「クーデリアの決意」 (Kuuderia no Ketsui)
“Kudelia’s Decision”

On balance that was definitely an improvement for Tekketsu no Orphans, though the context is that last week’s episode was one of the weakest of the series in my view. I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m not seeing enough of the individuality of the creators, though. You had to figure going in that the results with this series were going to fall somewhere on a continuum between a traditional Gundam show and a Nagai-Okada one, but the Gundam gene is clearly dominant – much more than I expected.

That’s fine for what it is, but I wish we were getting something a little more mold-breaking. That wouldn’t necessarily mean whatever that is would work, but Iron-Blooded Orphans just feels creatively stifled to me, as if there’s something buried deep beneath the ground that only rarely breaks the surface. There are probably quite a few writers and directors out there who could do an ultra-traditional Gundam series, but how many are there that can do what these two can do? Isn’t it kind of a waste?

Well, be that as it may, it can at least be said that this is the week that Kudelia Aina Bernstein finally lumbered into action as a character. It seems fitting that we left her literally being slung over Mika’s shoulder and carried like a sack of doorknobs, because as I said last week Kudelia has been a completely passive character up to now. It took too long but at least that seems finally to have changed (the episode title was a pretty obvious clue it would), Fumitan’s death and the massacre of the union workers being the cold slap in the face to make Kudelia realize she wasn’t doing anybody any good the way she was.

We’ve seen this political dynamic play out in Gundam many times before, but given Tekketsu no Orphans’ place early in the timeline that makes a certain amount of sense. Gjallarhorn played the workers like a concert grand, luring them into taking inflammatory action and then using it as a pretext to wipe them out. Neither Gaileo nor the Tekkadan boys are happy bout what’s going on, though the source of that unhappiness is obviously a bit different. Gaileo and MacGillis represent a sort of Southern gentlemen motif here – they’re with the bad guys, but their good upbringing makes stuff like what the security forces are doing here seem downright unsporting.

Orga is in a pretty tough spot here. Not only does he know full well that getting in the middle of this fight could be a death sentence, but his job is to deliver Kudelia safely to Earth. It’s only when Kudelia (finally) takes a stand and decides enough is enough that Orga is willing to acquiesce to his hot-headed colleagues wishes and join the fray on the side of the workers. A slightly-too convenient encounter with the news crew offers the chance both to escape Dort 3 and take the fight to Gjllarhorn in space and for Kuedlia to broadcast a subversive message to the nets, and it’s game on. This also allows Gaileo to whip out his family heirloom the Gundam Kimaris to do battle with Mikazuki.

At this point it’s really the men who are standing off to the side watching – Fareed, Nobliss Gordon, McMurdo Barriston – who seem likely to determine the course of fate. Everyone else from Kudelia and the orphans on down are tools in their hands, a means to an end, but at least now we’re seeing some indications that the tools aren’t simply going to passively accept being used.




  1. No such talk about the epic and gritty MS battles that took more than half of the episode but there were two paragraphs alloted for the ‘what ifs’ of the Nagai-Okada combo?

    The camera work during the mech battle was superb.

    Rebake and Ryusei Go’s debut were fantastic. Rebake’s face reveal just convinced me to buy it.

    Mikazuki being overpowered by Gali-Gali was a sight to behold. Considering how Mikazuki was happily curbstomping the Gjallarhon mooks before that. Then the Akihiro save and the well choreograph team work of Akihiro and Mika that pushed back NotJerid Ein and Gali-Gali.

    The growing attachment of Lafter to Akihiro might go places too.

    The seemingly last stand of Tekkadan and Kudelia against the Arianrod fleet at the end was epic with the Red Graze standing at the Isarabi bow and being flanked by Barbatos and Rebake.

    So many juicy angles to talk about this breakthrough episode of IBO. Banrise made it a point that the MS battle diet we had for several weeks straight was all worth it.

    But I digress. I guess its up to us reader to point out what we enjoy about Gundam series and why is it called as ‘Gundam’. Even the screenshots are missing a lot of mecha.

