「フミタン・アドモス」 (Fumitan Adomosu)
“Fumitan Admoss”

I think this was an episode that highlighted the lingering issues with Tekketsu no Orphans.

I’m hard-pressed to remember many shows about which my feelings have see-sawed from week to week more than this one.  And in a way that’s probably not surprising, given that you have a director and writer who excel at a certain style of storytelling and a franchise as iconic and rigid as anime itself  – one which favors a very different style.  It may just be the classic case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object – with predictable results.

The first problem I have with episode concerns predictability.  Yes, it’s certainly true that there’s a comfort level when watching a Gundam series that you know basically what’s going to happen.  But it grows wearisome sometimes, especially when you don’t have a script that accounts for that familiarity very well.  But this is a Gundam show and by gosh, this is how things work – when a character’s death flags are raised, they salute.  When their name is in an episode title, they die as ordered.

Then there’s the matter of the big emotional scenes in episodes like this one, which have fallen flat more often than not.  Any veteran of AnoHana or Toradora knows the Nagai-Okada pairing can be as elite as it gets when it comes to melodrama, but something just seems off in Tekketsu no Orphans – whether they feel constrained by the weight of the franchise or not, I don’t know.  But these big emotional crescendoes just haven’t clicked with me too often – the emotional buy-in with the characters hasn’t been earned and the show just seems to be trying too hard.

My biggest problem here, though, is Kudelia.  We’re two-thirds of the way through the series and she’s still a purely passive character.  She impacts only by her existence,  not by her thoughts, words or deeds.  I get that she’s a symbol because of what she is – but I need more than that to actually care about her.  If you’re going to put her out there as some kind of Jon of Arc figure, you’ve got to give her a voice – give her a perspective, give her charisma, give her bold and foolish courage.  Right now Kudelia is being held up at the epicentre of everything that’s happening, but she’s very much what she was when Tekketsu no Orphans started – a naive and sheltered girl who wants to make a difference but has no idea how to do it, always on the periphery of tragic events she’s helpless to prevent or even mitigate.

Is there still time for that to change?  Yeah, I suppose – especially now that word has leaked out that Iron-Blooded Orphans is getting a second season.  Is there still time for it to change and be credible?  I’m more skeptical there – but ask me  when it changes (given the next episode title, hopefully next week).  In the meantime I hope this series focuses on its strengths – its depiction of the nascent stages of the coming war, an unstoppable tidal wave on the horizon.  And the characters on the fringes of the story looking to take advantage of it in ways still opaque, especially McGillis Fareed.




      1. @seph
        Where? So far the only indication of a S2 that I’ve seen is the OST listing and that could just mean that Sunrise is merely open to the possibility of a S2 and is currently on the fence about it.

  1. For me this show has enough emotions to get me riled up everytime (while AnoHana or Toradora had non of that for me), so I guess we tick differently here.
    About Kudelia you are right, but I think this will change now. Well more like it has to change now or it will never. And Im wondering if anyone told her what happened to Jeanne d’Arc in the end because it aint pretty. Its more or less what Nobless has in mind for her.

  2. I really don’t get your complains about Kudelia, in order for her to change from the innocent cluless girl we had so far into a psudo John of Arc figure something had to happen that shocks her to her very core in order for such a drastic change to feel belivable and earned, you can’t have her wake up one day deciding to become a different character.

    Using her strong -somewhat unhealthy- attachment to Fumitan in order to usher this change makes perfect sense, the state of shock and total denial she was in after Fumitan died shows how much she loved her and cared about her, she was her guardian and emotional ancor, losing her like that (shortly after learning she betrayed her, thus losing her twice in a row) is enough to make her drastic personality change belivable (as seen from the previews next episode is a Kudelia centric episode, most certainly one in which she will take a drastic decision to embrace the maiden of revolution persona everyone belived her to be).

