Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 15 – 鉄血のアトラ

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Predictably, Biscuit and his brother do not have a happy reunion. As per usual with the show, the complexities of the world continue to seep into everything, as Savarin’s motivations are driven by said complexities. Unions want a revolution, Tekkadan is unsure of that, and Savarin (who is more than likely a part of the upper crust) definitely does not want an uprising. Now after the primer that was last episode, it’s becoming a bit more of a convergence since everyone’s in the know and finally on the move. Thankfully this episode doesn’t allow them to waffle and gets the lot of Tekkadan to reunite by episode’s end but not without many great revelations inbetween.

Because of said complexities, Savarin captures Biscuit and Atra for interrogation towards the hopeful capture of Kudelia Aina Bernstein. Atra, being Atra, decides to be the spiritual big sis (and future big sis wife?) to defend Kudelia by admitting she is her. Shockingly, she gets a brutal beat down by Gjallarhorn so they can extort any and all information from her, never breaking from the physical torture. I expect people in a Gundam show to get slapped at least once, or die in a horrific mobile suit explosion, but physical torture seen during an episode? This is a first. Even so, being the first does not mean much if it does not yield something good, and boy does it yield a lot of good.

First off, if you’re not won over by Atra being the best character in the show, heal thyself. Her chipper determination to defend Kudelia to the point where she’s pummeled by grown men gains major respect points in my book. She may not be a scrapper like the Tekkadan boys, but when she needs to step up; she’ll gladly sacrifice her security if it means protecting anybody, including her rival for Mika’s affections, and still be smiling that pure smile. How does Kudelia compete with that? How does ANY Gundam female character compete with that? Right now, they can’t. The only competition that exists is for Best Atra and it’s between Atra, Based Atra (her in this episode), and Fucking Adorable Atra (every episode). It is satisfying that someone rather who just seemed to be some cute shopkeeper girl introduced in this way could turn to something wonderful. The second part of the goodness is it allows Mika to shine a bit after his small moment in reading into Fumitan’s uncertainty. He not only rescues Biscuit and Atra pretty quickly, but almost goes into Berserker mode after he sees what they did to Atra. Yay for caring.

Not so much yay can be given though for Kudelia and Fumitan. No, it’s not because they did anything that would hamper their characters, but because Fumitan finally reveals her true purpose to Kudelia and runs off, possibly to fix that niggling issue of having Kudelia assassinated. This is all seen through the eyes of our new Masked Man, who’s just Maccy in a Mask. It can’t be anybody else, since those Makishima tones when put in a suit, golden mask, and goofy purple wig. It’s hard to say how effective (or even good) this masquerade is in the long run, but at least it got everything started with Fumitan’s inevitable redemption arc and demise (that next episode title being just her name’s gonna clinch it). It does surprise me though, I thought Kamen Maccy would be the one to kill Kudelia, and I thought Fumitan would betray Tekkadan through killing Orga and putting Mika through some Simon-esque arc. Glad to be proven wrong.

Just not glad I have to wait until next week to see how the revolution will work out for them. Oh well, at least best character is safe.

Iron-Blooded Notes:

  • REALLY enjoying how this series doesn’t feel pressured to cut immediately to the visuals of the ED once the song starts. It’s nice to see all those events unfold as the credits roll. May have already said this before, but REALLY worth saying it again after this episode.
  • If the box of its 1/144 HG Gunpla is not enough of an indicator, the Gundam Kimaris is Bauduin’s new Mobile Suit. How they came across it, I’d like to know though. It just appeared in this episode. Ein does get Bauduin’s Schwalbe though.
  • That small moment Bauduin had with the captain of the Gjallarhorn ship is also insightful. While an enforcement unit, Gjallarhorn isn’t filled with so much hardasses but guys who just want to do their jobs and not get into any trouble. The captain lamenting how he’s missing his daughter’s birthday shows is both amusing and insightful. You’d NEVER hear anything about family life from the A-LAWs or the Titans. This evokes some of the better moments of the original Gundam, where there are enemies on the other side who just do their job and have other ambitions and things to go back to after the war.