「還るべき場所へ」 (Kaerubeki Kasho e)
“To The Place Of Return”

Well, this is one of those episodes where I don’t suppose there’s much point in talking about anything that happened before the ending. I don’t think there’s much chance anything else will be getting a lot of discussion anyway.

Did we see this coming?  Well, yes and no.  Certainly, there have been death flags hoisted for Biscuit over the past few episodes, and that sort of kicked into high gear this week – stuff like the cutaway to his sisters, and all his moonlit musings over what he’s going to do in the future.  Once he came to terms with his fight with Orga and smiled wistfully the die was probably cast – and all the false “all clear” signals Tekketsu no Orphans was sending out as the battle with Carta’s forces drew to a seeming close were the final nail.

First things first: is this a head-fake, like what happened with Takaki and Ein?  It’s possible, but this one passes the sniff test – I mean, we actually saw what sure seemed like the body, and the theme of the episode itself seems to have been built around Biscuit actually being dead (and a cookie to Sunrise for airing this episode on Biscuit Day).  The next question I’d ask is whether this is the start of a march of tragedy for the rest of the series – is this the kind of story where all the orphans are sacrificed one by one to prove a narrative point, until none remain?  I wouldn’t be shocked to see that fate befall the older boys like Orga, Mika and Akihiro, but I’ll be surprised if the true children like Takaki and Ride aren’t left to pick up the pieces at the end of the journey.

I liked Biscuit more than most of the characters in Iron-Blooded Orphans, and I do think he was quite important – as I said last week, if Orga is the father figure of the Tekkadan than Biscuit is certainly the mother.  But it was probably a good thing for the story’s credibility to have one of the main Tekkadan boys die at this point.  Orga’s skated by on luck and adult help up to now, but the truth is that he’s led a gang of kids into an incredibly dangerous existence.  He was certainly pushed into it by circumstances, but while his instinct for boldness has worked for him so far, it comes with a cost.  This was really the essence of the final argument between he and Biscuit – which makes the circumstances of Biscuit’s death rather ironic.

If there’s a recurring theme to Gundam series (and obviously there are several) it’s the innocent being caught up in the ambitions and prejudices of those in power – these are the true victims of war in the Gundam mythology (and not just there).  The young and innocent fight the battles of the old and corrupt.  I’d rather it not be portrayed as broadly as it often has in Tekketsu no Orphans, with its grotesquerie of villains,  but this series could hardly be more traditional in that sense, and the reality more stark.

Fundamentally I think what Orga is trying to do is a losing battle – in this franchise, I don’t think poor and outcast kids who try and seize control of their lives are often (ever?) successful.  Tekkadan has made a splash, but at every step along the way they’ve been manipulated by somebody, and that’s certainly the case now with McGillis and Makanai pulling the strings.  It’s hard not to see the last four episodes of Orphans as the likely final act of a tragedy, with the Tekkadan being ground in the gears of power the way most like them have been over the decades of Gundam storytelling.  I hope not because that would be pretty fucking depressing, but it’s hard to read much optimism into the tea leaves if you know your history.




    1. Haha yeah, I agree with you. But hey, at least this episode wasn’t titled “Biscuit Griffon” and Biscuit didn’t say goodbye during the preview in the episode prior to this one. So, it’s an improvement, at least. XD

    2. The thing with this series is that it’s had obvious death flags the whole way through and in the end, they really just ended up being red herrings most of them, so while the flags were not subtle in the least, my expectations were different and so I kind of kept putting them off, until the actual death, and at that point, you just can’t believe it even considering the flags.

  1. You know, for once, it’d be nice to have death flags for one character and have a completely different character die with no warning. Once Biscuit said they’d have to continue their discussion later, I knew that was it for him.

    1. That was done in Macross Frontier. And that example proved that if you’re not a writing prodigy or don’t put in the time/effort required to write it good, then the results can be MUCH WORSE than playing the death flags straight.

    2. Agreed. It would have been so much more interesting if they killed Orga instead of Biscuit. Not that I dislike Orga, but in terms of storytelling, it would have made a bigger impact. If the series has continued for more than 4 episodes, that is.

