Hey Kotaku Readers: Check out my Episode 23 write up straight off the presses! It’s a much better episode. Honest.
We were cheated! Oh ya... context and an introduction are needed, I guess I was getting ahead of myself here. Following on the heels of last weeks episode it was hard not to be excited but at the same time one had to be aware it almost certainly wasn’t going to be as good and go figure it wasn’t. In a return to form following an explosive and well animated episode Iron-Blooded Orphans shifts down a gear likely in preparation for the season finale coming in only three weeks time. All around things seem to be coming to a head and a climax if not a definitive conclusion. Well lets take a shower in the rain with Episode 22 “Not Yet Home”.
Okay now I can say it we were cheated god damn it! Mika’s eyes, the absolute domination of Carta’s mobile suit seriously Carta and Mikazuki’s time was NOW! But no... somehow with no explanation other then “well we’re lucky” Carta’s Lieutenants facilitate her escape. Seriously how insane is that? One of the fastest and most powerful Mobile Suits active allows the murderer of his friend to get away after smashing her into the ground... not going to lie this seems a little cheap. Even if its only likely for an episode or two I wanted it now damn it! Also before the opening everyone looked gloomy in the rain despite not yet knowing about Biscuits death, seriously some of these shots looked like they were out of an Akira Kurosawa film.
With Biscuits death now know a grim pale hangs over Tekkadan with many worrying how they will break the news to Biscuits sisters Cookie and Cracker. Some even wish to take him home. However Mikazuki quickly ends the discussion of returning home saying Tekkadan still has a job to do, which everyone readily agrees is the truth.
While this is happening an unmasked McGillis is contemplating Carta’s luck at surviving. Interestingly he feels death would likely have been a release for the woman from her “shame”, while we dont know much about her back story. It is clear from her actions against Tekkadan that she is trying to prove something and overcome an issue that almost certainly has to do with McGillis family.
Moving on we meet a new character Henri Fleur who is set to become Prime Minister with the aid of McGillis father Iznario Fareed. While much of their dialogue is obtuse to the viewer its clear they are the power brokers who Tekkadan’s newest guest Makanai (the former Prime Minister of Arbrau), wishes to thwart and who also seems to be Carta’s patrons. Furthermore we learn of an election in Parliament for the next Prime Minister in two weeks. Something I have a feeling that Tekkadan will be crashing.
However what seems to be most interesting from a character stand point is the clarified links between three of our main antagonists as Iznario is the center of everything. Indeed he is likely the mastermind behind most of the events of the series or at least the front man for it. As Iznario was the one who orchestrated McGillis’ marriage arrangement to his child bride which resulted in the political union of two Seven Star families, all the while simultaneously making Carta his ward lashing the Issue family to him as well. This effectively seems to tie three Seven Star families to himself which he is now trying to augment by manipulating an allies ascension to Prime Minister of the nation of Arbrau.
Moving on Carta in a mad rage demands the fleet bend to her will. Capture Tekkadan at all costs, damn orders if need be. While this doesn’t go over very well with the other Officers of the fleet I have a feeling our Carta Issue will have her way. Moving on but continuing with Gjallahorn McGillis and Galeo are discussing Ein’s fate once again. Gaeleo still seems hesitant to implant Ein with a Alaya-Vijnana despite the fact it could allow him to fight again.
Returning to his old position he articulated a couple weeks ago McGillis explains the history of really everything. Apparently after years of war a select few gathered to expand humanity through technology and invented the Alaya-Vijnana system to create effectively a false Newtype in Gundam terminology. However to fully access its power they created a special type of highly maneuverable Mobile Suits the original 72 Gundam frames.
Following the war those heroes who ended the war through merging with machine became those who would keep peace Gjallahorn. Then as we learned previously they spread the taboo of man mixing with machine to deny others the power they themselves used. Explaining Gaeleo’s families possession of a Gundam frame and why it appears only Mikazuki and Akihiro can yet make full use of them. In short they made themselves of iron blooded and tried to shut it away knowing it was the only power that could stand up to them.
Moving on McGillis tips on half of his hand and shows Gaeleo that Alaya-Vijnana research hadn’t ceased. Moving into a dark armory McGillis tempts Gaeleo to also accepting an implant so he and Ein can show the “old and corrupt” Gjallahorn how to be. With what looks to be very powerful mobile suits almost certainly unknown Gundam frames.