    Also claiming Kudelia didn’t change at all is not true, she did change over the course of first half of the series, subtle changes indeed within the boundries of her established character but changes nonetheless, starting from when she offered to surrender herself to Gjallarhorn to spare the Tekkadan members, again when she tried to be useful by educating the children on board the ship, her actions moved the plot forward and are still are creating ripples till now when she chose to go to Nobliss for financial, political and logistical support .. Etc etc, the culmination of all that is the change she will go through in the next episode, and it is exactly the right time to do it IMO.

    1. Simply put, the writers have stuck her in a rut for 16 episodes. Hopefully NOW this major eveFumitan’s death will push her development but the fact it it took 16 weeks to do that. It might be forgivable if the rumored 2nd season happens (I have yet to see official confirmation). Still proper character development should not take this long.

      Also all the little developments she did have are largely irrelevant, because every episode she does for every episode she get decent development, she just backtracks to be useless again. It almost feels like the writers don’t know what to do with her and are just providing a weekly screentime quota for her.

      1. A major character change is supposed to happen as a result of multiple smaller developments, not suddenly every time the character gets some development. You only need that if your show is 1-cour and even then only if you have many characters and thus no time to spare.
        If the rumors that this Gundam will have 50 episodes overall, then there is really no reason to make Kudelia into a fully developed character by this point.

      2. So instead she is barely getting any development and the little good development she has is completely forgotten for the next episodes? For a supposedly central character, this kind of character writing is not acceptable whether the series is long running or not.

        I don’t buy it at all. Her “small developments” don’t contribute to any supposed character arc. They’re just presented then tossed aside and not spoken of again. There is no build up. Fumitan’s death doesn’t feel like culmination of Kudelia’s (very little) development, it like sudden shove to make her relevant after spending more than half the series doing nothing.

    2. I think the problem is less about the characters and more about the execution. The characters are solid and they could have deliver if the writing was a bit better. It felt disjointed.

  3. If the show is written with a second season in mind, then it makes sense for Kudelia’s development to take time. If we are to get 50 episodes in total then that means we’re actually only at 1/3 of the way. We can’t have Kudelia become proactive without some sort of impetus. Experiences shape people.
    About Fumitan’s death, yes it was awfully predictable. They should have used a less blatant episode title (why do 99% of writers suck at chapter/episode titles?) and raised less death flags. With that said, come on, we have watched countless of shows before, and so many western tv shows, films, novel etc. We are so familiar with storytelling that we become able to predict the writer’s movements. Of course, Fumitan’s case could have been handled with more subtlety, but we are so genre-savvy that expecting the writer to surprise us at every turn is asking for too much. And besides, would surprising the audience just for the sake of surprising them be a viable approach?
    PS: no matter how predictable it was, it still hit me in the guts. I felt a shiver! Now imagine what it’d be like for the teenager of today who isn’t familiar with regular tropes or former productions. I bet that episode was much more impactful.

  4. Seems fairly typical for a Gundam series. Main character (or character expected to push the military agenda/path of the cast) is either oblivious, doesn’t care or is too weak to do anything. Said character slowly changes over time until they hit a tipping point event (lost of a loved one, doing something they feel the need to make up for, revenge, etc) and then they change and the story kicks into hyperdrive.

    It’s an effective way of storytelling but it does come of as slow at times. The question now is what path Kudelia and therefore the rest of the cast will take from here and what the actors behind the scenes will do to affect it.

  5. Kudelia is just another Relena or Marina, plain as simple: a useless character only placed for plot armor (or lack of one in this case). Many of you have put AnoHana and Toradora as examples of SWNSNBM’s (She whose name shall not be mentioned) prowess, but Toradora’s cheap last arc completely cancel that, more if we take into account that this is a Gundam series, and you need a heavy character driven script to make it work, something I haven’t seem yet to find after these 16 eps (and in general in the last TV series with the brand, sans G-Reco). BTW, even if your name is in the ep title, that don’t mean automatically that you have to die, but with G-Tekketsu, with an script that made the WWE look like Shakespeare, you can expect anything.

