「赤い空の向こう」 (Akai sora no mukou)
“Beyond the Red Sky”

This week’s message is clear: you just can’t trust Hitler.  Who knew?

For my money that was definitely the best episode of Tekketsu no Orphans so far.  I like Gundam episodes that are succinct, focused and to the point – when it comes to this mythos, in my view simpler is generally better.  There was never a moment this week when it wasn’t absolutely clear what was happening on screen – and why we should care about it – and the linear momentum of the episode never let up.  Good stuff.

There’s a part of me that still wonders whether this style of series is the best use of the talents of Okada Mari and Nagai Tastuyuki, especially the latter.  He’s an incredibly talented director when it comes to subtle character drama, and there’s just not much opportunity for that here.  But there is a curiosity factor in seeing what someone of that temperament can do with this kind of show, and so far the results are pretty good (and improving).  But I would never have guessed Nagai was directing Iron-Blooded Orphans if I didn’t already know it.

I do appreciate the restraint Okada is showing so far, which is somewhat out of character for her, and I certainly realize it’s a reversal for me to opine that she’s being too faithful to the mythology she’s adapting.  I still think that’s true, but the directness of Iron-Blooded Orphans is starting to work quite well.  This notion of a group of teens and children struggling against oppression and exploitation by adults is as old as Gundam – indeed, as old as anime science-fiction – but it can still pack a punch in the right hands.

Part of the reason this is working is that the boys of Tekkadon strike a pretty good balance – they’re exploited without being Dickensian about it, and they’re resourceful and skeptical enough to survive without being unrealistically so.  This whole Orcus affair is a good example.  It seems pretty obvious to us that Todo can’t be trusted – we’ve seen his true stripes – but if Orga and his circle are smart, they ought to suspect treachery even not having seen what we’ve seen.  Why?  because they’d be fools to trust any adult after what’s been done to them.  I always suspected Orga was too smart to be suckered into Todo’s trap defenseless, but it’s nice to see it proven true.

The battle itself was excellently done – a very solid Gundam space set piece, if not spectacularly animated.  Again, I really appreciated the clarity of the storytelling, and I think that’s directly attributable to Nagai’s superb and steady hand at the tiller – very often these sorts of sequences are chaos, and not in the good way.  Things got more complicated when McGillis and Gaileo (not Galileo as I mistakenly called him last week) joined the fray, but you didn’t need a scorecard to know the players here – it was a nicely laid-out skirmish from start to finish, with a nifty resolution using the mining asteroid.

As nice as it is to have clarity in the narrative, a bit of grey is nice too – and for me, that’s the role McGillis and Gaileo fulfil in this story.  The white hats and black hats are pretty easy to tell apart in Tekketsu no Orphans, but McGillis is a different animal – he’s neither incompetent nor psychotic (and he doesn’t have a Hitler moustache) and he seems more strategically inclined to the scalpel than the chainsaw.  Antagonists like that are relatively rare in Gundam series, and it’s he more than any of the cast who’s sparked my interest so far as a character.




    1. If Mika had known better he would have dubbed him something else. After all, a man who readily has chocolates in a gift bag to give to children is just creepy. At least, he’s not the self-proclaimed chocolate man. 😉

    1. I don’t mind Enzo, I like his blogs on both here and on his own site. However, I DO think that perhaps he does mention Okada a little too much. I personally haven’t seen much of her work, but even if I did, I’m just happy to give her the benefit of the doubt here. No need to bring her up every episode as if you’re waiting for her to fail. The show is very good so far, so I’m happy with her for right now. The romance angle is a little wonky, which probably IS because of her, but for right now, that’s mostly in the background.

      1. Really? Does she? Because I’m pretty sure nearly every other review on this website doesn’t spend half of its word-count discussing the reviewer’s opinion of a particular member of the production staff.

        While this review was better than a couple of the previous ones, there is no need for the constant diatribes on Okada (who I only even know about because of these reviews).

    2. It’s not just Enzo. I’ve been reading other reviews and this is probably the only series in which the name of the writer appears time and time again.

      (A name I didn’t even know before this series was announced, so yeah, it can be tiresome).