  2. If the death flags really start flying as we approach season’s end, I’m totally expecting the first OP to be brought back as an insert just to let the foreshadowing come full circle. XD

    1. THe Claw hammer thing sorta reminds me of a plumbers wrench actually. (in that context it’s cool it you think Mika is essentially pummeling the Grazes with a giant plumbers wrench)

    1. I agree, in comparison to Fumitan’s death, which just warranted a “meh” reaction from me, this done OK.

      It still wasn’t done “well” but I at least cared about this character so it wasn’t AS bad the previous.

      I’m also kinda starting to see what they’re going for here, with this idea that they’re people that don’t matter, and that they’ll end up dying one by one, weak standing up to the strong, etc.

      It’s still not especially well handled, but it’s better than it had been imo.

      1. Reminds me of that NPC dialogue in Mass Effect, where an soldier explains to his men that if their projectile misses there target, it will be bound to screw someone, whether today, or in 10,000 years.

        If feels weird though to have a Gundam series with no beam weapons of any kind

      2. Worldwidedepp: First of all, a stray shot will only enter the atmosphere if it was fired retrograde. Any other direction and the slug is just another piece of space debris.

        Let’s say that happens. Well, no need to worry even in this case: weapon projectiles don’t have much in the way of heat shielding; a stray shot will simply burn up during re-entry. In case the slug survives long enough to enter the lower atmosphere, flying at 10mach in dense air will cause enough friction to turn the projectile into a molten mass of boiling metal; the same issue which plagued (and possibly still plagues) railguns. Molten metals are not very aerodynamic; so it’d then slow down, and cool down… in a random, chaotic shape before slamming into something.

        Now, if that slag hits you, your day is probably ruined, I’ll give you that much. But such an impact won’t cause any widespread damage. USAF evaluated that a 9tonn tungsten round falling from orbit would only cause damage equivalent to 11tons of TNT. To put that into perspective, a regular 125mm smoothborne tank shell weighs about ~4 kilograms IIRC.

        IF that round hit anything, that is. Earth is 71% ocean, so the chance of hitting ANY landmass is only 1-to-3. Hitting anything inhabited is even more unlikely.

        So no, stray shots are actually not that much of a deal. 🙂

        @paulrenzo: That quote always bugged me. Space is empty – as in, very lightly populated by any objects whatsoever. Just think about our own solar system; most of it is empty nothingness… and the picture only gets emptier as you zoom out. The closest star – Alpha Centauri – is 6400 times as far from our Sun than Pluto. That’s a lot of empty space.

        Thus, a shot fired at a random direction would be likely to actually never meet anything. Freak hits could occur, but they’d be statistically unlikely.

        Now, let’s say that unlikely event happens and the randomly fired shell winds up barreling at a solar system somewhere, actually reaching there before said star runs out of fuel (shells rarely travel at relativistic speeds). Well, as the shell has no propulsion, it will be at the whims of the local star’s gravity. It will simply enter an orbit around the star, like any asteroid would. At that point it’s no more dangerous than any other asteroid, either.

        Lasers beams would be exempt from being captured by a gravity field of course (short of blakc holes), but they are even less likely to actually stumble upon anything in turn.

    1. Yep, no beam weapons of any kind, though I have an idea as to why.

      Its possible that they exist, but Gjallahorn has banned them.

      Since there are no opposing forces that can match Gjallahorn as a whole, Gjahllahorn wouldn’t really benefit from it since they can just overwhelm them with numbers. However, that kind of weapon would greatly help an opponent who doesn’t have numbers on their side, especially if a beam weapon could take out a Graze or battleship with one shot.

      Another reason is the destruction it could cause to the surrounding area. If beam weapons are powered by the same technology behind Ahab reactors and the technology works similarly to Minovsky tech from the Universal century, then a direct hit from a beam weapon could cause a mobile suit to go nuclear. This may not be much of a problem in space, but in a colony or on a planet it most certain would be. And then there is the possibility of radiation fallout.

      Now this is all purely guess work. So far we have no proof if beam weapons ever existed in IBO’s universe.

