Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 18 – Conspirators’ Medley

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As I predicted last time, Kudelia’s speech was effective enough to halt the WDoJ/Arianrhod’s impending assault. Mika’s reaction was also shown, and while still maintaining his usual stoic self, continues to be impressed by Kudelia’s resolve.

I was initially wary of this episode thanks to Daisuki’s rather unpromising preview synopsis:

“Tekkadan's members attempt to leave the colonies behind and descend to Earth at last, but they miss their chance due to one last item of business in the colonies. They are contacted by someone who claims to be their supporter.” (emphasis mine)

I was gonna write this episode off since it sounded like, they’re going BACK to the colonies after that. Thankfully that wasn’t the case at all.

Instead what is given to the audience is one of the better (if not best) downtime episodes in the series. This is because it takes the time to get around to covering moments from a good amount of everybody, old and new. The result is a more nuanced set of characters inhabiting this strange world. The highlight of the supporting characters belongs to the Gjallarhorn boys, with Galli-Galli and Ein having a great moment together. Ein’s pretty beat up after taking the brunt of an attack meant for Galli-Galli, and thus causes him to open up his hard knock half-breed life what with his mom being Martian and his dad being Terran. Eventually it spirals into a surprise appearance through flashback by Crank, and how his time with him changed his view of himself. Tragic that Crank’s aversion to killing kids does not factor into what Ein learned from him, but hey, pobody’s nerfect. Galli-Galli’s reactions are also a pleasant surprise, since it helps to bolster his already nuanced view of Martians. In essence, he doesn’t like them enough to let them be independent, but likes them enough to get upset when he almost runs over two young girls and be copacetic with coworkers.

We also get some introductions as well, to another armed wing of the Earth Sphere: the mouthful that is the Outer Earth Orbit Regulatory Joint Fleet. That weird geisha lady seen in the opening is the leader of such a group, and fortunately she looks to be quite the eccentric. With the way she talks about proving her worth to the fuddy-duddy Seven Stars, never mind talks about how riled up for action her forces are, she looks to be a welcome addition to the cast as well as a breath of fresh air when it comes to the types of women in the show. Then there are the heads of state of the various Earth blocs, who have their own machinations in light of Kudelia’s speech. Since they’ve just been introduced it is hard to say where they will stand in the end, never mind what they’ll do, but it’s nice to see.

The highlight though when it comes to character development is Mika, who unexpectedly shines this episode. It is not merely just his verbal admissions of how Kudelia impresses him, but things like seeing COMPLETELY THROUGH Kamen Maccy’s disguise. That’s another great moment showing how despite his strange emotional maladjustment, Mika can perceive in ways where we wish the other characters did. Kamen Maccy, thankfully I think, doesn’t try to deny it and openly admits his machinations to reform Gjallarhorn to not just Mika but Orga and Biscuit as well. Given Mika’s demeanour he also was able to divine that despite this new revelation, he, along with the rest of us, doesn’t know what Kamen Maccy is planning. So instead of running the course of some overreaction to this big personal bombshell, it could be safe to say Orga and Biscuit defer to Mika’s judgment on the matter, and not make a fuss about it.

Then there’s the final, long-needed, scene where Kudelia breaks into tears after those last few stressful episodes, right after Atra and Mika wax their own admiration of her. It is not enough that Mika, after some very direct orders from Atra to comfort Kudelia, makes the scene, it is what happens after Atra begins to cry as well. Despite her desire to see Kudelia feel better, Mika unreservedly brings her into the hug and comforts both of them as they let out all their frustration and sadness. It’s just a goddamn shame that this episode-making moment doesn’t have the full shot of the three once the girls start the waterworks. But then again that’s what fanart is for, I guess.

That and of course, to quote a dimwit, hugs are nice.

Iron-Blooded Notes:

  • The moments after the hug where all of Tekkadan mourn the loss of Fumitan are perfect, and the ED helps immensely with that.
  • Yay, atmospheric battle next episode!