      The common perception seems to be a sense of hypocritical disappointment: many people thought this Gundam series would be a disaster because of Okada, but it isn’t. It doesn’t mean it’s wonderful either. It’s just proper Gundam. I do find ironic that now some are calling for Okada to be more “Okada” while at the beginning they were fearing no one could control her or that she wouldn’t have the necessary respect for such a legendary anime brand.

    3. I, too, agree with this. When I read the first review (episode one), I was taken aback when he mentioned that she was female. Then, later on, Enzo just had to bring it up her gender, as if a female writer cannot write a decent screenplay for Gundam. I, for one, like Okada Mari. For me, Basilisk was one of the finest screenplays ever written. Gosick, Black Butler, Basilisk, these are all solid series that has great writing. I, for one, only liked one review written about this series and that was when Enzo was on vacation for the week.

      It really pains me to write this, but damn. So many writers on this blog are trying to only pull out the positives of terrible (to me) series and brush over the negatives. They even admit to this! (read: Heavy Object, Comet Lucifer, etc.)

      However, after rummaging through the trash of this fall line up and a diamond presents itself, Enzo then proceeds to write nonchalant skepticism because the writer is a FEMALE.

      Yeah I am calling you out. I have never read a review where you flippantly point out that a writer, director, blogger is male, then proceed to have some kind of Spanish inquisition over how that person is not meeting your biased and negative expectations.

      Here is an example:

      “I do appreciate the restraint Okada is showing so far, which is somewhat out of character for her, and I certainly realize it’s a reversal for me to opine that she’s being too faithful to the mythology she’s adapting.”

      Remarks like these are cringe worthy at best and does nothing to give me insight into this series.

      Why not talk about the huge character development with Eugene and the parallels the writer tried to make between him and “Hilter.” Why can’t you even give us some nonsensical theories. Hell, you could have even talked about CHOCOLATE MAN but you don’t.

      Like the Modest Mouse song, as a reader of your reviews it seems that all are doing is talking shit about a pretty sunset. If you have something personally against the writer, then write a separate article about it. However, this should of been a review on what this specific episode of Gundam was and NOT what you thought it would be based on your prior biases.

      1. Umm, not sure where the weird accusation of sexism is coming from. It seems more like he just HATES some of her previous work and feels the need to treat her like a ticking time bomb and remind us of this regularly, even if nothing untoward happened in a given episode. He’s not reviewing the episode, he’s reviewing the episode vis a vis Okada. ‘this was more Okada’ ‘This was unlike Okada’ Who cares?

        But yeah, the random over the top sexism accusation seems out of line.

    4. Honesty think the only good coverage of this series in this blog was samus post. Samu actually talked about the episode itself, and he was enthusiastic about it too. As for Enzo, I get this feeling enzo’s just waiting for this series to trip so he can unleash whatever pent up hatred he has for okada. He really is illest fit writer to cover this show.

    5. Well, I’m torn. Enzo is, by a long shot, the best writer on RandomC, and clearly has watched/experienced far more anime than any other writer here as well.

      You know what you’re getting with Enzo. Technically well-written reviews, that tend to treat the subject matter like an arthouse film, rather than…serial entertainment, which will often result in semi-passive aggressive criticism permeating his blog entries (and, to be fair, how could they not; if you reviewed G.I. Joe movies from the perspective of an opera critic…well, you get my drift). Considering the alternatives, I take the bad with the good with Enzo, but he’s definitely had a particular hard on for Okada for a very long time.

      The exception is when he writes about long-running shounen/jousei titles, when his inner fanboy squees so hard that all his literacy sense flees the building. Strangely enough, despite those bits of writing being full of positivity…they’re my least favorite Enzos (I’m making that a word as well).

      As for his writing on this particular show…the payoff (hopefully) for putting up with his Enzoisms (let’s make that a word too) is that there will eventually be enough questions/plot intricacies/etc that Enzo will be able to inject his long standing ability to write about them from an informed view; something few anime bloggers seem capable of. Until we reach that point (assuming this series ends up having said plot twists/questions/etc)…well, as I said, we all know what you are getting with Enzo. 🙂

      The alternative being a super chipper recap that reads like a very abbreviated transcript…well…I’ll take Enzo-and his baggage-over that generally more common writing style any day of the week.

      Though his long standing thing for Mari Okada (and, to a more subtle extent, Sayo Yamamoto) has always actually kind of humanized him in a weird way, and made me happy that he’s not quite the perfect person he works so hard to be when engaging in forum discussions about anime. 😀 It’s ok to dislike things, even if in the case of those two particular people, I strongly disagree with him.

