“Glorious Demise”

「散華」 (Sange)

Brutal, Unforgiving & One-on-One Duels:

Samu here, taking over Enzo’s coverage of Tekketsu no Orphans for this week. He’s away on a business trip, but fear not, he should be back next episode. However, Enzo’s absence isn’t a bad thing (for me at least) because it means I get to talk about one of my favourite shows in this current season.

Each episode of Tekketsu no Orphans has been better than the last, and this latest one was something special. When I wrote the preview for it over a month ago, I had a feeling this would be right up my alley – I’m a massive fan of both writer, Okada Mari, and director, Nagai Tatsuyuki; last time they worked together they created my favourite anime of all time: Ano Hana, so it was easy for me to get excited about them collaborating on a Gundam title. But my appreciation for what we’ve seen so far goes beyond the staff. I already know Okada Mari’s writing style, but I’m trying my best to put her to the back of my mind, and just enjoy what we’re getting. And what we’re getting is brutal. This promises to be a bloody, devastating war, and it’s barely even begun.

I have to admit, up until this point I wasn’t feeling the true weight of the deaths and destruction, because it all just seemed like arbitrary numbers without real meaning. That all changed this week, when Mika and the rest of the Third Corps committed mutiny, killing most of the First Corps. Maybe I was giving these orphans the benefit of the doubt, but I really did not expect this turn of events. When Mika started gunning them down one after another, I could only stare at the screen in awe and confusion. It’s a dirty tactic, but they obviously feel like it is the best thing for them to do in order to survive and not be betrayed again. Orga has even renamed their group “Tekkadan” in hopes of starting afresh, symbolising iron flowers that stay strong and will not wilt. Hearing about the ten who went through the dangerous surgery is another addition in the list of horrible atrocities they’ve had to live through, with Mika going through the procedure three times (by his own will). For a group of teenagers, they all manage to stay determined and rarely waver in the face of death, and Mika is probably the most dangerous of the lot, able to kill his superiors without batting an eyelash.

This week’s destined mobile suit battle between Mika and Crank was awesome, even if the final outcome was criminally obvious. Crank was as good as dead before he even appeared onscreen. He may have wanted to hold back in fighting children, and tried his best not to cause any unnecessary deaths, but Mika clearly doesn’t have the same moral compass. Crank asked to die, but Mika didn’t even let him finish his sentence before shooting him down. I know we’re meant to be rooting for Mika and company, but there’s something seriously dangerous and unsettling about this boy. I anticipate he’ll be pushed past the breaking point before too long, and have to question all his actions thus far.

The Importance of Kudelia:

As much as I’m fascinated by Mika, Orga, Biscuit, and their various bishounen sidekicks, the star of Tekketsu no Orphans so far has to be Kudelia. I admit that I’m biased, because she is my absolute favourite character archetype: a spoiled/privileged princess who starts off easy to dislike (although I never do) and is forced to develop/grow up through horrible circumstances. Think Sansa Stark (who, if you didn’t know, is my absolute favourite fictional character of all time – if you didn’t know that, now you do!), except Kudelia has already shown noteworthy development in these three episodes. While some may have disliked her from the start, I was compelled by her story and her mission to secure Mars’ independence. Make no mistake, Kudelia cares deeply for her cause and for her people, even if this is her first time experiencing the devastations or war and properly interacting with soldiers. She’s a politician, her battle is not on the field, but with her words. Everything she does, she does because she wants to make a better life for her people and her planet, and for that reason I can’t find any dislike for her – not when everyone around her is willing to kill for their own benefit, and pinning all the blame on Kudelia silences the nuances of the internal and external conflicts going on. More than anyone else, Tekketsu no Orphans is Kudelia’s story: her journey to use her position of power and turn the tides of this war in her (and her people’s) favour. In a way, Mika, Orga, Buscuit, and all the others are just a means to her end – though she clearly does not think of them in that way.

Last episode saw her deducing that her father couldn’t be trusted, which was proof that she’s not as ignorant or naive as initially thought. This week saw her trying to take on all the jobs she could, from helping in the kitchens to offering herself to the opposing faction. She claimed she wasn’t going to be killed so easy, but deep down she must have been prepared to die for her cause. It’s that sort of willingness that Orga must see in her; whenever she speaks it seems like he’s listening. Maybe his smirks indicate his amusement over her somewhat ignorant and idealistic ways, but I think it’s the opposite. I think he sees something in her, something to get behind, and because he’s the one in charge, his word is law. It relieves me that Kudelia and Tekkadan are going to be working together – I didn’t expect anything else, but the way things are going I should be prepared for my expectations to be turned on their head. As long as Kudelia keeps on striving to achieve her goals, adapting to her surroundings, and growing closer to these child soldiers, I think we’ve got a fascinating story on our hands.

Overview – What’s Next?:

My seatbelt is buckled, because this is gonna be one hell of a ride. Three episodes in and I’m already shocked at how bloody this is becoming. Now that we knows it’s going to be 25 episodes long (as suspected), I’m prepared for some turbulence along the way. If I were to make some predictions, I think there will be a change in scenery soon, and either Biscuit or his sisters are going be left behind/killed in a calamitous battle. Whatever happens, I can’t wait. So long as Kudelia, Mika, and Orga stick around and strive for their freedom, I’ll be rooting for their victory. Tekkadan’s morality will surely be put to the test, but for the time being I’m enjoying what we’re getting, and have nothing worth complaining about. Let’s hope this keeps up.



