OP: 「RAGE OF DUST」 by SPYAIR
「新しい血」 (Atarashi Chi)
Tekketsu no Orphans is back with a bang: an abundance of re-introductions, strong production values, and plenty of hints to future plots. There’s a lot to unpack, but I want to begin by saying how glad I am to have this series back. Before the second season was confirmed, it seemed clear to me that there was more to see of these characters. The story of the Tekkadan boys escorting Princess Kudelia to Earth is over, but that always felt like the beginning of the ‘real’ tale being told here. We’ve witnessed war and tragedy and even if Kudelia’s character was underused for far too long, I think the first season ended at the perfect moment, ensuring we stick around to see what fate awaits its cast.
This returning episode was jam-packed, yet it never felt rushed. We cut from so many different locations and learn plenty of details after the short timeskip that’s happened since the first season. Scenes blend in with one another, conversations of certain characters lends to the transitions, and the actions and decisions of those in power means we get to jump straight to the action or the consequences of their decisions. The first season of Tekketsu no Orphans covered a smaller space of time in grand detail, yet this episode is already racing to the big moments, while making sure we get familiar with these characters and their new situations as we head into the great unknown.
I think the easiest way to break down this episode would be to focus on the three different groups/locations. First is my personal favourite (to no one’s surprise), as we see a mature-looking Kudelia who appears hardened by the battles that got her here. Her character is paramount to the themes and success of this series, and while parts of the first 25 episodes did impress me – such as her early development and her determination for independence – it was irritating to see her written into a corner, stuck in scenarios where she had nothing to do because she can’t hop aboard a mobile suit when the action ensues. Finally, she’s at a place where she can turn her words into action, and I’m praying she gets more to do this time around, because there’s serious potential for her to be a brilliant character. She’s got the makings a leader, and I’m rooting for her to succeed in her ambitions.
As Orga points out, Tekkadan don’t have their own personal motives or goals – they just do what they’re tasked with, and they do their job to the utmost of their ability. It would be difficult to get invested in a group of characters that have no interest in reaching an end-game. But with Kudelia leading the charge, or giving them reason to take action, it brings the best out of both parties. Kudelia’s scenes in this episode were relatively short, but I did enjoy her taking a stand and refusing the aid of a potential ally, even if it already came back to bite her, as he is seemingly behind the funding of the pirates that arrive at the end. I expect her to make more of these controversial decisions, especially if she’s a more central character, but I’ll take that over her having nothing to do whatsoever.
Another political plot that I can’t wait to watch unravel is McGillis and the mishaps currently going on at Gjallarhorn. His actions have led to the exposure of the corruption going on beneath the surface, and as we’ve seen from him before, he’s an unpredictable fella who’s willing to turn against his supposed companions for his own cause. Perhaps the past six months have fogged my memory, but I can’t remember exactly what his goal was, and even if it was anything unsavoury. He’s being pegged as the personal rival – aka the Char – of Tekketsu no Orphans, but then again Char was a great character, so I’m eager to see what this reiteration of that archetype will offer. He’s abandoned the idea of friendship and appears to have some potential foes sharing his table, but given what we’ve seen of him thus far, I expect him to be a not-so-secret badass and turns things in his favour within a few episodes.
Back on Mars, things are rather peaceful. In fact, if you ignore the political ripples and behind-the-scenes decision-making from Kudelia and McGillis’s sides of the story, most of this episode felt like a slice-of-life more than anything else. We got introduced to a some new recruits, we played catch up with the familiar faces who don’t seem to have been in any grave danger since their mission with Kudelia, and if anything Kudelia has improved their way of life with her orphanage and the formation of the Admoss Company, which puts them on the map and brings them into this current attack in a way that feels personal and not completely out of the blue. I especially appreciated the scenes with the more seasoned fighters views on war and body mutation compared to that of the newcomers. They’re green behind the ears and don’t realise what war is really like or how their words strike a nerve with those suffering from their way of life. Whether it be them actually wanting that surgery that the Tekkadan boys were forced to undergo, or the kids of school talking highly of Biscuits death as if he was just a heroic name from the stories and not a real person who left a family behind. Tekketsu may have its fair share of blitz and action, but I appreciated the focus on how harsh words can sting most of all, especially considering everything these characters have suffered so far.
It was a little typical that Mikazuki would appear with the Barbatos right at the end of the episode, though I expected them to deliver more glorious battle scenes to finish us off; instead we’re going to have to wait until next week, which is perhaps the smartest move to keep us hyped. All in all, this was a well-paced episode that was constantly telling or showing us important information, the visuals were consistent, and it’s proving that there’s so much more still to explore with Tekketsu no Orphans. That being said, I don’t know for certain whether I (or anyone else) will be blogging this weekly. This is a packed season, and depending on how things turn out and get divided it may get weekly coverage. If you would like that, then make your voice heard in the comments and we’ll see what next week brings us.