Now that is what I’m talking about! Wait I’m getting ahead of myself here anyways welcome back to Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Impressions where every week we look back at the latest episode of what is quickly becoming one of the better Gundams in recent memory, anyways if you want to check out past write ups you can find Episode Six, Five, and Four here or use the Tag. Episode Seven entitled “Whaling” is an interesting episode and all around amazing, I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic here but this episode was great from start to finish. Strangely enough there isn’t really a whole lot to write up so this particular write up may be shorter then normal as the episode was focused around three main duels featuring several new named characters. Anyways lets get to the main course here!
The year Post Disaster 323, Tekkadon has come before their former master, allied with a group far stronger then themselves its a fight for freedom... and survival.
Interesting rather then starting right after last episodes cliffhanger ending we get a rather service heavy scene (for this show anyways) featuring a mysterious young woman keenly eyeing our heroes ship, which she rather oddly sees as a large flying shrimp she wishes to eat... It was a strange introductory scene for several reasons but most especially as up to this point the series has been devoid of much service outside of the shirtless bishonen. Anyways it looks like the show finally has it’s official “Ms. Fanservice” - Lafter Frankland.
Anyways moving on to the more logical starting point to the episode, we’re back on the bridge as members of Tekkadon come face to face with their former master Maruba who has enlisted the help of the Turbines. A sorta Yakuza inspired famed mercenary organization allied with Teiwaz the very organization Tekkadon had wished to negotiate with. Led by the dashing and charismatic Naze Turbine (voiced by Kousuke Toriumi - voice actor for the Japanese Yuri Lowell from the amazing Tales of Vesperia) Orga is quickly pulled into a battle of wills. It’s clear from their quick exchanges that neither side will be backing down and conflict is imminent. However outside of Maruba who seems secondary in all these discussions there is no direct animosity between the two parties.
This leads to a Mobile Suit and ship based battle the likes of which we had yet to see in Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. The fight is to be blunt amazing and far and away better then the fights featured in Episodes One, Three, and Five. With multiple spots of action, tension, and the crazy tactics that Iron-Blooded Orphans is increasingly becoming famous for. I wont talk too much about the fights themselves as they need to be seen to be appreciated as mere words can’t do it justice. How to indulge myself for a moment I do love the little details they continuously add in such as when Orga was planning his 180 turn he announced people to lock things down due to the gravity and thrust changes; it’s the little things that bring you more into the experience.
Anyways Turbine is far different from the other antagonists we have met previously. Unlike the Inspectors of Gjallahorn they are not so obviously antagonistic instead they merely are opposing each other based on circumstances and honour dictates that they must duel. Naze and Orga both seem to see things this way, furthermore Naze just based on his attitude and bearing seems to be the rouge with a heart of gold that often pops up in various Gundams. All around I doubt they’ll be antagonistic for too long. However Orga and Naze’s battles of wits and wills was very entertaining to watch.
A great aspect of this episode was that for the first time in a long while as I was watching the battle unfold there was a palpable feeling of tension over the entire thing. This was especially pronounced in the duel between Akihiro and Amida (the voluptuous Graze pilot) where during the final moments I was thinking there was the potential for Akihiro to die. Luckily he was saved at the last moment as it’d sucked to see a character die even if going down in a blaze of awesomeness. This speaks to the great story telling that is happening where the early body count has already instilled an “anyone can die” feeling upon the show even without a main characters death. Which to be honest I still expect by episode fourteen...
Finally during the final duel of the episode Mikazuki faces off against Shrimp Girl Lafter Frankland who seems to be a great match up for Mikazuki in both speed, power, and all around crazy. Mostly due to damage inflicted in Episode Five the Barbatos is not at full speed and as such is literally run circles around by Lafter’s Mobile Suit (anyone know what the Suit is named I couldn’t find it...). Mikazuki completely outclassed by her speed decides to harpoon her (hence the “Whaling” title) and force the battle to a more advantageous situation.
After a tense battle Mikazuki in full blood rage mode (those eyes again...) is about to end Lafter however he is stopped by Orga. This is again key as we see during battle Mikazuki once again losing himself. Unfortunately unlike before the character is kinda likable and her death would have been an loss. Luckily Orga has reached an agreement with Naze and the battle ends and Mika returns to his normal self where the episode once again ends.
Overall this was another amazingly solid episode of Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. Interestingly during the episode I kept thing this is Gundam. Iron-Blooded Orphans has always been good but it’s uniqueness within the franchise was off balancing, this did much to reorient the series as a Gundam. While the show remains unique it undoubtedly remembers its heritage and for fans of the series that is without a doubt a good thing. Really the more I think (and write) about it the more I like this episode, I could easily step back and watch it again. It may have been missing many parts that I have come to expect (Mika and Kudelia’s little chats about life for one) but it more then made up for in other ways. All around I can’t wait for next episode this is getting good. Although I got to say don’t expect a Gundam battle like this too soon the budget must have be drained by that. Anyways sound off in the comments.
“The sustenance of life, is on the battlefield”