Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 3 – War in the Pocketbook

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I never realized how much I needed this kind of scene in a Gundam series. Around the midway point of the episode, a small cadre of our heroes is busy crunching numbers of any and all remaining assets after their… corporate takeover. What was initially a good, pleasant; number dwindles to a pittance after factoring in expenses like severance pay, maintenance, and supplies. In a franchise where protagonists are always backed by some well-moneyed source (be it businessmen, military, or weird scientist guy), I never would expect this kind of scene to ever be shown. Granted I’m not sure if it will come up again during the series run (thanks to Kudelia), but the thought of including it is quite appreciated.

Uninterested to thrust the newly christened Tekkadan (“Iron Flower” according to Orga), into another quick orgy of robot-on-robot violence, the show instead focuses solely upon the Third Group’s in-house cleaning. Orga finally moves upon his ambition (with that kind of sharp look on his face, I wonder why he stuck with CGS for so long), takes over the company, and has Mika personally execute the head of the First Corps as punishment for the deaths of his and Orga’s comrades. It will be interesting in the near future when members of the Third Group (and I’m sure there will be) go against Orga. Will he be as ruthless as he was to the First Corps, or will his camaraderie make him a tad bit more merciful?

In the middle of this all is of course Mika, who continues to be riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an igneous enigma. He follows Orga without question and will kill anybody he says to kill, but he without much hesitation can interact with others, including enemies, and express convictions with what appears to be the utmost sincerity. Is he truly an unthinking follower? Or is he more like Brandon Heat from Gungrave? Like Orga discussed with Kudelia during the battle between Mika and Crank, the boy is full of contradictions and that’s what makes him strong. I could’ve sworn I heard that before with Ryuko and Ange. How long is this “Humans are contradictory that’s what makes us awesome” theme gonna be a thing by the way?

Also let’s talk about the dynamic between Mika and Kudelia, for I’ve never seen this kind of ‘relationship’. Usually when a Gundam boy meets a Gundam girl, the latter is almost ALWAYS the one that greatly affects the former: Relena helped Heero regain his humanity; Lacus validated Kira’s uncertainty to fight nevermind tell off Athrun when he’s being dumb; and Marina was there to show Setsuna of the different paths toward the same ideal of peace, to name a few. Instead, Kudelia is the one seeing inspiration in Mika, and wants to emulate his iron resolve, even going so far as to openly wish getting the same operation Mika went through. This is a fascinating development, and I want to see more of it and how each learns from one another.

Iron-Blooded Notes:

  • Mari Okada must be taking cues from Gundam Build Fighters when it comes to how she writes some of the younger female characters. They’re all sweethearts. I never had to worry about China dying violently in the original Build Fighters, but now I’m scared for Atra, Cookie, and Cracker. It’s made even worse after finding out next week’s episode title: “The Price of Life”.
  • Also, guess the guys are allowed to also say the episode preview. Like Cross Ange, they’re pretty light-hearted (although unlike that, IBO isn’t so over-the-top), and given the subject material, it’s VERY welcome. It was also kindof cute to see Kudelia get flustered during the dinner sequence.
  • I’ve a feeling Kudelia just named dropped the cool-hat guy in the OP.
  • Curious how much an impact Crank’ll have on Mika after that conversation he had with him.