Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Episode 33

by Lauren Orsini,

How would you rate episode 33 of
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (TV 2) ?

It's good to be king, but not everybody is fit to rule. This episode of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans was a veritable game of thrones as the plot centered around who is and isn't suited to the role. While this old-school Gundam fan is warming up to a series that has far fewer mecha battles than its predecessors, I'm preferential to character-building episodes over world-building ones. As usual, the characters shine brighter than any other aspect, but there's still too much complex politicking in this episode for my tastes.

In the first scenes of this episode, a few things become clear about McGillis Fareed. This guy wasn't born yesterday, as indicated by his astute read on Rustal, who is far more competent at covering up his tracks (and eliminating evidence of Galan's entire existence) than he is at concealing his hunger for power in a barely restrained Gjallarhorn meeting. In addition, the circumstances of McGillis's birth were not what they seemed. While it was assumed that he was Fareed's illegitimate child, this episode included some idle Gjallarhorn chatter about him not being related to Fareed at all. This seems initially like a throwaway moment, but I suspect it's going to become severely relevant later on. McGillis can't be trusted because we simply don't know his motives. So when he offers a proposed sovereignty of Mars to Tekkadan, forgive me if I'm skeptical. First of all, Orga isn't the greatest judge of character, as indicated by his unflinching loyalty to the ruthless likes of Naze Turbine and Mikazuki. I like Naze and Mika, because their motivations are clear, but I don't trust McGillis at all.

Just look at Takaki. He trusted in Tekkadan so deeply that he was unable to sniff out a traitor in their midst. His loyalty toward Orga and the others came at the expense of his common sense, and he suffered greatly for it. That's what Kudelia's gentle pep talk to Takaki is all about; as he becomes more experienced and self-informed, he won't need to rely purely on orders in order to make the right choices. I don't think Takaki is stupid, simply green and optimistic, but unfortunately recent circumstances have knocked that out of him in the worst way. Each scene with Takaki and Fuka was like a dagger to the heart, making me want to look away and forget the uncomfortable truth that Aston is dead and he's left this makeshift family behind him. So when Takaki quits Tekkadan, it feels like the right decision. Mikazuki's insistence that Tekkadan is no longer Takaki's family is deceptively kind—now Takaki can focus on his sister here on Earth, and he can release the weight of the Earth Branch's lives from his own shoulders.

Takaki knows he's not prepared to bear the burden of ruling Mars, but the rest of Tekkadan seems to be on board. Still, they already realize that aligning with McGillis means a confrontation with Rustal is getting closer and closer. What they don't realize is that Gaelio is about to show up like a ghost from McGillis's past and violently rock their world. This is one of those “chess piece” episodes people talk about, where the pawns are lining up on the board and we know there's something going on behind the scenes, but I'd rather focus on the people in front of me—like Lafter and Akihiro

I've definitely been reading the cues these past few episodes—their increased time spent together, Lafter's eyes on Akihiro's nude torso as he deadlifts—but Lafter's attraction at least became official today, when she blushed and asked Azee not to tell Naze about it. I do love a good romance, but in a show like Iron-Blooded Orphans, anything from friendship (RIP Aston) to love can signal impending doom. A political windstorm is whirling, and while I don't care about the shifting balance of power, this show has absolutely made me care about what happens to these precious characters.

Rating: B+

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is available streaming at Daisuki.net.

Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist


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