He’s not exactly Craster, but that doesn’t mean Naze Turbine is a swell guy.
Once again Tekketsu no Orphans turned on a dime, ditching last week’s action-driven style for a dialogue-heavy episode full of emotion. Once you get past the whiplash I rather like that this series has the ability to do that, and given the pedigree of the staff it’s no surprise that it’s rather good at this sort of interior work. There were a few times where the writing laid on the treacle a little thick (especially towards the end of the episode) but for the most part it felt like a pretty honest ep that added meaningfully to the character side of the story.
Mind you, there were some very unusual and some might even say daring turns here. The theme of the episode was most certainly family (in Tekkadan’s case that’s been the theme from the beginning) but Naze Turbine’s Hammerhead casts the concept in very different terms. I thought he might be trolling Orga at first when he told him that the entirety of the crew were “his women”, but it seems to have been the truth – at least judging by the scene in the nursery we see late in the episode.
Are we to take a ship’s captain with a self-described harem (who do all his fighting for him) as an admirable man – and that ship for a model environment? It’s not exactly what you’d call enlightened, but there’s no denying that it’s over the topic of family that Naze and Orga find some common ground. It’s also worth remembering that Turbine is effectively a mafioso, though in this context that doesn’t mean exactly the same thing that it does in our world. Naze has a scoundrel’s honor, in his way, and he’s more than smart enough to see that Orga and his boys are far more worthwhile (and useful) allies than Arkay. But he’s still not someone to be trusted (or admired).
There is a partnership formed here – partly one of convenience, and partly I think because of Turbine’s respect for Orga’s resourcefulness and commitment to his own non-traditional family. He offers to allow Orga and Bisky to make the case to McMurdo Barriston that Tekkadan be admitted to Teiwaz, and even to connect them (for a commission) with a a suitable trader to whom they can sell some of the spoils they claimed from Gjallarhorn (Mars needs money). But if Naze is a man of dubious trustworthiness, I suspect Barriston is even more so.
This is where Kudelia – and Gjallrhorn – become crucial. It seems my initial read on Gjallarhorn as a sort of more-militarized U.N. wasn’t too far off the mark – it seems they were the ones that instilled order and put an end to the Calamity War and established the current four-way political axis. But the economic alliances have grown to view Gjallarhorn as a nuisance, a yoke around their necks – and Kuedlia’s involvement as a potential way to circumvent Gjallrhorn’s authority. And while we still haven’t firmly established what all this talk of Kuedlia being “property” means, her potential value to someone like McMurdo Barriston is certainly obvious.
As things stand, Barriston’s ship Saisei (the Teiwaz home base) has hove into view, and Orga and Biscuit’s skills as negotiators are about to be put to a serious test. There’s an intriguing greyness about this entire scenario that I rather like – it’s not at all clear to me that Gjallarhorn are a force for ill in the larger scheme of hings, or that making an alliance with a group of well-dressed space pirates is the right thing for Tekkadan to do either in the moral or practical sense. But these are lessons he’s going to have to learn, part of becoming an adult – especially since, as Naze says, he has the fate of his entirely family in his hands.