OP Sequence


「鉄と血と」 (Tetsu so chi to)
“The Iron and the Blood”

On thing about Gundam – whatever the series itself brings to the table, you can get an awful lot of entertainment value from the names.

The elephant in the room with Iron-Blooded Orphans is and always has been the same: how will Okada Mari’s dominant-gene vision mesh with the supremely well-established and archetypal Gundam universe – and what impact will a powerhouse director like Nagai Tatsuyuki have on that unholy marriage?  I’d go so far as to say that for most who aren’t already huge Gundam fans, that elephant is the main curiosity factor for this series.

The thing with Gundam is that as elemental to anime history as it is, as a mythology it does have some considerable plasticity to it.  There are certain “historical” facts that every incarnation is expected to incorporate, but stylistically there’s always been a lot of room for play here.  That’s why the idea of Okada – as disastrously as she’s misstepped with updating established franchises, especially mecha – taking a stab at a Gundam show always seemed to have at least some chance of working.

After two episodes, I think the jury is still out on whether or not this will work.  There are things about Tekketsu no Orphans I’ve liked, others not so much.  I’ve never thought sci-fi was a great fit for Okada because, to be blunt, she doesn’t seem that interested in getting the details down.  Okada wants to write emo and angst, and she wants to put her characters through existential hell – and Gundam gives her plenty of opportunity to do that.  But so far the larger universe seems like a 2-D backdrop rather than a living, dynamic setting with depth of field.  Ironically, it almost seems as if Okada has been too respectful – or lazy – to do any reinventing of a very classic Gundam setting.

I’m waiting for some of the cast to break out of the cookie-cutter class, too.  It’s a pretty standard bunch so far, with a few more getting additional focus this week: there’s Crank Zent (Mamiya Yasuhiro) a senior commander for  the Gjallarhorn forces who’s morally affronted at the idea of fighting child soldiers (if he doesn’t die a noble death in the next episode, it’ll be the surprise of the year).  We also meet Biscuit’s two sisters, Cookie and Cracker (Kuwahara Yuuki and Senbongi Sayaka), whose function in the story should be self-apparent from the moment they appear on-screen.

As chestnut as it is, there is some traction to the core premise of Iron-Blooded Orphans.  These boys have really been screwed by life – illiterate, forcefully mutated to synch with their mobile worker machines, abandoned and abused by their own adult overlords even as the enemy attacks.  It’s pretty obvious that Orga has decided on a full-fledged revolt and I certainly can’t blame him, and as condescending as Kudelia’s initial attitude is, at least she represents a potential ally with some pull in society.  There should be some emotional pull to seeing them fight to gain some control of their lives and change a sick and craven system, but it’s too early to say whether the writing and execution will be able to extract it.


ED Sequence

ED: 「オルフェンズの涙」 (Orphans no Namida) by (MISIA)



    1. He was bleeding from the nose, and this is most likely from his brain being strained from the data being fed into it at a different and possibly greater rate than a mere mobile worker (Mikazuki was warned about it being different when he was hooking up, and we saw the jolt he got when it started up).

      The general gist I get from the system is that it’s similar to the bio-computer of Gundam F91 and/or the ZERO System of Gundam Wing in that combat and MS data is fed directly into the user’s brain (which allows them to have greater knowledge of the battle, react faster to changes on the battlefield, and so on), only this time, the pilot has to be directly connected to the unit itself rather than it simply being “absorbed” by the pilot like we see with the aforementioned systems.

  1. In terms of Kudelia, one thing I’m liking so far is that she’s actually acknowledging when she’s wrong about things. Only the second episode and, while initially, she was pretty confident about being able to do something, she’s already admitted twice to herself that she was wrong about something or that things are different from what she expected and such. She’s even willing to quickly consider that her father was the one who tried to set up her death.

    As long as she doesn’t become a virtual doormat that doesn’t really hugely impact things and/or is reduced to just a pretty cheerleader and/or pairing fodder for Mikazuki, then Kudelia definitely has potential to be a decent Gundam female protagonist.

    1. That is because she isn’t being condescending like many seem to claim, she is just overwhelmingly sheltered and naive.

      She is more or less an expy of Relena from Wing. She has a noble heart that and is well meaning, but has lived a sheltered life and wasn’t personally familiar with the grittier details of what she was getting herself into.

