「暗礁」 (Anshou)

I’ll say this for Tekketsu no Orphans – when the flag is raised, it sure doesn’t take long to salute.

Iron-Blooded Orphans is a bit of a vexing show, to be honest.  It’s one of those series that you tend to like in spite of its flaws, and of course that’s a double-edged sword.  It’s nice to have that essential quality that inspires your affection, absolutely – but that doesn’t make the flaws go away.  There are things about this show that just don’t work for me, but so far they haven’t been enough to cancel out the things that do.

There’s a moment in this episode that captures for me what makes Tekketsu no Orphans at its absolute best.  The scene when the human debris kids are eating their meager rations and musing about reincarnation is burned in my memory – not because of the dialogue (which is pretty standard-issue) but the scene itself and what it represents.  The image of those boys outside their mobile suits, revealing how frighteningly malnourished and haggard they are, is absolutely haunting.  And it represents the distilled essence of why this story works – the plight of the children victimized by the venal adults in this mythology is as poignant as I’ve seen in any Gundam series, and they pretty much all try and depict a version of it (that success probably comes down to the artistic temperament of the writer and director).

It’s a good thing that’s true, because there are other areas in which this series really struggles to achieve lift-off.  The action scenes are fine, certainly, but nothing so exceptional by Gundam standards that they’d be enough to make the show on their own.  I continue to be troubled by the gender politics here, and Atra is especially a problem in that respect – I just want to see more from here than dreams of being a junior wife in a polygamous marriage and of the delicious food she’s going to have waiting for her man on his return from battle.  And too many of the major characters have yet to grow beyond their two-dimensional templates.  Kudelia is an accessory, showing little evidence that she’s ready to become a real leader.  We get precious little insight into Mika’s true feelings about what’s happening around him (though that’s undeniably a standard mecha protag archetype).  And I don’t see much with Orga that goes beyond the requisite leader tropes he represents.

There’s still time for all that to change, certainly, but we are about halfway through the series.  At this point what’s happening with Iron-Blooded Orphans is that the stories of the second-tier characters like Akahiro and Takaki have more emotional traction than those of the leads.  And in looking at Akahiro and Masahiro, their tragic tale wth its mid-battle embrace was certainly effective, but less so because its ending was so predictable.  Indeed, it was the fate of Masahiro’s comrades that I found really tragic, because they were dying utterly unloved and forgotten.  They’re no less victims than Masahiro is, and likely all have stories as sad as painful as his.  But they’re throwaway casualties of the plot – Masahiro’s family being killed by Akahiro’s allies even as Akahiro waxes poetic to his brother about the importance of family.  Those boys are the real emotional center of this show as far as I’m concerned, and their tragic fates the reason it can be so effective.




  1. I’ve gotta agree with Enzo here, at the moment Akahiro feels like more of a main character than Mika. There’s a lot that’s good in this show, but it hasn’t really delivered the exceptional storytelling that I hoped for given its strengths in thematic direction and characterization. This pacing could work if the show will be longer than two cours, but if that’s all it gets I’m worried we’re headed for a rushed and unsatisfying conclusion. At the end of this season, I’m still not sure whether this will be a decent or amazing show.

    While the scene with the human debris philosophizing was very impactful, it stretches my belief that so many groups would think it’s a good idea to train kids to fight and sick them in super robots all while treating them like crap. Unlike conscript armies or gangs they don’t need masses of unskilled manpower to project force, and don’t have the institutional framework to keep them down in case of revolt, as exemplified by Tekkedan. It would be a great twist if the Turbines are revealed as the flip side of this approach; a harem of brainwashed human debris that don’t even realize they’re being held in a velvet fist…

    Doctor Hochmeister
    1. Fareed’s comment in episode 4 seemed to imply that the Whiskers aren’t very widespread.

      Honestly the only flaw I’ve seen so far is that the adults keep underestimating the orphans and letting their guard down.

