Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 17 – Gjallarhorn Confirmed For Top-Tier Troll

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I wonder if the true head of Earth and the main director of Gjallarhorn operations is a Lelouch-type figure, because what happens early in this episode is one big troll to nascent revolutionaries. You have these revolting union workers arming themselves with mobile suits, ready to take on the WDoJ (White Dick of Justice/Arianrhod), but it turns out all their weapons and systems, despite being shown the contrary, are inoperative. Thus it gives any and all WDoJ Mobile Suits suitable grounds for destroying them without hesitation. Shame we don’t have a Yazan-like madman pilot in the show (and the closest one, Kudel Kadel is dead), since he’d be kekking til he’s breathless.

What a marked change of how repressive military organizations in Gundam evolve over time. The Titans in Zeta Gundam are old school political players utilizing classic means of brutality like gassing colonies if they protest or assassinating leaders in bed. A-LAWs in Gundam 00 automatize their slaughter while using an all encompassing surveillance state to censor their intent. Gjallarhorn? LOL REVOLUTION! HAVE SUM GUNZ DAT DON’T WORK SO WHEN ITS TIME WE KILL U LOL!

It’s nice to finally get some good old kinetic energy after weeks of potential energy in this show, trading the predictable slaughter of innocents to the unpredictable nature of escape and mobile suit combat. There, the show doesn’t waste any time and within the 2nd half, Mika is piloting the Barbatos and facing off against Bauduin in the Gundam Kimaris. Like Mika’s initial fights with the Gusion, the Kimaris provides for another radical difference in fighting style. Despite it being equipped with bladed weapons and kinda bulky in its own way, the Kimaris is a speedy little shit that gives Mika a bit of a welcome challenge. Coupled with Mika’s attempt to safely get the formerly Dortside Tekkadan to the Isaribi, never mind the great debuts of Akihiro’s Gundam Gusion Rebake and Shino’s ‘Ryusei-go’ (their Graze Kai recoloured), make this battle a great cap off to this arc and an end to Tekkadan’s observer status.

On the story side, the episode thankfully keeps Kudelia’s melancholy over the death of Fumitan to a bare minimum. Before the first half is over, she augments her worldview to include the colonies alongside Mars in her fight to justice. It isn’t until the last bit does she make her declaration to the world, but the little moments before the big battle make sure to impress upon us big change without sacrificing pacing at this juncture of the story. Kudelia asks the media people (seen last episode) sucked into their web of intrigue to brief her on the plight of the colonies, mirroring when she asked Fumitan about Mars, and there are Mika’s facial and verbal cues when he sees Kudelia’s resolve. The small moment when he realizes he feels ‘frustrated’ goes a long way in showing how far he has come to his opinions of Kudelia since he refused to shake her hand in the first episode. Doesn’t feel like love blossoming on the battlefield yet, but maybe another plateau of respect is finally reached. We’ve also yet to see the full speech Kudelia makes at episode’s end and by extension Mika’s reaction after all, so judgment must be reserved until that part.

Anyway, from the look of the next episode preview, the speech probably did enough to convince the WDoJ to avoid any further conflict. So for all intents and purposes, we’ll be having a breather episode. Dunno if there’ll be any death flags, never mind what further machinations Nobliss, Gjallarhorn, and Teiwaz have, but I do know the gap between Tekkadan and Earth has shortened. Here’s to hoping whatever’s addressed next episode will lead into an inevitable atmosphere battle the week after.

Iron-Blooded Notes:

  • Again, the show does exceptionally well in handling its backstory exposition. Like in Episode 4, Kamen Maccy and Galli Galli (Mika, and I’s, new nickname for Bauduin) note without a break of pacing how the Gundam Frames originate from Earth and Gjallarhorn, never mind the Kimaris is a Bauduin heirloom. Great to see this happen again.
  • Alterations to the OP once again. The major parts are: Kudelia’s empty hand the past eps has Fumitan’s pendant in them now; Merribit now takes Fumitan’s place as Mika launches; and Barbatos is now flanked by the Ryusei-Go and the Gusion Rebake after said launch.