    1. I guess this isn’t a contemporary Gundam series without the lead Gundam pilot having odd quirks. (Wing‘s Heero “I’ll kill you” Yuy, X‘s Garrod “I jack and sell mobile suits for a living” Ran, Turn-A‘s Loran “The Trap” Cehack, 00‘s Setsuna F. “I am Gundam” Seiei, and now Mikazuki the “bracelet sniffer.”)

  1. As I understood it, they’ve only killed two people from the 1st corps (their leader, and some not to clever guy who jumped at Mika).
    The rest were either sent away (with a severance package even!), while the accountant was forced to stay and the weasel guy (for he is a walking weasel archetype) requested to stay (and obviously will prove a spanner in the works for the heroes). There was also the engineer which was friendly from the start which seems to see himself as a grandfather figure of sorts.

    As for Mika, I sense something in his past that will come back to haunt him and maybe illicit some kind of an emotional response.

    1. Yeah, that was my take as well. Two dead, the rest released with pay.

      As for Mika, I honestly hope the plotline isn’t him learning to be a person. He’s definitely a stone-cold killer, but he’s not been shown to be emotionless. He immediately took, and responded to, Atra’s bracelet. He ate Kudelia’s food specifically because Kudelia made it and complimented her on it. He’s actually a fairly nice guy, he just has no compunction about killing to get what he and his friends need.

      I’d be much more interested to see him stay that way, and own it, then to see him realize ‘killing is bad’ or something. He’s a soldier, killing is his job and it’s usually not pretty, it’s just alarming to us as viewers because media (and anime in particular) tend to dramatize and/or sanitize wartime death in order to shield us from the sheer abrupt brutality of most war deaths.

      1. Fully agree with you. That was my take on how things unfolded and how i want his character to continue to be. When he shot Crank before he finished his sentence was when I know I am definitely commited to this series as I was torn about it. War is brutal i know but man…he is still a kid. Will be interesting to see all their development.

      1. It’s a mercy kill but he didn’t even let him continue his death-monologue, that was brutal and unnecessary, i almost let out a chuckle because it reminded me of how Saitama from One-Punch-Man interrupts his enemies monologues and kills them brutally XD

      1. The fact that Heero isn’t a one-dimensional character doesn’t change the fact that Heero was boring as sin to watch. Setsuna was also boring, since he basically followed the same character archetype. The only time I found them entertaining was when they interacted with each other on Super Robot Wars.

        I’m not goin to hold that against Mika though as we only know him for three episode. I say wait until he develops further.

      2. My only problem with Endless Waltz’s portrayal is that feels like it “negates” what little “development” Heero got in the series.

        No, it’s not that he was raised since childhood to be an emotionless killing machine, only to learn emotion like love and such by interacting with Relena, but rather that he was ALWAYS “kind” like that, but simply having it knocked out of him back then…knowing that makes it feel like Heero now has no real development.

    1. I don’t really get the ‘no empathy’ comments. Mika wastes no time trying to make his ENEMIES feel better about the fact he’s going to kill them, but he’s been shown to be fairly friendly, if aloof, to his friends. We saw him have an exercise competition with the other soldier in episode one, we saw him take, and clearly appreciate in some strange way, the bracelet Atra made for him, we saw him eat and compliment Kudelia’s food specifically because he was told she made it.

      He’s definitely weird and somewhat shell-shocked by his past, but everyone in the squad has been shown to basically like him and we’ve been shown that he has earned that by being friendly and actually (at least with the Kudelia food thing) specifically going out of his way to be nice when it was brought to his attention.

      1. All very true. Once we get to more snippets of his past with Orga, it should clear things up. I still think he’ll end up developing midway through the series, likely with Kudelia’s influence forcing him to rethink his lack of empathy for his opponents.

      2. Also, we can clearly see that he does have humor as we’ve seen him joke with Orga more than once. He asked Crank to stop speaking because he was clearly in pain. and he didn’t aim the gun until the guy asked to die. Also, when one of the kids got hit, he asked him about it in concern, and he held Atra’s bracelet to his heart and smiled before going into battle. He clearly has a sense of empathy. Also, we do get a sense that he might be a little bothered or at least have to shift gears, when he goes into cold-blooded mode. Right before he had to do the executions, Atra said he was “touchy” and it was something no one else noticed but her. So, there is a shift or change in him between modes.

      3. Empathy is the cognitive act of understanding and comprehending another person’s state of mind, and/or point of view, argument, opinion. At times, depending on the nature and content of the object of empathy, or the context of the empathizing act and the relationship between agents, a physiological response is triggered, evoking feelings and emotions.

        Thus, by semantics alone, the argument of “not empathetic” is negated. Another common and very irking misunderstanding is the inability to differentiate between ’empathy’ and ‘sympathy’.

        Nishizawa Mihashi
      4. Actually, when the emotion you’re discussing is the fear of death, then I’d say empathy is the right term. It’s the one emotion that we can all empathize with and where the lack of it is a bit strange. But really the two words actually are very similar and the difference is pretty much impossible to tell in anyone but yourself (am I feeling their feelings or feeling about their feelings is not really something you can see in another) so the fact that it’s used interchangeably in life/media doesn’t really bother me.