  2. Well derp, this is the straw breaking the camel’s back as far as I care.

    Are we going back to 1/3 of the reviews being about Okada? Seriously? Also, why is there absolutely no mention of the new Guison or the Ryousei-Go? I mean, this is a Gundam, right? Mobile suits should be important business.

    Nope, the entire battle is summed up in one single sentence. “This also allows Gaileo to whip out his family heirloom the Gundam Kimaris to do battle with Mikazuki.” That’s it. There’s two whole paragraphs moaning how the show doesn’t work for you, in comparison.

    Enzo, it’s really funny watching you complain about IBO being soulless when the stuff you’re putting is much more bland.

    1. Could we please stop with the complaining already. I think after what?….17 episodes, you’ve made your point. Yes, you think Enzo talks too much about Okada and too little about the actual events in the episode. What else is new?
      If you think the writer didn’t do justice to the episode, then by all means – present your views. I would love to read them. Isn’t that what the comment section is for…

      1. Man… while I bashed Enzo’s 2 paragraph worth of Okada spiel, I did present my views about the episode but the supposedly first post of this blog is being subject to moderation so yeah.

      2. Ah, so us repeating a commentary is really repetitive, but reading practically the same stuff for 17 reviews is a-ok. I’m sorry, but why is that? I mean, if you enjoy this kind of review then go ahead and say so; I’ll respect your opinion (honest!).

        “If you think the writer didn’t do justice to the episode, then by all means – present your views.”

        Yeah, I am guilty of that. In my defense, I have already gone through enough discussions about the ep two days ago on two forums… so at this point I’m not sure if I have anything left worth discussing. I wouldn’t have written anything here were I not so pissed by a review that had practically no mention of the first actual battle in 3 episodes.

        If it’s any solice, I do promise not to do it again. I will simply quit visiting these posts and let you guys be. Didn’t mean to be the party-pooper. Sorry 🙂

      3. Please don’t apologize! 🙂 I wouldn’t have written anything either if I weren’t so tired of reading the same comments every week, so sorry for nagging ( or moderating, as someone put it).
        And for the record, I agree with you, I didn’t particularly enjoy this review either. And while Enzo may be my favorite writer on this site, I think the difference between his good and his mediocre posts is huge. But then, some stuff inspires you to write better than others…

      4. Nah, I fully realise I joined a long queue of naggers. Didn’t think about that angle when I made my post. Spur of the moment and the like.

        It’s kind of a shame really. I mean, I really enjoyed Stilt’s take on Heavy Object, which is a lot weaker serie than IBO (in my opinion). Enzo’s reviews of IBO in comparison feel like reading a newspaper, full of articles that simply HAD to be written. He isn’t immersed into the topic he’s dealing with, and that’s why everything is so dry (and also why so little is mentioned of the episode’s contents).

        He doesn’t like Gundam, and there’s not enough Okada here to make him interested either. Which is fine – but then why does he persist looking for something that just isn’t there? In a way tenacity is admirable, but it doesn’t do well for the quality of these posts…

    2. I’m with Ravenlord, and I do think your attack on them came out of sort of nowhere. This review was bad, and these reviews have been bad, and it’s just getting old.

      Frankly, these might be the worst reviews I’ve ever read on this website (which I’ve been reading now for 2-3 years I believe). If you don’t like a show, drop it. Stop reviewing. No one will blame you, this isn’t a job. As stilts did with last season’s comet lucifer, there CAN be some value in continuing to review a show that is bad and using that to discuss its weaknesses. That is not what is happening here. This show is not bad. I think even most of the people who don’t like this show (which is fine, you’re entitled to your opinion on entertainment things, and Gundam is polarizing at its best) would admit that it’s not trash and they can see why other people might like it.

      This is simply a case where the voluntary reviewer of the show personally dislikes it. So we get these late, short, weak reviews week in and week out. I no longer really come to this website for the Gundam reviews because they’re terrible, but I will comment on them when they (finally) drop.

