Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Episode 8 Recap: “The Form of Closeness”

Original Airdate: November 22nd, 2015

Toonami Airdate: July 30th, 2016

The Turbines’ ship is basically Maury Povich’s wet dream.

The episode starts by showing a more detailed account of Orga’s team overtaking the Turbine’s ship, including Orga nearly shooting Maruba point-blank before Naze calms him down and surrenders. As everyone gets settled after the battle, Orga and Naze begin their negotiations. During the conversation, Naze reveals that the entirely female populace of the ship is in fact his harem, even stating he’s fathered several children with the various women aboard. Orga and Biscuit try to convince Naze to help them negotiate with Teiwaz’s boss to use their trade route for safe passage to Earth, to which he agrees. Afterwards, Naze remarks on Kudelia’s general importance, noting how Gjallarhorn will stop at nothing to prevent her from negotiating Mars’ independence from Earth’s economic blocs.

Later, Tekkadan is informed that they’ve been granted permission to speak with Teiwaz’s leader on their base of operations, receiving accompaniment from the Turbines. Orga checks on the repair status of their weaponry and also on the group’s financial situation, which is looking pretty dire. He goes back to Naze with Biscuit to see if the Turbines and Teiwaz have any connections to merchants who might be willing to buy unusual items off of them. He questions why they need this, considering that he offered to employ the soldiers of Tekkadan for his own uses, to which Orga gives an impassioned explanation about the strong bonds held between all of them. While Naze is sympathetic to Orga’s principles, he reminds him that his brashness will likely get him killed one day, and Tekkadan would be no good without a strong leader in place, ostensibly functioning as a father to the family that is his organization.

The Form of Closeness - Day CareMeanwhile, Atra brings Kudelia over to the Turbines’ day care center and meet with Amida and Lafter who are playing with the infant children present. And remember kids: *all* of them spawned from Naze’s loins. If I may break away from the recap for a minute, this scene is really unnerving to me. I know it’s supposed to be all cute and charming because they’re babies and Amida/Lafter share what appears to be a sincere familial bond with them (not to mention providing a parallel between Naze’s literal family and the metaphorical familial bond shared by Tekkadan), but that kind of gets undone the more you linger on the fact that *one* man led to all these children being born in the first place. It gets a little creepy when you let that fact sink in. Anyway…

Amida meets back up with Naze to see how the negotiations with Orga went while Orga meets up with Mikazuki, shares a brief bonding moment, and the episode ends as the crew is notified that they’ve reached their destination, Saisei.

A quick tangent: McDonald’s used to have a food item called the McDLT: a burger sold in a two-sided package which kept the meat on one side and the veggies/sauce on the other. In retrospect, it was kind of a silly idea to keep these two elements separate instead of just letting them co-exist for the sake of efficiency. Now, where am I going with this? Well, I’ve mentioned in these recaps (and also on my personal Twitter) that I’ve never really been able to get into most entries of the Gundam franchises because of how it chooses to keep its politics and action separate from each other when progressing the plot. At this point, Iron-Blooded Orphans is expressing the exact same kind of issue at this point. While I have no issues with these negotiations and political conversations conceptually speaking, the problem is that the story’s momentum so far has consistently felt like it needs to take a complete and total time-out in order to let these moments play out. In addition, they’re written and presented in a way where these negotiations shockingly lack any real tension, which is saying a lot considering just how sketchy an organization like Teiwaz, and the Turbines specifically, seem to be. That’s a really bad sign considering the potential full scope of the scheming political machinations at play within this universe.

Contrast this approach with the approach taken with a series like Attack On Titan, whose plot also carries a lot of political machinations and conspiracies playing out amidst the giant monster chaos, but manages to avoid making it boring by better mixing the expository plot/character bits into the action sequences. Even when it’s a pause in the scene for flashbacks to military strategizing, it’s never boring and manages to successfully hold a proper sense of tension. Iron-Blooded Orphans seems like it’s going to continue on this path of awkward expository stop gaps, and we’re only about a third of the way through the series now. I give this episode 5 harem members/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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