the point that her fears are justified. And the fight scenes with Ein (I am so getting a kit of his MS) is just downright brutal and well choreographed, never stopping even if named characters (presumably) die. It gave that part some real sense of urgency.

    1. I’m going to guess that Eugene and company got on the field with Montag’s help. McGillis also got on the field with no one noticing. I’m guessing they probably all came together.

      As for Atra, they kind of eluded to it way back in episode 2 or 3, when it showed Atra being able to drive her deliveries to their compound, even having to swerve significantly in order to not hit Cookie and Cracker. So, unlike “that show that shall not be named” at least it was already shown that Atra knew how to drive beforehand. LOL

      1. Ah right, I totally forgot that earlier scene. Atra being a good driver definitely makes more sense now.

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