The feels were running pretty hot and heavy in this week’s episode of Tekketsu no Orphans, which still has all the earmarks of a story setting up for some major tragedy but has yet to really bring the hammer down. The first requirement for any tragedy to work dramatically is a sense of consequence, and the series has done a pretty darn good job of establishing that. Now it’s really just a question, I think, of seeing what form the tragedy will take.
Remarkably, Takaki seems to have dodged the veritable forest of death flags he set waving with last week’s episode (up to and including the fact that he didn’t appear in the preview) but it was a near thing. The attackers who put he and Akahiro in peril were another band of pirates called the Brewers, but the first point here is that their shock troops are yet another band of little boy soldiers with Ālaya-Vijñāna implants forced to work for the benefit of greedy adults. There’s another salient point about these pirates, but we won’t learn it until late in the episode.
It’s certainly convenient for plot’s sake that one of the attacking pilots is none other than Akihiro’s little brother, Masahiro (Yamashita Seiichirou) – and not only that, he’s the one who grabs the wounded Takaki as a hostage. It’s at this point all hell pretty much breaks loose, with the arrival of the boys’ leader Kudal Cadel (a pleasantly unhinged Fujita Yoshinori) and the fighting femmes from the Hammerhead. It’s hard to see things between the brothers ending well, for now everyone limps back to their corner intact – though Masahiro has to endure a brutal beating from Kudal for his perceived failures on the battlefield.
Back on the Hammerhead there are lots of self-recriminations going around. Stapleton manages to save Takaki, which only makes Kudelia feel more useless. Kudelia is becoming a bit of a problem in that while her existence is a huge story driver, she herself isn’t doing much to drive anything. I think it’s high time for her to stop saying she can’t do anything and do- well, anything. Orga takes Stapleton’s critique that sailing without a ship’s doctor is a failure as a leader to heart, but he frankly should because he’s 100% right – even back to the days when naval warfare was conducted on sailing ships a doctor on board was a must.
It’s as this point that McGillis and Gaelio reenter the story, as usual Fareed makes this more interesting with his presence. The interactions with Gaelio’s sister (his fiancee) are throwaway, but Fareed reveals that he was behind the pirate attack on the Hammerhead – and to some extent, why. I still don’t see him as a force for evil in this series, or at least not simply that – he seems to have a genuine interest in returning Gjallarhorn to its days as a respected peacekeeper (his father is played by the great Hayami Shou, and seems to be part of the problem of corruption plaguing it) , and a delicate touch with how he handles his political and military affairs. Kudelia is, of course, crucial to Fareed’s plans – in this sense like the human debris she’s joined her fate to in being a tool used by others to pursue their own ends, and one that longs to be more than that.