      Orga and the gang were able to overthrow the CGS guys simply because they let their guard down not because they were overpowered. In addition to letting their guard down the CGS staff suffered heavy losses from Gjallarhorn’s assault. Had CGS been properly staffed and on guard the result probably would have been different.

      Keep in mind CGS’s president did actually treat the orphans well…at least well enough that they decided to put up with the crap they got from the 1st corp guys until the prez bailed. While the Brewers’ orphans have it worse the same basic principle applies. Its not just fear of the adults that keeps them in line its also the fear of not being able to survive without them. We saw the jam Tekkadan was in financially after their rebellion and had it not been for Kudelia and later Teiwaz they would have been in deep trouble.

      Also CGS didn’t employ the orphans as mobile suit pilots, so far the Brewers are the only group we know of that does that. That being said any organization that employs kids as mobile suit pilots should probably have the ability to deactivate the mobile suits remotely in case they rogue.

      1. We’ve seen at least two mercenary groups that treat their child soldiers like dirt, and it’s constantly implied that such behavior is normal in their society. It was also rather clear from the first few episodes that Orga & co. weren’t happy with their situation, and were waiting/working towards some sort of revolt. There’s nothing unrealistic about impressed mistreated soldiers, but the treatment here doesn’t fit the economic and military reality. Anyone with half a brain knows that poorly treated soldiers are a risk for revolt, and with mobile suits and workers even one revolutionary in a mecha will be substantially more powerful than anyone not in one.

        Furthermore, the fact that they don’t need many pilots for the mecha (at most a dozen have been involved in a fight at once) means that it would be relatively cheap for the leaders to at least treat the mecha pilots well to separate them from the grunts and forestall the risk of revolt. There was some of this in CGS, but not to the extent of separating treatment by piloting ability, and there’s none of this in the brewers. If there were mechanical/technological restraints on the kids, or loyalty brainwashing/conditioning it would feel more plausible, but as you mentioned there doesn’t seem to be anything besides fear to stop a mass revolt of the armed human derbies. In this situation I’d expect a system more akin to the Mamluks or Ottoman Janissaries; a combination of indoctrination, dependence on their masters, isolation from everyone else, and relatively good treatment to produce loyal, dependable, elite soldiers.

        Doctor Hochmeister
    2. As I wrote in my response to Enzo on his own site, Akihiro’s been what?, the main focus for 4 episodes or so? And suddenly he should be the MC simply because development is centered on him right now? This series has several key supporting characters and not every single one of them can get development all at the same time, that would stretching the episode way too thin. Akihiro is getting his development right now, just as Orga was getting some a few episodes ago, and Eugene a little bit before him. As for Mika, there are those main character that you see that are not going to have huge dynamic character development leaps. And usually you see those kind of characters in more old-school series, but it’s a character that has basically already decided most of his wants and desires in life, his morals, values, goals, and just sticks to them throughout. And most of the time, those kind of characters will be similar at the end of the series as they were in the beginning. I think that Mika is one of those.

      Considering our actual MCs of Mika and Orga, Orga definitely gets the lion’s share of the development. However, I think that perhaps it’s supposed to be that way. Despite what we as the audience may think, Mika really knows all he wants to know about himself. He’s really the one that pushing forward others to know more about themselves. He’s happy being Orga’s second, his weapon, and being the guardian of Tekkadan. He’s not really going to grow that much, because I’m sorry to say guys, but he really doesn’t need to. While we might project onto him all the characteristics we think he should have, ad how he should grow. Perhaps it will never be in his character to have those qualities. He’s happy in his co-dependence on Orga, he has dreams of his own that he desires. He does make his own choices, and while he can be cold-blooded, that’s needed in this world and in the job he has right now. It’s a part of his character. And honestly, to me, if he were to change into what most of us know as a “normal” Gundam MC, I actually would probably like him less, since he would seem more generic.

      Honestly, Mika is one of few MCs that really does 100% share his MC title with other characters. In fact I would really call him a secondary protagonist in comparison to the characters that he shares the protagonist title with. However, much is still seen from his POV in connection to Orga and Kudelia’s so I still have to consider him a protagonist.