      I had never really seen his views on the two as sexist, though in retrospect, I can see where one might gain that impression.

    6. Speaking as someone who has a tendency to talk about the meta aspects of things like staff and potential ideas and such even I’m finding it a bit much and kind of one note. It’s like if somebody wants to talk about the writer so much that it becomes emphasized ahead of the show and even franchise (and we’re talking about Gundam here where there’s so much meta stuff to discuss history and concept wise) why not just do an editorial on her? My guess is that Enzo just plain does not know much about Gundam, this was taken as a personal choice because of Okada’s presence and because he wants to talk about whatever her latest show is a bit and thus he is supplementing what might normally be franchise commentary with just talking about her. For this reason alone I’d almost someone else review it as well so that there could be more immediately topical insight, but then I don’t know if there’s anybody here that really could do anybody. People just don’t know about Gundam much nowadays. 🙁

    7. Reading these reviews and comments the past few weeks has me inclined to agree that Enzo is covering the show because of Okada and Okada alone. The focus on her every single episode seems like a desire to see Enzo’s predetermined opinion of her proven correct. Every review is a “wait for it” moment until the time when that moment comes (if ever) and everything Enzo is arguing has been “proven” right.

      Critically analyzing the components behind a show is never bad, but here IMO it may be better handled in a separate post after the show’s conclusion. Trying to pick apart an individual’s role and influence every week for a series barely 5 episodes is little more than fallacy hunting and making mountains out of molehills. One cannot form a complete argument until the entire data set (i.e. every episode) has been acquired to see how the story unfolds and relates to previous works.

      Enzo arguably would be better served discussing the episode’s happenings at length for these posts and saving the discussion on the series’ creators for later.

  1. Orga did make it clear when he said if Todo ever did anything to make Orga trust him, so it’s likely Orga never trusted him ever since Todo decided to stay rather than leave like the rest of the First Squad. Todo should be even considered lucky he got away with a beating rather than being executed. And yes after names like The Red Comet, Lighting Baron, The Man who makes the impossible possible, Mr. Bushido, and The Second Coming of Char it’s now Chocolate Man. Not bad.

    1. I actually think that it’s more like “I’ll trust you until you give me reason not to. However, I’m not going to put the lives on my men on the line for you either.” Orga could have thrown Todo out in the very beginning, but he’s serious about trying to build Tekkadan’s reputaion and their appearance to others. For him to throw someone out who wanted to work after he had said that anyone who wanted to stay could, would be dishonorable and say that Orga couldn’t stand by his word. So, instead, he put the burden of that trust on Todo and Orcus. If they betrayed the small amount of trust he put in them, then it would be they that was in the wrong and they would look the worst for it.

      Yet, he also wasn’t willing to unnecessarily risk lives, so he had several backup plans in case something went awry and Todo actually ended up doing what he expected of him.

      1. Yeah that’s another way of putting it. Actually what I also meant by Orga not trusting Todo is he didn’t look obvious in his mistrust. Like you said Orga probably also thought Todo could be useful so he let him stay. For all we know Orga was waiting for the perfect chance to kick Todo out and this episode gave him the chance to.

  2. Props to Orga for being that crazy-prepared against potential double-crosses from people they are dealing with (and Todo).

    (On a minor note, I’m kinda relieved that the fat guy–Orcus–wasn’t the Nobliss dude. The fact that he looks like one of those dirty old men from the usual eff’d-up H-doujins I’ve read doesn’t help his case.)

    Anyway, totally enjoyed the Tekkadan crew’s take on “club hauling” (i.e.: using the ship’s anchor to hook on to something stable and make a quick turn). The last time I saw club hauling being applied was in the Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova DC movie (within the new content). And it was good that Eugene didn’t have to bite the dust. (Save the major character deaths for later, I guess.)

    McGillis proving his Char clone credentials by becoming the first person to actually score hits on Mikazuki and the Gundam Barbatos–also awesome.

    And compared to Meer’s message to Lacus back in SEED DESTINY episode 46 (*cough*GratuitousEngrish*cough*), the writing on Todo is grammatically better.

