Hey everyone and welcome back to Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans as I slowly readjust to life after the holidays and get this thing back to a reasonable schedule. This is my way of saying they’ll be coming up on either Sunday’s or Tuesday’s as is usual not Thursdays or missing a week. Anyways this episode was a little bit more set up with some damn fun scenes. I’m not quite sure right at the moment what to think of this episode as its a little conflicted. Anyways if you missed last weeks Impressions check them out bellow. Lets return to the Post Disaster era!

PS: If you can I suggest listening to todays Music of the Weeks while reading its a good one!

After a whole bunch of serious equal opportunity fanservice (Akihiro, Orga, Lafter, Kudelia and Mika) the episode opened with serious fandisservice honestly I dislike going to the locker room for exactly THAT reason. However the old man Nobliss Gordon is talking to somebody who sounds suspiciously familiar (McGillis) and references Kudelia’s “watchdog”. Furthermore the two men discuss the “shipment” of arms to the workers and complain how it wasn’t that big a deal, due to the incompetence of the Earth Sphere Gjallahorn.

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It’s now pretty damn clear Gordon’s entire financing of the Tekkadon mission was merely a ruse to have Kudelia assassinated and a war to break out in Earth. Likely to loosen its grip on his Mars business interests. Making him one of the central antagonists of the entire series again furthering the thematic approach of people with money seeing to be completely untrustworthy in this world.

Back on Dort 3 we finally see Kudelia having the fun she always wished by shopping like a normal girl. However outside Mikazuki and Fumitan are having a deep conversation about responsibility, Mikazuki seems oddly intense during the conversation although oblivious to Fumitan’s true motivations.

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Back with the delivery group they’re discussing the next move considering the incipient rebellion brewing. Which they themselves helped arm. During this time they meet the cheerful leader of the workers union and decide to trust him... not that they have much choice in the matter at the current time. During their time with the Union boss it becomes very clear the workers view each other as an extended family much in the same way Tekkadon does. Savarin (Biscuit’s brother) however is not part of their group due to being adopted by a rich family and being granted status again showing how important class is in this world and conflict.

Simultaneously Biscuit and Atra are anxiously awaiting the arrival of his brother who appears very interested in Atra. This is of course a misunderstanding but one that drives the rest of the episode. As Savarin kidnaps Biscuit and Atra assuming she’s the ringleader of the entire coup d’ete attempt Kudelia Aina Bernstein! As Biscuit attempts to diffuse the situation Atra ramps it up by declaring (quite convincingly) she is Kudelia in a likely attempt to throw Gjallahorn off her almost sisters scent.

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During all this bleakness the Hammerhead crew comes through with a little humor. As Naze is explaining the situation of how elite earthlings are abusing the slum workers of the colonies the girls are having none of it. Lafter even complains she’s not getting enough attention to which the two helmswomen merely look at her with exasperated eyes. It appears Naze may have a good life but not an easy one...

Orga soon learns from worker intelligence that Biscuit and Atra have been captured and quickly calls Mika demanding to know if he’s safe. Due to Atra’s heroism they’re fine, however Mikazuki quickly gets into gear and demands the two women stay while he finds their friends and asks Fumitan to protect Kudelia. Kudelia is unable to stop him only shouting his name.

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Moving on we finally get to the part Gundam fans have been waiting for A NEW GUNDAM! Yes we finally see the Gundam Kimaris officially. However all is not well for our two elite pilots as the divide between the Gjallahorn factions looks vast as even within the organization. As few seems to like the “Seven Stars” which we know to mean the seven elite families that rule the upper echelons of Gjallahorn which I think is likely also Earthly business and financial elite. As the captain of the Earth Gjallahorn ship pointedly refuses to let him and his Gundam do anything; Gaelio effectively retorts you want to play politics fine, so will I. The action on the captains part seems to endear him to a helmsman.

One thing I’d also like to point out although the outside of the Gjallahorn Cruiser looks very much unique in the Gundam universe. The ships helm looks reminiscent of the Archangel Class from Gundam SEED this is also a neat little coincidence as the Gjallahorns officers uniform are very reminiscent of Orb Officers also of SEED. Although personally if I had to say Gjallahorn especially the Seven Stars faction reminds me of anyone its OZ from Wing or the Titans of the Universal Century.

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Returning to Dort 3 Atra is getting tortured by two Gjallahorn soldiers demanding she tell them of the plan. What is clear is a) Gjallahorn soldiers are well enough trained they will beat a little girl with no hesitation and b) Gjallahorn Earth likely has no idea the Seven Star Faction is actually the likely ringleader. With Kudelia only being the fall person for the conflict again finally settling all the players involved.

However after this strong and powerful (remember Atra could have been fine had she told the truth) show of loyalty we move to one of the less well conceived scenes of the episode. Judging by the music it seems the writer and director wished us to be touched by Biscuits less then grand reunion with his brother. Instead due to the brother being such a one dimensional character we had only heard of literally a week before the whole thing rings hollow. For a series that is so strong on the theme of family this was one of its WORST SCENES. It literally failed on every level I’m sorry lets move on to something slightly better...

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Yes Fumitan betrays Kudela an action that has been telegraphed for a week and one speculated upon since I think Episode Four, actually in one of our comments. Yes this isn’t really shocking but at the very least it was well written as her previous comments about responsibility are revealed to be about her true masters. During this time we also get our first glimpse of the mysterious masked man... to best honest I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a surprise as its clearly McGillis in a wig(...) and mask (yay I got one right Char Clone!) due to the voice actor. Who knows perhaps its supposed to be like Gundam OO’s Mr. Bushido. Anyways after spilling the beans Fumitan leaves and McGillis lets Kudelia go.

In the final scene of the episode we get some of the best non-Gundam action in the entire series as MIKAZUKI MANHUNTER! comes and breaks out Atra and Biscuit. However the moment he sees Atra’s injured face for a moment his calm demeanor breaks. Sadly Mikazuki didn’t go on a rampage however Biscuit got a small moment of awesome by telling off his brother and finally fully accepting Tekkadon as his family. In the end the revolution starts and the workers march all to an awesome playback of the new ending something this song fits amazingly with. However in all the chaos Kudelia is left alone.

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While this episode did have its ups and downs it continues to reinforce its two themes class and family. First is class by this point I think its obvious an alliance of the upper class Gjallahorn the Seven Stars as led by McGillis’ has allied with with the business elite of Mars against the Earth centric Gjallahorn forces. Kudelia’s family one of nobility of Mars has effectively passed her over to Nobliss Gordon as a kind of sacrifice to likely increase their wealth. This seems the likely conflict that will drive the series forward, although I could be wrong as I often am.

From there we get to family which has allowed Iron-Blooded Orphans to develop into a more relatable story then Gundam series in the past with a few exceptions such as War in the Pocket. This is because Iron-Blooded Orphans driving themes are so human. At it’s core is the idea of family; where in a chaotic world its important to know family isn’t only one of blood its one of bonds. Indeed the only people one can trust in the world we’re watching is your family, but not necessarily ones of blood which has been shown to be less then useful. Indeed every time we have met a new member of the Tekkadon’s blood they have betrayed the character they are related too.

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For Iron-Blooded Orphans it is family forged by war, conflict, and friendship that drives this series Atra showed this so perfectly by being a better sister to Kudelia then Savarin was ever to biscuit. These are not bonds of blood but iron, the tag line of the series “the sustenance of life is on the battlefield” is starting to make a lot of sense in this context.

“The sustenance of life, is on the battlefield”

Gundam Music of the Week:

Damn it doesn’t look like we had a single entry from last week. I guess you forgot with the awesome new music to tie you over. Okay I’ll be making the selection this week and its a little different. Yes in honour of the glorious enterance of Iron-Blooded Orphans Char I have decided upon Char’s theme itself!