  2. I totally called it. Honestly I felt nothing because anyone would see Masahiro’s death coming even if they were blindfolded. I am already trying to invest myself on the the secondary characters that are only now getting developed so I couldn’t care much about a character made specifically to die. I’m actually surprised how shortsighted Tekkadan was on trying to “save” Masahiro. They just assumed he could be talked down. None of them thought of the possibility that he may actually not want to leave the Brewers or if he is actually invested on protecting his own friends from them.

    Also this has started as a minor complaint but I can’t ignore this any longer. Any antagonist is designed to be one-dimensional hate sinks to the point of absurdity. As if Hitler-stache wasn’t bad enough! For the Brewers, its commanded by a pot-bellied, slovenly fatty with large ears. And Kudel is… WOW. As GE said, the image of the malnourished kids is just haunting but it’s undercut when absurd, over-muscled clown man comes in just becomes an asshole for asshole sake. He’s not just an over-the-top character (and not in a fun way) he is incredibly incompetent in how he handles combat and his own squad mates. This guy is such a gross caricature that I’m surprised none of the kids jacked a Mobile Suit just to step on him. I don’t want him dead because he’s an asshole, I want him dead because he is ruining any chance I could take this show seriously!

    Oh and have the writers mentioned that Kudelia is useless? Don’t worry. because instead of actually using that premise to develop her character, they can just tell the audience that she is useless over and over and over. I think its safe to say any goodwill I’ve had for Kudelia is gone.

    Ok enough of that, lets get to the part I really liked: Ship-to-Ship combat. This part actually feels refreshing for a Gundam show. Ship ramming is both the dumbest and most awesome thing a ship can do, so seeing the Hammerhead trash the pirate ship was great. I would preferred seeing more of the ship raid as opposed to the battle with Mobile Suits.

    And speaking of the Mobile Suits I’m happy the Barbatos has whipped out its mace. I love how it actually it actually reinforces how dumb the katana is because Mika just uses the Pile Bunker to one-shot his opponents by crushing the cockpits. But no, Bandai is shilling that stupid katana so he has to dump the mace to face the Gusion with the katana. Even when its established to be ineffective against the Gusion.

    1. I must agree that the cartoonish nature of the villains here is a problem. Hitler mustaches, grotesque obesity, outright freakish appearance – they really are caricatures and that does detract from the gritty sense of reality the plight of the orphans brings the series at its best moments.

    2. Hitler mustache doesn’t really bother me. His appearance definitely isn’t flattering, but I wouldn’t call his design a gross caricature. However, you’re right on the money with the leaders of the Brewers. Though luckily we’ll most likely be rid of them by the next episode.

  3. Atra is especially a problem in that respect – I just want to see more from here than dreams of being a junior wife in a polygamous marriage and of the delicious food she’s going to have waiting for her man on his return from battle

    I think you’re stretching a bit here. Firstly, Atra’s a child at an age where most of them are still playing at being adults. Unless she’s the show’s loli, I’m going to lean towards 12-13 – she worked in the brothel at 10, then the grocer, and her driving doesn’t mean much when every orphan kid is put behind a machine to work young.

    Secondly, she seems to define herself by her environment. She’s a kid who grew up in a brothel (but refers to it in far more favourable terms because she doesn’t understand that), ran away and nearly starved, got a nice job and a first crush who saved her, and now is following that crush on a trip where the immediate female role models are a bunch of polygamists who talk about making happy homes…

    She’s far too innocent and naïve and it taints her perspective on things. You need to take all of that into context when you’re considering her portrayal.

    Kudelia is an accessory, showing little evidence that she’s ready to become a real leader.

    At this point, she’s not. Eveything we’ve seen so far says she’s a dilletant with a cause who just happens to be more empathic than your typical elite but has no idea how the world around her functions or how far people will go to maintain power. She’ll either clue in and define herself or become the puppet others want her to be.