      1. I never liked Relena as a character. She was, arguably, the least developed and most unbelievable character in all of Gundam Wing. Not only did the plot consistently twist itself into pretzels to suit her, but the most annoying thing was that, especially later in the series, she always carried this half-assed arrogance about her in that she wanted to changer the world, but never really explained why.

        Apparently, once she found out about her family and took up their mantle, it just kinda happened, so deal with it. Ugh.

        Kudelia kinda gives me those Relena-esque vibes, but with a few important caveats:

        – Yeah, she’s in way over her head, but at least this this is about her, not her family or anything else. Admittedly, we do need to hear what it was that got her into this in the first place, but the focus is kept on her character and that’s good.

        – Praise Madoka, she’s not out there trying to change the whole damned world and achieve something as utterly unbelievable as total pacifism. She’s keeping her goals comparatively modest and realistic; well, as realistic as you can get in a Gundam series, but you get my point.

        – And perhaps most importantly, the more I watch Kudelia, the more I feel like she feels she may not be able to win this. Her heart’s still where it always was, but the weight of what she’s taken on herself is finally beginning to sink in and you can see that not only as a motivating factor for her, but something that’s having her reevaluate herself too.

        We never got that with Relena, not even close. She never questioned herself or whether what she was doing, while it sounded very nice, was actually in the people’s best interests. She just assumed she was right and expected everyone else to fall in line.

        Ryan Ashfyre
      2. @Ryan

        And Endless Waltz even went on to show just how her ideals couldn’t work with the rise of the Mariemaia Army, and the Barton Foundation behind them.

        All Relena’s “total pacifism” and “rid the world of weapons” idealism did was leave the Earth almost completely defenseless against people who either simply didn’t agree with those ideals (including ones like Wu Fei) and/or wanted to take advantage of the situation. Were it not for the convenience of the Tallgeese III being kept in storage rather than scrapped after the Eve Wars (probably, again, due to people like Noin seeing how unrealistic such ideals are) and the Gundams being able to be recovered and whatnot, the Barton Foundation would more than likely have succeeded and be in control of the Earth Sphere with barely a(n effective) fight.

        (“It’s far easier obtaining the peace than it is to maintain it.” – Noin)

        As I mentioned before, I liked Relena earlier in the series, especially when she tried to kill Lady Une with her own hands. She just showed a fire and determination that seemed to instantly disappear as soon as she decided to follow in her family’s “total pacifism” steps. That earlier Relena would never have just let the Sanc Kingdom be wiped out without a fight, but the Relena we had at the time was more than willing to (and surrendered) simply because she just had to stick perfectly to those ideals and it just came off as pretty self-righteous.

    2. It can’t be helped she simply to be trying to be friendly only thing surrounded by a uneducated children, thieves, killers. Its seem Mika and the rest of the comrades doesnt know whats that going on outside world that the person in front of them is the ticket to their independence.

      1. I wouldn’t blame them; they could only trust each other as everyone else had always exploited them. Even if they know who Kudelia is, they have no reason to place any trust in her.

      2. They know exactly who she is, but that doesn’t mean they are going to put their trust in her. They only ones they can count on is themselves. The school of hard knocks has taught them harsh lessons and it’s going to take more than a name and a pretty face to make them trust her. Even if she offered to help, they would be dubious in accepting.

      3. Technically speaking, they’re mercs who are trained to use Mobile Workers and weapons. Independence is usually not an issue for them because they still have to answer to whoever their boss is if they want to eat and live (there aren’t any other jobs because of the economy), so even if Mars becomes independent, their world stays the same. To be honest, a revolt and fighting would lead to them getting more jobs.

        They know she’s a client and they’re supposed to escort her, but her beliefs aren’t any of their concern. They’re just keeping her safe because it is literally their job. They have absolutely no ties beyond that on their end.

        On her end, she wants to see the world from their point of view, to better her argument, which is why she hand-picked them for the job. She’s not that naive. She knows what’s going on in the world and how bad things are going, that’s why she’s making a stand for it in the first place. She just had to pick the one protagonist to interact with who rarely displays his emotions.