      5. I was attempting to make the distinction as clear and precise as possible; primarily because in my field of study, the distinction helps to discern between the two emotional reactions to stimuli. To clarify, in regards to sympathy, a strong element of pity usually surfaces within the individual, and that there is no attempt to comprehend the other’s state of mind in so much as there exists a differentiation, an individuation between experiential states. One thing to note is that the word sympathy was once used to express both notions, but in the last several decades have split into two different words to represent two distinct concepts. Furthermore, as the word ’empathy’ wasn’t part of the vocabulary prior to its introduction, it could also be debated that there did not exist a firm conception of the concept of empathy itself, thus the reason why ’empathy’ as a similar though distinct concept has not been firmly rooted in the cultural psyche.

        Nishizawa Mihashi
  2. This Short beard Soldier, will surly use any opportunity to sell the Princess out for Money. i would not trust this guy. he just following with his Nose the ones in Power for his own benefit. I bet if there would be another Attack distraction, i bet my guts that he want to capture here and delivering her to the enemy to gain Money to get an easy life. He just want to use them for his own selfish desire

    And i am happy, that this Show here did not forgotten the hidden Power our Princess still has. Power to leave the Planet, power of being their Guardian (right now it’s Cash flow to keep them in Business aka on their own Two feet). i was kinda hoping that this group would play the escort and bodyguards for her trip to earth. But i do just hope they will not just fill every episode with Fights. i do hope we get some “calm” episodes where she can make bounds with them. help these Children Soldiers raise themselves out of this life of violence and death. She can bring Light into their World full of darkness and hatred. Sure they must do it on their own free will, that is the point that will warmth my heart to see this animated. Sure the fight and the Big badabum (the 5 element) and shiny Mechas. But like the School with the Zombie (Gakkou Gurashi!) i am more interest in the bonds they create. They are all they have, tomorrow someone can be dead. They are the only family they know and have. Are they not Orphans? i really hope they do not forget the “humanity” aspect in these Dark world of fighting with mechas and abuse of power (corruption government)

    sorry for this wall of text. But this Show has big potential, it only can grown bigger. What path will it choose? I want to see it with my own two eyes

    sorry for the smooth talking. but this is one of this shows that can go deep. if really well play his cards

  3. I’m curious about how director and writer gonna deal with Mika’s growth as a character.

    Even though he’s awesome as he is, it won’t be much interesting if he’s just gonna stay like this throughout the series. But then again, it’d also be really awful if he shows angts or get whinny like some typical teenager and also a pretty cheap way many authors depict the character’s so-called “growth.”

    So I really hope we get to see some change in him sometime waaay in the future even only slightly would do. But not so fast because he still awesome as he is for now.

    I also enjoyed Mr SAMU’s article more than Mr Enzo’s. Maybe it’s just me but I feel like Mr Enzo is a little bias against this series which is alright by itself but, this being the articles for a 20-something episodes series, wouldn’t it be better if the writer is someone whom enjoy the series more?

    1. For me its Enzo’s weird hate towards Kudelia that puts Samu’s over the last 2 reviews. Its like damn dude, we know she’s privilege and ill-informed, but clearly she’s growing as a character.

    2. I agree about the review, Samu did a good work. Enzo doesn’t seems really interested in the IBO and, as a result, the reviews of the first two episodes are very brief and somewhat cold.

      1. Enzo loves to focus more on Okada and the director than the story itself. I don’t usually give a damn on the staff behind a series but Enzo just painfully rubbed it in my face that I end up hating this Okada. If there’s anything that Charlotte taught to me, it’s that not to pigeonhole current and future series based on the staffs’ previous works.

    3. Yeah, I’d rather see Mika’s growth take the form of finding his own agency (the creepiest part about him is how willing he is to be a tool) as opposed to him learning to be ‘nice’ or figuring out that ‘killing is bad, mmkay?’

      And I agree on the review. It’s nice to see one that wasn’t just about how bad this writer might be and how terrible the princess is (for some random reason).

      1. Orga dying would be such a cheap cop-out. First off, it would be a misrepresentation of the character. Because while I don’t think he’s a villain or shaping up to be a villain, neither is Orga a purely ‘good’ character. Turning him into some kind of dead martyr would defeat the point of a grey character arc.

  4. I’m curious about how Kudelia’s cause will be addressed.

    Frankly, we don’t know much about Mars’ situation. We know many desire independence. Maybe Earth treated them badly in the past? Yet every bad thing we’ve seen so far comes from Martians. The child-exploiting company? Martian. The Gallahorn soldiers? Offically pro-Earth, but in the last episode we found out the attack was actually a false-flag operation to promote Martian independence.

    The setting needs to be explored in more depth. Nevertheless, enjoying the ride so far. It’s not groundbreaking, but solid Gundam show is solid.

    1. There’s bound to be more than meets the eye. We’re already seeing the barbarism of the Third Corps three episodes in, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if there’s more to the Mars independence movement. Still, I think as far as Kudelia is concerned, she only wants the right thing. We saw protesters in the first episode, so hopefully if we change locations and explore more of the planet then we can explore the politics and get a better understanding of the bigger picture.

      Saying that, I’m glad were not rushing into the exposition dumps. It’s a lot more natural to follow these characters journeys and experiencing the world at the same time as them. We’ve got plenty of time to tell the entire story, so as much as I’m looking forward to it, I’m willing to wait for the answers.