    1. Atra is a kid who grew up without parents, withstood abuse and near starvation and would of likely be made into a prostitute had she stayed at the brothel. Even then, she was on the road to starving to death like most “debris” had she not been spotted by Mika and taken in by the shopkeeper. There worldview isn’t exactly normal in the first place. To her she’s now just on a ship with her crush, her rival/friend, probably the closest thing she has to a family and a few adults with questionable lifestyles and surrounded by death whether she acknowledges it not. I expect she’ll mature in time but it will probably be the cost of what little innocence she still has.

      Kudelia on the other hand comes from a wealthy, influential family where she probably never wanted for anything. Even still, she saw something wrong with the world and tried to change it. She’s just now seeing what she really is fighting for and just how bad things are on the other side of the fence. Sure, she’s a little aloof and awkward but you can see she’s paying attention to her surroundings. For now she’s just trying to make herself as useful as she can and not be a burden to anybody. In time I’m sure she’ll fine her place and see the path that she needs to take.

      I think that’s the issues with many of the cast. Most of them are children and haven’t really seen the true face of war yet. At most they’ve only lost one person since they entered space (and that was from the boarding team). Wait until they’re dealing with more than pirates and facing losing everything.

      1. Most of the kids in Tekkadan may be children, true, but the ones at the helm are the oldest and they know war. They were child soldiers in a military contractor company, and they did lose people during Gjallarhorn’s attack. They are naive, but at least in Mika’s, Orga’s and the rest upper echelons’ case is not because of not knowing what war entails. In fact, they probably know better than some of the adults they come across (which is one of the reasons those adults keep underestimating them).

  4. I would want to bounce a question (or 2) back to the comment board at large: what CAN Atra do besides encourage her crush with a nice meal and wait for his triumphant(?) return? And also, what else can Kudelia do right now aboard a space ship that she knows NOTHING about? It won’t be that much different if we don’t see them as much as we had so far in the space arc, aka. the unnamed mooks on both sides of the battle. Too bad that they are the main secondary characters, if not one of the main characters.

    Another thing, I think this is one of the rare instances here in IBO that a death flag was NOT averted on a named character (I will say nothing about the unnamed folks without a name in the credits because red-shirts).

    Also, the surprisingly good English continues here:

    ps. The Ahab reactor generating gravity was a new one on me.

    1. Yeah, it does feel like people are now just expecting Kudelia to suddenly don a pilot suit and hijack the Graze Kai or one of the Turbines’ MS and go duking it out in space alongside Mika, or pull some sort of Newtype hax and broadcast speeches through everyone’s minds or something. It’s been emphasized several times that she’s useless where they are now and that she is meant to fight in a completely different “battlefield” than the others, but that battlefield is a long ways off, down on Earth mostly.

      And as others have said, Atra is still quite young and, like much of Tekkadan, grew up influenced by a pretty warped version of “the world”, so what she may think is “normal” (or at least is willing to accept) may not seem that way to others, but it’s like people are expecting her to be the “child who is wiser than most adults” cliche just because of that hard life growing up.

      My only real problem with the episode were, besides Kudel being how he is (he would be more fitting in something like Turn A Gundam ala Corin Nander or Gundam X with some of their short-lived antagonists), as it was said, the predictability of Masahiro’s death. It not only was predictable, but also feels unnecessary, like it was done purely to force out an angst episode. This was an opportunity to actually go against our expectations by having them save Masahiro, get a Man Rodi to add to their mobile suit forces (or even the Gundam Gusion itself, depending on how things went), and build development not just between him and Akahiro and the time they had lost, but also possibly between himself and Takaki (could even have some comedic and/or serious moments between them over being Akahiro’s biological and “adopted” little brother).

