Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans – 08

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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.

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  1. E

    I liked how Orga was portrayed as vulnerable for a little while, takes a little bit out of that overpowered tactician feeling. Seeing as the series doesn't exactly have a main villain yet, I'm more than curious what direction is going to go in…

  2. I

    So, I'm not the only one who's still a bit cautious of this whole Teiwez angle, and I'm not the only one who doesn't show "awesome" at the fact that Naze has a harem. I'm actually still uncomfortable with it, but I like that the show didn't dwell on or exploit it like I thought it would.

    And actually it was the idea of family and Mika and Orga's characters that really interested me here. Mika and Orga's relationship continues to be unveiled as we see how Mika feels like he's failed Orga and seems to actually have issues with abandonment and that if he's not at his best, then Orga will "ditch" him. Orga in turn feels that he must be at his best for not only Mika, but all of Tekkadan, and it weighing heavily on these two kids. Both are orphans and have been for a pretty long time, and many of the feelings they have stem from that. Orga has been so unused to the idea of a family, that he doesn't even know that's what he's describing when he's talking to Naze.

    I too am a little suspicious about what will happen next with the space mafia. Sure it could be a good thing, but the mafia almost always carries a heavy price when dealing with them. Also, I don't trust a guy with a mustache like that one.

  3. P

    Death flags are being firmly planted, I see…

  4. F

    Naze is living the dream.

  5. R

    I really like this episode's cheeky sense of humor. It's as if they're saying to the audience "Yeah, yeah. We know what you are thinking". And that's not just about our man Naze's harem. They even took a potshot at some viewers' notion of "gayness" in Tekkadan's all-boys setup.

    It's also nice to see a different side of Orga's character when he pretty much buckled down like a kid that he still is for once. Naze really threw in a sensible advise to him. Also, Mika's own insecurities is interesting in that it really breaks him out of the "aloof pilot"character mold.

  6. D

    The interaction between Tekkadan's pilots and Turbines's was rather disappointing. They were fighting to death last week and now they act like comrades, they missed something on the way. A good part of the epiode was more exposition about things we already know (Eugene asking again why Kudelia is important, I thought he was the smart guy of the group) and the animation as a whole was pretty lackluster.

    Less banter and more plot would be appreciated from now on, Sunrise.

  7. R

    The interaction between Tekkadan's pilots and Turbines's was rather disappointing. They were fighting to death last week and now they act like comrades, they missed something on the way.

    Uhhh, maybe because, unlike the battles with Gjallarhorn, there were no genuine intention to kill on both sides? I don't know what you missed, but Naze was clearly shown to be interested with Tekkadan right from the get go and was merely testing them, which was evident from the "boring" way he finally meets the boarding party (and that hilarious blink-and-you-miss scene where the bridge crew were bored and yawning while Orga was about to confront Maruba).

    For Orga's part, he knows all too well that casualties will do them more harm than good. Hence that tactic of using flammable gas to prevent any firefights. He also stopped Mika from attacking Lafter further in the nick of time. Had the kid's killer instincts kicked in, that would have failed the plan big time.

    In short, it was all in the day's work for both parties. Hence it was a lot easier for them to get along with each other after the deal was struck.

  8. C

    Yes, the parallels between Tekkadan and Turbine are interesting. It's safe to assume to that these are women who would have turned out as prostitutes, dancers, strippers, and other unsavory jobs, but managed to find a way to have proper labor and safety in a communal environment. Yes, they still sleep with the guy but he seems to be nice enough and better that than starving on the streets, just as the Tekkadan boys are free, have a good, responsible leader but still have to kill people sometimes.

    I do enjoy that both Mika and Orga, being orphans and all, suffer from abandonment issues and both think the other will ditch them if they're no longer useful. It makes me feel sad : (

  9. K

    I am with you with this line of thinking. I am surprised ppl have such an issue with Naze and his crew. This show is about a number of realities in life – orphans, wars, fight for survival anyway you can, kid soldiers – and we get upset about a harem? It reminds of how we react when ppl are dying every day for stupid reasons but don't bat an eye but will get up in arms if a cat is mistreated.

  10. C

    Yes, exactly. There is a way to tackle unpopular real-life traditions without coming off as excessive moralizing, and I think IBO did it spectacularly. I honestly still can't believe it happened, it feels like I'm dreaming. An actual harem that makes sense without all the wink wink, nudge nudge dancing around the issue bullshit? Unbelievable.

  11. J

    The most apt thing I can add is that I'd rather see something I don't like done well than something I do like done badly. This was definitely the former, although the babies on the ship seemed a tad out of touch (even accounting for new mothers wanting to stay with their children). This is probably the Gundam fanboy in me talking, but I automatically assumed the Turbine ladies would have escaped a life of prostitution, and we know Gundam has a history there. Maybe it's to come, but whatever the explanation is I have hope that it will be handled as well as this.

  12. R

    I'm guessing that the nursery is on Naze's ship mainly because some of the babies were born there. Amida hinted that they do "it" aboard, and considering the distances the ships travel (Mars to Earth alone is five months), it would actually be more reasonable for the people on the ship to take care of the babies instead of having to return to base to let mother and child alight.

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