      1. I agree, I like this approach. Little steps, following the characters.

        Truth be told, Mars’ and Earth’s problems look very distant and even laughable in comparison with these kids’ struggle now. I said that for the previous episode and I keep it. I think it’s a good approach, but time will tell.

      2. I concur, though I have reservations as to how the overarching plot would be developed in the upcoming episodes. What is a little confusing to me at present is why was the attack on CGS HQ by Gjallahorn considered a false-flag op? Wasn’t it the father that pleaded to them to thwart his daughter Kudelia’s initiatives in her advocacy for Martian independence? Yeap, I’m a little confused right now.

        Nishizawa Mihashi
    2. @Nishizawa Mihashi
      At first it looked like Gjallarhorn’s Martian division is trying to crush the independence movement before the inspectors arrive. You know, typical stupid repressive action that even a kid could see it’s going to be counter-productive.

      Then comes episode 2 and Sir Coral is informed of the attack’s failure. What are his thoughts?

      “How could this be? The leader of the Martian independence movement, Kudelia Aina Bernstein, was to be killed gloriously in action from our attack. Having lost their heroine, Mars goes into further turmoil and strengthens their hate towards Earth. It was supposed to be like that.”

      So yes, Sir Coral was in fact playing a false-flag op. His words in episode 1 about helping her “to be remembered eternally as a people’s icon” were not an ironical euphemism, but the truth. It also explains vague comments about Chrysse’s and Nobliss’ support.

      And what about his father selling her out? Sir Coral said in ep 1 that it was ironic that the Bernsteins are “deeply involved with Earth”, while Kudelia is seen as the leader of the independence movement. But where was the real irony? That Kudelia is going against her family wishes… or that the family is not so pro-Earth as everyone thinks, to the point they could sacrifice their own daughter for the cause?

      Questions, questions. I hope future episodes provide more answers.

      1. I think I get it now bruh. Perhaps it’s due to how the conversational scenes were directed that led to the confusion on my end. Yeap, in a way, I’m kinda dissatisfied with how the conversational set-pieces were directed. I think the camera work needs a little improvement.

        Nishizawa Mihashi
      2. What I attempted to say was that I was just somewhat dissatisfied with how they handled the transitions between shots during some of the conversation scenes. Essentially, I was comparing the camera work and the dialog to other shows that I’ve seen, whereby in this case I was comparing IBO to the movie Sicario. To the best of my memory, the shots were put together in such a way that they -how should I put this- shrunk the experience of time so to speak, and thus some of the conversational scenes seem hasty in contrast to the tone of the overall sequence- which has the potential to cause some confusion for some. It’s the best way that I could describe it. So yeah, that’s that.

        Nishizawa Mihashi
  5. Hmmm… I honestly can’t bring myself to like Orga right now. The fact that he seemingly wasn’t willing to sell off Kudelia shows he’s a good guy at heart, but I just don’t like the way he makes Mika do all the killing and absolves himself of the weight of taking lives. It’s so much easier to give the order than to actually pull the trigger and all I can see is him taking advantage of how broken Mika is.

    Really that argument can be levied against the whole crew at this point, but it’s more prevalent with Orga since he’s the boss and Mika’s best friend.

    1. I didn’t get the vibe that Orga absolves himself or burdens Mika… rather, neither of them seem to think much of it. I think they consider it a necessity – they do it when it’s needed for their survival, and that’s the end of the story.

      Case in point: Mika accepted killing the First Squad guys before Orga could have finished the question.

      1. All I’m seeing is a relationship where Orga gives the orders and Mika kills without question which is what happened in that scene with the first squad. He basically gave the order to kill the first guy when he said, “We’ll have you pay for that” before Mika shot the second one to protect Orga.

        Plus Orga doesn’t seem to actually pilot, he just rides the mobile workers so it makes me wonder if he would be able to pull the trigger because, as I said, he seems to be a good guy at heart. That makes it easier to leave the killing to someone else who seemingly has no problem doing so (at a young age no less).

      2. I think people have allowed themselves to be a little too defined by Ned Stark-esque ‘take it all on yourself’ ideas of leadership in recent years. In reality, leaders are not vigilantes that wander around doing everything themselves. They have people, and the key to a good leader is how far those people are willing to go for them. Orga has clearly earned the loyalty of his men, as shown not only by Mika, but also by the fact that even the guy who keeps disagreeing doesn’t seriously consider going against Orga (so far).

        That said, I do think Orga and Mika’s obviously warped relationship and past together is pretty clearly meant to be one of the central elements of this show.

    2. Unless there’s a twist coming, I don’t think there’s much to read between the lines. From the flashbacks we’ve saw, these two have grown up together since they were very young and have gone through tough times. I think each is comfortable in their own role and Orga knows what Mika is best at. Of course, I don’t think things with Mika will stay the same for too long. I suspect he’ll start to question his killings/situation at some point.

      1. I really don’t see Mika regretting anything. He’s killed before without much emotion back when he was a young kid, he does whatever he has to for himself and his comrade to survive. That’s really all there is to it. With the First Group, they really had no choice, their idiotic business decisions would have gotten them all killed and they had no where else to go. It was basically pragmatism.