  3. Glorious Gusion Rebake. I hadn’t been in love with a MS since I don’t even remember when. Then again, I’ve always been a fan of bulky frames. I can’t wait to see more of it in action. I always love it when there characters other than the main pilot having their own mechas. On another note I hope Kudelia’s speech won’t be cheesy preachy and will have instead some actionable suggestions. And it’s high time Fareed does something other than stand around with the mysterious smile.

    1. Talking about the Guison, I like the rock-paper-scrissor thing they have going so far; no suit is so clearly superior, and they all have their trade-offs.

      The slow and heavily armoured Guison gets stabbed to death by the agile melee Barbatos; Barbatos gets prickled to death by the speedster gun-toting enemies; and those fast gun-toting enemies are helpless against the heavily armoured frames such as Guison.

      1. You have to love it when the mecha the hero has is not overpowered. Can’t enjoy a one-sided match (coughGundam00cough).

        So far, although Gundams in this universe seem to have that special armor that makes them more resistant, they aren’t safe from normal units and the enemies have their own Gundams too.

      2. @Osy: Oh my, you’re absolutely correct. Argh, IBO uses the weirdest names. How I long for something simple and clean, like RX-78-2…

        @Mistic: You won’t find me disagreeing. While SEED got me into Gundam in the first place, I never liked the ‘mowing down rows and rows of cannon fodder’; it always made me question just why pilots even sign up for armies that get wiped clean in seconds. Then I watched Wing and 00 and Age and well… the basic question remained the same. “Man, what are they paying for those pilots to sit into those coffins?”

        As for armour, not just Gundams actually; even the regular Grazes have nanolaminar coating. I mean, the Grazes hit by Mika’s cannon stop moving, yes – but they don’t show catastrophic damage nor explode; so it’s very possible that the suits (and pilots) are mostly intact, and only suffered enough damage to abort combat and wait rescue. The only time we’ve seen cannon-fire actually destroy a mobile suit was when Mika fired at one at point-blank… though it could be that I’m mistaken, I guess.

      3. @Mistic

        Well, the Gundam Frames were meant to be, as far as we know, the most powerful mobile suits during a time of huge war, so it’s no surprise that, even three hundred years later, their armor layout allows them to be far more resilient compared to an average grunt during a time of relative peace.


        As I keep saying on the subject, that’s one of the things I don’t really like about half the AU Gundam series’ – the huge imbalance between “Gundams” and pretty much any other mobile suit in battle, with the only exception really being if that grunt mobile suit is piloted by either a “Gundam” pilot or a named main antagonist, in which case, that mobile suit will suddenly turn into a damage sponge.

        One big example being the Leo in Gundam Wing. They’ll blow up spectacularly with practically a single bullet to the tip of the foot with anyone else piloting it, but put Heero or one of the other Gundam pilots, or Zechs, or some other popular named character, in them and, like we see with Heero and Duo in Endless Waltz, they can get an arm lopped off, the chest sliced open, or sprayed down with gatling gun fire and they’ll still barely look THAT damaged.

        Even Gundam SEED wasn’t THAT bad with the balance (Kira actually struggling and usually BARELY succeeding much of the time) until they evolved Kira Emo and the Strike into Kira Jesus and the (Strike) Freedom.

  4. Honestly, this review feels anemic to me. Enzo doesn’t like Gundam-element in the story and he doesn’t care about the mechs either. So when the episode went full Gundam, he basically complains “I want more, Nagai! Gimme something different, Okada!” which is the core of his reviews so far.

    Honestly Enzo, how many Gundam series have you watched? This series is already different and unique enough compared to others. Should I list them for you? I won’t list all, but here’s some:

    1. The core MCs are all children, and we basically have a main ship controlled and operated by kids from the beginning which is something even the silly ZZ Gundam & Victory Gundam only dare to do in the second half of the series. Yet, IBO does it naturally and with confidence from the get go.

