Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 32


I lauded McGillis’ decision to take to the battlefield to personally end the “mayhem” stewing between Arbrau and the SAU, but I did not expect the enemies he was fighting to be the Earth Branch of Tekkadan, but that’s exactly what went down thanks to the scheming of Galan Rossa and Radice.

Takaki and Aston have been so thoroughly, well, brainwashed by the charismatic veteran Galan that they’ll fight their own ally without hesitation – though it’s unclear how well they know McGillis and his relationship to Orga and Mika.


It’s a relief, then, that all of the delaying is done away with and the Barbatos arrives in the middle of the battle just in time to save McGillis from Takaki and Aston. And man does McGillis, and all that he represents, almost get killed in a nameless skirmish spearheaded by a nameless mercenary, all for the benefit of his political and military rival, Rustal. Mind you, Mika isn’t helping an old friend, or even a guy who gives him cool chocolate: he’s simply obeying Orga’s orders not to let him die.


As for Aston, he steps in front of Takaki and takes the brunt of an attack from McGillis that kills him, and all of Takaki’s hopes and dreams and innocence seem to die with him. That last thing is surprising considering how much Takaki has gone through, but up until Aston dies with a grateful smile on his face, Takaki was determined to go home to Fuka with Aston, not leave him behind. This may have been a pointless battle, but it might just cost Takaki the most.


As for Hush, he gets to tag along with Mika, as Mika is willing to give him a shot, but let’s just say Hush doesn’t do so great in his mobile suit debut. Indeed, he’s quickly disarmed, loses his cool, and very nearly cries for his mommy before Mika has to bail him out (the second big bailout Mika executes this week).

Hush’s comrade later tells him he’s still got the self-awareness of his weaknesses to be a good pilot, but yeah, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a very very weak asset to Tekkadan right now, and can’t be trusted with anyone but Mika, someone who can take care of himself.


Okay, maybe Mika isn’t the only one who can take care of himself and his own affairs when it comes to mobile suit battle. When Eugene and Akihiro arrive at Tekkadan Earth HQ, corner Radice and learn of His and Mossa’s treachery, and furthermore learn that Aston has been lost as a result, he goes the fuck after Mossa, and doesn’t stop until the guy has to self-destruct himself to keep form being halved by Akihiro’s giant vice-grips.

Their battle is the most emotionally and physically intense of the episode, illustrating both how badass Akihiro is and how fiercely he defends (and avenges) his fellow ex-human debris. Though like Aston, Akihiro has never really come to grips with the “ex-” part; he always puts others before his own well-being, and almost gets blown up by it, moments before Laffter can arrive to warn him. Laffter doesn’t want to lost Akihiro because of his own paltry sense of self-worth.


I enjoyed the little scene between McGillis and Mika near the episode’s end; both because these two are always fun to watch interact directly with each other (especially now that they’re on the same side), but that it almost shows that for all their differences, these are two guys utterly ruthless in their own ways, going after very specific goals only they believe they can achieve.

He’s almost an Orga surrogate here, without the shared past. Both McGillis and Mika seek a better tomorrow, and for now, their interests are aligned, with no sense of that changing anytime soon. And just as McGillis has Mika, his rival Rustal has Julieta, who seems to be the only one who sheds any tears for Galan Mossa, but is told not to do so by Rustal, as it wouldn’t be what Mossa wanted.

But as much as Mossa—who seemed to be a good friend of Rustal’s; perhaps even a blood relative—tried to erase his identity and that of his entire operation, he couldn’t erase one eccentric pilot’s regard for him, nor her grief over his loss.


As for Takaki, the loss he experienced is more than evident both in the cockpit, at Earth Branch HQ, and back at home. His gaze has changed, from his easygoing glint to more of a Mikazuki stare. He decides to take care of “Earth branch problems” in the injured Chad’s stead, doing what Mika casually offered to do and putting three bullets in Radice for his treachery.

The once kind and gentle Takaki has crossed over into new territory, and both the blood of Aston and the lies of Radice and Mossa crafted this new, darker, more tortured Takaki, who no longer seems comfortable in Fuka’s presence.