        As of right now, I don’t really see much a very serious relationship between Mika and Kudelia or anything. She’s just “there” for him, and she admires him. And he seems to cherish Atra quite a bit. You don’t just hold ANYONE’s charm bracelet to your heart before you go into battle. Lol

        And Kudelia knows all the killing that has been going on and hasn’t really said anything other than wanting to limit the innocents that die. Thankfully, she’s not a peace princess. 😀

      2. @Irenesharda: Mika’s lack of regret or remorse for those he’s killed would seem to stem from the fact that he’s been doing this since he was a kid and, more importantly, his unquestioning faith in Orga, his pseudo big brother and leader.

        If you’ve ever seen Samurai X though (Trust and Betrayal that is, not that god-awful Reflection), think of Mika as being akin to Kenshin in his early days as an assassin; protected by the convenience of a cause to fight for so as to avoid the weight of all those that he’s killed.

        It’s not that Mika’s a heartless killer, but simply in that this is the only lifestyle he’s ever known. That’s where I think Kudelia comes in. I’m not saying they’ll fall in love or anything, but I do think she opens the door to a lifestyle that he’s never known, and that could be what pulls out the proverbial Jenga block out from the exceedingly fragile mindset that Mika has going for him.

        That’s where I’m placing my bet anyhow. It would make for great drama and a potential conflict between Mika and Orga.

        Ryan Ashfyre
      3. my guess is Orga brought Mika to where they are in a misguided attempt to let him stop having to kill, since he seemed so shaken by the sociopathy thing in the flashback last (or was it the first) episode.
        if we keep with the genetic experimentation themes gundam loves so much, my bet he’s an experiment that sacrifices emotions for prowess in the cockpit

    3. Really Orga doesn’t MAKE Mika do anything. The two have a very close relationship and if you haven’t noticed from the times you see them alone together, it’s really only with Mika that Orga can relax and be himself and show even a hint of normalcy. Everywhere else, he has to put on a subservient facade for his old boss and the First Group, and he had to be a stalwart leader all the time with the rest of the Third Group that looks up to him.

      Any time Orga has Mika do something, he ASKS first. He asks Mika IF he wants to do the job. He doesn’t command him or manipulate him. However, that does come with the caveat that Orga KNOWS what Mika will do since the two know each other so well. And both Orga and Mika are completely fine with the relationship they have, the two share a co-dependence with each other. Orga is the leader and Mika is the follower, this is what they are comfortable with and what they’ve decided on. And if Mika ever disagreed with Orga, Orga has shown that he will halt whatever plans he has to a halt, if that was the case, and Mika is opinionated enough that I think he can voice his own thoughts. He just usually is always on the same page as Orga, so they pretty much always coincide.

    1. That looked more like big pieces of cucumber, but anyway, what really sold the scene was Kudelia’s embarrassed reaction (complete with luminescent blush) to Mika eating her cooking.

      I never thought I’d be attracted again to a female character in Gundam since SEED DESTINY‘s Lunamaria Hawke (as embarrassing as it is to say), 00‘s Wang Liu-mei (at least before turning into a total b***h in season 2), Feldt Grace (once Wang Liu-mei became irredeemable), and ZZ‘s Blueberry Yogurt Roux Louka.

  6. More steps in the right direction for Kudelia.

    Mikazuki definitely gives off the vibe of someone who is broken inside in some way.

    And the series itself has been what I was hoping for so far in that it’s giving focus on at least the characters and not trying to distract us with flashy, over-the-top Mobile Suit battles. Now we just need some more details on the larger world beyond just Mars, which we should be getting soon.

  7. BON
  8. This anime is starting to feel a lot like a Gundam version of “Now and Then, Here and There”. If you aren’t familiar with it that series took a very typical anime story of a boy transported to the distant future or different reality, I don’t remember which, and forced to fight against an evil war lord and made it feel real. People fought and died, the use of child soldiers shocked people, and the real consequences of war were put on display. This Gundam reminds me of that. These are child soldiers with every terrible thing that goes with it. When you have the Gundam pilot mercilessly executing people from the start you are making a statement. I mean, when you see the mech fights it is easy to put this in the context of just another scifi series and not think of it as being relevant. When a kid executes a bound man with an ordinary hand gun with out flinching, that is just brutal.

  9. So far I’ve seen none of the BS that made other Gundam series less watchable (too much bishies, too much technobabble, too much melodrama) and that’s a good sign. Let’s all hope that whatever journey Tekkadan takes us, it will be a worthy ride.

  10. Wait you mean Crank was killed for cheap pathos!? What a shocking plot development! This has never happened before! Slow down Gundam, I might die from a LACK of surprise!

    I joke, but this is actually the first time I feel invested with the characters. We finally see the development of CGS/Tekkadan after the mutiny to something more and how they will find a place in the world. Speaking which, I’m actually glad how quick the mutiny was. No pussy-footing either just a bullet on the head for the morons of the First Group. Good riddance, I won’t miss them.

    Also Kudelia is finally being written as a character as opposed to a female punching bag. I hope they don’t resort to character backtracking for more drama.

    1. Yeah, as I said last episode, I hope they keep up the development momentum for Kudelia rather than turn her into just a pretty face who stays in the back spouting speeches that don’t really do much in the long run (Relena) and/or simply being used as pretty pairing fodder more than much else (a bunch of Gundam females, protagonist or otherwise).

    2. I think that’s putting way too much emphasis on Crank either way. He came, he had four minutes of screen time maybe combined, he fought, he died. He’s not an important character. Unless they suddenly decide to go full-gundam and have Mika start seeing his face in his dreams and questioning his choices in life, I will give Crank no more thought.