      1. Hard to say whether that’s completely true or not. So far, the only series that made such a big deal over such a thing was The 08th MS Team as opposed to any other series where mobile suits have gotten hit by various types of beam weapons pretty much all over (most being center mass which is also where the reactors are most of the time) but never once have ever shown any such catastrophic explosions.

        You see a lot more worry (and reason for that worry) about beam weapons damaging colonies than mobile suit reactors in most series.

        And a side note, the Minovsky fusion reactor is actually a “clean” nuclear reactor so there wouldn’t be any radioactive fallout if they went full meltdown anyway; most likely just a big boom and shockwave. That’s most likely why there wasn’t any trouble discussing having a possible “accidental” meltdown of a GM reactor by Rayer near the end The 08th MS Team. The explosion from such a meltdown would wipe out Ginius’ base (and take the Apsalus with it) but there would be no danger to the Kojima Battalion forces in the area aside from being really shaken up.

      2. There was also the ReZEL that blew up inside Industrial 7 in the first episode of Unicorn. I always got the impression it exploded like that because the reactor got hit by beam weaponry.

        Don’t remember the part about “clean” energy but I’ll take your word for it.

      3. I think it’s because the writers and directors wanted the series to be as realistic as possible and beam weapons would put a bit of a damper on that because as we’ve seen in past series, both sides spammed them like crazy and there’s a hell of a lot of death and destruction when that does occur. Also, this is more a war of number and guerrilla tactics on the Tekkadan side as Gjallarhorn are tradition knight-like soldiers and use tactics befitting that so well that’s another explanation.

      4. True, but you can still avoid beam spamming and over reliance on beam weaponry by creating draw backs to it like bulky equipment, limited ammo, slow rate of fire, overheating, high energy consumption, high cost and maintenance, etc.

        08th MS team is the most realistic gundam series and even it had beam weapons.

      5. @Ziko

        Not really spammed that much most of the time.

        In the Universal Century anyway, beam weapons had become standard weaponry after the One Year War as the technology had been perfected, but that’s pretty much it most of the time. They weren’t much different than the machine guns, bazookas, etc. that were the primary standard equipment before. Anything greater did tend to have limitations/drawbacks like big mega launchers required a lot of reactor juice (sometimes requiring a second mobile suit simply to act as a battery), Bits/Funnels could only be used by Newtypes with a psycommu-equipped mobile suit (such pilots being rare and such mobile suits/equipment expensive), and what few mobile suits that were capable of some kind of beam spam were also usually quite expensive prototypes that never see any mass production.

        Now once you start getting into Wing, SEED/SEED Destiny, 00, and other AUs like that, that is when you truly get beam spamming in one way or another (usually in ridiculous amounts with no drawbacks or explanations why ala Wing Gundam Zero, Freedom/Strike Freedom and such).

    2. No Beam weapons give them all the more reason to get into CQC combat as it’s one of the few ways to get a sure kill as the MS armor does a decent job of protecting the unit from projectile hits. (the Dorn MS don’t count as they’re just armed ciivilian units so no armor whatsoever)

  3. Now it will be interesting to see how Biscuit’s death will affect Orga. Will he try to be less reckless? Will he try to think beyond what he has in front of him? Merribit has been a good influence in that regard, but I think Orga’s character arc is far from over.

    1. It will be interesting to see. Orga isn’t so much reckless, as he’s willing to take big risks in order to get a bigger, more long-lasting reward. In the case of his most recent fight with Biscuit, Orga was right, he’s thinking more long term rather than short-term safety which is often how Biscuit thinks. Biscuit was also talking out of emotion and wanted to be back home, but there was no way Gjallerhorn was going to leave them alone. They would have just brought the battle home to their younger kids and loved ones.


    Damn it damn it damn it
    Despite all the death flags I was still hoping that it was just one big fake out like what they did with Takaki back in episode 10. Hell, I was in denial up until the preview for next episode.

    RIP Biscuit, you will be deeply missed.

    On a more happy topic, anyone else lol when Akihiro to a shot at the Grazes while they did their pose?

