I’m was not quite sure how to write this one up as I came in unspoiled expecting to do a double write up for this week. However as I was watching the episode my mind started to run a mile a minute and was constantly thinking how can I do this post with two episodes worth of content? As this episode was really good... this was as close to Gundam incarnate as Iron Blooded Orphans has come yet. Luckily for my writing purposes (less so for you guys) we have to wait until the 10th for Episode 14. However this is the much delayed “Funeral Rites”. For my latest write up check out it below. Again sorry for the really late write up... hope you enjoyed Gundam: Thunderbolt in its stead.
As usual the episode opens from the previous weeks climax where Akihiro is left reeling from his brothers sacrifice. Interesting my interpretation of events was totally off as Mashahiro was intending to save his brother if not himself. Using their last minutes to talk as Akihiro struggles to send off his new found brother to the beyond Mashahiro states he believes he will one day return through reincarnation. Continuing on the theme of death and rebirth found in the previous episodes.
During the emotional climax of the brothers fight Mikazuki is continuing his fight with Cadel which is nearing its end. Completely out classed Cadel charges Mikazuki with a madness often reserved for a man who is about to die. Which he does as Mikazuki effortlessly slaughters the monstrous pilot with a viscous execution style blow that will be one of the key visual moments of these midpoint episodes I expect. The scene depicted a level of violence from Gundam most series are scared to go too, however considering his completely inhuman nature it was a fitting end for his character.
Back on the ship the battle is won in a convincing fashion, however there has been loss. A concept that the young orphans of Tekkadon have yet to really face. Merribet suggests an outdated method of send off - that of a funeral to which the crew of Tekkadon looks surprised as they’ve never heard of this ceremony. Orga initially dismissive of the idea (why would the dead need any send off?) comes around as she explains funerals are not for the dead they’re for those who survived. To move on.
This for me was an amazingly powerful scene as it showed how truly broken many members of Tekkadon are. As human debris they have been raised with the view they are sub-human they are worthless and as such their life is expendable and there death is their only value. Orga having being raised in such a cold way is struggling to deal with some burdens of leadership by both being a captain and surrogate father to his new family. This all despite he himself not knowing how to react to these emotions with Merribet acting as sort of emotional foil and coach to the young man.
Moving on Orga has a quick scene with the surviving members of his former enemies. Many of the human debris pilots managed to survive Mikazuki’s onslaught. One such pilot (the one who vowed eternal revenge) is surprised when Orga offers a hand in friendship welcoming them on board. The same offer then Akihiro was trying desperately to extend to his brother.
Moving aside from the events of Tekkadon we see more of the inner workings of elite Earth politics. As McGillis and Galleo attends a very swanky party likely held by the ruling families of Gjallahorn. Eventually McGillis’ young fiance Almiria enters however she is quickly hurt by the jokes made at her expense. McGillis showing a deft hand and a form of kindness he previously showed with Mika (remember “Chocolate Man”) calms his young fiance down and dances with her under the moonlight. The scene is both sweet and creepy as its clear he likely only cares for the young girl to further some as of yet unknown plot, continuing the theme of children being used in the plot of men that have been so prominent in the series. Setting up one of the key narrative points of the early series Tekkadon existing to fight back in a way.
Finally the episode ends with the various characters of Tekkadon dealing with there grief in their own ways. The young kids look for comfort but being children can’t really express it. Atra offers to hold them, instead they opt for the more motherly embrace of Fumitan (she’s bigger...). Elsewhere Akihiro seems genuinely moved by the space fireworks during the funeral for the lost children and sees to move on from his lost by letting so of his brother. There is also one scene where it looks like he will inherit the Gundam Guision.
Finally we have another one of our now all too uncommon Mika/Kudelia chats. This one is special... honestly do I really need to say why? Anyways here is the one thing I’ll say about that; it’s about DAMN TIME and his reasoning was so simplistic it had me laughing “You looked cute”.
Anyways as I wrote above this was easily one of the better episodes. It had emotional resonance, amazing action, even a little bit of humor. Honestly when I say it’s quintessential Gundam I mean you can show an episode like this to explain the entire series. It perfectly captured what made this franchise a mainstay of the anime universe for over forty years. Until next week!
“The sustenance of life, is on the battlefield”
Gundam Music of the Week: As requested by Gugsy. Shining FINGER! For those who know me you know I don’t think too highly of G Gundam as a Gundam . Why? Because its barely a Gundam having more in common with shonen fighting animes like Yu Yu Hakusho. Hell the director/creator himself wanted to make one of those, so when he was told he was making a Gundam show which he felt was little more then a commercial for plastic models he said F*** It and made his show within the Gundam franchise. It turned into the least “Gundam ” of all the multiple timelines but was still an amazingly fun series all around; it just wasn’t Gundam.
PS: There is a high chance we’ll have new Openings and Endings next week so look forward to that.