    2. This series is low-key and took a more intimate, personal and slower approach by focusing more on the MC group, which is very different from something like, say, Gundam 00 & Wing which often jumping around to various characters involved in the conflict in each episode making it less intimate.

    3. No beam weapons (so far). And the most effective weapons to finish off MSs (or the pilots, in this case) are solid giant melee weapons, making each battle looks more violent, brutal and savage.

    4. The militant MC group’s initial goal when they went into the battle was uniquely and surprisingly simple, modest and relatable (so relatable that this is easily the Gundam series that talk about economic condition the most, which is a good thing). They just want to make good money to get out of their shitty lives and also to provide better living for their poor siblings by doing their job in the form of escorting a hot political figure to a certain place. From the get go, they know that they’ll go into some conflicts, clashes and battles and they’re prepared for them. So there’s rarely any teenage EMO-ing and whining throughout the show from the MC group about the battles they must do given their militant nature & background without turning them into robotic/inhuman characters. The most we get so far is them contemplating on their lives and choices and some regrets. That is a good piece of writing in order to get rid of most of the teenage angsty-ness that is well-known in many Gundam series. That’s something G-Reco wanted to do by giving us the relatively cheerful MC (Bellri) which unfortunately doesn’t work due to questionable script and narrative. Not that teenage angst is bad when it’s well executed (see Amuro, Camille, etc) but even something good can be boring if it’s keep getting repeated.

    I don’t know about others, but I think the points above already made this Gundam series pretty unique and made it able to stand proud as one of the better series among its brethren. Whether or not the show will keep some of those “uniqueness” throughout the series is another matter though.

    1. Speaking as a long time Gundam fan I can tell when Enzo goes to the well of trying to talk about this or that as it pertains to Gundam that he unfortunately has absolutely no idea what he is talking about and is just trying to feign that he does to save a little face. It’s a little funny just cause it’s so blatantly obvious but also a little disrespectful to the reader at the same time.

    2. In addition, the Gundam are almost all relics of an old age. In most series, the Gundam are usually far more advanced than of the other mechs, but the Gundam of IBO are pretty much all old models who are being refitted with modern equipment. That itself helps show the skills of the pilot, as they are able to stand their ground, despite using technology that isn’t exactly up to date.

  5. I’m somewhat disappointed Eins didn’t bite the dust when he blocked the Axe(?) throw meant for Gali-Gali, he’s been annoying me since the first ep with his “holier than thou” attitude towards Tekkadan actions, but says nothing when it’s Gjallarhorn who pull out the dirty tricks book :p Oh well here’s hoping he’ll be taken out soon

      1. That was Lt. Crank, I believe.

        I kind of enjoy Eins, even though he’s one of the most two-sided characters at this moment. He loathes the protagonist, and actually has a somewhat valid reason to hate them (that is, if you consider revenge as a valid reason).

        The problem is, he’s ridiculously ineffective in combat. He fought the Ryousei-Go to a standstill – and that was Shino’s first sortie in a mobile suit. That doesn’t bode well for him, and if he can’t achieve anything in combat, his whole character is a waste of screen time. I mean, he has no personality apart from hating Tekkadan…

      2. @Ravenlord

        Yeah, Eins, at the moment, is basically a Jerid Messa (Zeta Gundam), but with much less to him. At least Jerid showed numerous times since he was introduced that he wasn’t merely a Titans junkie with a one-track mind (he actually had ambitions, like one day leading the Titans), and if he did start getting tunnel vision, he had someone to shake him out of it (Lyla, then Mouar).

        The way Eins is now, all he has is revenge, but if that’s all, then he’s definitely being set up to die because it’s those types of characters that, while they can be dangerous by being more reckless, they also tend to cause more problems not just for themselves, but for those around them because of the fact that he cares pretty much about nothing and no one so long as he is able to get that revenge and the longer it takes to get and/or the more he loses, the worse that fixation gets until he does something stupid that gets himself and/or others killed.