        In short, she’s receptive to what they tell her and she sees, that’s why she picked them in the first place for her escorts. But she doesn’t register to them as anything but another job. It’s entirely one-sided.

    3. decent Gundam female protagonist

      That’s the problem though. Gundam’s track record for that is abysmally low despite the franchise being decades old and having numerous AU’s. And Okada doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who can break that streak.

      1. I wouldn’t say “abysmal” most of the UC era series are pretty good, Wing and Seed and 00 are pretty good. There have been hits and misses and multiple misses in recent years, but I can’t call their track record “abysmal”.

      2. That’s your opinion (on that is quite in the minority by the way), but there are quite a few good female UC pilots. Sayla is my favorite Gundam female of all time and is an excellent pilot. There were several others in other series as well.

      3. Never mentioned anything about them being pilots though. I meant them as actual characters though being a plot does include that. Their treatments of them is crap, Sayla included.

      4. no, i think Cagalli is the girl who is stupid enough to think that she can stop war by whoring herself to nutjob idiot like Yuna Roma Seyran.

        This is why Haman-sama is the best Gundam Princess.

      5. ..decent Gundam UC female protagonist..:
        Emma Sheen, Hamann Karn (Zeta Gundam)
        Christina Mckenzie (Gundam – War in the Pocket)
        Aina Sahalin, Karen Joshua (Gundam – 08th MS Team)
        Mineva Zabi, Marida Cruz (Gundam Unicorn)
        Hamon Crawley, Sayla Mass (Gundam Origin)

        Lagrange 5
  2. Mika connecting with the Gundam and it somehow made him smarter (in this case, he learned to read) reminds me a lot of the Matrix Trilogy. I wonder now if all the mobile suits in this Gundam series require some kind of direct connection with the pilot and if the knowledge Mika will gain from the Barbatos will also evolve. The suits used by the enemy don’t seem the type where they have to connect their spine to something.

    1. Mika didn’t learn to read or anything; he only learnt the unit’s name via feedback.

      As for requiring the connection, the episode seems to answer that one. The head engineer said that “without this [link], an uneducated boy like him [=Mika] couldn’t possibly pilot this thing.” The cockpit of Barbatos features the standard, traditional Gundam controls, eg pedals and sticks; it’s likely that Mika only needs the link because he never received an actual pilot training and couldn’t control the unit normally.

      Now, it’s possible that direct feedback is superior to the traditional way of piloting – but so far I see no indication that the plugs would be an exclusive method. If Kudelia’s reaction is anything to go by, the plugs are more of a dark oddity than anything mainstream.

      1. Oh ok that clears it up. So it’s not a matter of making Mika smarter but more of whenever Mika is connected to the Barbatos it’s simply feeding him the information he needs to know.

    2. It’s implied that the Barbatos is one of the few surviving mobile suits from the Calamity War–and considering that the Barbatos is way more advanced than the current mobile suits produced and used by Gjallarhorn, I wouldn’t be surprised if technology before or during that time was far more advanced than what we see now (kinda like the Imperium of Man in Warhammer 40,000).

      Since Barbatos is considered lost technology, I can’t help but wonder if it stored combat data (e.g.: fighting styles, tactics) from its previous pilot/s, and if all that data was the cause of Mika’s neural strain.

      1. If I was to make a guess, the strain of connecting to a mobile suit is greater since a mobile worker is simply a tank with not much complicated movements, compared to a more humanoid mobile suit. And you can add that thing about years of combat data possibly stored inside the Barbatos.

    3. The interface system that Mika and his comrades are forced to use is an anachronistic system that was deemed dangerous and inhumane according to what Kudelia said. So, I have to assume it’s illegal to use. They system, like their Gundam is actually old-fashioned and the First Group and Gjallerhorn are sure not to be using it. They probably have better, newer systems.

      1. Makes sense. Yeah it is very likely newer mobile suits no longer use the method of piloting since directly connecting to the machines was illegal as indicated by Kudelia. She did also mention that it only works on growing children.

  3. It’s strange to see many people aware of the elephant in the room. Not knowing of Okada’s infamy beforehand, I just see another Gundam series. So far, so classic.

    For all the lack of setting development (ok, so Gallarhorn is supposed to be interplanetary, but the Martian division is actually trying to spark an independence war? Is that it?), I liked the emphasis on the child soldiers. The “independence or not” cause that is so prevalent in other Gundam series here looks almost laughable in comparison to the hardships these kids are going through.