The depressed feeling that hangs over the crew has become even more clear. However one constant voice is conspicuously missing, since witnessing Biscuit’s death Orga has shut himself away. Which likely has only exacerbated the situation, with Orga being effectively the heart and driving force of the whole organization little by little Tekkadan feels like its falling apart. Even Makanai sees this wondering allowed if they will lose the will to fight.
During this conversation though Kudelia brings up a plan to take the former Prime Minister to Arbrau’s Parliament to stand for election in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada! Using a train from Alaska to the Capital City. For the record as somebody who has taken a train across Canada that is not a short trip at all... Impressing the Prime Minister Kudelia gets praised as a leader however she rejects it saying her goal isn’t to lead but to merely give hope to her people.
Moving on we peek into a little girls time between Merribet and the Teiwaz pilots. While Merribet frets about the mental health of these “Children” Lafter says they’re really not one to talk as they too always go into battle. Interesting we finally see another perspective on Naze’s harem it seems its actually more of a shelter for broken girl, implying the women relationship may not be what the Tekkadan boys think. Likely as they’re too childish to understand the complexities of the situation.
This of course is huge news for Lafterhero shippers such as myself. Giving one of the clearest signals (their has been subtle ones previously) that Lafter especially is not all that romantically connected to Naze. Furthermore its also a little narrative trick implying everything we know of the Turbine crew may actually be merely coloured by our point of view characters primarily being members of Tekkadan. Could Gundam have used an unreliable narrative style? Interesting.
As the episode starts moving towards it conclusion Merribet tries to knock on Orga’s door but fails. As she runs into Mika she says Orga just needs some time. Ignoring her advice Mikazuki moves past her for Orga, who he finds in a depressed state sitting alone in the dark, constantly remembering how he failed Biscuit. Blaming himself he recounts their argument how Orga always takes the risky path, following this line of thinking to its logical conclusion he believe he Orga is ultimately responsible for Biscuits death.
Mikazuki will have none of this asking in a very creepy voice “what should I do”. He moves closer focused on Orga with dead eyes continually asking the question. As he grabs Orga he demands to know who he should kill so Orga can take him to the place that he always promised. If it wasn’t clear by now Orga and Mikazuki have a VERY sick relationship this scene makes is stark, even Orga seems scared by Mikazuki’s actions and demeanor. Which we the viewer have only ever seen in the heat of battle, indeed the old line that Mikazuki might be a sociopath came right back to me here.
However Mikazuki’s dark coldness reawakens the fiery passion within Orga. With rain and thunder booming outside signifying this is not a good thing Orga declares he will take Mikazuki and everyone to that place, which in this context seems likely to be the grave... following his emotional reawakening Orga gives one of his rallying speeches more suited to a High School Football coach, declaring Tekkadan to be an organization out for revenge while they complete their goal. As the younger members of Tekkadan are overwhelmed by his righteous fury Merribet protests to which the Full Metal Mechanic responds “you’re right but they wont listen” and while this is going on the Teiwaz girls agree they got to stop these children from killing themselves in the process.
Well this was certainly an interesting episode. While I was pissed to be cheated out Carta’s meeting with Mikazuki the scene between with him and Orga was far more powerful. Showing the depths of Mikazuki’s and Orga’s emotional damage and how they both feed on one another was scary in how dark and twisted it was at times. Beyond that though there was a lot of interesting world building information most notably on the relationship between the Gundams, Gjallahorn, and the Alaya-Vijnana system. Overall it was quite the episode and I don’t have much to complain about. However at the moment it looks like this will likely be the last slow episode as the preview promises some serious battles with a likely duel between Carta and Mikazuki being front and center.
“The sustenance of life, is on the battlefield”
Gundam Music of the Week:
So today I had an AWESOME find. Near my work I have this nice little used book store and I finally decided to have a look as I didn’t eat lunch today. To my surprise they had a collection of DVD’s with some old anime DVD’s too and to my great surprise they had a copy of Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz for $14.99 which I obviously instantly picked up as I only ever had a VHS copy previously (damn dead technology). So in honour of my good luck and the fact surprisingly I haven’t used a Wing song since our first one of these 14 weeks ago(!) with Just Communication. So of course if you dont know it this is White Reflection (I was going to go with another one but the name was too perfect to use it yet...) which was used I believe in the OVA version of Endless Waltz.