Original Airdate: January 24th, 2016
Toonami Airdate: October 1st, 2016
This week’s episode of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is brought to you by Karl Marx’s Dank Meme Stash!
Picking up from last week, Kudelia runs around Dort 3 looking for Fumitan as Mikazuki and Atra chase after Kudelia. The rest of Tekkadan prepare to follow when they catch sight of the workers’ union marching through the streets, arms in hand as their protest goes on. As Fumitan attempts to make her escape, the elevator she’s taking reverses course and brings her back to the ground due to Gjallarhorn orders, who have shut down all transport in and out of the Dort colonies in order to confront the union uprising. Fumitan finds herself assaulted by Nobliss’ yes-men as Teiwaz starts getting their mobile suits ready in case things get really crazy. The union confronts Gjallarhorn’s forces outside of the Dort President’s office and makes their demands known, and Fumitan wanders into the scene with orders of shoving Kudelia into all of the chaos to send her into Gjallarhorn’s hands.
As she catches sight of Fumitan in the crowd, Kudelia attempts to reunite with her, but she’s unfortunately intercepted by the union members and is recognized for who she is, getting forcibly dragged into their demonstration. The media picks up on this and decides to focus on her, thankfully allowing Atra and Mikazuki to pinpoint her location. In the middle of all this, an explosion unexpectedly goes off near the building, giving the Gjallarhorn forces incentive to start attacking the union, using smoke screens to obscure their sight as they unleash fire and kill all the protesters, including one who passes away in Kudelia’s arms. A sniper perched in the building takes aim at her and fires, but Fumitan suddenly appears to intercept the bullet, piercing her in the back. She gives a depressing heartfelt farewell before passing out in Kudelia’s arms as Mikazuki grabs her and takes her out of the area. As it turns out, Kudelia’s presence (as well as the actions of the union) have inspired revolts across all of the Dort colonies as more explosions begin going off throughout the colonies. Afterwards, Nobliss receives a call from Teiwaz’s leader McMurdo who suggests striking up some kind of alignment between the two of them. The episode ends with Tekkadan gathered back in the hotel as they attempt to figure out a plan of attack, with Kudelia still grief-stricken over the death of Fumitan.
I don’t know if I should be or excited or mad that the past few IBO episodes have actually been pretty good, given that it took an unnecessarily long amount of time to get to some legitimately good material and wasting the prior episodes with a bunch of dead space. But as I said, these last few episodes were actually good: decently written, consistent sense of pacing and tension, and legitimately successful attempts at emotional impacts, primarily with the death of Fumitan and the union workers. For a show that’s part of a franchise typically about the effects of mass-scale warfare on a human populace, this is the first time in the series that we’ve gotten a meaningful and significant view of that. Up to now, it’s felt like the show just inefficiently glazed over the fact that there’s more at stake to everything going on than just the fates of our heroes, and it’s only now suddenly remembering the broader stakes of the conflict at hand. I liked the flashbacks to that one childhood incident with Kudelia, alluding to her uneasy relationship with both the poor and down-trodden citizens of the Mars colonies and with the idea of her as a symbol to these people. This theme of Kudelia seeming somewhat unprepared for the task she signed up for (i.e. giving her speech and being the ray of hope to those in poverty) is the only thematic through-line the series has followed somewhat consistently, and it gets a satisfying episode to play out in.
That being said, I’m not sure if I feel as bad for Fumitan as I do for Kudelia. As usual, the show’s overall pacing (read: not specifically the pacing of the Dort colony episodes) often left the relationship between these two hang a bit in the background compared to everything else. Much like with the Akihiro/Masahiro conflict, the series only saw fit to remind us of these two’s history with each other at the last moment before it became a focal point of the narrative, and that diminishes the full impact of Fumitan’s tragic death. However, the fact that it still managed to carry some emotional weight despite the shortcomings in pacing should definitely count for something. Okay, IBO. You’ve been 3 for 3 with the Dort Colonies stuff. I don’t want to go back to hating you, so *please* keep it up. I give this episode 8 childhood books about communist revolution/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 1:00 AM, only on Toonami.
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