      I wouldn’t even say the predictability in itself was bad, but the execution. It actually did look like Akahiro got through to Masahiro, but to have Masahiro suddenly seem to break and accuse Akahiro of “having fun” while he suffered, then essentially committing assisted suicide (despite saving Akahiro in the process) just to prove how worthless they both are as Human Debris, it was just…yeah…I mean, if Masahiro really had to die, they could have at least had him take Kudel down with him in some more epic way for all the crap he put himself and his friends through (including their deaths in that battle). Instead, we’re probably going to have half to a whole episode of Akahiro angst from the guilt he’ll be feeling, and probably have to rebuild the development he had gotten because he’ll probably be, again, questioning his human worth and whatnot (probably require a punch from Orga and/or Mika).

      1. It actually did look like Akahiro got through to Masahiro, but to have Masahiro suddenly seem to break and accuse Akahiro of “having fun” while he suffered,

        I don’t think Akahiro had gotten through to Masahiro. Masahiro already stated several times in between the 2 bouts that he did not want to see Akahiro at such a bad juncture. More importantly, during the second bout, he looked pretty broken (and venting off on being a human debris for life) even before Akahiro stepped on the landmine that is an alternate family.

    2. Yeah, it does feel like people are now just expecting Kudelia to suddenly don a pilot suit

      I’m getting tired of statements like this. Its just being dismissive of the criticisms weighed against her. Kudelia is supposed to be an important character and she constantly gets screen time and all its done is waste it all when we can focus on other characters. We are halfway through and what has she has barely developed, instead tell the audiences she’s useless again. It never builds upon this instead just repeating something already established.

      Remember the scene where Kudelia decides to teach the kid to read? That was a good scene and in fact proves the\at Kudela can contribute something however small. But instead of using that as a starting point for her development she is instead comes of as a moron who literally knows nothing as opposed to someone sheltered. That’s called backtracking and saying she’ll be useful later does not excuse the rut the writers have stuck her in for 12 episodes.

      1. If all people say are generalizations about Kudelia being “useless”, then what else are people supposed to think?

        “Oh and have the writers mentioned that Kudelia is useless? Don’t worry. because instead of actually using that premise to develop her character, they can just tell the audience that she is useless over and over and over. I think its safe to say any goodwill I’ve had for Kudelia is gone.”

        Details, man.

        If people would actually use such details like you just did to explain why they think she is “useless” and how she could be better, then such statements wouldn’t be made nearly as much.

      2. Maybe we’re all overestimating Kudelia’s importance to the plot. The title of the show is Gundam: Iron Blooded ORPHANS, after all, and for the past couple of weeks she’s been getting like what, two, maybe three minutes of screen time per episode?

        I think it’s logical that Kudelia feels insecure considering what happened. She finally steels herself when leaving Teiwaz, and then Takaki gets injured and Merribit takes charge while she freezes up and does nothing. It’s natural that she’d be shaken and get caught the present. It’s a reality check for her- that she isn’t actually as prepared as she thought, and that the real meat of Tekkadan’s mission is bloody, gritty and still out of her comprehension.

      3. @N
        Reasonable, yes. But if she keeps getting knocked down several pegs EVERY time she makes an effort to improve herself (at the series mid-point, no less), then you wonder if the are handling her character properly. Orga at least has his fair share of genuine successes to balance his failures; with Kudlelia, it seems that every one of her attempts is eventually rendered insignicant. She teaches the kids how to read and write? The show basically says in response, “BIG DEAL. What good is that when people run the risk of dying?”
        I know they’re trying to establish that she’s got a rocky road ahead her, but they could handle more gracefully.
        (By the way, this is the first time I’ve seen anyone criticise Orga for being 2-D. I’ve seen plenty for Kudelia and some for Mika, but Orga usually get a lot praise for being more dynamic than the other two.)

      4. Here’s the thing; I actually agree that the sudden resurgence of her ‘i’m useless’ plot in the last two episodes is bad writing. That said, I think a number of posters, and the reviewer, on this site are using it to retroactively ignore all the development she had in the show before this. She did develop. As even her detractors have pointed out, she started the school, and then she faced the consequences of her choices with Teiwaz. Yes, she was useless, but she WAS useless, and she was dealing with it.