      3. @HalfDemonInuyasha

        That would seem a logical end up for him, but I don’t find it thematically appropriate. For one, it’s way too predictable; for two, Eins was given too much screentime to be simply turned into a mindless berserker IMHO.

        I actually expect him to mature. Gali-Gali seems to be an upstanding figure after all (who could’ve thought?); he was clearly against this operation, and was also sneering when Ein apologized for the ‘unnecessary action’. With Ein spending so much time around him, I would be surprised if Ein didn’t receive a lecture or two… in due time.

    1. Well, as much as I really love Ajin… It’s certainly not an average looking series especially if you compare it with Bubuki Buranki (another anime this season which implemented CGI in a good level). Well, Ping Pong, The Tatami Galaxy and Aku no Hana looked weird too but delivered good to anime-best stories so who knows what Ajin could bring.

    2. …. Oh well, do what your like. then allow me to not take your word for granted

      I’d rather take only half for granted rather than ignoring it all, seeing this is his first try at blogging Gundam…iirc.

  6. Regardless of Enzo’s reviews, my affair with Gundam:IBO has gotten cold lately (it ventured too much on being Nagi No Asukara) UNTIL THIS FREAKING EPISODE. I am amazed this episode blew all other shows this season (including the great Rakugo and Bokumachi) by showing what it knows excellently.

    I was instantly reminded of what IBO can offer in its prime. Darn it. I literally dropped my jaw with the well-choreographed fight scenes, Orga has reinstated his leader status and we got to see Mikazuki move again. This is a chaotic episode in IBO universe. Yeah baby!


    Wohooo! Okaeri-nasai Gundam:IBO.

  7. Well, time to pitch in my 2c, I guess. Be warned, this is a long comment with lots of rambling.

    First of all, I absolutely love Gjallarhorn as the big bad. They are just so satifying to hate. They are ruthless and morally bankrupt, but act in a way that feels believable. This was the big problem with A-LAWS in 00; they were so cartoonishly evil that they were hard to take seriously. Gjallarhorn, in contrast, are hitting all the right notes for me.

    (A bit of side-tracking: Gjallarhorn is also wonderfully showcasing how the world shapes our cartoons, which is rather amusing to watch. The original Gundam was clearly fashioned after WW2. Later, 08th MS Team was basically Vietnam. War in Pocket had Cold War overtones, with covert teams attempting to reach an objective under the threat of nuclear annihilation. And, finally, we reach IBO where the corrupt Government is murdering its own citizens for clearly political reasons… a recurring theme in recent years. I mean, yeah, Titans also gassed their own colonies waaaay back, but I didn’t feel a particular political goal behind those actions. It was more of an ironic callback, that the monstrous EFSF-spinoff was acting how their former enemy – Zeon – used to. IBO seems to be more, how shall I put it, ‘applicable’ to events outside the cartoon. Now, I admit that I might be looking too much into things that just aren’t there, but gosh it’s fun to daydream.)

    The new mechas are pretty nice. Gusion Rebake looks like a proper Gundam now, which is a plus; though it does make me wonder just how they pulled that retrofit off, especially the head with the moving parts. I mean, Barbatos required a drydock in the huge Teiwaz ship-base, right? And that one didn’t need to be rebuilt from the frame up. Oh well, I can let such things fly for such a lovely mobile suit.

    Ryousei-Go… it’s a bit silly suit for a bit silly pilot, but that combination does have its charm. It’s a little perplexing how a regular Graze holds up so well while Mika is murderizing the other regular Grazes by the dozen, but we can chalk that up to inept and complacent pilots…

    …which brings me to another tidbit I loved in the episode; specifically the bit where the Gjallarhorn mook is shocked about Mika parrying with his “manipulator”. I loved how a professional pilot wouldn’t call the hand of his mecha a ‘hand’; no, that limb is a manipulator. Terminus technicus at its finest. That reaction is a great reminder how most trained pilots rely on the automated responses of their suits, so something like A-V system would greatly confuse them no doubt… which, in turn, nicely handwaves why they are so hopeless against Mika. He doesn’t just have a superior suit; he has a superior suit and is confusing the heck of their automated systems by the A-V system’s very nature.

