Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Episode 17 Recap: “Kudelia’s Decision”

Original Airdate: January 31st, 2016

Toonami Airdate: October 8th, 2016

Man, those new mobile suits have some tacky-as-shit colors.

kudelias-decision-news-reportFollowing the massacre on Dort 3, the workers in the other colonies begin their uprising against Gjallarhorn, including using mobile suits in combat. However, the mechs they find were conveniently sabotaged by Gjallarhorn, allowing them to eliminate the Dort workers with ease, much to the frustration of Gaelio who sees this as yet another sign of Gjallarhorn’s corruption. The violent activities have shut down all exits from the colonies, making it impossible for Tekkadan (and the colony civilians) to escape. Kudelia, however, decides she wants to stay behind and fight alongside the rebellion on the colonies by any means necessary, and the rest of Tekkadan agrees to do so. As they attempt to find some way out of the colony, they’re intercepted by a news crew and, realizing the reporter’s connections might help out Tekkadan’s mission, agree to speak with them elsewhere. The group obtains a vessel to escape the colonies while the members of Tekkadan still hanging behind with Teiwaz prepare to join the battle.

Mikazuki quickly steps into combat after Yukinojo conveniently drops off Barbatos, and he quickly proceeds to pick off enemy targets. Things go smoothly until Gaelio and Ein enter the battlefield with new mobile suits of their own, giving Mikazuki a run for their money. Eventually he receives backup from Tekkadan’s newest mobile suits, but before they can fully dispose of the opposition, Gaelio and Ein are told to hang back and return, giving our heroes some breathing room. Meanwhile, the remaining Tekkadan members make it back to their ship in one piece alongside the news crew as Kudelia prepares to make a speech on television, requesting a favor from Nobliss to get the signal out as far as possible. The episode ends with Kudelia beginning to make her speech as the news crew broadcasts her message.

 

It’s certainly been a while since we’ve last had a mass-scale mech battle on this show, hasn’t it? While I’ve had my ups and downs about Iron-Blooded Orphans (mostly downs but things have been looking up recently), the robot fights have always been consistently fun to watch, showcasing some intricate battle choreography and excellent high-quality animation work, with this episode being no different. Although I will admit the backgrounds are slightly uninteresting as the fight takes place in yet another debris field in space like last time instead of somewhere more interesting like possibly directly within the colonies. If there’s another problem to be had with the battle, as good as it is, it’s with the choice of music. The composition used itself is good on its own, but considering the immediate context of where the plot is right now, the battle music feels oddly triumphant when the situation is anything but. A large chunk of revolutionaries were just slaughtered in the colonies, and Kudelia’s lifelong bodyguard was killed last episode, so the circumstances aren’t exactly upbeat at the moment.

Going back to the lackluster battle setting, having a battle take place in the colonies would have been great to see because it could reinforce the motif of the human toll of mass-scale militarized warfare, the key recurring thematic idea across most Gundam shows. There was a perfect opportunity to run with this idea, but the episode just kind of glazes across it, and while it can be assumed that this will be dived into when Kudelia gives her speech next episode, it would have helped to plant the seed and give more of a primer beyond just the brief expository bits we received from the colony workers a couple of episodes ago. At least the story momentum still maintains consistency and some semblance of tension, so I’ll give an okay rating to this episode. I’m thinking 6-7 girls in the book/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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