        That said, as I said at first, she has been handled poorly in the last two episodes. Her suddenly going back to about episode 8 in characterization after what happened with Teiwaz sticks out as weird writing and it feels like they got some pinch-hitter of a writer for a couple of episodes who’d been given the rough outline of her character rather than actually watching the episodes before these two.

    1. Alien 2

      The Hanger or Heavy Lifter Robots, are useful

      You mean Mechas for Fighting Wars? Well, not all Terrain can handle the Weight of an Maus on one Leg. Also these Mechas are not build to climb Stairs, they are more Mobile Gun carriers.

      Also, Mechas could be used to dive very Deep into Oceans (Pressure), but for fighting? Only if the Guns are to heavy weighted and the Ground of operation is impossible for Tracks

      Perhaps the first real Mechas would be more like Spiders to spread his own weight more on the ground to prevent sinking into it

      1. in a nutcase:

        See the “Robots” that are doing their best on Fukushima. That is the future for Robots, for Mechas the idea of a Bigger better Stronger Space Flight Suit (and less Gravity) is a good Solution. Here on earth their own Weight are the big Enemy

        Or someone do the Mass Effect and find an Elemental that counter the Earth Gravity..

    2. Your kind of late to that party

      Let’s just say that the suspension of disbelief is a powerful thing. Though the original Mobile Suit Gundam did give a decent reason for the use of mobile suits in space.

      But yeah giant robots like gundams aren’t really practical. It’s the reason a lot of mecha series don’t try to justify the existence of giant robots as war machines or at least do go into much detail; you need a very good writer to make that work. It’s easy to ignore this if the show doesn’t focus on the issue, but when the show tries to explain it and fails it makes it harder not be critical of this flaw. That’s one of the issues Samu has with the “Object” series he’s currently blogging.

      1. Basically, you need magic space technology in order to make giant robots work, and once you’ve decided you have magic space technology you have to wonder why it’s not being used for something more practical than giant robots.

        At the same time though, most weapons are both an innovation and a response, so if you imagine something that robots would be useful for fighting against, then robots become a more logical solution. Still though, basically nonsensical.

  5. Yes, this show is at its best when it showcases the hardships of those children. The “Iron-Blooded Orphans” has to be one of the most appropriate titles for any Gundam series ever. And I liked their dialogue too; convinced that despair is the only thing they have left in this world, they fantasize with reincarnation.

    Although the little brother’s death was more or less expected, the series did well at comparing his with his friends’: while Akihiro is given his chance for an emotional family meeting, the other kids are being slaughtered without any hesitation.

    Masahiro coming back to his brother? Why is he more special than the rest? Couldn’t the others have family and friends from the past too? The series took the logical result. I like it.

    1. I think it would have been interesting if Masahiro refused to go with Akihiro because he didn’t want to abandon his comrades (the other orphans). They may not be a family like Tekkadan, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to say they share a “brothers in arms” kind of bond and feel an obligation to protect each other.

  6. To be fair Kudlelia is a VIP , during combat situations she should not be roaming free around the ship. I think she is trying to help the boys and not feel like a burden to them, yet she is a diplomat not a pilot, medic or soldier.
    Also I think those feelings of uselessness won’t go away soon, specially if her visit to earth sparks a rebellion against Gjallarhorn.

    1. This. She is an Political Warrior, not an Mecha Warrior. She still have the Guilty feeling seeing Peoples die or get hurt because of her “selfishness”, but the Crew should give her a feeling that this is also their fight (With their Own Hands to get out of this Life. Like Orga said. That also works for War veterans).The Important Person for Kudelia is her “Maid”, she is right now the Person she has the utmost Trust and have always a ear to hear her out. Something like Alice in Cavalry. So, perhaps playing the “Parents are the Big Bad Spys” would be a better solution. She just done her “Reports” with a Good heart to tell Kudelia’s Parents that all is alright. But this should be up to the Anime Writers (the Impact on Kudelia and the Crew. Perhaps even Mika would not hesitate to “Kill her”, like on the Planet with the Mecha Duell. if the truth would come out, so it is up to you how they handle this)

    2. Glad someone else pointed this out as well. If anything, the bad writing isn’t that she’s ‘useless,’ the more accurate accusation would be that it’s bad writing for the story to act like her being useless is bad. She’s the client, and she’s a guest. She’s not a member of the crew, combat or otherwise. The fact that she helps cook is way more than most client/passenger/guests could or would be expected to do.