    Also, the lack of condescendence. Yes, their lives suck, but they try to get the most out of it by their own hands, in their own terms, knowing perfectly well how the world (or at least their world) works.

  4. This episode of Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans was actually quite better than I expected it to be. For starters:

    – Seeing Gundam Barbatos in action and its preceding pre-launch sequence. (And Mikazuki fought with minimal thruster fuel!)
    – Kudelia being smart enough to realize that her father may have sold her out to the Earth Government.
    – A flashback/montage of why Kudelia is promoting independence for Mars–children living in poverty because of the Earth Government’s mismanagement (or rather, their continuing treatment of Mars as a colony propping up Earth’s economy). There was a scene in the montage where a bunch of girls were waiting in an alleyway…and since poverty can make children do some desperate things, disturbing implication is disturbing.
    – And the arrival of McGillis Fareed–who seems to be the resident Char Clone (trope!) of G-Tekketsu. (Bonus points for being voiced by Takahiro “Spinzaku” Sakurai.)
    – The ballad-style ending song.

    Alright G-Tekketsu, second episode and you’ve convinced me to see this through to the end. (And made me rewatch the previous episode that now makes more sense.) Good job, you guys. (I mean it.)

  5. I realy fear about IBO, and after 2 eps, the fear is real. Way too much exposition of (lost)technology, setting and honest to God, the enemies are way too cardbox. Zent is the only exemption, but still, it’s another take on 00’s Sergei Smirnov (which BTW, was one of the few things I rescue for that mess) Question: what is the alure of the useless female character? Is so difficult to like a prominent and dominante leader (Lacus Clyne haters, I’m looking at you) and instead go for a character that doesn’t help a little bit to the story? 00’s Marina Ismail was ridiculous, and here, blondie’s doing the same.
    In terms of MS combat, clearly our cardbox adversaries doesn’t have any sense of it. You got a rifle and prefer to engage in close quarter, knowing that your enemy only weapon is a huge lance? And it’s way too simplistic to just plug and play into the Barbatos (Mika just say “F… manuals”) or any mobile weapon to made it work, which makes que use of traditional controls obsolete, but they are still using them, that’s a tech nonsense, even if the excuse is the “lost technology”
    For me, it’s 2 strikes for IBO, and Okada needs a change of pace to fix this. Then again, she killed M3 from the start, wasting Shoji Kawamori’s studio resources…

    1. About female characters not doing much, I feel the need to ask: how many female Gundam pilots have been so far in the Gundam series compared to the number of male Gundam pilots? Does anyone know?

      1. There are plenty of female Gundam pilots and they usually come in 3 flavors: Evil, Psychotic or Incompetent (as in one of the worst pilots of the show). If said female character is “fortunate” enough to break away from that, it basically means they are going to die in a Women in Refrigerators moment (look that term up).

    2. And it’s way too simplistic to just plug and play into the Barbatos (Mika just say “F… manuals”).

      I think you need to see between the lines. I just assume that when Mika hold the tablet thingy away, and the old man mechanic reacting after that gives away the impression that Mika can’t read.

  6. So Mika can’t read… I wonder if Orga can. Good thing they have Biscuit.

    So far several elements are predictable, but if it’s a Gundam, maybe I should call it “traditional”? Crank is an obvious candidate for switching sides or dying honourably (remember Show Spoiler ▼

    from 00?).

    Kudelia suspecting her dad already was something unexpected. Good thing she’s not that naive, just sheltered.

    I’m trying to not get too attached too Orga, since his death flag is getting bigger and bigger, but damn, it’s hard.

  7. I still have the same impression from the first episode. I enjoy the mecha action a lot but the story and characters less so.

    I liked how Mika tries to use the battlefield for his advantage like using or using enemy forces as shields. The direct interface is also a neat and plausible explanation of how he can match veteran MS pilots even though it does have some physical consequences

    Mika and Olga are still the only interesting characters. I’m at least thankful that Mika doesn’t come across like a dumbass like Setsuna was for two seasons and a movie. And yes Olga please kill your leader. Take over CGS, just do whatever you need to do just get rid of the First Group officers already. They’re annoying and one-dimensional and I don’t even care to look up their names. The only other interesting character is Crank, who is clearly just being set up to die for cheap pathos. I really wish Gundam would stop doing this.

