「まだ還れない」 (Mada Kaerenai)
“Not Yet Home”

One week after Biscuit Day and Iron-Blooded Orphans returns with a rather low-key and somber episode.  That’s not entirely unexpected given the circumstances – and just for the record, it appears that the circumstances are that Biscuit is indeed well and truly dead.  Still, to call it an especially powerful or gripping episode would probably be stretching the truth.  I don’t suppose you could have written an ep with the Tekkadan grieving over Biscuit and not had it be sentimental on some level, but I don’t feel as if this offered anything above and beyond what was inherent in the situation.

Therein lies the rub with Tekketsu no Orphans, a show full of fits and starts.  It’s not the development that matters so much as what you do with it, and that’s where the inconsistency comes in.  Where will it go with this latest development?  I don’t feel showing us Orga sulking in his room before the inevitable broment with Mika accomplishes much, nor do shots of the girls coping by cooking, laundry and doing their nails does either.  It was all pretty formulaic stuff, and while I guess one could argue that’s a pointless criticism to level against a Gundam series, I don’t buy it.

That leaves us to rely mostly on the political intrigue for interest, and thankfully it does continue to be fairly interesting.  Not Carta Issue and her histrionics – she’s just the latest in a string of moustache-twirling straw men set up as villains in this show – but definitely the Machiavellian McGillis Fareed.  He’s a good antagonist, this guy – he almost never raises his voice, he thinks big, and he never lets you see his hole card on his face.

It’s been clear for a while that the Chocolate Man had in mind a total refresh of Gjallarhorn from the inside, and that he was pretty much OK wth whatever he had to do to accomplish it.  Still, it’s striking to see the way he includes his best friend and future brother-in-law in his scheme without a trace of conscience.  If those ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it Fareed seems pretty safe, because he seems to understand Gundam history better than anyone else in the cast.  And he’s skilfully moved the pieces – propping up Tekkadan and Kudelia into real threats, fomenting a power struggle over the Prime Minister’s role, stirring up labor unrest in the colonies – to the point where he’s ready to make his move.

And that move is to push Gaileo to have Ein (and possibly Gaileo himself) undergo the Ālaya-Vijñāna surgery “for the good of Gjallarhorn” – to clean up the mess he himself created (or at least exacerbated, and certainly exploited).  He even ruefully tells Gaileo that there’s “a spy in our midst” – damn, this guy is stone cold.  Fareed understands the power in this technology, its potential long-suppressed (for good reason, I think) by prejudice.  There’s still a certain consequentialism to Fareed’s actions, at least a possibility that what he’s doing might be in service of what he genuinely sees as the larger good rather than simply for personal power.  But he’s going about it so insidiously that it’s hard to see him as anything but an out and out villain at this point.

As for our heroes, for now at least the reaction to Biscuit’s death seems to have been to step into the dark side, twisting their purpose into a quest for revenge.  That’s understandable when a bunch of kids have just lost one of their own, but it comes off as a bit of a childish tantrum – which is fine, really, since they are children after all.  As I said last weel I think something like this had to happen for the sake of the plot – these kids have been flirting with danger for too long with no one of  importance to everyone in the group to have been lost.  But again, it’s not in the development hat’s the key, but the response – both for the characters and for Tekketsu no Orphans itself.  And so far I would expect better from Orga than what he’s delivered – sullen retreat followed by bloodlust.  Mika is going to be swept along in whatever Orga does, and now without his conscience to nag him at his shoulder Orga really needs to step up – and grow up.




  1. “…that’s where the inconsistency comes in. Where will it go with this latest development? I don’t feel showing us Orga sulking in his room before the inevitable broment with Mika accomplishes much”

    I’m wondering, what kind of accomplishment that you actually want from scenes where characters are mourning? These people are sad and mourning the death of someone close to them in their own way, and this episode showed just that. What’s so inconsistent about it? Why you don’t buy it? What kind of standards are you using to judge this series anyway? I’m curious.