      I don’t think it was cheap pathos at all, because I don’t think it was pathos. At most, it further established that Mika doesn’t mind killing, but that had already been established and at this point is just a trait, not something that needs further evidence.

      1. Actually, I’m of the opinion that Crank’s narrative purpose is to represent all the old ideals of honour and morality on the battlefield – and outright demonstrate in the most direct way possible that none of those have any relevance to Orga, Mikazuki, and the rest of the newly-renamed Tekkadan… and possibly no longer mean anything to anyone, period. Thus his unceremonious early exit, with even his last words of thanks meaning absolutely nothing to the child who bested him.

      2. I think Crank’s purpose, other than thematically for the series itself and to show more of Orga, Mika, and the orphans’ characters, may also reflect on Ein. Ein seemed very close to Crank and the man asked him for something before he left, and considering Ein’s presence in the OP, I’m thinking he might be a factor later on.

  11. Ah, where do I begin?

    – Even though Mika and Orga already have this tight-knit relationship ever since their days on the street, I can’t help but wonder if Mika will one day have to grow up from being Orga’s apparent “yes-man” to someone who can think for himself. And yes, it seems that Kudelia may have a hand in Mika’s eventual character development.
    – While we’re on the subject of Mika and Orga’s tight-knit relationship, it feels like a developed version of Sei and Reiji’s relationship in Gundam Build Fighters that’s been transplanted to the crapsack “war is hell” setting of the typical Gundam series. Does this mean that the people at Sunrise (or maybe it’s just Okada and Nagai) aren’t afraid to deconstruct the tropes they built in previous Gundam shows?
    – I’m really intrigued about who this “Nobliss” guy is (the only other previous mention of the character was that Gjallarhorn was trying to secure funding from him) and how Kudelia plans to secure funding from the same guy in order to pay the people at CGSTekkadan.

    Three-episode test: Passed. I’m glad to be looking forward to two potentially great sci-fi anime this season.

    1. I can’t help but wonder if Mika will one day have to grow up from being Orga’s apparent “yes-man” to someone who can think for himself.

      I personally think Orga knows Mika too well, and Mika only cares of the people he cherishes. ie. his comrades in the third corps and Atra, apparently.

    2. I can see the Gundam Build Fighters relation there. It’s nice to have a strong duo (though I’d consider it a trio, including Kudelia). Speaking of Build Fighters… I hope we get a third season at some point. That show is the embodiment of fun.

      1. I think that’s pretty much granted given the effect on gunpla sales, however i hope that they take their time to work on it. Try was enjoyable, but rushed. Speaking of which, they have a OVA series about it in the pipeline.

      2. Agreed, I’d love more build fighters. I enjoyed try, but the pacing was odd. Because it felt rushed at times, while in reality it actually spent more time on earlier legs of the journey/tournament than the first season did. I feel like most of the character relationships were not as fleshed out as the first season despite getting similar amounts of time to do so.

      3. Honestly, I’m on the fence about a third season. Try was a decent sequel, but it just didn’t carry the same spark that the original Build Fighters did; that, and they never really gave us any closure about Reiji.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        If they could get back to what made the original Build Fighters so much fun, I’d be all for it, but if it’s just going to be another season like Try, I say better to let the series rest where it is.

        Ryan Ashfyre
      4. Well, Gundam Build Fighters was a tough act to follow–just like Marvel Studio’s Avengers movie (when compared to its sequel, Age of Ultron) or the original iDOLM@STER anime (when compared to its spin-off Cinderella Girls).

        I did enjoy Build Fighters Try thanks to the presence of a female Gunpla builder (Fumina Hoshino) as one of its main characters, the other “Onee-san” of that season (besides G-Reconguista‘s Aida Rayhunton)–Mirai Kamiki, and the G Gundam-related allusions/gags. But other than those reasons, it wasn’t to the same extent as the original.

        Still, I wouldn’t mind an OVA or movie where either Sei and Reiji meet again (and maybe see in more detail what Reiji’s homeland looks like), or there’s one big crossover between the characters of the original Build Fighters and Try.

    3. Mika is Orga’s yes-man? Are we watching the same show here? If anything, it was Mika who forced Orga to become what he is now(a leader), not the other way around. I thought it was apparent from Orga’s frustration shown in the ep1 flashback and also in the way Orga interacts with Mika: he always asks him to do something, not orders him.

      1. Same show, but remember that different people will sometimes have different interpretations of it.

        I’d like to emphasize the word apparent. Mika is an apparent “yes-man” to Orga. I did not say outright that Mika is Orga’s “yes-man.”

        While some could argue better than I do that it might appear to be that way, the two do have this tight-knit, mutually-dependent relationship and so far, these three episodes have only scratched the surface of that relationship. I mean, what exactly happened between those two on that day (the first scene of episode 1)? And how it will affect the story as it goes along?

        Also, “Orga asks Mika to do something.” Asking is definitely a more persuasive way than simply ordering. It does help that Mika is aware of what Orga asks him to do, plus most of their childhood together has been spent on surviving (as opposed to actually living).

  12. I think this might be the first time the term “accounting” got used in a Gundam series (in my recent memory at the very least).

    But then so is showing a very simple outtake of running a “company” (I’ll drop the quotes if they bothered to take some sidejobs as well, since I seriously doubt that being Kudelia’s security regiment would last THAT long).