    Kudelia? Just seeing her cower like a puppy really just makes me roll my eyes. This is the sort of thing that I was afraid of. 24 more episodes Okada. Please do something with her before my patience grows thin.

  8. The Princess awe struck as the boys run the show.
    The ghost in the machine tells the boy its name.
    The enemy being surprised that he is fighting a kid!?

    So that whatever system is like playing a game with keyboard or gamepad, lol.
    The Gala-something are trying to make use of the Martians?

    The honorable enemy.

    Too many characters already, they I don’t care and hardly remember the names 😛
    No feelings to invest in only at ep2.

    Actually I can’t wait to see how things will change in the 2nd cour or something.
    Betrayals? Alliances? Invasions? Upgrades? Character growth? Ambitions?

    Fumitan, shes a lot like Marina’s servant in 00.
    The baggy clothes reminds me of Turn A.

    Orga rising step by step, will he stray the path?

    Oh ok, only part of Galahorn is corrupt.

    From the OP I suppose I’ll look forward to them heading to space for now.

  9. Can we skip talking about the writers and director and just focus on the merits and demerits of the show itself.

    You’re all being too critical when only 2 episodes were shown and already pigeonholding it based on Okada’s previous hit or miss works.

    I am a simple anime viewer, when I see a Gundam show, I’ll watch it. When I’m enjoying it, I’ll see it to the end.

    So far, IBO is pretty enjoyable for me. And everything still makes sense.

    Mika’s kicking Kudelia off her high heels was savage and Kudelia seemingly like sponge in taking Mika’s remarks to heart was a plus. The show seems to be focusing on Kudelia’s devlopment so she can quickly become the proper face of the ideal that she’s been fighting for and the orphans can finally start connecting to her who, for now, is just ignoring her.

    1. I guess it’s difficult when shows like this have been around for a long time. they start to resemble other shows with small tweaks and talking about the director or staff is really the only thing that they CAN say that’s different. That being said, I’m really liking how the show is being presented to us so far. Kudelia being refused not once but twice really made me enjoy the show more, even in this show’s infancy. My only gripe is that i feel that Mika and Orga simply can’t exist without the other and that to me is extremely boring. Orga orders, Mika does.

      1. Well I guess we’ll have to see. Show Spoiler ▼

      2. Whoa there, I didn’t mean a resemblance as in being a carbon copy, so let’s just back up a second.

        All I meant was that they seemed to share a similar relationship and background, not that they were specifically like each other.

        Show Spoiler ▼


        Ryan Ashfyre
      3. “My only gripe is that i feel that Mika and Orga simply can’t exist without the other and that to me is extremely boring. Orga orders, Mika does.”

        I think that could be interesting. Most Gundam protagonists usually work alone, but having a duo is quite refreshing. I don’t find Mika bland, though he may not be the most original character. He’s indifferent towards Kudelia, has pride and things that he cares about, which I think shows quite a bit about his character and circumstances.

  10. If the Princess with her Maid, teach them at last how to Read, then there would open a Gigantic World of Letters, Books and Wisdom. They can read Written Wisdom and learn then faster.

    The Maid could use her cold attitude, to keep this troublemakers (as we saw at the dinner) in check. Their Manners is not the best, i bet. But if they begin to respect her as Sensei, i bet it will be then all right. The princess could get the Books and stuff they need for that. She still has a title with power, well it should be enough to get them these little things, and later in they will travel out to Space. Also here the connections of the Princess is what helps them.

