Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Episode 21 Recap: “To The Place of Return”

Original Airdate: February 28th, 2016

Toonami Airdate: November 12th, 2016

Surf’s up.

Picking up from last week, Orga makes the decision to escort Makanai to the Arbrau Parliament in Edmonton, and Biscuit decides he’ll stay and fight against Carta’s army. Tekkadan and the Turbines work through the night prepping their mobile workers, mobile suits, and putting several traps in place before the ambush occurs, and Kudelia manages to secure a transport vehicle for Makanai from “Montag”. Biscuit manages to have a more calm and relaxed talk with Orga where he again promises to stick around for the fight, only bringing up his relationship with Tekkadan once they’re done.

I guess you could say Biscuit’s only a couple days from retirement. I’m sure that won’t factor into anything later on.

to-the-place-of-return-mobile-suits-surfing-on-shieldsThe day of the attack comes as Carta’s naval fleet begin launching missiles on the island where our heroes have been residing. Tekkadan has mobile suits on the beach shores to fend off the assault from the enemy mobile suits in that direction, but Carta’s army issues a surprise attack as enemy mobile suits begin descending from the sky. She makes her presence known alongside her group of soldiers as they confront Mikazuki for a rematch and some payback, but as they get into formation and proceed with their attack, Barbatos manages to quickly dispose of one of Carta’s underlings. The fight continues as Tekkadan easily manages to hold their ground for the time being, even managing to spring a trap on the enemy troops when they go to search for Kudelia and Makanai only to uncover bombs that quickly take out those soldiers.

Things are still looking good for Tekkadan, who only really detect 8 enemy soldiers left, and Orga and Biscuit make their next move in the battle, but Carta begins to pursue them, using her men to hold back Mikazuki to ensure no interference. In a last-ditch attempt to get Carta off their tail, Biscuit swerves the mobile worker, launching Orga off of the top so he’s out of the way when she delivers a powerful strike in their direction. Mikazuki breaks free from the last two soldiers and proceeds to make quick work of Carta, but when the dust clears, Orga’s met with a horrifying sight:

Biscuit’s body is bloody and pinned underneath the wreckage of the mobile worker, just barely conscious enough to try and reach out Orga. Biscuit attempts to make a final statement to his comrade, but he dies before he can complete his sentiments. Orga and Mikazuki find themselves in complete shock at the death of one of their closest comrades, and the episode ends with Kudelia and Makanai preparing to board their transport ship, making note of how quiet things have gotten now that the fight’s over.

MMMM WATCHA SAAAAYYYY! OOOH THAT YOU ONLY MEANT WELLLL, WELL OF COURSE YOU DID!
MMMM WATCHA SAAAAYYYY! OOOH THAT YOU ONLY MEANT WELLLL, WELL OF COURSE YOU DID!

So before getting to the obvious point of note in this episode, I should comment on the battle presented itself, which is a bit of a mixed bag given the overall solid quality of fights up to now. While the backgrounds and locations are more visually interesting than most of the battle zones we’ve seen out on Mars and in space (not to mention the multiple types of conflicts occurring as part of this one ambush), the actual fights themselves feel a little bland. Maybe it’s because of the lack of zero gravity, but the fight choreography, so to speak, comes off as oddly dry with no interesting shot compositions, distinct fighting moves, or even mixed-up lightning and color schemes. It’s a pretty basic fight from a pure visual perspective, which is unfortunate given the standards set by prior battles.

Now there’s the heavy part of the episode: the unfortunate passing of our dear friend Biscuit. I’ll give you all some time to pour one out in his honor.

This scene is more or less a double-edged sword in terms of dramatic impact because on one hand, it’s probably the only death that had any sort of emotional impact on me, to be perfectly honest. With Biscuit being the only Tekkadan soldier to get as much development and screentime as Orga, Mikazuki, and Kudelia, his passing is an extremely unfortunate fate to have befall him. Erik Scott Kimerer’s performance in this moment just helps push the emotions of the scene further into some legitimately heart-wrenching territory.

On the other hand, the series has effectively killed off the *only* character I ever gave a shit about in this entire series (apart from maybe Atra, and that’s a big “maybe). By doing so, unintentionally, the show has sort of disadvantaged itself in terms of being able to get me to theoretically care about anything that happens in the last 4 episodes of this first season. I’m not saying it’s completely impossible, but the deck is kind of stacked against its favor now. I guess we’ll have to see where things go from here. I give this episode 7 mobile suits surfing on shields like Legolas in that one scene from Lord of the Rings/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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