    “Chocolate Man… stirring up labor unrest in the colonies”

    What? Aren’t you forgetting something? Chocoman is not the one stirring up the labor unrest in Dorts. It was Nobliss. Better check your fact again, man.

    “And so far I would expect better from Orga than what he’s delivered – sullen retreat followed by bloodlust”

    I think that pseudo-misstep taken by our main characters is intentional on the writers’ part. Just like how disturbing they portrayed Mika’s “encouragement” to Orga this episode. How ominous it was depicted with thunder & lightning blaring during their exchange. How that scene could be a foreshadowing of further tragedy that will happen in the remaining episodes. The ominous title for the next episode certainly doesn’t help. Here’s hoping Merribit and Kudelia can snap out both Orga & Mika from succumbing to their bloodlust urges even further and sacrificing many Tekkadan lives or other innocent lives in the process.

    Anyway, I’m excited for the next episode, but also scared of the possible bad things that can happen to Tekkadan now that they’re taking a more reckless approach without Biscuit’s cool-headed planning.

    1. “Chocolate Man… stirring up labor unrest in the colonies”

      What? Aren’t you forgetting something? Chocoman is not the one stirring up the labor unrest in Dorts. It was Nobliss. Better check your fact again, man.

      Enzo tends to adscribe every event to McGillis’ manipulations, despite the fact that his first appearance, his first contact with Tekkadan or what happened in Dort show that he also finds himself out of the loop in several situations. Especially since we’re shown I don’t know how many parties already, all with their different games.

      More than Xanatos Gambit, Chocolate-man plays Xanatos Speed Chess. It’s just that he’s very good at playing it.

    2. Yeah that scene between Orga and Mika actually caught me off guard. I like how the episode implies that Tekkadan’s attitude at the end is not exactly a good thing and that they are headed done a path Biscuit would have most likely opposed.

  2. I,for once, am glad that we didn’t have to deal with melodramatic shctick this time and the plot is still progressing. I am actually concerned with the politics portion of this series. I mean, three episodes remaining and we will never get a satisfying conclusion with it. Well, it’s the very same thing I am worried about Erased at this point.

  3. Orga specified that the revenge they are going for is completing the job they are assigned. If anyone gets in their way, sure, they’ll take them out without a care, but I think Orga’s still sane enough that he’s not letting it get away just yet.

    Although, I didn’t think Mika was a manipulator. His whole speech that he did was manipulating Orga into action. Necessary action, but still interesting to see him push Orga back onto the stage.

    Dorian S.
    1. I think that speech shows us that Mika isn’t completely sane, which I actually kinda like, and makes sense when you consider his past. Mika is on the side of “good” as a matter of circumstance. It just so happens that the “bad guys” are the ones that have ended up wronging him, and on the receiving end of his wrath.

      I think that it’s fair to wonder how Mika could have turned out, had someone other than Orga gotten to him, and used him first.

      I actually kinda like this slightly dark approach for our main character, and I’m curious to see what they do with it down the line.

  4. Mika’s speech was disturbing. And it’s pretty clear that it was intended so. For a moment, even Orga looked afraid.

    On the other side, Gjallarhorn keeps getting more and more interesting. Now we know why Chocolate-man was so keen on helping Tekkadan help Makanai: to undermine his father. And I object, far from being another “moustache-twirling straw man” she has something that in classic Gundam terms is a telling point: she really cares about her subordinates, and her subordinates care about her.

    As for Ein, if he really represents the true roots of Gjallarhorn, my respect for the original organization is dropping.

    1. I’ve been hearing more that it’s supposed to be two cour. Wouldn’t surprise me given the “bad end” feeling we seem to be getting with the main characters which is similar to how season one of 00 went.

    1. I do feel like there may have been some wasted potential there, jumping straight from the speech to being on the train, instead of spending some time in the switching city.

      1. Is it a wasted potential? Maybe in one way (we didn’t get the usual battle in the ocean or air during the trip). But plot-wise, it is a good choice. Why? Because it shows how good Kudelia’s plan actually is since it was able to get Tekkadan safely from the Pacific ocean to Anchorage and make it to the double-railed train on their way to Edmonton without any notable incident or Gjallarhorn’s interference. She didn’t plan that alternative route for nothing.

