Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 9 – Pit Stop on the Road to Renewed Strength and Promise

No more ouzo for Orga.

To our eternal benefit the episode lingers at Saisei for the entire runtime. To our eternal detriment the episode… quite frankly it is not known yet how detrimental the plot development will be to our heroes. This is rather exciting territory for a Gundam series, as the criminal underworld in a show about giant aesthetically pleasing robots is an idea that has been flirted with but never expanded upon. Now, the show is no longer just about war as seen from the underclass, but war as seen from the underworld.

Despite being the head of a criminal empire, McMurdo Barriston is a jovial enough don. The show does enough to understand how important a figure he is, but doesn’t quite reveal how ruthless the man can be. He has been around long enough though to truly understand the gravity of Kudelia’s actions. For some reason she doesn’t ask why she was labeled as ‘property’ (maybe it’ll be a flashback?), but she gets a diplomatic earful about how her actions may cascade into war. So once again it’s another round of “Let’s spend an entire episode wondering about what I’ve done and whether or not I should go through with it but ultimately I’m going to because I must keep moving forward.”

Can we like take a break from that please, show? I know Kudelia’s in over her head with regards to this independence movement, and she has to realize what she’s fighting for and what happens if she goes down that path, but it’s nearly the halfway point of this 25 episode series. I’m not quite sure another season will be made, but all this setup is getting rather irksome. The only way it can be cured is one hell of a payoff when she finally makes her stand on Earth. This is what I’m hoping, as while I like the character... it’s getting rather old.  

Orga thankfully helps to balance that clichéd little number, as the more he grows entrenched into Teiwaz, he becomes less ‘cool’. No that doesn’t mean he becomes a lamer character, just more human and convivial, especially when things are going well for Tekkadan. All that splurging and (unfortunately) purging all feels natural, for this is the first time in life that things are working out well for him. Mika’s behavior in this episode is also surprising. Given all this talk about being brothers and family, the episode never cuts to a shot of Mika looking with suspicion and uncertainty regarding Orga becoming ‘brothers’ with the Turbines. No warning lights flash in his head regarding any potential for wrongdoing or problems from this new union. He must truly be that trusting in Orga, so much so that he won’t fall prey into usual conventions by succumbing to what can be seen as jealousy. “I thought we were family. I thought I was Orga’s brother.” Is the thought I thought would cross Mika’s mind.

Anyway, as was said, earlier, it is not known yet how detrimental this plot development will be. This is the first episode of the show that has left me rather cold. Everything looks, sounds, and works well, and everything feels natural. Yet the events are treated with such neutrality that it’s hard to pin down whether joining Teiwaz is great or stupid. It probably won’t work out given Gundam’s inclination to Murphy’s Law, but here’s to hoping the fallout isn’t TOO terrible.

Iron-Blooded Notes:

  • Loved the music in this episode. Nice bits of Italian and Celtic vibes during the times of conversation and relaxation.
  • We might actually get backstory next episode… On Atra and her first meeting with Mika! Hooray!
  • Now we know where the Barbatos got its samurai sword. The opening has now been changed accordingly.
  • Also anybody know why Daisuki no longer has commercials? Do they really want to keep up and coming African entrepreneurs in the throes of poverty? What of the poor children suffering from autism? Monsters.

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