Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 42 of
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (TV 2) ?
We're wrapping up all those loose ends this week on Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans and setting up for something brand new. As Tekkadan wraps up the Jasley and Iok situation on its own terms, the narrator tells us that the organization is well on its way “down the road to that fateful day.” All right, who's dying now? It's about to get real, but for now, I'm savoring this episode's well-deserved reckoning and precise battle choreography.
In a way, Jasley's plan worked perfectly. If you kill their friend, Tekkadan is absolutely going to come after you. Plus, Jasley's troops completely outnumber Tekkadan's. The problem is that while Jasley has numbers, Tekkadan has Gundams—three of them! If you've seen any Gundam before, you know that even one of these is enough to destroy a small army on its own. Add that to how Mikazuki has never actually lost a fight, and you know where this is going.
The Barbatos Lupus Rex is fantastic in action. Form follows function; the talons don't just look neat, but also grip and crush enemy suits. The tail looks familiar, as if they ripped it off the Mobile Armor and attached it, form intact, to the Rex. It's amazing to watch Mikazuki use it. There haven't been any major updates to the Gusion Rebake Full City, but I'm still impressed with how Akihiro uses those four arms and pliers in perfect synchronicity. Combined with a third Gundam, Shino's Flauros, Jasley doesn't have a snowball's chance.
The missing piece in Jasley's plan was Iok. Iok can be used, and Jasley took full advantage of that, but what Jasley didn't consider was how other people use Iok for their own ends too, and some of those people have a lot more sway over Iok than Jasley does. Jasley may have Iok in his pocket, but McMurdo has Iok's number one guy, Rustal, under his thumb. How satisfying was it to realize that McMurdo had entirely anticipated Jasley's dumb plan?
Less satisfying, however, was Jasley's death itself. Visually, it was perfect, as Orga's tough talk combined with Mikazuki's actions when Lupus Rex landed in front of the bridge to deal the finishing blow. But afterward, there was a sense of emptiness. Jasley is gone and good riddance, but it didn't bring back Naze or the Turbines. In fact, Tekkadan is even lonelier than before, with Orga having smashed his cup and disconnected from Teiwaz. And for what? All to join up with McGillis, a man of questionable loyalty at the best of times, in order to upset Gjallarhorn even more and possibly claim the ever-more-unlikely spoil, that title of King of Mars.
Merribit and Kudelia's discussion frames the story—they begin this week watching the shocking Gjallarhorn speech that actually happens near the end of the episode. Both of these women have family at Tekkadan, family they stand to lose as the organization shifts their allegiances to chase after a brand new pipe dream. Have the orphans made the right decision in allying with McGillis? Next week's preview indicates a backstory-heavy episode that just might bring some of McGillis's cryptic motivations to light. This week illustrated an all-encompassing, beautifully coordinated, and ultimately empty victory. Tekkadan's members are admirably loyal and strong, but they're still just kids. This emerging storyline sets up an uneasy path forward for them, but it hasn't given me the confidence that this is the right way ahead. It's a breathtaking story that I feel compelled to watch even when it hurts.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is available streaming at Daisuki.net.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist
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