Boys don’t cry, men do. For a while now I’ve been wondering when to say the words, best ever. Well I think now is the time; Iron-Blooded Orphans is the best expanded universe Gundam. The Universal Century has some of the best Gundam, however right now even if at the end IBO crashes the series can stand up with Char’s Counterattack.

Despite being a double write up, there really isn’t a lot to write about. I always say action is best experienced visually, so you should just watch the episodes if you have not seen them. As such I think the best way to do it is just gush, as wow these two episodes were something else.

The “final” battle that wasn’t was something to write home about. For the entire season Rustal Elion was not the worst. He seemed to have a code, he obviously loathed idIok, even against McGillis he acted with honour. Well... until last week when he unleashed IBO’s equivalent of nuclear weapons; the dainsleif. Based upon only the flimsiest of pretenses.

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Honestly as I watched it I couldn’t stop smiling, Sunrise hasn’t had such an amazing coup de grâce since Code Geass. The abject devastation unleashed among McGillis forces was something to behold. Of course this also means our favored side got its ass handed to it. The dainsleif barrage was devastating, eviscerating poor McGillis’ forces.

Once again it shows the reality of power. Rustal has it, McGillis does not. Even with Bael McGillis cannot turn the tide of battle. Hilariously he can not even win his own engagement as Gaelio makes quick work of him. McGillis only survives due to the heroic sacrifice of his subordinate.

Elsewhere during the battle Mikazuki engages Julieta. It’s clear even with a high end Mobile Suit Julieta is no match for Mikazuki. There was even a moment when Mikazuki went full on demon mode, with a death glare that could freeze even the peak of K2. Julieta’s named armor remains intact as Mikazuki is recalled to cover Tekkadan and McGillis’ retreat.

As I alluded to above the butchers bill finally came due to Tekkadan. Shino and the Ryusei Go! no longer the Flauros Gundam paid the ultimate price. However what a way to go with the “Galaxy Cannon” Shino attempted a shot at Rustal Elion. Sadly his final shot was of course not on point and his cannon Gundam was taken out by a swarm of enemy mobile suits.

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That said my stiff upper lip couldn’t hold as I cheered Shino in death. I always thought I would do so for Akihiro, but Shino? Shino! Ryusei-Go! Yup, this is how Iron-Blooded Orphans works, surprising even you by making a death that should not mean anything mean something.

Beyond that though the Mari Okaida made sure to twist the emotional knife a little bit more. As Yamagi pretty much professes his love for Shino. Looking back its clear Yamagi was gay, however the subtly of his sexuality especially in regards to Shino - who is straight - was refreshing. The reveal, which really wasn’t a reveal, was so good because it was so understated. Yamagi is gay, next.

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Well not really because again that knife needs turning just a little more. As Yamagi is lashing out at Orga for the decisions that led to his loves death, Shino’s fellow pilots let the young man on a secret. Shino knew about his friends feelings, he couldn’t reciprocate them but he knew. It was a special thing for him, he could be in a place - a family - where a man could love a man, a man could love a woman (AkiLafter) and they could all smile together.

It is of course all these relationships are torn asunder. As Tekkadan limps away from the last few episodes, their armaments depleted as well as their spirit. Not helped at all is McGillis.

As he gets a very quick lesion in the reality of power. Limping away from his ass being handed to him by Rustal Elion, McGillis tries to muster forces. Sadly, well for him, it’s clear where Gjallahorn now stands and its not with “Former” General McGillis. Yup, Tekkadan now stands shoulder to shoulder with a man broken and defeated, who’s only power is a single mobile suit who only he seems to believe in...

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With only a couple more episodes left in the series (season? Seriously is McGillis a final protagonist) I have no idea what is going to happen. I’m actually almost wondering if we will have Zeta ending, Victory perhaps? Our heroes have their backs against the wall and it’s going to be hard to get out. Especially down a Gundam...

“The sustenance of life, is on the battlefield”

Ya lets go with this one. It’s oddly fitting with these two episodes. Also these are getting harder to do... I’m kinda running out of my favorite songs. Let me know if you have any favorites, preferable if we haven’t heard them yet. Games included of course!