    Also, this all would deepen the trust and bond with both sides. These Kids would get an “official” mentor and Guardian, and looks like they have an Capable leader

    Also, this Spine interface, seems like they let the Machine Data and feedback directly talking inside their Mind. As if the Machine can Talk with him. So he know the Name of this Mecha

    Also lets not forget, this Mecha they have is outdated, and was left scraped of the cockpit parts for selling. They just successfully build in the Mecha cockpit he drown and made it work with the Gundam Mecha

    Yeah, looks like they will do an revolt, for not sent into their impossible Missions

    Also, do not forget, they have know an 2nd Mecha and even a latest Model. The one that he slain down, they just need to replace the broken part, and voila our 2nd Drivers with these 3 contacts in his spine, can Pilot it. Also, you see that they (was it OP or ED) left Mars, with a Space ship and more then 1 Mecha as Escort. So perhaps this is the one. Or they also succeed to repair this one, that will go down in Episode 03 (it raises death flag all over). Or they can then use some parts to upgrade this Old Mecha our MC is piloting

    Yeah, do not forget the Human site in this all mess. The Princess is their Light in the Darkness, let us see her given some warmth to them. Not only Darkness and despair

    Lets see, until noe 2/3 passed. and i have high hops for 373 to pass without problems..

    But Gunadam 00 2nd season.. this TRANS-AM became a Goddess, and the symbiosis of men and Mecha was the center, oh sure with the fights and so around. But as if the Mecha was some kind of Mecha Gods, that transcend the Pilots minds.. I do hope this Energy source they use it here, is not that “God Like” Trans AM booster…

    1. I don’t think Kudelia is going to be that to them. The main theme of this is that they are fighting and working to free themselves from their chains and find a better life for all of them. I don’t think that includes leaning on some political princess to be their “light” or anything. It comes from the fraternity, determination, and pride they have in themselves and in each other.

      I think Kudelia might be a support for them, a catalyst sortaspeak, but not really part of their inner circle, and certainly not at the center of it.

      1. I’m kinda with you on this one. She’s practically been isolated from the rest despite hiring them as escorts, and not by her own efforts. She’s made an attempt to get to know Mika, who clearly doesn’t want to have anything to do with her because they aren’t equals (his words), and when the attack began she just wanted to find some way to help and they told her to clear out so they could get the Gundam ready. They are very focused on their survival at the moment, so they keep her out of the way.

        In other words, this is a really bad time for everyone.

  11. I imagine they dont fully recognize her yet. Most of the soldier and securities doing there whole hour doing everyday training exercise and active role duty. They have only less rest, eating and sleeping. They have no free privacy to watch the news, reading the newspapers, going outside the base.

    Did you notice one of the Patriotic Gjallarhorn officer how shocking to discover the voice of the child soldier? Its seem the Gjallarhorn military have no information about the child labor. This is the probably the cause of the corrupt govt. and there greedy superior censoring the news from the media.

    1. They know who she is though, Biscuit says who she is last episode, and they were told by their boss who she is and what she’s doing in terms of the Mars movement. However, I don’t think the Orphans really care. She’s just another client for them. They have nothing to do with politics, their world is all they know and they only stand by and trust each other. Everything else is other.

      1. Then whats the Point of the Princess? Just an Mission or Client like always? Getting beaten up from the Higher ups? If they still want to be in their own Violence World, why connecting the Princess with them?

      2. Well, there is Months time to reach Earth, and they are still on Mars. So, i bet they get plenty of Attacks on their Trip to earth.. I hope they are not to Busy with fighting the entire Time

  12. These reviews, and the discussion, are focusing way too hard on Okada. I’d prefer an actual review of the show as opposed to your ongoing existential crisis regarding the production staff.

    1. Spot on dude. If there’s one thing that Shirobako has taught me, its that the director and production staff can “reinvent” themselves going forward especially if they came from a flop or a hit or miss production. Half of the blog is just about Okada and her possibility to screw or improve this new Gundam series while there so many other things that should have been highlighted about the episode.

  13. https://randomc.net/image/Gundam%20Tekketsu%20no%20Orphans/Gundam%20Tekketsu%20no%20Orphans%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2006.jpg I was waiting for him to throw the spear, didn’t expect it to happen this soon. Spear Bros 4 Life!

    I don’t care what anybody says, I liked Gundam Wing’s Relena and Gundam Seed’s Cagalli when she wasn’t acting out of character and was going to marry that asshole. I also like that one girl from 00 that was singing with the orphan children, I forgot her name. UC’s Marida Cruz forever <3, I liked Audrey too, but none of the aforementioned will ever beat Marida, best female in Gundam history, point blank period.


    Let's keep Barbatos in Real Robot territory please, I don't want to see no more Super Robot crap in Gundam, go back to the basics please and thank you.


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