    1. Loved “I can shoot them right? ” Question to Mika and the “Sure” response

      IMO the Carta’s Knights desrved getting shot at while posing in a middle of a warzone

      1. There’s an old magical girl parody (Pretty Sammy) where the same thing happens to the main character, and she actually cries out something like “You’re not supposed to hit me when I’m posing!”

        Rebake’s extra appendages reminds me of:
        1. Seravee Gundam
        2. Enkidu (Gurren Lagann)

        Magnus Tancred
  5. One thing that I will say about this series is that it NOT subtle. Take for instance the romance between Orga and Merribit. I swear that I sigh every time the two of them are on screen. I mean, the very first moment that they met each other, you just said, OK, they’re a couple. We might as well not even pay attention to all of this “setup” since they’re so clearly going to be a couple. I almost want to just fast-forward through their interactions at this point lol

    1. Its definitely a possibility though I wouldn’t exactly say IBO has been very overt about it. If anything I’ve been getting more of a mother and child vibe the past coupe of episodes…which in addition to the age difference (Merribit is probably in her mid 20s at best) is gonna make one hell of an awkward relationship if it happens.

      Then again this isn’t the first time a gundam character’s love interest doubled as their mother figure. Char Aznable saw Lalah the same way though their age difference was only 3 or 4 years.

    2. Eeehhh…I definetely dig that pairing if they’re planning on developing it whether in 2nd season or movie (or whatever continuation or plans that Bandai-Sunrise had regarding this title), since with only 4 more episode this season going to last then I honestly didn’t see any concrete development/progressions on that side.
      So, if they ever decided to continue this (officially), then I would love to see more on this pair. I guess having read/watch bajilion of shoujo series since I was small aside from shounen, mecha, etc….I kinda burn out with the majority of (very) older guys x younger girls pairing that plagued 85-90% of those shoujo-josei titles. I would love to see more of the exquisite and beautiful + gracefull execution on older female x younger guys romance just like in Otoyomegatari, Return of The Condor Heroes, xxxHolic, or even the lesser version such as in Garo-Honno no Kokuin, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii and Gundam 00, etc..etc…which is still considered quite rare in anime-manga.

    1. Because the writers need to screw up Tekkadan more to make the story going and more interesting (it’s Gundam after all. they need to screw the MC group). Ein will be back in a super-Graze and will likely take one or more Tekkadan kids’ lives.

  6. This episode had the best mecha combat so far. I liked Mika’s new weapon, the formation fighters were fun, the opponents managed to be douchebags and dupable without coming off as bland jobbers. Everything flowed pretty well.

    I thought nearly everything else was corny though. People have been talking up the writer and the director – well I don’t think that cheesy sweet acoustic guitar music, or the grizzled old maintenance guy doing his “that’s the spirit m’laddie” bit, or the madly waving death flags, are examples of good writing or directing. Especially bad was the credits being slapped over Biscuit’s death scene. Yeah I know it’s Gundam and there’s always a side of cheese with that, but it’s rarely this heavy handed. I can’t entirely blame the staff since it’s something that is an industry wide problem for 2010s anime, but still.

  7. Alright Mika, just kill Carta next episode and be done with her. Maybe that will motivate Gali-Gali more to approve of Ein’s Whisker operation. Not that it wasn’t telegraph.

    1. If they can somehow stop Mika from tearing Carta into several pieces, Tekkadan could take her as a hostage and use her to deter Gjallahorn from attacking them. She is, after all, part of the Seven Stars.

  8. Is it just me or the battle in this episode is just really lazy? Like they just can’t find a good way to kill Biscuit and did what they did in the episode. During the fight all the Graze Ritters were walking and looking at Mika and only confronting him one by one. They let themselves get into a deadlock with Mika and the others did jack shit. Mika didn’t even kill that Graze that he plummeted. When Carta saw Biscuit, she immediately boosted to oblivion when before no-one almost boosted at all. I dunno, the fight scene really rubbed me the wrong way, maybe my expectations were a tad bit too high.

    1. All of that was on purpose. Carta is all about being more talk rather than walk. She’s wrapped up more in looking good rather than actually having her soldiers be effective fighters. In the end Tekkadan won, because they don’t play by the rules and use whatever they can to win. They used guerrilla tactics, which a figurehead like Carta, would know nothing about.

