Hello and welcome back to Part II of this weeks special Iron-Blooded Orphans Impressions double write up. You will have noticed by now I never do this, if I miss a week I try to just double it up. However lets be honest here, we are approaching the end of the series and there is no way this episode was not going to get the write up it deserved. It was just too important in the grand scheme of things as in many ways “Promise” fulfilled a pledge long promised to fans of the series and did what only recently Iron-Blooded Orphans had the stones to do.
Please Note this is the Indroduction from the First Write Up Yesterday.
As we quite rapidly approach what now seems like the end of Iron-Blooded Orphans taking stock of the series is only natural. As I wrote last time I think Iron-Blooded Orphans has established itself as one of the premier if not the premier non-Universal Century Gundam. Starting off a little strange and paced - oddly -Iron-Blooded Orphans has its flaws. However its great strength more then make up for these flaws as the emotional connection, that being the emotional bonds it make between its characters and the viewers.
Even all the villains has some from of connection to the viewer, we felt sorry for Carta, we loath idIok, we respect Rustal. Then there is McGillis the Chocolate Man Farheed, who is one of the single most complex character in a Gundam. To the point where if he is a villain in the classic narrative sense we would need an entirely new season to flesh that out as at this point he’s... well he’s McGillis Farheed. The crazy thing is he’s just so many things: noble, broken, caring, but cold, able to kill without a second thought but able to feel what looks like true love. When looking at him I still can’t put if he’s an anti-hero, anti-villain, or something new entirely. One thing I know for sure though is he is no Char Clone, he is his own man despite the luscious blonde locks.
As the episode opens following off from Episode 47 Tekkadan’s backs are too the wall and the only way out is through the overwhelming force of Gjallahorn. A fact Gjallahorn has been all too happy to share with the world at large. Elsewhere McGillis asks Mikazuki what he wants and why he fights to which the young man returns with his common refrain “for Orga”.
As the episode continues on Orga continues for an escape hatch and he may yet have found one. Old Calamity War tunnels underground that lead to Chryse which they can use to escape then effectively fade away, though still alive and together. McGillis doesn’t much approve of this plan, however Orga thinks its the best path as everyone is still with their friends. A concept that McGillis unsurprisingly both doesn’t really get.
Following this encounter McGillis attempts to encourage Mikazuki to engage Gjallahorn’s forces with him. However he quickly realizes his words are falling on deaf ears as Mikazuki really only listens to Orga and not himself. This saddens McGillis in a way who has long been attracted to Mikazuki’s power and “Brightness”, however he realizes its a fleeting brightness as Mikazuki has no ability of self-determination.
Orga then stops by to try and stop McGillis from poaching his crew for what Orga must think is a suicide run. However Mikazuki of course never really considered going and asks if Orga needs him too. After a heart to heart talk, including another flashback to their childhood the two part.
Of course these are huge read flags as not only has the entire episode been focusing on Orga up until this point both of Mikazuki’s contributions have been about how Orga binds him. In the game of raise your death flag this has to be considered a big one as the only way Mikazuki can burning bright and freely is Orga’s death.
As the second act of the episode begins the promised battle flares up. Using the full power of the Gundam Bael McGillis leads an offensive to drive attention towards him and away from the escaping Tekkadan forces. idIok sees McGillis and lunges towards him, in one of the largest displays of dominance in the series McGillis makes quick work of the young Lords suit nearly killing him in the process.
While idIok doesn’t die its very clear McGillis didn’t intend to kill the man. McGillis’ skill with Bael is far too refined to let a key target live due to something as simple as a missed sword strike. No both the writers and McGillis likely have something in store for idIok yet.
As he continues the fight McGillis’ inner monologue gives us greater if not surprising insight to his character. The Lupus Rex meaning “King of Wolves” shows Mikazuki runs in a wolf pack, however while that may work for Tekkadan it does not work for McGillis. Who as we know is a solitary warrior, preferring to use people for his own ends even his wife and closest friends were little more then pawns for the man.
As Tekkadan is running outside powers are conspiring both to help them and against them. Notably is Azee now leader of what remains of the Turbines and Nobliss Gordon the Martian businessman who has sway over Adamoss Group who I suspect is behind a plot that rears its ugly head later in the episode. This assistance and message from the Turbines gives Orga hope that perhaps they all can find a happy ending. We of course now this being Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans no no they won’t, there are no happy endings.
As the sun sets the calming music swells dread starts to fill my heart as it’s clear what is coming. Reminiscent of Lafters death a few episodes before things are too good too idyllic, there have been too many gut punches from Iron-Blooded Orphans to really end of a high note. It of course does not.
With the screech of a tire men in suits unload from a car and open fire upon the defenseless Tekkadan members. Orga who puts up a surprisingly good fight - “Huh, I’m a pretty good shot” - despite both his wounds and assumed less then martial prowess is mortally wounded in the process as he saves Ride and dies. Becoming the first of the main cast of Tekkadan to die. I do not know if Iron-Blooded Orphans has shifted from an Everyone Can Die series to an Everyone Will Die series yet, however its clear the butchers bill will be heavy indeed for our heroes.
As the series comes to a close it still has not lost its ability to tug at the heartstrings. As while Orga’s death is horrible it was a pretty epic way to go for the Leader of Tekkadan. Defending his friends and fighting for his final dream, he may have fallen in battle but he remains one of the best leader types in all of Gundam. So today I salute him, rest easy good sir.
“The sustenance of life, is on the battlefield”