Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans – 23

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That was every bit as bleak as I expected it to be.

We seem to be headed towards a downbeat finish in Tekketsu no Orphans, with Biscuit’s death having sent the series down a dark path indeed.  Truthfully this was probably going to happen all along, because it’s clear that Orga was in way over his head, and he basically had two types of so-called allies – those who cared about Tekkadan’s interests but were basically incompetent (Kudelia) and those who were competent but basically intent on using Tekkadan for their own gains (everybody else).

I’m not buying this miracle transformation of the preposterous Carta Issue into a sympathetic character, but she dd serve as a useful vehicle to show just how fucked up Mika is (I was going to say “has become”, but I honestly don’t think Biscuit’s death changed him that much) and how far astray the rest of Tekkadan has veered.  The Iron-blooded orphans really are a band of lost boys now, in more ways than one.

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One interesting takeaway from the flashback sequence – even if it failed to generate much sympathy for Carta – was that there is a measure of personal loyalty in McGillis Fareed.  Yes he’s using his childhood friends to serve his larger goals, but he does feel some sense of connection to them, even gratitude.  Clearly McGillis played the outsider role as a child, someone looked down upon by the other highborn children.  And that drove him to become the insurgent he is now, and those two were his lone allies in those days.  Still, this seems more along the lines of guilt feelings than any real hesitation – Freed’s eyes are still very much on the prize, whatever the cost.

With the Tekkadan it’s really become all about revenge (the same thing that’s driving Ein and Carta, of course), which effectively makes them no better than anyone else in this story.  And in pushing forward into a situation where he’s going to use the younger children in combat, Orga is validating every argument Biscuit made against his plans – an irony that’s most certainly not unintentional.  Again, all this was probably inevitable but it’s still rather sad to see things descend so deep so quickly.

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Carta’s issue of a challenge to Tekkadan comes off as pretty silly, but it’s still a striking moment when Mika responds by ambushing her royal guard and massacring them in cold blood. The challenge might be silly and Carta has no right to expect a temporary truce, and this is war (and not one that Tekkadan started) but still, I do sort of agree with Meribitt that what Mika does here just feels wrong.  And that just because boys too young to understand the decision they’re making say they want to fight and die that mans you should let them do it.  Ultimately, the responsibility for their deaths – and all the tragedies about to befall Tekkadan – rests on Orga’s shoulders.  He may be too young himself to have taken this role, but take it he dd – and he has to live with the fruits of his actions.  It’s not going to be pretty, that’s pretty much a lock.

 

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8 comments

  1. I’m kind of curious whether you like the show more now that its taken the form of a full fledged tragedy…

    So far the series has been a little directionless for me, it feels like Fareed Mcgillis is the character with the most depth as we’ve seen different sides of him as opposed to any of boys. But I’ve at least managed to get quite a bit of enjoyment from each episode, so there’s at least something that makes it worth watching.

  2. I don’t ever really seem to like Orphans more or less, because it never stays on a good or bad run long enough to develop a consistent change of opinion. I like it more when it’s good, less than it’s bad.

  3. Z

    I don’t think you’re ever really old enough to go to war or to make decisions about dying or not dying for a cause (be that revenge or something more noble). These kids have quite literally spent there entire lives at war and to say they don’t understand the decision is a little bit unfair. They’ve seen their friends die before and taken life in turn. Its not so much a matter of maturity or age but experience and they have experienced a lot.

    As for Mika’s actions, there is of course a very visceral reaction to seeing a real-life reaction to the posturing that is usually promoted in anime and story. In my mind, it was a very deliberate reminder of just how silly “honorable combat” is portrayed. Mika is a true soldier, practical, dedicated, and intelligent. He knows better than most that only the living can decide the future and the combat isn’t noble no matter how much we may want to believe it so. Its just necessary to achieve your ideal and the faster and more brutal the method you do it, the faster its over.

  4. Sorry to nitpick, but they haven’t spent their entire lives at war. War only came to them when the events of the series began – before that they were basically Oliver Twist. Which I guess means they’e now Fagin’s gang (which makes who Fagin, exactly?).

  5. Z

    My impression from the first episode, was that these kids were basically owned by a mercenary company, farmed out to the highest bidder. (the name that proceeded Tekkadan escapes me). While the young kids themselves may have never pulled the trigger, I imagine that they have definitely been witness to the effects that it had on those that went before them. In the first couple episodes they really seemed to think nothing of strapping up the mechs and sending the older boys into combat and the cleaning the detritus off when they returned.

  6. C

    It’s interesting how our own prejudices towards violence shape our reactions to shows like this. For my part, I view Mika’s actions as refreshingly efficient. Anyone who’s been in a real fight, one where the intent is to truly harm one another, knows there is no such thing as cheating.

    We also tend to forget, due to their age and our predjudices therein, that these boys were slave soldiers long before the show started, and have attitudes to match. The thrust of this show is them CHOOSING to fight and die for what they believe in, instead of being forced to. Orga’s decision to harden their resolve through their grief and anger, is honestly the best choice. No mercy will be shown to them because they are kids, for they are abhorations in the eyes of earthlings.

    The shitty governmental system that allowed children to become indentured soldiers in the first place is to blame, not Orga. That same system has marked them all for death since episode one. If they choose to leave the pmc life behind, what skills do they have to earn a living with? Do they go back to being slaves of a different flavor? Sold back into another pmc?

  7. J

    It might be worth mentioning that the twin strike of not-Jerid becoming a full-on not-Gyunei (or should that be not-Darryl?) and having to rescue Carta from a meal rich in iron have probably opened Gaileo’s eyes to McGillis’ true nature, if not his full intentions. I don’t think those tears were shed just for Carta’s sorry state – at this point it should be clear to Gaileo that Fareed is using both of them despite (and perhaps because of) his professions of loyalty. Whether this is resolved in the next two episodes or left to linger for the next season is another matter because I imagine the elections need to be played out before this season ends, but I think we’re past the point of no return for both Tekkadan and Gjallarhorn now.

  8. C

    Well, I applaud that Mika has been very consistent considering what he is. A fucked up child soldier is obviously going to do fucked up things. Yet what he did is not really that messed up, just extremely practical and efficient. They are one group of uneducated teenagers and children against the entire world’s police force. There is no need nor any time for these kinds of formalities and niceties.

    A shame that such an MC is wasted on IBO. We really could have benefited from the likes of him in other Gundam series.

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