One year after the series premiered, six months after season one ended and we are back with Episode One of Iron Blooded Orphans Season 2. Some people may have been tied over with the (less then amazing) adaptation of Gundam Unicorn however I for one was looking forward to returning to Mars and our friends in Tekkadan. Luckily Episode 1 “New Blood” doesn’t disappoint with fans being placed right back into the middle of all the intrigue of the Iron Blooded Orphans world.
Do not read this if you have not seen the episode. These write ups are dark and full of spoilers. If you have seen the episode please comment and leave your thoughts.
The episode opens with Mikazuki and Orga reminiscing about all the losses they’ve suffered as they struggled to find their place in the world. Top of the list of course is Biscuit, the only loss that fans of the show likely would really remember or care about. Honestly looking at the list of the dead it just reminded me of how much plot armor the main characters had...
Following this the state of the universe is recounted to the viewer via voice over. Following the battle royale in Edmonton much has changed. Kudelia has founded and become President of a large Martian mining company -Adamos Corporation - designed to get Martian economic independence from the Earth Sphere. Furthermore with Gjallahorn shown to be massively corrupt their influence has decreased considerably, however due to the vacuum this produced global security has never been worse.
Furthermore with Tekkadan’s surprisingly powerful military might the era of child soldiers has only gotten more sever. As many armies and outside groups conscript thousands of children to fight on the battlefield. Beyond this outside organizations have started to build up Mobile Suit forces once more - showing the taboo of using the old machines have weakened considerably and without Gjallahorn to control the spread there is now more Suits in the world then ever before.
This leads me to think that we will likely be seeing more Gundams proper then the four we have seen previously. Considering the amount of Gundam and how powerful they are this isn’t a real big surprise as the series has only shown four named Gundams and a fifth the Astaroth if you could IBO’s manga spin off.
As the episode moves on we discover that Tekkadan has undergone explosive growth alongside Kudelia’s corporation. Taking in many new recruits making them a formidable regional power. One such recruit Hash Midi - who while looking like Argi Mirage from the IBO Manga is not the same person - received the majority of attention.
While its clear the man is green it is also clear he is hiding something. Likely somehow related to Mikazuki with whom he seems to have little regards for calling the ace pilot mere “industrial waste”. An action which does little to endear him to other members of Tekkadan who consider Mikazuki a great hero for all his actions during the journey to Earth.
As we spend some time with the new recruits its clear most of them are with Tekkadan for the glory. Some even going so far as to request the Alaya Vijnana surgery, a request that gets a quick rebuke from Eugene the Deputy Chief for training the new recruits. Outside a new recruit is fighting Lafter in a mock Mobile Suit battle, while not much of the scene is important it’s humorous as its clear Lafter does not pull her punches - ever.
We switch to another section of Mars where Kudelia is having a meeting with a former ally. However when she does not give him what he wants, her attendance at an event of his he becomes quiet angry. While Kudelia’s assistant seems to think they should just ignore him as a has been nobody, Kudelia is more concerned however and instructs her assistant to contact Tekkadan. She will be proven right to worry in due course.
Out in Space the new heads of the Seven Star Families of Gjallahorn are meeting. After his successful putch last season McGillis has reached the top as head of the Farheed family. Using faux-humility McGillis tries to convince the other heads he should be allowed to invade Martian territory and bring back order.
This does not sit well with Ikou Kujan who argues that it is not McGillis’ place to interfere there with his fleet. It seems the majority of the Seven Stars families agree as McGillis is put down. Later we see Kujan talking with what appears to be one of the main powers of Gjallahorn Rustal Elion head of the Outer Orbit Fleet the most powerful in Gjallahorn. Who tells his young friend to be patient as they work to bring down McGillis together.
This scene is interesting as once again it shows how divided Gjallahorn and the Seven Star families really are. Furthermore unsurprisingly it seems most view McGillis with a certain amount of suspicion. Considering the fact he’s almost a direct copy of Char from the original Mobile Suit Gundam their suspicions are certainly well placed. Furthermore we meet a surprisingly spry young girl Julietta Julis who with her blonde hair looks like a female McGillis. While we don’t know much about her nature of history yet I have a feeling she’ll be a Gundam pilot by the end of the season, call it a hunch.
As the episode starts to enter its final act Tekkadan continues to protect Kudelia as she tours the mines of Mars. However nothing much is happening leading many of the new recruits to grow bored with their first “battle”. However Akihiro rides in informing everyone to get into position as Space Pirates hired by Kudelia’s old ally are coming to attack the tour.
Despite their best efforts including a strong push by the “Ryusei” Squad led by Shino Tekkadan is just out matched due to the sheer number disadvantage they are at. With both the Gusion and Barbatos in the shop as it were things look bad for Tekkadan.
However a flash of light in the night Martians sky signals hope. As Mikazuki piloting the remade Barbatos Lupis drops onto the battlefield in his first big damn hero moment of the series taking out several mobile suits as he comes down ending the episode.
A few things stuck out for me with this episode, the first is how much it mirrors the first episode a year ago. That while everything may be different fundamentally this is the same Tekkadan we’ve come to know. Furthermore the world building exercise is as sharp as ever and continues to show that while things may be looking up for our heroes for almost everyone else things are not going all that well at all - with the increase in Mobile Suits and child soldiers showing a profoundly unstable world.
Hopefully over time we’ll see Tekkadan and how they come to grips with their actions as its clear Tekkadan is one of the elements driving this instability. Furthermore we got slight glimpses of future events in the series and what a teaser, including another masked man wearing a Seven Stars uniform. Could we be looking at a second “Char” or potentially a man from the past like... oh I don’t know Ein, we never did see the body.
Overall there was a lot of set up for the new season. However with the promise of action next episode I’m certainly looking forward to where Iron Blooded Orphans will take us over these next six months. So what do you think, let me know if the comments.
PS: Is it just me or does the new mass-produced suits look a whole lot like Knightmare Frames from Sunrises Code Geass franchise?
“The sustenance of life, is on the battlefield”
Note: You can witch the series for free on Gundam.Info
As I wrote my compilation for this feature from last season I realized I had not included any songs from After War Gundam X. While it’s not one of the most popular Gundam series out there it’s still a fun ride, a shame how it was cancelled just as it was starting to get real good. That being said Dreams was a great addition to the wide world of Gundam openings, so for those reasons I decided to Gundam Music of the Week Season 2 with it. I hope you enjoy it.
Let me know what you want to see featured her later as well. We’ll also have a more in depth look at SPYAIR’s new Opening “Rage of Dust” when a clearer version becomes available. Plus the as of yet unheard Ending.