    Gundam Barbatos: Ace in the hole and…
    …electric generator…*facepalm*

  13. Mika’s life so far really wired his brain the wrong way.

    However, we did see him hide Atra’s bracelet behind his back before killing Crank so I guess there’s a compassion.exe hidden somewhere no matter how small or twisted it is.

      1. S’far as I could tell, notice how the Barbatos was readying the knockout punch at the end until Mika saw Crank half-dead. Plus Mika didn’t even point his gun at Crank until the guy himself asked him to end it, even asking Crank to stop talking as it was causing him pain.

  14. I think that Samu should be one handling this series, Guardian Enzo is a great writer no doubt but i prefer someone who is interested in this series. Just compare this review to the previous one, it is a lot more passionate and more write up on each characters.
    I cant be the only who is disappointed when Enzo dosent even mention anything about the OP and ED of this show.

    1. I think Samu’s busy enough this season; he’s got three anime shows and Bleach to juggle.

      I think the issue many people are taking with Enzo’s reviews is the he’s been largely defining IBO in terms of Mari Okada (the head writer). He’s not judging the story and characters on its own merits; it’s always Okada this and Okada that. Granted, her notoriety isn’t entirely undeserved, so I can I understand why he’d be a bit jaded, but people (especially those unfamiliar with Okada, or Enzo’s habit of paying careful attention to the staff involved in any show) want him to praise/criticise IBO without him turning the entire show into a case study of how Okada operates as writer.

      PS: If you happen to read this, Enzo- I still have a lot of respect for you. Have fun in South America!

      1. That’s exactly the issue I have with the reviews for this show. I don’t tend to follow specific writers on this website (though due to a confluence of interests, I seem to end up reading a lot of Stilts) so I can’t really comment on his inclinations as a writer.

        What I CAN say is that paying attention to the staff is fine, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of writing an actual review of the product. I don’t want to hear your thoughts on Nolan as a director instead of your thoughts on Interstellar as a movie.

        If a particular staff-member is PARTICULARLY infamous for being really good and/or horrible, that can merit a mention, but don’t let it overtake the actual film/show/novel/manga/whatever, and if what the writer is infamous for is sometimes being good and sometimes being bad (which is my understanding of Okada from his comments in the first two reviews) then you don’t actually have any idea whether they will make this good or bad, so you should REALLY focus on the material itself rather than your stress flashbacks to some show she wrote that you didn’t like.

      2. Pretty much on the spot. In the first episode’s review he is so focused on Okada to the point of writing that Tomino is part of the staff in some capacity. Frankly i don’t enjoy romantic comedies too much, so when he writes about Okada he totally lose me, because i watch IBO as an action/war drama story. It may have some romantic overtone (like most Gundam series), but it’s not the prevailing them by any stretch.

  15. I think that’s the third time I’ve seen Samu pick a girl favourite in a series heavily populated with guys (the previous ones were Alex and Yachi). I am really happy someone is paying attention to female characters instead of ignoring them like the majority of fanbase (and usually writers, too) tends to do. Thank you, Samu!

    1. I’m glad you’ve noticed that! I usually always prefer female characters, if only because writers don’t do enough with them or because fan bases hate on them. I’ve seen so many arguments against girls in plenty of series (books, tv shows, anime – anything really) even from close friends, that I now find myself rooting for those girls on principle. Anyone who can’t write a good female character is not a noteworthy writer, at least in this day and age.

      Of course, my approach doesn’t always work out, but I don’t expect it to. I’m always disappointed when a female character is poorly written, or even worse, when they are well-written and fans label them as boring, useless, bitches, or whatever else you could think of. The worst excuse I’ve heard over the years is that these (usually grown) men can’t “relate” to these girls/women. That one does make me want to slam my face against a wall.

      As for Kudelia, I think she shows a lot of promise, especially since she’s already developing and clearly her long-term goals are going to provide an interesting character arc for not just her, but everyone else. I’ve seen people hate on her because’s stuck up, or spoilt, or just because she’s a princess. It disappoints me, but all I can do is express my opposing thoughts. Still, I’ve seen worse. I’ve loved (loved loved loved) Sansa Stark since S1 of Game of Thrones, and have constantly defended her for 4+ years now. Thankfully, these days most people sympathise with her, but I never found any legitimate reason to pin the blame on her, like so many did. As if an 11 year old girl caused the downfall of Westeros.

      tldr: I’m not a girl, but I’m totally here for some awesome girls in my anime.

      1. At least for me, it’s never been an issue of disliking Sansa Stark; rather, I feel incredibly sorry for her. Truly, the poor girl’s had everything and the kitchen sink thrown at her (especially in the TV series), and now whenever I see her, the thought immediately comes to mind: “Ah hell, what are they going to do her this time?”

        Hand to my heart, I love a good comeback. It’s one of my favorite things in storytelling, but part of me just can’t put that kind of investment in Sansa. I feel like if I do, George R.R. Martin will somehow sense it and finally bring down the hammer on her. Goodness knows we’ve had more than enough of that as is.

        Ryan Ashfyre
      2. True, very true Samu. When I read these comments thinking that she’s some kinda princess or something, I’m like “whu-?” Those impressions of her are quite off the mark in a sense. In fact, the things that frustrate me more are in how her dialog was written relatively poorly, in addition to some rather baffling choices by the staff on her reactions and expressions. Good concept, somewhat poor execution, which probably leads to these reactions.

