Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Episode 13 Recap: “Funeral Rites”

Original Airdate: December 27th, 2015

Toonami Airdate: September 10th, 2016

Naze: he gets turned on thinking about dead kids!

funeral-rites-mikazuki-kills-kudalPicking up from where the fight with the Brewers left off, Masahiro says a heartfelt goodbye to Akihiro before passing on, going on about possibly being reborn into another life after death. Mikazuki continues his battle against Kudal, eventually finishing the crazed pirate off for good.

Meanwhile, McGillis and Gaelio attend a glamorous formal ceremony with many rich and fanciful individuals present, as well as McGillis’ fiancé Amelia, who overhears multiple disparaging comments made about her, forcing McGillis to comfort her as best he can.

Back with Tekkadan, Orga meets with the orphans rescued from the Brewers’ employment and offers them the comfort and protection of Tekkadan. He then meets with the capturec leader of the Brewers and demands that he turn over a ship and all of their available mobile suits to Tekkadan. The team decides to sell off the mobile suits, deciding against utilizing them out of respect for Akihiro’s loss. The group also comes to the decision of holding a funeral to send off those lost in the battle, but Orga fails to see the point of it, only agreeing out of reluctance.

The time of the funeral arrives, and Tekkadan has stuffed a container full of the deceased crew’s possessions to shoot off into space, with Nady managing to work in a fireworks display for a proper sendoff. The crew shows some mixed emotions, with some remaining steadfast and diligent out of respect and others attempting to fight back tears at the inherent sadness of the situation. As everyone settles back into their normal routine after the funeral, the emotional state of the crew is still in a state of flux, although Naze uses this opportunity to make out with Amida right in front of the heads of Tekkadan.

…you thought I was kidding about that opening line?

funeral-rites-mikazuki-kisses-kudeliaElsewhere on the ship, Mikazuki encounters Kudelia, and she notices that something seems off about him, predominantly due to his hands being unusually shaky. She decides to comfort him with an intimate hug, to which he responds by… kissing her… because he thought she was cute.

…You little bastard.

We’re now a little past halfway through the series, and these past few episodes have marked the biggest attempts yet at creating impactful dramatic shake-ups to the minds of Tekkadan’s crew, Akihiro in particular. The passing of his brother is meant to be a huge moment for his character, but unfortunately it doesn’t really work because of the broken setup that led to this moment. The cliff notes-esque feel of how the scene plays out makes the dramatic impact of the scene feel completely inert, and this is before factoring how the episode cuts immediately from the fight scene to an unneeded diversion focusing on Gaelio and McGillis, a scene which fails at not only advancing those characters in any meaningful way, but also interrupts whatever little momentum the drama of Masahiro’s death could have had. Then again, even when the episode directly deals with how the deaths of several crew members should be affecting the rest of the crew, despite the fact that there’s plenty of crying a big staged funeral, everything just seems to proceed like normal as if nothing really happened. The dramatic weight of the episode hits about as hard as a wiffle ball bat to the head, once again emphasizing Iron-Blooded Orphans’ poor pacing and sub-par writing.

There are a couple of attempts to add fleeting glimpses of humanity to the series’ main leads, chiefly Orga and Mikazuki, but they feel clumsily executed due to the pacing. This is especially true of Mikazuki, who seems to be experiencing a weird sensation first when he takes out Kudal, and then again later during his encounter with Kudelia. The twitching fingers and out-of-nowhere kiss comes across as shoe-horned into the narrative as more or less a forced attempt at humanity for the young Gundam pilot, making for an unintentionally awkward moment. I’m trying to hold out some hope for the series to improve, but this arc with the Brewers has really strained on my patience, so whatever comes next will have to work overtime to deliver something impressive. I give this episode 5 badly-timed make out sessions/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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