Idiok! Aniki... aniki... As I wrote last week this episode had three likely routes to take and Mari Okada and her team over at Sunrise went with the gut punch. Last week I felt this outcome was simultaneously unlikely but also the best choice for going forward for the series. That being said I’m still a little angry that it went down like this and by Idiok’s hand no less, Idiok! Seriously for such a great character to go down to HIM ugh... anyways I think we have an episode to talk about yet.
As the episode opens up the rest of Teiwaz and Tekkadan are dealing with the current situation. Though it’s obvious both sides wish to engage with Gjallahorn over Naze’s obvious framing both sides reluctantly agree their is nothing they can do. Mikazuki doesn’t even stand up to the Old Man when he received the orders to do nothing for Tekkadan, seeing in his eyes there is no point in arguing.
As Orga is raging against his situation to Merribit who continues to play the by the book counter to his emotional command style. Akihiro and Shino then appear and defying their perception as some of the more simple folks of Tekkadan they actually have a good plan. By sending the Gusion, Flauro’s/Ryusei-Go IV, and the newly minted Riden-Go using booster packs to pick up non-combatants in the area. If asked why Tekkadan is there, they will say the three were just doing standard training. A plan good enough to get even Merribit’s go ahead.
As the battle begins Naze is quickly trying to get as many people away from himself and the Hammerhead as possible. Including the entirety of his helms team, allegedly planning on flying the whole thing himself. He even sends away Lafter and Azee leaving only Amida to defend him. As she flies away Lafter sheds a tear, likely knowing what is to come. On the other side of the battlefield Julietta questions Idiok’s plans to use so many mobile suits on such a small force. However that’s just how he rolls.
By this point it’s clear where the series is taking our two space Yakuza lovers. Flying alone into an overwhelming force, with backup no where near anything. It had become clear what the final outcome would be, however I still help out hope it would not happen. That Iron Blooded-Orphans would fall back on its old habits and play fast and loose with death flag expectations. However as we all know this was not to be, it really was the final flight on the Hammerhead.
As Tekkadan blazes towards to battle in an attempt to delay his fate the Hammerhead requests a cease fire. Idiok quickly burning any and all sympathy from the audience he might have clung on too at this point ignores the cease fire. He even uses the loyality of his men to make them “not see” the cease-fire. Despite the clear dismay on everyones face at his actions. They know this isn’t going to be some glorious battle, nope this is a slaughter.
Honestly by this point its hard to find any real redeeming qualities in Iok. Other then the fact that he seems to genuinely care for his troops in a superficial almost paternalistic way. His callous disregard for the norms of warfare shows he is an unhonourable individual, while his moronic behavior and childish tendencies actually invite apt comparisons to Futurama’s Zapp Branigan. It’s clear by now Iok Kujan will go down as one of the least liked of all the Gundam mini-antagonists, the fact he’s being somehow the primary antagonist of the season so far is kind of baffling and hilarious at the same time.
As the a battle begins if to just add more reason to loath Idiok his opening shot is what seems like 14 Dainsleif shots to the unarmed transports presumably killing dozens if not hundreds of non-combatants. What makes this even more egregious is these are the very weapons Idiok used to frame the Turbines as they themselves are illegal weapons of the Calamity War. Making this battle another example of Gjallahorn committing war crimes based on their own rules.
On a slightly interesting note Julietta is granted a custom suit of her own. While not a Gundam the Reginlaze Julia seems to be a very efficient and powerful melee based suit. Including a chain whip system reminiscent of the Gundam Eypion and Tallgees II/III from Gundam Wing.
Luckily as Amida has her hands full with Julietta, Akihiro, and Ride make a big damn heroes entrance and even the odds complete with the Iron-Blooded Orphans battle theme in the background. Lafter even promises Akihiro a “Big squeeze” for his actions to which he thinks she means to strange him... Naze can’t help but smile seeing as how Lafter has found a good man outside of himself.
As the Hammerhead continues to take a beating from the enemies bombardment scenes of the Hammerheads crew areas play being destroyed. A fitting sight, as Hammerhead was far more for a lot of people then a battleship it was also their home. Reinforcing the idea of family in the battlefield and why it’s so important.
However despite Idiok’s sloppy and massively inefficient battle strategy he wins just due the brute strength of the Dainsleif forces at his command. Managing to bring down the Hammerhead, however as his last act Naze sets the Hammerhead on a suicide trajectory in classic Gundam fashion. Despite having Idiok cowering behind his chair showing once again how fragile and frail the big talking fool is Naze misses the flagship. Sparing Idiok and and his group of loyal to the point of brain dead helmsmen.
At the end this was a very powerful episode of Iron-Blooded Orphans, as I wrote above I foresaw three paths for this episode to take and they clearly took the most ballsy. There could have been many easy deaths to throw out from Amida, to Azee and Lafter. However by going for the heart of both Tekkadan and lets be frank the viewers in killing off Naze Iron-Blooded Orphans pleasantly surprised me and has likely secured its place as one of the best the series has to offer. If the series sticks its landing (if there is an ending this season, that may be up in the air) I could see it moving ahead of Gundam: Unicorn (OVA) as the premier HD Gundam series.
Overall this episode hit all the right notes. With its touching and poignant character moments (“I’ll give you a big squeeze” “Why’s she going to strangle me?”), it’s masterful use of music and sound to score, to the death and reunion of Naze and Amida in the afterlife as Gundam ghosts as I call them. All around this was a great episode and I’m not particularly looking forward to the funeral next week, that being said hunting down Idiok... that will be sweet sweet justice.
Also one more thing. What the literal hell is Julietta still doing with this idiot. Honestly by this point this girl is much more interesting to me then anyone else, as its clear she has an alterior motive to what she’s saying. She doesn’t trust Vidar, and she is so loyal to her master she’ll put up with one of the biggest idiots to ever grace a Gundam. Something is up with her.
“The sustenance of life, is on the battlefield”
I’ve long said the best things about these games is the music and its examples like this that just strengthens that point. From BACK-ON the group that did the Openings to Gundam Build Fighters and Build Fighters Try they bring their high energy sound to these games in a big way. While not your normal Gundam sound its undeniable how fun it is.