    And finally, I just found out that G-Tekketsu has subs in Filipino (as well as Indonesian and Malay), amusingly enough… (At least that’s the case on the GundamInfo channel on YouTube. Dunno if it’s the same case on Daisuki.) XD

    1. I think you might be thinking of two separate fat guys. We didn’t see Orcus until this episode. Nobliss was the guy from last episode, and you do see him this episode wearing a suit this time and smoking a cigar. Nobliss still looks untrustworthy as heck, and considering that he’s playing both sides, I wouldn’t breath a sigh of relief just yet.

      1. Ah, so this guy is Nobliss then. Aw, s***… Damn, the only things going through my mind when I saw him (and Orcus) were “Red flag, red flag!” and “I’ve seen enough eff’d-up H-doujins to know they’re bad news.”

        So the casanova in the opening is still unnamed at this point. I guess we’ll see him once the Tekkadan crew reach Earth…

        Anyway…I’ve watched the episode again with Filipino subs…and laughed out loud upon seeing that they translated the lyrics of “Raise Your Flag.” I dunno, it’s just a hilariously surreal feeling from a native speaker. XD

  3. There’s still a lack of balance between long-term dialogues and action, but not bad IBO, I thought you would be worst. Still, Mika isn’t an interesting MC so far, Kudelia’s following 00’s ChinaSlut wardrobe appeareances (although that stealing the clothes of Argevollen’s Jamie was a low blow), and not surprisingly, the cardbox villans already know that the Barbatos is a “Gundam”, so expect a ton of new Gundams in the next episodes.

    Not bad, but way too far from Fafner in the /m/ duel of the season

  4. Do not forget. The Takedans are now on the Way to Earth, and they do not have any possibly to resupply their Ammo and such. Or do there are some kind of Pit stops for Trading routes?

    So, if they plan to insert now some Attacks, they should also not forget they bleeding out, and can only temporary fix the Battle damages. No real Garage to repairs, only for quick fixes

    Keep that in Mind, or you let the Princess reach Earth within 2-3 Episodes, and there they can resupply and Princess get back to Mars again with the Tekedans

  5. So, will there be a Masked Antagonist -to be future ally (maybe)- in the future?

    It’s almost a trademark in the Gundam universes, but so far I don’t know if one will appear (though I’ve got my money on a couple of characters).

    1. If there’s not one from the get-go, then chances are high that an antagonist (in terms of at least being against the protagonists, not necessarily an “evil” person) will end up getting their face injured in a battle that makes them wear one down the road.

    2. He might not have a mask (yet) but McGillis is clearly the Char clone of the series, simply from the way he acts, his intelligence, the way he carries himself, and his ability to rival the protagonist. He’s also an antagonist that’s not necessarily evil and might just have hidden ambitions of his own.

  6. Wasn’t sending Todo out a bad move for Tekkadan? The guy knows some things about them for sure , and Chocolate Man already proved he’s a quick thinker and can work with the smallest puzzle pieces.
    Actually, I’m really pleased with the lack of Idiot Balls (aside from, probably, Orga’s here). Other series would milk every mystery or misunderstanding for all its worth. Kudelia wouldn’t even begin to suspect her father, Tekkadan would be double-crossed by Todo, Fareed and Gaelio would wonder about Gundam’s pilot identity for several episodes at least… Thanks for sparing us all of this, Gundam.

    And finally other Tekkadan guys shared the spotlight with Mika. And both Akihiro and Eugene officially accepted Orga as a leader, that’s good. I still think he’s gonna die soon though…

    Poor Gaelio, he’s fated to never have his name properly spelled in any review.

    1. There’s really nothing Todo knows that isn’t already known by McGillis and the others, or that he can’t easily figure out. There’s nothing they discussed in front of him that Gjallarhorn either didn’t already know or would really care about. And it’s better to get him out of their midst and let Gjallarhorn, the people he fears most, take care of him.

    2. Yeah, as Irenesharda said, Tekkadan basically has no secrets. They’re not one side of a war. They’re a company trying to do a job. Arguably if the show wanted to go in a very different direction you could do something about them murdering two of their superior officers and committing mutiny, but I’d guess that will never be brought up or commented on.

