Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Episode 9 Recap: “Sakazuki”

Original Airdate: November 29th, 2015

Toonami Airdate: August 6th, 2016

See, Orga? This is what happens when you drink beer before liquor.

Naze escorts the key members of Tekkadan onboard the Saisei and to the home of Teiwaz’s leader, McMurdo. The two parties begin negotiating the various aspects of their potential partnership, including the division of funds between them among other things. After the meeting, Naze presents Orga and company with the results of the merchandise sales: turns out Tekkadan’s items yielded extremely high profits for the crew. Meanwhile, McMurdo is going over mission details with Kudelia and Mikazuki, pointing out that with Arbrau and Teiwaz offering services to her and the rest of Tekkadan, it is more than likely that multiple parties are scheming behind the scenes to prevent them from completing their mission. McMurdo offers Kudelia the chance to make Teiwaz the official appointees for the rest of the mission, but Kudelia needs some time to think it over, and he also offer Mikazuki the services of his finest mechanic in fixing up Barbatos.

Sakazuki - PubsLater, Orga decides to celebrate by taking the elder Tekkadan members out to the pubs onboard the base and buying several rounds of drinks… which leads to him having a little too much and puking outside moments later. Once the festivities are done, Akihiro is left to drag Orga’s hungover ass back to their resting place as he goes on about how Tekkadan will become a real family one day, echoing the sentiments he heard from Naze last episode. Meanwhile, Kudelia seeks advice from Fumitan about accepting McMurdo’s offer, but she responds claiming she can’t really offer much help, although some words of encouragement help steer Kudelia’s decision-making.

The next day, everyone is preparing for the Sakazuki ceremony which will officially mark the beginning of both the partnership and brotherhood between Teiwaz and Tekkadan. Naze is showing Mikazuki the banners that will be used, which spell out his and Orga’s names in traditional kanji lettering. Before the ceremony begins proper, Kudelia pulls Orga aside to meet with McMurdo to inform him that she’s decided to have Teiwaz as her political appointees with the caveat that Tekkadan still handles actually escorting her to Earth. The episode ends with the ritual taking place between the two crews (and Orga and Naze specifically), and the crews unwind for a bit afterwards, wondering about what will happen next on their mission.Sakazuki - Ceremony

So this is two episodes back-to-back that we’ve gotten that are mostly just dialogue-heavy and primarily dedicated to shuffling pieces around and getting some down time for the crew. There’s many discussions about brotherhood and familial bonds, continuing the themes presented in the previous episode thanks to Naze’s initial words to Orga. While I would find this kind of character development decent in most cases, with Orga it’s kind of redundant. It’s been shown a bit from the beginning that he has somewhat of a brotherhood/familial approach to how he views the crew of Tekkadan, Mikazuki especially, so this is just kind of restating stuff we already knew about him just with different wording to make it sound different and profound. The episode also tries to show the sense of family ties and other deep bonds through the repeated showings of charms with some kind of personal significance, in particular the matching necklaces that Kudelia buys for herself and Fumitan as well as a brief tangent concerning Gjallarhorn’s path to Earth where Ein mulls over a charm given to him by Crank. As usual, my problems with this type of narrative presentation boils down to the story momentum taking a huge time-out just to restate a bunch of things that, for the most part, the audience already knows. We already know that various factions are out to get Kudelia, and we know that Orga’s bond with his Tekkadan crewmates is more than just a professional allegiance. Worse yet, it delivers all of this redundant information without so much as even a slight bit of tension or legitimate dramatic impact. You’d think for a series that incorporates political scheming and deep-running bonds between crewmates, this would all hit with a bit more impact, but instead it feels like nothing: the narrative equivalent of trying to eat air. I give this episode 5 hungover Orgas/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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