        And that yes, a lot of people can’t seem to write good female characters for some damned reason or another. Heck, I’ve come up with quite a few female characters in my own stories and they’re surprisingly far, far, far more interesting than the males even. How is this even possible? Well, my guess is that people pigeon-hold too much, that’s why.

        Nishizawa Mihashi
  16. Not another Bushido Code again. Why cant they make moral code and restricted laws in the military?

    I dont know why people against female character treating as a useless character. Im rooting for the highly civilized educated normal human being Girl characters like Kudelia.

      1. I’ve been thinking there is something wrong of this series.

        The Gjallarhorn forces shouldn’t be well equip and prone to malfunction if there top brass military and crooks in the govt. alleged mass of wealth and properties.

        I was hoping the whistleblower Cranks defect to the CGS and side with the Princess but….Maybe anime defying logic.

  17. If anything, I think IBO will not be an extravagant faction vs. faction series that we’ve seen in other Gundam iterations like Seed and 00 to name a few.

    I’m feeling its more about the characters and their struggles as they deliver Kudelia to Earth and what small favor will Kudelia manage to bring to Mar’s side from Mother Earth.

    I’m not seeing any hint that a big faction rivaling Gallarhorn (spelling) will be able to back Tekkadan and raise an army of Mobile Suits for some massive skirmish down the line.

    At the end of the series, I’m thinking that climatic battles will not involve an all out war.

    Though their meeting with Nobliss might changed this assessment.

    So far, I find this to be really refreshing for the franchise. A lot seems magnificently different from the last time that I watched a Gundam series outside of Gunpla.

  18. I feel like, as much as Mikazuki seems like a robot who can kill something without blinking, he also has a somewhat decent moral compass and I loved how he took notice of the bracelet and specifically hid it away from his cold act of murder. A subtle thing that may not mean much now, but I liked it nonetheless.

  19. Samu, I really really like your take on Kudelia. I think no one can hate(objectively) her after this episode, but so many other reviews and discussion strings simply chooses to ignore her now and talks pages about the brutality of Mika.

    But I also really want to take this chance and argue against some labels instantly being pinned on Kudelia since the 1st Ep that is just wrong.

    You say Kudelia is the archetype of –
    “a spoiled/privileged princess who starts off easy to dislike (although I never do) and is forced to develop/grow up through horrible circumstances.”

    Since when do spoiled/privileged kids voluntarily and with strong self-determination start wanting to do something for the greater good, to the point of disdain their own mothers and rebel against their own fathers?
    Remember this is said about Kudelia in the 1st Ep, not “developed” in the 3rd Ep.
    I mean I just don’t get how across YT and all the websites people just ignore that she chose to do it,instead of so many other heroines that start off doing politics just because they are born to a royal/high-up family and have to fulfill some kind of responsibility.

    And when talking about she “is forced to develop/grow up through horrible circumstances”, Again in 1st Ep, she chose by her own will to feel the truth. It is precisely because she realized that she can’t truly reach out to her people if she just stay on stage giving grand and hollow speeches. So there is nothing forced here, she asked for it and she embraces it. I honestly think she is prepared for (of course on a naive level) some embarrassing and harsh moments, and obviously got up quickly after being punched in face by Mika’s cold refusal. Whenever she has a line in the show it’s about thinking hard what should I do here and how should I make myself valuable in this situation. Is this the thinking of a spoiled child?

    And finally really there is nothing inherently wrong that she did not know about the credulity of life of children soldiers, just like those children soldiers don’t know what is the life of a wealthy woman and whether she “smells good”. But I understand that, because it’s all easy and politically-right to judge on rich people, while not realizing it’s just the same discrimination.

    Sorry I

    1. Oh, and, judging by all the flags being raised, comparing to how everybody is expecting Orga to go Kamina and Mika to grow like Simon, I am actually looking forward to Mika turning from Orga’s striker to Kudelia’s (all-in for survival VS all-in for the greater good)…Because his personality is clearly just not a leader type and following the old path that a MC must become a leader is boring.

      Kudelia/Mika is going to be so much more awesome than Lacus/Kira even without a romance. (Actually, screw romance, it’s going to be way more awesome without the cryings and kisses.)

  20. Can we get Samu to do the reviews from now on because Enzo is just so fixated on his hate of the writer that he barely takes about the episodes itself. Samu made a great post and I’d like to see more of these style of posts.

  21. https://randomc.net/image/Gundam%20Tekketsu%20no%20Orphans/Gundam%20Tekketsu%20no%20Orphans%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2016.jpg I like Mika, he doesn’t mess around and gets straight to the point. No wishy washy, whiny, annoying character archetype coming from him like the past Gundam main characters. I’m looking specifically at Gundam Age, I only watched Recognista’s first episode and that was enough to get me to drop it, the main girl was too annoying and the main dude was just as annoying. Gundam Seed and Destiny both had annoying whiny male leads with a supporting cast that I wish were the main characters like Athrun and Cagalli. Unicorn’s Banagaher was at least tolerable, blonde dude whose name I forget and his annoying jealousy of Banagaher getting the girl made Unicorn hard to watch, but Marida made it all better.

  22. Enjoyed the first 3 eps. so this will be the first Gundam TV series after 00 that I’ll follow.
    Oh, and it was refreshing to read a more positive blog post. Thanks, Samu.
    Would be great if you could continue chiming in from time to time with a 2nd opinion.


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