This was a hard-hitting and very satisfying episode that swiftly and efficiently wrapped up the Earth Branch arc. I won’t lie that bringing in Mika, Akihiro & Co. definitely raised my interest level, but I also won’t deny that despite the fact either Takaki or Aston (or both) were doomed here, I was still fully emotionally invested in their fates. Not a bad feat for a miniature war with no name.


Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

10 thoughts on “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – 32”

  1. Just to clarify, Akihiro adopted Aston and Derma as his brothers since they were Masahiro’s squad mates and they both took Altland for their last name, hence why Akihiro took this loss so personally. Also the big guy who keeps being Hush’s confidant is named Dane Uhai.

    1. Oh, and also of note but Galen self-destructed primarily to destroy any evidence on his mobile suit that might have implicated Rustal of this whole affair, which McGillis confirms while talking with Mika later on.

      1. I’ll allow that Galan was super-careful in covering his tracks, but the fact his mobile suit contained EVERYTHING kinda strains credulity. Seemed too tidy; and certainly too hastily explained.

        Galan would have had more impact if he’d been around for more than parts of a couple episodes. He came out of nowhere, left just as fast, and was, in effect, less a character than a plot device to put McGillis in harm’s way, kill Aston, and mess Takaki up.

      2. I feel that Galan should be viewed not just as a plot device though to further the main conflict, but also as a character extension for both Rustal (and Julietta to an extent) because of what it says that about their characters that such a highly skilled, ruthless individual could also be so dedicated and loyal to devote everything he had to their cause, and indicate that if this is the ability of one piece Rustal has than how capable must Rustal himself be.

      3. I’ll endorse that notion. I like the idea that Rustal isn’t just some flimsy bad guy like Coral from season one, and that the late Galan isn’t his only asset by a long shot.

  2. Aston’s death mirrors that of Masahiro’s in season 1, but with the big difference that he was actually able to live the better life (good food, comfy bed, friends) that Masahiro can only dream of. And this just makes Aston’s death even more heartbreaking, since, even with those, he was never able to shake off the damage to his psyche brought about by the “human debris” mentality.

    And while Akihiro’s battle with Galan got the action fanboys pumping their fists a lot, it was Takaki’s scene with Radice that is the emotional high point of this episode. Takaki represents the last threads of innocence for Tekkadan (not counting Ride and Yanagi, since they aren’t that much significant characters) and him making that decision to personally kill Radice means that these young people can’t go back to simpler times anymore.

    And Julieta still continues to be a mystery here. The fact that she cries for Galan shows that she might not be the psycho MS pilot that she was initially teased to be I wonder what her story really is.

    1. I think she’s just simple minded rather than crazy. Julieta displays a very openly childlike manner Mika only occasionally shows, whose she most closely resembles in backstory and attitude (which would make Iok Rustals version of Eugene I guess?)

      1. I for one like how there’s a Mika/Orga equivalent in Gjallarhorn. I’m not as emotionally invested in it yet, but that could change.

    2. True, Aston at least tasted life, but he always put Takaki’s life before his own, so I feel he never quite “got” what Takaki was trying to accomplish — convincing Aston that their lives had equal value and that he shouldn’t be in a hurry to throw it away. And he probably never was going to think that, because of the life he’d led to that point.

      It’s also a shame that Aston (and several other Tekkadan members who weren’t given names) died not for the survival of Tekkadan, but as pawns in a deadly game of politics between Seven Stars. I won’t deny I pumped my fist at Akihiro’s righteous retribution (though he seems a bit unfulfilled at the end when Galan blows himself up) but Takaki and Aston’s end also moved me.

      ~ R.I.P. Aston, Innocent Takaki ~

      As for Julieta, we know so little about her and her relationship to “the bearded gentleman”, her sudden tears were almost a non sequitur. Right now her character is just reacting to things, and it’s hard to get a bead on what she’s about (or whether she’s even crazy or just a little eccentric).

      Maybe that’s the point: they have 18 more episodes to develop her, so I don’t mind being patient.

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