      1. I’m pretty sure attacking your enemy when they’re in a deadlock with one of your allies are not considered guerilla but standard fighting procedure. I guess it does have something to do regarding the fact that Carta is trying to be “ethical” and “righteous” and thus does not ensure instant victory, but then again dashing like mad after the enemy’s helpless leader when they themselves are not returning fire(Biscuit straight up just retreated) isn’t very ethical/righteous as well.

        And also Mika seemed much less cruel than he was before he reached earth. I don’t think he killed any of Carta’s knights in that battle when his weapon is basically a suit grinder, which is just inconsistent of his character at this point. I’m not comparing it to Unicorn nor Akito cause both of them are OVAs with much better production values, but even earlier IBOs fights have been much better choreographed than this one.

    2. ^!^Ehmm…that’s not what he meant, he (Boo) said the battle coreography around the “death” scenes are kind of lazy and lack those “certain” impact for him, and I actually agree with him. Though I still enjoyed this episode a lot despite the obvious death flag from the beginning, but yeah once again the battles coreography just lack that “oommppphhh” and gritty feeling (for me), unlike…let’s say Unicorn or Geass Akito (have you seen the last ova). The battles in those series not only veeery good and flashy, full of dynamics and kinetic but also very very smooth animation or sakuga overall, despite its cg mechas in Akito. I kind of expecting that level of sakuga and CQC coreograpy combat overall. It doesn’t need any saber spams or the likes, but more dynamics and amazing combat at those kind of level.
      Just like what Boo said above, the battles kinda a bit underwhelming (for me anyway), for example…why the others graze and Carta just stood in there, while Mika destroyed one of their own, it’s not like their fighting one on one, considering when Carta boolsted to trash Biscuit and Orga, Mika being occupied with two graze that holding him up….and other battles around Lafter and Akihiro also kind of the same overall. I guess I kind of want to see that level of coreography just like in Akito when Shin and his troops attacking Akito&co, or something like the ones on 00. I guess Kazuki Akane and Mizushima Seiji are better directors and more prolific in the field of mecha-battles action compared to Nagai.

      1. ” unlike…let’s say Unicorn or Geass Akito (have you seen the last ova). The battles in those series not only veeery good and flashy, full of dynamics and kinetic but also very very smooth animation or sakuga overall, despite its cg mechas in Akito.”

        First: one shouldn’t compare the quality between super-budgeted OVAs like Unicorn & Akito which has more time to finish their animation to TV series. It’s day & night comparison. Heck, visual-wise and in terms of smooth animation & “quality”-management, G-Reco’s mecha fights easily beats IBO’s.

        Second: IBO’s fights so far is aiming itself to be intentionally less flashy and more clunky. It’s pretty much Gundam’s answer to Broken Blade (havee you seen it?). I personally like this variation in style even though the execution could’ve been done better.

        Third: IBO’s fights is not as good as Gundam 00 because Seiji Mizushima is THAT good. In fact, let’s not bring the “big guns” like Gundam 00. Why? Coz I don’t think IBO’s animation is even on par with GBF (ironic, isn’t it?). IBO’s fights look more like SEED but with no beams and no stock footage or re-used animation.

      2. Yeaahhh…I guess having been spoilt after watching Unicorn and Geass-Akito recently (rewatching Unicorn again for the 3rd time), or even Origin and Thunderbolt I kinda having a bit of high expectation on the newest Gundam TV series offerings in term of sakuga mecha-battles (aside from story and chara as the main aspect) for my enjoyement. Heck…we just got treated to lovely sakuga battles from the last one (G-Reco), despite whatever other problems that people had with that series. Just like you said even 00 which is 2007-2008 series still had more memorable&exciting parts compared to Orphans in term of the “action” scenes. Though, thankfully I still enjoy the drama (SOL) or downtime side in Orphan especially when it centers around the Tekkadan crew (Orga-Mika dynamics along with Biscuit, Akihiro, and the others) or the Gjallahorn side on McGillis&Galileo. Since I know, that Sunrise is more than capable and even one of the best producer of mecha till now, especially hand-drawn mecha so I kinda expecting a bit more from them. Cuz at first sight, it seems that Orphans looks like the new ambitious offering of Gundam TV series after G-Reco.
        Regarding Break Blade, it’s been kinda long time since I watched it and my memory kinda blur regarding the mecha-battle scenes in there, though from what I remember there’s some part that just kinda OK or so-so like here in IBO, but there’s few stuff that actually a bit better or impressive compare to IBO like that Girge ones. Yeah…I think I can see the parallel of its battle-style with Break Blade.
        Oh…another one of my least/tiny disappointed rumble is from the depiction of Carta. When I first saw her on OP clip, I was kinda hoping that she at least will be like the lesser version of Haman-Khan…not the clown/whatever type she is now, damn>_<