  7. Oh, it is a logical move to use or recycle they own Mobile Suits. In my PvP MMO Time, we used the capture Weapons against their own creators. So i can feel her with this Guy how want to revenge his Superior Officer

    But, they do not have other choice. As if they can go there and buy them. But looks like they used the first slayed uptodate Mobile Suit for some spare parts of our Gundam and perhaps also for the capture fixed one

  8. Things are going too smoothly right now. Orga’s gambles have so far all worked.

    I am waiting to see Orga make one big miscalculation that costs a bunch of lives (including Atra)… and then the story can really begin.

  9. Did anyone else just love how, despite being spoken about in that universe, that the “Gundam” name was described in a way befitting of all the Gundam franchise?

    1. Incase anyone forgot that quote:

      “Machines with that name have appeared many times in historical turning points, and has been a great influence on the history of man. And it’s serving Kudelia Aina Bernstein, who advocates Mars’ independence.”

      Indeed, it gave me the chills the first time I saw that scene. Very befitting.

  10. C&P from my reddit comment back over in r/gundam because lazy:

    Seeing Orga planned 3 alternate steps ahead of Gjallarhorn, Orcus, and the-stashman (who got tossed back to Gjallarhorn in an escape pod, hahhahahahaha). It makes me wonder how are they going to go navigate safely to earth now… or are they going to fight their way to earth?

    BTW, that was some nice looking CGI battle with the ships…

      1. Given they’ve taken the time to show him 3 or 4 different times now, I’d say he’s likely to be a secondary antagonist. And also given they mentioned this universe has 62 gundams or something like that (a religious number, I don’t remember the number or the religion, but it’s high) I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a gundam.

        However, if you look at the mechanics on the website it shows that the gundams don’t all look like gundams, so the name doesn’t stop them from having varied designs in this setting which is nice.

      2. @Kale

        “Gundam Barbatos is the 8th unit among the 72 Gundams, as their names are derived from The Demons of Ars Goetia. In this case, Barbatos is the 8th Duke of Hell.”

        …aside from the Barbatos, we only know of the Gundam Gusion and Gundam Kimaris, which have yet to appear in the series, but there’s basic images of them on the wikia. The Gusion definitely looks more like something you’d expect more of a grunt unit to look like while the Kimaris reminds me a bit of the Bertigo from Gundam X.

      3. Thanks, yes, that’s exactly the reference I was remembering.

        While I doubt we’ll see all 72 (maybe in expanded materials), I would imagine we’ll see a lot. Just going off of what we’ve seen so far, I’d peg Akihiro, the two Gjallarhorn guys, and Ein for eventual gundam upgrades.

        However, as you say, gundams in this don’t seem beholden to traditional gundam designs, so that’s not as annoying as say, Seed Destiny, where everyone got a gundam and they all looked very similar.

    1. Right now, I’m not sure what they are going to do with him, if he will continue to be the unknown rival that the main character doesn’t even realize is there, or if he’s going to get a little more characterization than he has right now. As of this point, he’s just try to get revenge over a misunderstanding, and he doesn’t seem to have much character beyond being a young officer who was loyal to Crank. There really needs to be more to him for him to really matter, or else he’s going to end up being a running joke like Jerid in Zeta.

      1. But is there anything wrong with being a running joke like Jerid? Not every character needs to be a one-shot or a lead. I think there’s room for minor recurring characters, and that’s what I’d peg him as as of yet.

  11. Maybe I missed it, but how did Eugene make it back to the ship? Did he latch onto the cable after destroying the anchor, otherwise his suit would have been stranded at the asteroid.

  12. After checking it again, I still have many questions about the political situation. At first, when Coral invited the inspectors to capture Kudelia, my theory about the “false flag operation” went out of the airlock, but after that guy confessed in his thoughts that he wanted to kill her as if it was an “accident” (to get Nobliss’ money, it seems) and then pin the blame on the Earth inspectors, it’s stronger than ever. Something is rotten in Mars.

  13. Ep 06:

    Gundam is alive. Yes, this Show is that good, that it has their own Life now.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    This Ramen is very excellent cooked

    1. Dear Sunrise,

      I became a real fan of your Works with Mai-Otome. Not only because of the fights, no the bonding. Just remember these old gems you have, polish them to shine today in full glory, too

      Sunrise is not only Macross and the Mechas

  14. restraint Okada is showing so far, which is somewhat out of character for her

    Tell us then WHAT is IN character for Okada Mari? Do you know her personally? How many of her works have you seen?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *