Welcome back I was honestly scared I wouldn’t be able to get this out today for a variety of reasons... ah who am I kidding two the X-Files and Playoff Football, so I’m both simultaneously crushed and elated at the same time even though the first episode was kind of a hot mess... however we’re not here to talk about that hot mess no we’re here to talk about Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans episode 16 “Fumitan Admoss” which’s title kind of gave me a bad feeling as the last time there was an episode named after a particular character that person... well you can figure it out. If you wish you can check out last weeks episode down below as always.
PS: Major Spoilers in this one do not read without watching SERIOUSLY!
PPS: Please continue to post your picks for Gundam Music of the Week or I’ll just keep picking them myself.
Moving on to the pre-opening scene we have a flashback with an adorably young Kudelia talking with Fumitan. It terms of plot nothing much really occurs here instead I’m positive it was designed to show us how deep the relationship goes. Along with previously revealed information it seems Kudelia saw Fumitan as a sort of surrogate older sister, much in the same way Atra sees Kudelia today. This of course fits perfectly with one of the overarching themes of the show of family you choose not one by blood. Of course this would be the first time that bond has resulted in pain rather then love.
Following this the workers rebellion is in full swing with Kudelia cut off from her allies by Fumitan’s betrayal at the end of the last episode. Knowing that Kudelia is alone Mika goes full Mikazuki Man Hunter and rushes off to find her even without Orga’s explicit permission showing a growing sense of independence within the young man, isn’t love a wonderful thing? Despite likely to be little more then a hindrance to Mika Atra decides to tag along in the search.
As the story progresses we’re treated to another flashback during which Kudelia shows her warm but naive heart is not a new product. As she wanders through the slums of Mars she generously offers a candy to a street youth, Fumitan was against it saying generosity can be dangerous. Fumitan is quickly proven right as Kudelia is swarmed by hungry children and even a decrepit looking man which scares her, causing her to run back to Fumitan who has vanished. I believe Fumitan hiding was clearly a move on the older womans part to instill fear within the young girl to try to kill off the foolishness of kindness that could get her killed. Further showing just how important Fumitan was to Kudelia’s upbringing.
After a quick scene on the bridge of the Hammerhead telling us what we already knew about the strange nature of the colonists rebellion we move to the mobile suit hanger where the pilots are on high alert. What is really interesting however is the first glimpses of new Mobile Suits. Including what has been confirmed to be the new Gundam Guision after the teaser last week during the removal of its battle armor. Due to the frames being so similar the Guision will be taking on a more classic Gundam look, something I’m sure we can all agree is a good thing. Unless you liked that fat frog like model...
This seems to bring Tekkadons battle force up to five unique units. Continuing the trend of a slow power up for our hero’s. Due to the fact the Gjallahorn forces are slowly closing in and of course the fact we haven’t seen a mobile suit battle in weeks now it’s almost guaranteed we’ll have an epic clash next week featuring multiple Gundam and specialized mobile suits. If the payoff is as much as the promise I bet we’re in for a treat... however we need to wait...
On the Gjallahorn cruiser from the previous episode some exposition takes place explaining everything is going as planned. Indeed that by opening with such an aggressive first move the Unionists are forced to stand their ground. In effect exactly what some factions wish, which will as expected form a chain reaction leading to a full blown workers rebellion in the colonies. As predicted setting up the conflict that will drive the series forward in the future.
During a heated confrontation between Gjallahorn and the Unionist forces Fumitan walks alone. She has been instructed by her superiors to draw Kudelia out into the fray where she will be assassinated in plain sight. In a contrived but not unexpected development Kudelia is right there and joins Fumitan. However she is quickly spotted by the Unionist forces and moved into a position of authority due to her status as their symbolic hero of freedom. Meanwhile Atra and Mika see her on TV, Mika goes to rescue Kudelia leaving Atra to gather the rest of Tekkadon. In a touching scene Mika asks if she’ll be okay which she replies of course pushing Mika to save Kudelia.
Back at the standoff an independent explosion goes off behind the Gjallahorn mobile workers. Galleo quickly figures out along with the viewer this was the plan all along to force the confrontation, the Cruisers Captain calmly explain “we’ll deal with explanations later”. Of course Gjallahorn claims the Unionst escalated the situation by opening fire letting them open fire. This causes the Unionist to shoot back for real this time and despite the Unionist leaders pleas for calm and peace it falls on deaf ears and he is killed, caught in the middle of this bloodshed and crossfire is Kudelia.
In the aftermath all save Kudelia has been killed by Gjallahorns overwhelming force due to the intervention of a Unionist supporter who tried to bring her to safety. The young woman then dies in Kudelia’s hands saying she’s happy to be with her hero. Kudelia outraged by the whole affair is now the center of everyone’s attention. The Gjallahorn special forces responsible for her assassination decide to take the shot feeling it to be the perfect time for the “Maiden of Revolution” (neat title by the way although I think Utena Tenjou would want to sue somebody) to die. However at the last second Fumitan sacrifices her life to save her young charge, where after a few last words that sound like every heart warming last words in a Gundam Fumitan collapses on Kudelia.
In the aftermath Mikazuki comes to rescue Kudelia. However Kudelia despondent over the loss of Fumitan struggles to rationalize her death, saying repeatedly that Fumitan is not responding. Mikazuki calmly tells her “That’s not Fumitan anyone” and picks up the young woman unable to walk leaving the scene.
Before the final scene however a few key developments happen. The first is what seems like an ominous alliance being forged between one of Tekkadon’s key backers in the Teiwaz chief (potentially putting the Isarabi and Hammerhead into a collision course) and the man responsible for the plot on Kudelia’s life, further entangling an already complex situation. Following that Biscuit’s brother returns and is saddened by the Unionist Chiefs death implying we haven’t seen the last of him, if that is a good thing or a bad thing is totally up to you.
After returning to the rest of Tekkadon gathered by Atra, Kudelia remembers reading a book with Fumitan about revolution. Fumitan in the flashback cries seeming to imply the plan for Kudelia is a long one. However it also symbolizes Kudelia has like Mikazuki finally embraced her destiny as the symbol of revolution and will likely move from the episode a stronger character.
Since the beginning I’ve kind of made fun of Kudelia being the classic Gundam “Space Princess” and “Ojou-Sama” due to her similarities to other alternate timeline characters such as Relena Peacecraft and especially Marina Ismail who even had a Fumitan style attendant. However her purpose in the story has seen her surpass them, you see while the other archetypes had been thrust into the middle of the conflict at the beginning of the story they were already fully formed. Not so with Kudelia instead we’ve spent the first 16 episodes watching her grow into her role.
This makes her a much stronger and more relatable character then the abstract characters that came before. I still feel she will fall into some of the tropes of the type (I expect her to make an impassioned speech to a group of delegates at some point talking about the ideal of peace, yada yada yada) but with the final scenes of these episodes they will at least be believable. In the end our time at Dort 3 came with some deep lows (Savarin lookin’ at you) and some highs but it finally brought about the conflict I’ve long been expecting and waiting for. For fans who started feeling this was getting more Cowboy Beebop then Gundam well this was the arc where the wool was lifted from your eyes.
Season 2 Rumors: Yup as I’ve been writing about for the past few weeks now I felt the pacing of this season was all wrong to only be a two cour series. Dort 3 just confirmed that, one cannot spend three episodes setting up a single scene no matter how powerful it was 16 episodes in; you just wont have time a for a suitable conclusion. If you want a perfectly paced two cour Sunrise series think the first season of Code Geass and how fast that felt watching it. Is IBO that fast? Hell no.
This leads to two options the first is the writer doesn’t know how to write a story. Due to her prolific release history this is not a very convincing argument you can argue quality control issue but rarely pacing ones. Instead you have to think there will be more episodes. This has obvious benefits the first is that almost every TV Gundam produced with the exception of G Reco had at least 36 episodes, the second is IBO is popular why would they want to end it so fast?
This brings in the rumor. On Japanese Amazon according to Anime News Network the IBO Soundtrack has been worded to call the current batch of episodes “Season One”. This of course implies multiple seasons as OST’s in single series are almost always called some variant of “The Complete...”. This as I wrote is just a rumor and there is no confirmation however as I said it would make much more sense then the other options.
“The sustenance of life, is on the battlefield”
Gundam Music of the Week:
In honour of the birth of our new Space Princess coming into her own and the dawn of a new conflict I’ve decided on one of my personal favorite pieces of Gundam Music Gundam OO’s “Ash Like Snow”. An awesome song of loss and war as everything starts going to south in that series. With decent vocals even a North American can understand and decent use of electrical guitars the whole song just makes you want to move around and have some fun.
PS: I totally used images from the Preview for next week so cool!