    3. “And also Mika seemed much less cruel than he was before he reached earth. I don’t think he killed any of Carta’s knights in that battle when his weapon is basically a suit grinder, which is just inconsistent of his character at this point.”

      It’s called character development. Previously, Mika was accused by Kudal for enjoying killing people. Those words hit them to the point that it made him tremble. If he didn’t try to be a better man after that, the his character is truly stagnant, which is not good. Also, it’s heavily implied that those who got bludgeoned by Barbatos’s giant wrench-saw in the cockpit area by Mika were killed, so what are you complaining about?

      1. Mika licking his own mouth before bludgeoning the Graze that Akihiro shot during the formation charge kinda showed that he should still be enjoying killing people. Looking back again, it does seem that most of the Grazes were implied to be killed, with one exception being only shown with its head smashed.

        What I got from Mika’s response from Kudal’s words is that he just started to realize that he enjoys killing and not just doing so to survive. It doesn’t make him tremble in a sense that he’s afraid of what he is/had become. Mika’s occasional stares at Kudelia though, shows that he sees something in her, and if Mika’s gonna get a character development to be less ruthless, it’d be further down the show when Kudelia does something that would relate directly to Mika. Now though, Mika should be the same ruthless Mika as he is from his time on Mars.

    1. Really? Why? Many people like episode 23 for being character-driven and the highlight being the disturbing cheer-up by Mika to Orga. And the preview to ep. 24 looks good and ominous as hell. And Kudelia got to prove her competence even more. And double-railed train for the win! 😉

      1. i reply here
        So she was used to kill one, and then get forgetting again. as i wrote in reddit, they let her be rescued, because in tekkadan’s hands they would use her as hostage to get free rides, or Mika would just killed her.

        The Death Flag was from the start there, they did not needed to play Biscuit the Pilot that save his Commander, his dead was set in stone. “let us talk later”, “It’s a promise”.. and so on. So here even an blind man could see, the big death flag right from the start. they did not care to hide it.. No, they go Big!!!

        Tekkadan has lost their independence. They are now pure Tools for power and revenge. it began when this old men said “they would not let them go”… What will happen when these on the Tekkadan space ship want to leave the Port? “Permission dismissed!”… “You are not going anywhere, your are our special quests!” (i can see that). If the time comes, they hold their ship and crew as hostages, to hold tekkadan in control. They really should stay out of this riot in the space docks. Now Orga has to much on his shoulders, his company, his comrades and now his own self hatred, that he is still alive and others dead

        How told Mika this speach to Orga? Was it Kudelia? Mika until now, was the cold heart emotionless Gundam Pilot that do not even blink when he kill someone.. Now he want to push Orga forward? He was always the one that look up to orga.. This is really out of Character

        Ein will become the Human “CPU” of this mecha
        the same fate like in Thunderstrike/thunderbolt? (you know it). i wished i was wrong, but his desire to revenge his Officer is stronger then Humanity? i can sense an Kamikaze pilot here… Ein is beyond hope. He is now only an machine, keep alive to be this Mecha Human AI

        Organe-kun is okay, he reminds me of the White Knight Pilot in Gode Geass, he also wanted to change the Knights order from the inside

        Hope i could give an detailed answer. perhaps i jump back with ep 23. It all depends of Orga, Mika and if Tekkadan is still played as pawns


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