      It makes sense that she doesn’t like to see her friends hurt, so I don’t mind her feeling bad, but the idea that she has to find a ‘use’ right now is ridiculous.

  7. Perhaps there should be an After Battle Scene, where they search for Survivors in these Mecha Wrecks, or to give Big Brother the “corpse” to say finally his Goodbyes to his Brother

    1. Orga should take this decision on his Shoulders, if Big Brother should see the Corpse or just know the Last Picture of him in on this Screens…. it depends in how “awful” the corpse is..

      Orga should not run from that. What would happen with the other ones? Just respect the Dead. they was forced to do the Jobs, like them. Like “Com rads in Arms, just on the Wrong Side”

  8. “And it represents the distilled essence of why this story works – the plight of the children victimized by the venal adults in this mythology is as poignant as I’ve seen in any Gundam series, and they pretty much all try and depict a version of it (that success probably comes down to the artistic temperament of the writer and director).”

    I’m done. Enzo, you are a hack writer. I don’t know if you’re doing it to be cute or if you honestly can’t help but write the same thing every week, but it’s no longer funny. I’ll not be reading any more reviews from you. It’s a shame, because I used to respect you. Not anymore.

  9. So I came back to see if you’d improved any in your analysis skill. And to my disappointment you didn’t. I mean, wow, typical leader tropes from Orga? You simplified him THAT much despite all his MANY complexes but also dynamic competence? He’s probably the most diverse leader character in the franchise from what I’ve seen thus far.

    And for pete’s sake, GENDER POLITICS? We have any entire ship of kickass women in the Turbines, competent female contributros in terms of Fumio and Merribit, and you’re focusing your hangups on Atra, who does serve an important role as the EMOTIONAL ROCK for many of the characters, and Kudelia whose still STUCK ON A WARSHIP and has few skills to contribute beyond that until we encounter a political situation….

  10. Hey, this is a 20 plus episode anime, isn’t it? So I think it is really an imperative to develop the side characters if you want a well-rounded series. In that regard, Mobile Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans succeeded. The action scenes are still crisps and this is thankfully an evenly paced episode which is first in even numbered IBO episodes. I really think that the leads will have their own spots again after this cour, as expected from a double-cour show. It’s really obvious that this series is focusing on the side characters for a number of episodes now so I don’t think the argument that the ‘side characters are more compelling than the leads’ is applicable in this case.

    Another thing, I thought the death flags were raised for Akihiro and not for his younger brother, that’s why I am happy with the brutal resolution of this episode. I expected a cheesy reunion between him and his brother but what we got is a cold reminder that separation can cause breakdowns in relationships no matter how endearing that one was before. I really love how callous the scene was handled.

    Then I was about to settle when I realized that the review is gearing towards the sexist route. For the love of unicorns out there, I thought they are given equal chances to pilot a Mobile Suit, to handle positions and to take equal parts in the story.

    Kinda agree with the cartoonish antagonist though.

  11. Im little surprised Tekkadan and Turbines didnt aware of the 4 Gushion were childrens other than to rescue one person Masahiro.

    Talk about a wrong handling for the emotional mental preparation to convince him to leave his pirates group and reunite his brother while his comrades is getting slaughter.

    1. Maybe I missed something, but how could they have known the other mobile suits were piloted by kids? Akihiro only spoke to Masihiro directly in the first encounter, and the other members of Tekkadan and the Turbines didn’t speak to any of the other pilots.

  12. I love how people complain about Kudelia not doing anything. Next time you go on a plane, why don’t you ask the stewardess if you can help make the coffee, or ask the pilot if you can monitor the systems. Won’t that be great?