      2. @hjerry: “Well no, it doesn’t show that, or anything else really. That’s kinda the point.

        It “shows” nothing.”

        What the hell are you talking about? The ending shows a little montage on how Tekkadan successfully arrived and dock in Anchorage, and then it cuts to them already being on the train to Edmonton. Nothing notable happened during their Pacific trip and during their getting aboard the train in Anchorage which is why the episode skipped it. Which exactly shows how smooth their trip is and that Kudelia’s plan actually worked (at least until they got aboard the train).

  5. “Still, to call it an especially powerful or gripping episode would probably be stretching the truth.”

    You’re not exactly wrong there though in this case I don’t think that’s a bad thing and is actually a break from the norm. I think the Gundam franchise usually tends to be more melodramatic when dealing with the aftermath of someone’s death, but here its surprisingly subtle and subdued. If anything I think it works in the episode’s favor.

    Apart from that I agree with pretty much everything else. McGillis continues to be an interesting character especially on the political side of things though I couldn’t help but chuckle when he told Gaelio, “We must have a spy in our midists”. Careful Gaelio, the last time a purple haired guy trusted his blonde haired mask wearing friend… it didn’t turn out so well.

  6. I liked the rather twisted encouragement from Mika to Orga. I mean, the dynamic in their relationship was what appealed to me in the first place. I really hope the writers won’t make Merribit into the love interest. Mika and Orga is the only relationship I approve of. 😉

  7. Mika and Biscuit has always seemed like Olga’s conscience, with Mika the devil’s advocate. Now the the voice of reason is gone, Orga will have no brakes in his plans. And it doesn’t help that Orga is always trying to do what he thinks Mika wants.

  8. I’m surprised the scene between Orga and Mika didn’t get any decent mention in the episode review, not only was Mika downright disturbing and psychotic but it also hinted at that event the brought them together years ago on Mars (apparently Mika shot someone to save Orga or something like that buy we really know little else), we still haven’t seen what happened between those two the formed their bond initially nor what promise did they make exactly (again the next episode’s title “Last Lie” hints strongly that it might reveal what happened between those two back on Mars, it seems this even shaped both their characters and relation so far.

    Any like many people said about the change in character dynamics, Mika pushed Orga forward and Biscuit was his breaks slowing him down so his plans aren’t too reckless, now that Biscuit is out of the picture the breaks are off and Mika is going to push Orga into very dark territory, we seriously need to know what happened that made him that way.

  9. I’ll give credit where credit is due.

    That scene with Mika and Orga was really well done imo. It wasn’t as cliche as a lot of the preceding scenes in this series. Honestly, it felt like it bordered on a scene that villains would have shared between one another, and that’s part of what I enjoyed about it.

    I’d like to hope that this series may have finally found its identity. I’m hoping.

    Mika as less a hero, and more of an anti-hero could be a good fit imo.

    less morality and more simple justice

  10. Am I the only one that finds it hard to focus on what’s taking place in the scene, when Makanai is out there? All I can think about is how he makes his beard do that lol

  11. This is what I like about Mika, he’s different from other MCs. He’s not the goody-two shoes guy, or even the quiet anti-social guy. If I had compare him to someone, I’d actually compare him a little bit to Ryuk from Death Note. Yeah, their personality is infinitely different, but their goal almost seems a little similar. Sticking around with a person, simply because they’re expecting something. It’s as if he’s letting Orga live or do what he wants, because he’s expecting something big. Yeah, spoilers for anyone who hasn’t watched or read Death Note. I really hope it doesn’t come down to this, but it almost feels as if he would either leave or kill Orga, if his expectations aren’t met.

    Other than that, I kind of suspect that Gali may actually die this coming episode, fueling even more hate for Ein. Besides that, I’m also honestly hoping that McGilis is just manipulating Gjallahorn to lose. I do not want Tekkadan to go the season 1 ending route of Gundam 00 or Code Geass, in which the group loses and are tossed back at the bottom. Not to mention, I seriously am NOT hoping that McGilis suddenly powers up all the Gundam and send like the remaining 69 units after them.

