Welcome back to Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Impressions if you want to check out some of my earlier write ups you can find Episodes 4, 3, and 2 here. Anyways as I expected last week the lull in the action was only a set up for this weeks episode that was certainly more action packed then the previous one. Titled “Beyond the Red Sky” as predicted we see Iron-Blooded Orphans moving to space and away from Mars, however I didn’t see something coming and that is how Iron-Blooded Orphans once again outdid itself. Honestly during the entire episode I found I could not stop smiling this was a really well done episode that gave enough pay outs to all the investment in time and energy last episode. Furthermore in some ways it was very surprisingly from a narrative perspective despite the fact really it didn’t add to any of the central themes and issues present in the show.
The year Post Disaster 323, Tekkadon has shed the chains of the past however ghosts still haunt them. As Tekkadon looks to the stars for their future enemies move to them.
Due to the fact the main thrust of the episode is of course the series first space battle and the previous episode served as the softer set up we’re left with less of the world building Iron-Blooded Orphans has become so good at recently. However despite the fact we have less doesn’t mean we have none as Mika and Kudelia have another one of their episodic talks that is becoming a very common element of Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. In it we don’t learn much about the two of them except Kudelia remains determined to fight, Mika has absolute faith in Orga and his abilities, and the origin of Mikazuki’s name is the moon. Also my pet theory that Mika continues to eat medicine of some sort is totally not true they’re seeds, hey at least I can say Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans literally eats SEEDs for breakfast.
Interestingly another piece of information on the Calamity War was given out, this time regarding how the moon was damaged (it’s also kinda neat Mikazuki was named after a famously damaged object). How that builds into our understand of the past is still unclear however the little hints the series is dropping is starting to build in something clearer. As we would learn later in the episode (and confirmed in outside media) the Gundam’s are relics of the Calamity War making them the machines that Gjallahorn is most likely tasked with stopping. This is supported by McGill’s statement in Episode One of the Inspectors mission to stop of disasters. Finally we now have a second instance of mass destruction including the giant hole taken out of Australia.
Other little but interesting pieces of information were also provided firstly of course is Altra’s decision to come with Tekkadon on their mission to Earth as a cook. Presumably to remain close to Mika during the trip. Mika supports her ambition but stating she cooks well to which she breaks out in a series of cute blushes. Out in space various others machinations are starting to take shape each wishing to use Kudelia who is looking to be more then just one person’s pawn. However the Gjallahorn commander who failed to kill her in Episode One is the one most eager to strike out, with Todo/Hitler-stashs help.
Following this we finally make it to the meat of the episode the long awaited space fight. I’m not going to recap any of the actual fight as it was so well done that it would take five paragraphs and it still wouldn’t do the fight justice. However it’s pretty clear the directors saved the animation budget for this episode as the fight itself was crisp, fast, and off the wall insane. The slight shot maneuver was something out of Code Geass and I love it. Seriously if they make more of this I’m fine with only one fight every two or three episodes.
However during the fights a few surprised did come up. The first is how quickly Todo/Hitler-stash was found out and summarily removed from the Orphans midst, it was also surprisingly merciful as the Judas escaped with his life. Beyond that we get more confirmation that Orga isn’t just a great leader and schemer but also a superb tactician as well by using limited resourced to escape a very unfavorable situation. Also a little surprisingly Mikazuki’s and McGillis’s identities have already been revealed to each other, however following their initial meeting that perhaps shouldn’t be too surprisingly. Furthermore for the purposes of writing McGillis will now be refered to as “Chocolate-man”.
Furthermore although I long suspected it the Ālaya-Vijñāna system is a direct neural link to the pilot allowing them to pilot the suit as if it was their body. This provides a level of spacial awareness (perhaps equivalent to Newtypes in other Gundam timelines) and control that is unbelievable by other regular pilots. That being said it seems to have a glaring weakness by not allowing the pilot to utilize the full assortment of machine advances as McGillis so superbly exploits. Interesting during this entire encounter though the two never seems quite so antagonistic instead a level of respect is shown between the two. I expect this will lead to McGillis eventually piloting a Gjallahorn Gundam (of which they posses two) to battle the Barbatos and perhaps filling the eternal rival role a Gundam series so needs.
In the end this episode was just amazing. It was succinct something Iron-Blooded Orphans have often lacked, driven, and all around fun. Furthermore its a testament to the skill of the writers and show runners that with so much going on the episode can feel so concise; honestly going back I’ve mentioned perhaps five major elements this episode touched on despite not really seeming like it did and doing it well. Really overall it was easily the best episode of the series that has aired yet and really got me excited for watching what comes next; which makes it all the worst this post was delayed... so ya sorry about that... hope you come back next week. Leave comments I’m also curious who’s everyone’s favorite character?