    (Is anyone reminded of the ending of 00 season 2? Where the bad guys found themselves outclassed after their automated help was taken from them?)

    But, in the end, the highlight of the episode goes to Kudelia. I mean, she finally did something, hurrah! Her uselessness was really beginning to get on my (and I guess everyone’s) nerves. Question is, how will she manage to become an important figure and not break suspension of disbelief. She’s pretty much confirmed to be a naive girl who barely knows anything about the world; so while I can accept her having a great flash of brilliance once in a while, it would be jarring if she suddenly became competent all the time. She had been way too passive for way too long to make a sudden 180. With all that having been said, I hope we get to hear her speech – and am greatly curious just which way her character will develop.

    1. “Ryousei-Go… it’s a bit silly suit for a bit silly pilot, but that combination does have its charm.”

      Sorry for correcting you once again but it’s “Ryuusei-Go” not “Ryousei-Go”.

      “Ryuusei” means “comet” or “meteor”
      “Ryousei” has various meanings ranging from “amphibian” to “boarding student” depending on the letter.

    2. “Ryousei-Go… it’s a bit silly suit for a bit silly pilot, but that combination does have its charm. It’s a little perplexing how a regular Graze holds up so well while Mika is murderizing the other regular Grazes by the dozen, but we can chalk that up to inept and complacent pilots…”

      To be fair, most of Mika’s kills have been with melee weapons. We’ve seen in past episodes that even the Grazes hold up pretty well against standard projectile weapons.

      Also very good observation about the “manipulator” scene and the AV system, never though of it that way. It kind of reminds me how in SEED the Naturals couldn’t effectively pilot mobile suits at first because they couldn’t handle all the various functions simultaneously. It wasn’t until they developed an OS to automatically handle some of the more complex functions that the Naturals could fight on even footing against the Coordinators in mobile suit combat.

    1. “The reporters appearing at this time is too convenient…”

      The reporters are already there since episode 15 covering the riot in Dort 3. And they’re the ones who took interest in a certain blondie during the riot. When they saw her again, they decided to follow her for an interview when Tekkadan is about to steal a ship to get out of there. Then the reporters made a deal to help Tekkadan for an exclusive story from the blond girl that is Kudelia. That’s a good enough scenario if I say so myself. No problem with it.

      If by “too convenient” you mean coincidence, then hell, many fictional stories are driven by a handful of coincidences in their narrative (“fateful meeting” between two or more characters is the most commonly use coincidences). It’s not really a problem in and of itself unless the story depends and too reliant on a chain of coincidences like Star Wars TFA.

  8. There’s definitely a lot of things about this article that just don’t cut it. Again Enzo just does not seem invested in this series or franchise at all and it’s clearly a personal thing he took on that is more about Okada than anything. Just such a shame to see such utterly dispassionate takes on a franchise that just really suffers from a lack of people to give it it’s due from time to time. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t all to used to it by now and that it could be a whole lot worse though.

    1. I thought Enzo made it perfectly clear in his earlier posts that while he’d a few of the earlier series, he wasn’t as hardcore a Gundam fan as most people here seem to be. Expecting him to view the show like one is pointless. And to quote the man himself :”If don’t like it, I’ll drop it.”

      Do you really think he would’ve persisted with IBO for seventeen episodes if he found nothing to like about the show?

      His focus on Nagai/Okada annoys me sometimes too, but I think it’s less obsessive than it used to be.

  9. In a strange twist of fate for Kudelia Aina Bernstein – take another drink folks – she literally got carried and dragged figuratively to her destiny of being the center of revolution. In the first place, all she wanted to do was to negotiate Mar’s independence in the solar system trade market.

    Though in hindsight, Kudelia might’ve gotten rejected by Gjallarhorn in the negotiation if she ever got to earth without being caught in the drama. Go figure.


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