Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans – 18

Gundam Orphans - 18 -31 Gundam Orphans - 18 -18 Gundam Orphans - 18 -6

What a puddle of contradictions is Iron-Blooded Orphans.

Gundam Orphans - 18 -1If ever there was an episode that showed off both sides of Tekketsu no Orphans, it would be this one – and this is a show that makes a habit of drawing you in with one hand and pushing you away with the other.  It does some things very well, but comes off as almost shockingly clumsy at times.  And I think the question is now begging to be asked – has there ever been another show that’s fumbled pretty much every major emotional payoff for this long and still been engaging to watch?

Gundam Orphans - 18 -2At this point it’s really the politics of the situation that’s keeping me invested in Orphans, because the character stuff just isn’t working for me.  While it was the final scene of the episode I think the climax needs to be discussed first, because it really stands out as a weak moment in an otherwise fairly strong week.  There was such a push-button quality to the emotions there  – frankly I would expect more, given the talent level involved in this series.  Characters that cry on cue are not the way to try and get an audience to do the same.

Gundam Orphans - 18 -3I am glad Kudelia has finally become an active participant in the story, don’t get me wrong.  But it just took too long for it to really have a lot of weight behind its emotional punch now.  What does it say about her, frankly, that she was not just passive but blind to the reality of the situation for so long, and it was only when a situation which hurt her feelings personally occurred that she woke up and lumbered into action?  Kudos to Kudelia for getting with the program, but if the lesson is that everyone’s lives matter – and not just those of our loves ones – then she’s a poor exemplar of that lesson.

Gundam Orphans - 18 -4Fortunately we still have one of the more interesting political scenarios (with a couple of new players) in the recent Gundam catalog playing itself out.  Fareed remains a fascinating puzzle, even if Occam’s Razor did apply all along to his motivations – assuming he’s being truthful with Tekkadan (and I suspect he is – more or less – now that sharp-eyed Mika saw through his impenetrable disguise) his aim all along has been to take down Gjallarhorn and remake it in his own image.  I like the fact that Gjallarhorn is not an Empire-like monolith with one face and purpose, but a huge and unwieldy organization that contains many competing imperatives within its umbrella.

Gundam Orphans - 18 -5McGillis and Tekkadan have overlapping interests for now, and for once it’s Tekkadan who knows something Naze does not rather than the other way around.  The course of the first 18 episodes suggests that Tekketsu no Orphans is not going to follow a path of blind idealism as this intrigue unravels over the final 7 – I certainly hope that’s the case.  One could interpret this series as first and foremost a story of the education of the Tekkadan boys in the practical ways of the world (I think it’s most interesting when viewed in that light) and Fareed certainly represents a valuable potential teacher.



  1. g

    I’m interested in a politics side of the show the most too. Frankly, I think McGillis is most intriguing character in the whole series and I’m interested in him the most. So, I’m glad he’ll have more prominent presence for now. I cringed little at the last scene, I know fandom is crazy about “Mika’s harem” but it was so awkward and unnatural.

    I don’t know if they aimed for funny, I doubt it but I laughed little when Mika casually strolled to the group and recognised instantly mysterious masked man by his voice and was like: “Oh, the chocolate man… What are you doing here?” and the rest was dumbfounded.

  2. No question that was the funniest moment of the episode.

  3. A

    Another sleeper episode again…
    I believe next time sunrise will make better Gundam anime than this one. IBO is a total sleeper

  4. Clearly we need more shirtless men bonding.

  5. I’m not sure that’s mathematically possible.

  6. C

    Did Mika seriously have to state three times “Wow Kudelia, you’re so amazing”? Really? Kudelia’s such a static character and it feels like I’m getting beat over the head with all the praise she gets when all she’s been doing is moping and feeling useless. Which she did do once again even after her only moment of decisive action.

    The last scene felt very forced. I cannot believe how this show fails at delivering those big emotional moments, when something like Grimgar is doing them pretty well by its 5th episode. It’s not just the tone and delivery, it’s also the animation, the body language of Grimgar’s final scene, compare that to what we have here and that sums up Gundam IBO very accurately.

  7. D

    Cringeworthy dialogue and forced drama are all you would expect from such a manipulative writer as Okada. I was surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

    Apart from that I also like how politics are displayed in this show. When you see the big picture, the series has done a good job by telling how Tekkadan, who started as some sort of refuge for space orphans, is now dragged into a mess of political warfare that are way over their head. I’m also curious (and worried) to know how it will bring closure to all of this in the remaining time.

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