Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 44 of
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (TV 2) ?
There's an air of finality about this week's episode of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. Everyone is gearing up for what they're calling the “final battle,” due to begin next week. Considering this is episode 45 out of an assumed 50 (as there were 25 episodes in the first season), the end isn't quite here yet. There's still plenty of time for new interpersonal discoveries—and this week gave us a head start on those. This was a complicated episode with certain scenes that stood out more than others. A handful of captivating, emotional scenes made the characters come to life.
McGillis should be on top of the world right now, but everything is not going according to plan. The stuff of legend doesn't exactly gel with modern politics, and while Gjallarhorn's bigwigs don't want to piss off the legendary mobile suit Bael, they don't want to side with it either. It's sort of like if Jesus showed up and wanted to join the UN or something—everyone's heard of him, but nobody quite knows how he fits into the modern balance of power. As a result, McGillis is left in a weird liminal space where he's all but excused for crimes like murder, but he's not getting any assistance either. All he's got is Tekkadan which, while a valuable ally, measures up to only half the manpower of Rustal's fleet.
But McGillis is ready to go for it, and Orga seems on board, so as a result, all of Tekkadan is automatically gung-ho about this alleged “final battle.” It's an interesting moment when Zack complains about it and then asks the mechanic not to tell Orga. “If there were more guys like you in Tekkadan, Orga might have it easier,” the mechanic replies. “Never stop thinking,” (for yourselves), but those last two words go unsaid. Tekkadan is full of loyal family members, but in that loyalty, some free will is lost. As Shino himself observes, the family's loyalty has forced Orga to put all these worries on his own shoulders and make decisions for everyone. That's why he's so fierce in that pivotal scene with McGillis, when the other man casually waves away the fact there there will be casualties, and Orga punches him in the face. Every one of those casualties is a family member to Orga, and McGillis doesn't get it. This is another incredible moment, capped with Mikazuki as an unfazed witness. It's much simpler to be Mika than Orga, never worrying if fighting is the right choice but just obeying orders.
Another one of these stand-out scenes occurs between McGillis and Almiria, his extremely young bride. Almiria is naive, and at a pampered 11 years old, why wouldn't she be? That makes it doubly impressive that she's steeled her resolve to kill her beloved “Macky.” Rather than be happy her brother is alive, she's rightfully focused on the fact that McGillis almost killed him in the first place. The creepy age-inappropriate honeymoon period is over for sure. In this scene, we almost see Almiria becoming an adult before our eyes, as she learns McGillis is not the person she thought he was. It remains to be seen whether that dramatic stunt with the knife is going to change her mind.
The episode ends on a sweet note, with Mikazuki, Atra, and Kudelia. For such a long time, it's felt like Mika is just a handsome shell for Atra and Kudelia to alternately project their own romantic fantasies onto. He's not the most emotional guy, which made it all the more touching when Atra, spurred on by a heartfelt chat with Kudelia, confessed her feelings to him and he held her, noting that he'd “just felt how precious you are to me.” He still hasn't kissed her the way he's kissed Kudelia though. This is not your traditional romance, and not just because it includes three people. I only hope they can find their happy ending or the closest Gundam equivalent to that.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is available streaming at Daisuki.net.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist
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