  13. That was a really rough episode.

    Most of it was preparation, but when it came down to it Tekkadan and the Turbines were more than enough to take down the Brewers.

    However, it came at a huge cost. Basically all the human debris kids died, including Masahiro, who had basically been mentally and emotionally destroyed by his life as a slave. Akihiro wanted to save him, but Masahiro couldn’t take the idea of having any kind of hope again. And so he sacrificed himself, saving his brother. And it is really heavy on the heart.

    What I really like about this series is how they can cause tension and danger and yet still subvert your expectations. I had thought it would be Akihiro and a few other named characters would die. But instead it was the one everyone was trying to save, and I think that made more impact than if it had been Akihiro or Norba, or one of Turbine girls. This show does extremely well at giving tension and emotional weight, without having to resort to simply killing named characters to get an emotional response.

    Here, I was able to gain emotional impact and hurt from the death of a character that we had only been introduced to a few episodes ago. I think it was the combination of his relationship with an actual named character and how much Masahiro meant to Akihiro. It was the fact that both Tekkadan and Turbines wanted to save him and were doing their best to do so. It was showing what a horrible life Masahiro and his fellow child slaves were enduring, that collectively made Masahiro’s death that much more impactful. The realization that this is what could have happened to Tekkadan’s men if they didn’t form such a tight knit bond with each other and have such support between each other, with leaders who looked after the group. Masahiro couldn’t take the idea of having hope again, his life as human debris destroyed him and it breaks your heart to see him choose death like that.

    I don’t believe in reincarnation, I’m more of a Heaven/Hell person. And I can hope that all those poor children who died are now at peace and at rest and are happy now, and that Orga and Mika puts the beat down on what’s left of the Brewers.

  14. “I continue to be troubled by the gender politics here, and Atra is especially a problem in that respect.” Really Enzo? I don’t get this, because you previously said this: “(that success probably comes down to the artistic temperament of the writer and director).”


    Guardian Enzo’s wet blanket reviews on Gundam is seriously draining to read. While it was obvious that Masahiro’s brother was going to return, it was not obvious that he was going to die. For me, I thought that the brother and the other kids would survive and that there would be a subplot on one of the saved pilots plotting Pedro’s revenge.

    Dave K’s response is completely correct. What would you expect from a 13 and possible 17/18 year old? Kudelia is useless on the ship, because her role is not on the ship, but as a politician. And please just let Atra be a kid. The backstory and current development of Atra’s character gives her reason to act this way (IE want to make food for Mika, think that polygamy is ok, etc.).

    I am, too, tired of reading Guardian Enzo’s reviews on Gundam. While flaws should be pointed out, Enzo’s critiques read as nit picking. All of his reviews this season makes the series seem average and joyless.

    Can we please get someone else to review the second half of the series?


    1. the Brother also lost with this Fight, his Family. Thats why he was deep hurt when Big Brother brought the “Family” into this conversation, and Little Brother reacted this way. He lost an family again. But in the end he saved Big brother, he chose to let big brother live on

      1. Actually, if you look again, Masahiro stated that the only people he considers “family” was his mother, father, and brother. You have to realize that Masahiro has probably seen a lot of human debris die and get sold off, he wouldn’t make a large effort to be close to others and to form “family” ties. He didn’t even say a word when Pedro died, only Vito did, for Masahiro, it was just a part of life. So, I can’t think that he was that distraught about everyone dying. I think it was more about the fact that Akihiro was asking him to hope again after he had already given up on everything and that along with how broken he was, just shattered him.

  15. Perhaps Enzo’s way of seeing the Gundam universe with their Peoples and MCs inside must have an fighting role, all others are just “rubbish”

    yes, Enzo. i impute you that you have an Black and White sight of this Gundam world. Have you lost something?

  16. Actually Enzo is pals with Animesuki’s most notorious Okada haters. They downright insult Okada and her works and crop up whenever people discuss her shows. Just read the marine Okada’s thread there and see for yourself. It’s appaling.


Leave a Reply

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