      1. Or maybe he/she doesn’t even consider it a Gundam show to begin with, fact is that i heard it was meant to be a non-Gundam story and got changed into a Gundam story later on.

        And there is even a rumor that the creator of the show and the father of the Gundam franschise denounced the series and apologized for how messy it was.

  6. One can hope Kudelia will show some serious development after this episode. She went through hell you know.

    While Fumitan’s death scene is a tad predictable, I am actually happy it was toned done and we got somw chilling response from Mikazuki and Kudelia.

    My major beef. What the heck happened with Orga. Relegated to the sidelines much?

    Well, a bit shameless but here is my complete thought in this blog: samui26.wordpress.com

  7. For me, I wouldn’t say that Fumitan’s death falls emotionally flat, but it doesn’t feel like it hit as hard as it could have. While some of this can be attributed to the predictability of her death I think its mostly due to the fact that the writer waited until now to explore the relationship between Kudelia and Fumitan. Before this episode we got a few scenes that showed Kudelia thinks of Fumitan like family but that only scratched the surface. It’s essentially a lack a build up that makes the end result feel rushed.

    The reason most of IBO’s emotional moments have worked for me is because there usually is an adequate amount of build up before hand. Another thing that helps is that I usually don’t feel like IBO tries too hard with those moments. It doesn’t come off as too melodramatic and given Okada’s reputation I’m actually surprised. One thing I liked about the way Funitian’s death was played out was that it wasn’t over-dramatized. Typically when someone dies you’ll have x character scream out the name of deceased, but here Kudelia is just in complete shock and disbelief.

  8. I have to agree with Enzo that the death scene was rather flat. What impacted me more was Mika’s words, “That’s not Fumitan anymore”, which I think emphasises how the brutality and coldness is better conveyed in this series than sadness and sorrow and I actually prefer it that way. Just to add, Mika’s facial expressions have improved.

    1. Honestly, I kind of have to agree with that. I knew Fumitan was going to die and she was never a character that I really loved or anything. However, Mika’s words really impacted me, especially in the face of Kudelia’s shock.

      Also, I have to agree on Mika’s facial features, they are very subtle when he’s observing the death scene, and you can actually see him look affectionate and loving (way more so than when he did the kiss) when he was with Atra and making sure she’s okay before going on. Mika may have a stoic nature, but he does express his feelings.

  9. This reminds of Gundam Seed Destiny, with Kira standing on the beach, watching the pieces fall to earth, and saying, “a storm is coming.”

    Of course the infamous image of that scene has, in all caps, THIS IS FORESHADOWING.

    As much as I loved Gundam Seed, I disliked Destiny about as much, and this series has a lot of the same problems. I’m still watching it, but you know, if this wasn’t a Gundam series, I’d probably have dropped it by now. The writing is just lazy, even for a Gundam series.

  10. I still enjoy this series. Honestly, I did not expect Fumitan to die this early, especially since she appeared in the new intro and ending. Maybe in episodes 20+, but not here. So it honestly did come as a shock to me, even if her name was the title.

    As for Kudelia, cut her some slack. You can’t expect her to suddenly go out in a mobile suit and swing an axe around, or use a gun. Try that and she’d be a sitting duck. Heck, in the early episodes, she was actually going to attempt to use that system that allows her to directly control the mobiles suits and workers. However, Orga suggested that she not do it, because of the risks. Also, they’ve been travelling in the cold reaches of space, fighting off syndicates, space pirates and mercenaries. There hasn’t exactly been anyone for her to properly negotiate with.

