Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Episode 6 Recap: “As For Them”

Original Airdate: November 8th, 2015

Toonami Airdate: July 16th, 2016

Because poor literacy is “kewl”!

As For Them - AriadneIn the aftermath of last week’s battle, Gaelio and McGillis are discussing what to do next, now knowing Tekkadan’s plan thanks to the Mars Hitler care package they were sent, and while this is going on, Nady and his repair team are attempting to repair the damages inflicted on Barbatos during the fight. Both sides begin discussing the history of the Gundam frames and their role in the oft-mentioned Calamity War, with only 72 being manufactured and playing a huge role towards the conflict’s end. Orga and his team plan their next move, deciding that they have to strike up a deal with a Jupiter-based corporation named Teiwaz in order to successfully guide them to Earth. After the meeting, Kudelia roams around the ship with Mikazuki and Atra, even helping them to serve lunch to the Tekkadan crew. Kudelia begins to delve into the history and backstory of the Calamity War: during the war, Earth was divided into four major economic blocs and later given control of the outer planets after the war. The Arbrau bloc was given command of Mars but relied on old laws and amendments to justify poor treatment and outright exploitation of the Chryse colony’s citizens, and Kudelia hopes that her eventual negotiations will be able to put a stop to this. The three eventually reach the repair room and inadvertently end up learning that Mikazuki, as well as many of the orphans who make up Tekkadan, are illiterate, and Kudelia offers to teach them how to read and write.

As For Them - Mikazuki's HandwritingMcGillis requests a meeting with Ein regarding Gjallarhorn’s first encounter with Mikazuki in order to assess the full potential extent of what they’re up against. While Kudelia’s busy giving the crew reading and writing lessons, Biscuit and Orga are debating whether or not they’re actually able to negotiate with Teiwaz, but despite Biscuit’s objections, Orga still plans to go through with visiting Jupiter. Later, he meets up with Mikazuki as the two just pal around for a bit, with Mikazuki even revealing his desire to start his own farm much like Biscuit’s grandmother. Their conversation is suddenly interrupted by an unexpected transmission: CGS president Maruba has made contact with Tekkadan and demands that they return his ship to him or they will suffer dire consequences.

 

One of the immediate takeaways from this week’s episode of Iron-Blooded Orphans is the seeming emergence of storytelling/pacing pattern from these first six episodes: the set-up to a big battle and the battle itself takes up one episode, with the episode right after being an expository/cool-down period. It might seem like a small thing to dwell on, but it comes across as obvious that every odd-numbered episode is where the biggest chunks of action are bound to happen while every even-numbered episode is where the characters wind down and we end up learning more about the world at hand. This isn’t an inherent negative when it comes to storytelling since it can be fun and enjoyable to see the characters just interacting with each other and talking about miscellaneous things without an immediate threat in the area, but it does bother me a bit because it creates this awkward story progression of “exciting robot action!!” followed by “just a lot of shuffling plot points into place for the next episode”, slowing down any potential forward momentum the series could have.

The bulk of the character development belongs to Mikazuki in this episode, which makes for a nice attempt to humanize what has so far appeared to be the most inhuman detached character of the entire main cast. It’s fun to see him actually have somewhat of a personality that shines through his attempts to learn reading and writing and his conversation near the end with Orga. His desire to have a farm once he’s capable of doing so is an oddly quaint life goal for a kid who has no problem taking soldiers out without mercy, but as I’ve stated, I appreciate the effort in trying to add that kind of characterization to him. Overall, I’d give this episode 6 bad handwriting exercises/10.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know down in the comments below.

 

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans airs every Saturday at 12:30 AM, only on Toonami.

 

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