Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Episode 20 Recap: “Brother”

Original Airdate: February 21st, 2016

Toonami Airdate: November 5th, 2016

I’ll now proceed to pleasure myself with these fish.

Having finally made it to Earth, our heroes begin unloading their supplies on the shore of beach in order to prepare their next move. They’re unexpectedly approached by one of their contacts on Earth, Makanai, who arranges a more formal meeting with them for later on, even eventually sending a representative who gifts Tekkadan with a fish.

Gjallarhorn is attempting to recover their losses, including Gaelio desperately pleading with the fleet’s doctors to somehow help fix Ein’s life-threating injuries. The only solution that seems to be a practical fix is to implement Ein with the Alaya-Vijnana system, much like the mobile suit pilots of Tekkadan. Gaelio objects to this and sees it as barbaric, but McGillis tries to convince him otherwise.

brother-fishBiscuit, Orga, Kudelia, and Merribit meet up with Makanai to discuss how to proceed from here, in addition to filling in our heroes on their newfound heroic status. Apparently the Oceanian Federation regards Tekkadan as heroes, especially considering how their actions led to the workers of the Dort colonies receiving more favorable working conditions and rewards. As Kudelia makes her intent known to Makanai, he suddenly reveals that he’s not in a position to do anything since he’s been exiled from his seat of power in the bloc of Arbrau. He requests that Tekkadan escort him to the location where the election for Arbrau’s next prime minister will take place, hoping he can regain his power. He finds himself having to coax Tekkadan into potentially helping him, claiming that if he won, he’d be able to get them safely back to Mars (somewhat difficult at the moment considering Gjallarhorn’s right outside the atmosphere).

Orga and company touch base with the rest of Tekkadan who’ve been given shelter within the Oceanic Federation, even having a one-on-one with Naze to ask about how he should approach Makanai’s request. Later that night, he has a heart-to-heart with Biscuit about what to do, and the two are on complete opposite ends as they get into a heated argument that ends with Biscuit contemplating quitting Tekkadan. As it turns out, he received a message through Eugene from Savarin, who apparently killed himself following the massacre on the Dort colonies. Biscuit heads to the garages to discuss things with Nady who delivers some sage wisdom to help Biscuit figure things out. Orga goes off to speak with Merribit about things when he’s suddenly alerted to a call from Makanai. In a surprise turn of events, he’s received orders from the Federation to hand Kudelia and Tekkadan over to Gjallarhorn thanks to an order from a high-ranking commander whose authority apparently supersedes any legal precedent: none other than Carta herself.

 

New challenges present themselves to our heroes now that they’ve made it to our glorious hunk of rock. Unlike most other episodes of the series where most of the downtime feels like just a bunch of pointless marking time until the next fight, this is the rare IBO episode where the downtime actually feels well-used in some fashion, mainly to show our heroes getting accustomed to Earth. As a bonus upside, they actually manage to accomplish this in a humorously clever way with the recurring gag of the presence of fish. It’s a seemingly small thing, but it’s funny to see our heroes constantly overreact to something they’ve never seen before. Although I gotta admit it really bugged me whenever the Tekkadan crew turned down fish. Guys, come on. It’s fish. Eat the fish. Fish is very delicious.

I eat a lot of fish, is what I’m saying.

There’s also some pretty solid character drama with Biscuit and his personal conflicts with being involved in Tekkadan, especially with the news of his brother’s suicide. Biscuit’s one of the few characters who’s been pretty consistently in the spotlight and is pretty much the only character I’ve cared about throughout the entirety of the series, so it’s legitimately saddening to see him at his breaking point with everything that’s happened up to now. On top of all that, the journey picks up some more peril with some unexpected detours, twists, and surprises. Clearly getting to Earth was just the beginning of their mission, although we got 5 episodes left in this season so I don’t know where the story’s gonna stop at before next season, but this is a rare IBO episode that I actually fully liked. Maybe this show can actually stick the landing after all. I give this episode 8 fish /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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