    Not to mention, she has had some development, which was pretty much seen when Tekkadan joined Teiwaz. When the guy requested that he help her in raising arms, Kudelia was very reluctant and confused with what to do. As a pacifist, the most obvious thing for her to do would be refuse. However, she actually found the conviction and accepted the fact that there was going to be probable conflict and that she would need some militaristic backers, thus accepting the old man’s offer. Many pacifists would easily reject the offer and stick to their beliefs of doing things without spilling blood, but Kudelia actually took precaution by getting some extra muscle, and a mafia no less. You’d think perhaps an organization that represented Mars, but she got weapons dealers.

    On a side note, I love how Mika just drags Kudelia under a lifeless body, and then proceeds to slowly carry her away like a sack. Hoping the camera crew actually got footage of that.

    1. Why do people keep saying we expect her to fight? Its getting irritating already and that’s not the problem. She has been the same issue Gundam has been writing any pacifistic character. Rather than write a character with her own arc, they are just mouthpieces to make a generic anti-war messages.

      After 16 weeks, she no longer deserves any more slack. For all here “developments” she has been the same character as before and its getting frustrating. Its called backtracking, anytime she develops it gets tossed into the trash again so she becomes the same person as she was before. Remember her great scenes when teaching the kids? The writers don’t since its NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN.

      The writers need to stop making her a Macguffin and actually write her as a godamn main character already. That might actually happen next episode but it took way too long.

      1. It was implied that Kudelia was still teaching them, especially when Mikazuki was still trying to spell “tunnel”, while looking for Akihiro’s brother, which wasn’t that long ago.

        Not to mention, in the past few episodes, they were dealing with Space Pirates that managed to kill a few of their own, along with killing a bunch of children. I kind of doubt Kudelia would be the center of attention at that moment.

      2. ugh.

        Kudelia has never been described as pacifist in the show. She has never been a mouthpiece for an anti-war message in the show.

        Here’s why people get sick of your opinion. You’ve had it forever, it hasn’t changed, yet you won’t leave. You show up every week having apparently watched every episode and then make the exact same complaints. Again and again and again. After 16 weeks, that doesn’t deserve any more slack. It’s boring and repetitive.

        You don’t get the show, we get it. Kudelia HAS AN ARC. You do not enjoy or appreciate that arc. That’s fine. That does not mean she doesn’t have one. The fact that she is a macguffin is in fact a major part of that arc. The show isn’t simply using her as a macguffin, the characters IN THE WORLD are using her as a macguffin. Part of her arc is clearly rising above it, and she has been slowly doing so, whether or not you think it’s fast enough. But the show is also an ensemble. It doesn’t focus on Kudelia every episode any more than it focuses on Mika every episode. Focus shifts.

        But whatever, respond or not if you want. I’m sure you’ll be back next week with the exact same complaints. Like clockwork. Maybe if you have the same complaint again and again, you should realize that whatever it is you clearly dislike is not a mistake but an intentional decision on the part of the writer and a reason for you to not watch the show. That’s why I don’t watch GATE. There are parts of that show, both the political and the character stuff that I don’t like but it’s clearly what the author wants to write about, the make me not like the show therefore I don’t watch it. I don’t show up every week to complain about the exact same thing.

  11. Someday, a death like Maes Hughes from Full Metal Alchemist would appear and shred our emotions once again. Fumitan’s death here was so obvious that I did not care when she was taken out. This is sad because I think she was a central character for the development from Kudelia. What a real waste.

    I was happy with how the rest of the episode developed though. I do wish there were less coincidences and seemingly so easy for someone to find the other at the perfect time without any type of communication or knowledge of where they are.

    Since this will be a 50 episode, I bet we will have a couple of “depressed hime-sama” episodes before we get fired up again. I hope that fire up will be great and finally set the direction of Space vs Earth in a grand way with Kudelia leading the “resistance”.

  12. Ep 18:

    With every Episode my heart became even more filled with warmth

    I love the Story. Hope this one was born out of the Win-Win situation. Do not forget the old fans and the new fans. Old fans wants action and the “Gundam world” where they are at home, and the New fans wants Bonds and good storytelling (like me). Your Ramen is 5 Star, dear Sunrise


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