  12. That was a very good episode. We get to see how the grief affects Tekkadan over Biscuit’s death, but not only that, about how it hits Orga the hardest and how all of Tekkadan depends on him. He has no time to adjust to his own sorrow, they need him to tell them what to do next and nobody needs that more than Mika.

    It’s been awhile since we’ve have a serious Mika/Orga talk, but this one definitely takes the cake. We’ve seen Mika and Orga’s co-dependence on each other since the beginning, but here, Orga is so tired and so exhausted after what happened to Biscuit and his guilt is great as well, but Mika won’t let him rest. I have always been hesitant to really call Mika “crazy” but this episode shows there is definitely an imbalance there.
    He needs Orga to tell him what to do next, who to kill next, who to destroy next, until they arrive at the place that he promised him. Orga and Mika have a pact, and Mika is going to keep making these demands of Orga until they reach the place they belong, just as Mika will continue to follow Orga’s orders. It’s a little disturbing, but it’s what they’re used to, and it does get Orga moving again.

    Kudelia is showing her mettle as a leader, no matter what she says, but this time it’s Merribit who bemoans that she is feeling useless now.

    There’s also two revelations this episode. It seems that if it wasn’t apparent before, it is now. McGillis is leading on Gaelio. He’s manipulating him, using half-truths and emotional words, when he has his own plans. What is his true goal? Is he going to betray Gaelio? Will Gaelio continue his path to becoming the Garma of this series?

    We learn about the A-V system and how it is related to Gjallerhorn and the Gundams, but why exactly does McGillis really want Ein and Gaelio to get it? There’s a trick here somewhere, but I’m not sure what.

    Another revelation is that Naze actually doesn’t really have a harem in as much as he has a floating women’s shelter. It’s kind of how I surmised in the beginning. He calls them all “his women” but they are really just women he has picked up and given homes. The idea that they are all his wives are simply assumptions that Tekkadan gained and he never really confirmed or denied. And it makes sense, since Amida is the only one he really gives any attention anyway.

    This is great news for all those who want Lafter and Akihiro together. She’s not as attached as we thought. 😉

    And so they are all on their way to the parliament by going though Alaska (what is it with Gundam and Alaska?) and Orga is back to talking with his men and they are out for revenge. The older people are against it (and Japan seems to have this anti-revenge rhetoric that is in everything), but I hope that Mika and the others kick the crap out of those Gjallerhorn stooges. Carta seems to be going the Crank route next time, so we’ll have to see how Mika stomps on her this next time.

  13. Quite a few people are complaining that this anime lacks the subtlety and nuance but I find it compelling and very consistent to the main theme Gundam chose. This is the very first Gundam series I actually watched all the way without feeling bored. It would be very tricky to make all the large casts likable and easy to relate to but I think this managed to just fine even at sometimes with the heavy-handed approach to dealing with the death of major characters. It also has right amount of mech actions and character dramas.

    It’s surprising that I’m someone that didn’t really enjoy a lot of works Mari Okada was involved in. I was somewhat cautious in watching this after reading the credits but after watching 3 episodes, I was convinced that the series is in capable hands. In fact I’m willing to call it Mari Okada’s best work. This anime may have been a bit clumsy in executing some of the key moments. They didn’t matter for me as long as all the characters are worth rooting for.

  14. Just what is Iznario’s grand scheme?
    Years of planning just for power?
    Or for something that happened in the past?

    McGillis, he stops at nothing to realize his plan.
    300 years ago are the proto-Gjallarhorn really so noble?
    Why is he so fixated on fixing Gjallarhorn?
    Perhaps its something that happened in the past?

    Gaelio as Garma?
    Is McGillis’ skillful words slowly leading Gaelio on to the path of doom?
    Is he using Gaelio to create a stir up in the Seven Stars or something?

    Tekkadan is just angry now, going to mow all obstructions down.
    Kudelia studied a lot and has leveled up a lot.


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