Original Airdate: March 27th, 2016
Toonami Airdate: December 10th, 2016
…Left its seeds while I was sleeping.
The battle continues, as Mikazuki attempts to hold his own against Ein while Gaelio is in disbelief at the revelation of McGillis as the masked figure working behind the scenes. McGillis makes this and other details of his actions known, including his usage of Ein and Carta to further his agenda of exposing and ending Gjallarhorn’s corruption. Gaelio attacks him in a blind rage following this revelation, but the fight is ultimately one-sided as McGillis mercilessly stabs his former friend in the chest, killing him instantly. Meanwhile, the election is about to take place with seemingly no sign of Makanai in sight, but out of nowhere he actually makes his presence known just in the nick of time, pleasing several members of the Parliament but enraging Iznario, who now suspects McGillis had something to do with this. Before the election gets underway however, Makanai allows Kudelia to give an impassioned speech about everything she’s encountered during her mission to Earth.
The fight rages on between Mikazuki and Ein as it appears the latter is easily gaining the upper hand. On the brink of death, Mikazuki gains an edge as he harnesses the full power of Barbatos and his Alaya-Lasagna system (…why aren’t you laughing?) to improve his reflexes and finally nail a deathblow on Ein, putting him down for good. In the aftermath of the battle, Makanai is successfully elected to his position in Parliament while Iznario is forced into exile, enraged at McGillis for his role in the conflict. Things begin to wind down as word of Tekkadan’s actions spread out through the planets and colonies, even mentioning that Tekkadan is likely to become the new military advisor for the Arbrau bloc. Back at their base on Earth, our heroes pal around for a bit as Orga and Naze have one last exchange of words, with Naze convincing Orga that the many losses experienced by his crew were not in vain, as they were able to die with honor and dignity. Later in the afternoon, he gives a rousing speech to his crew, praising them for their actions and allowing them some well-earned R&R. Their mission is complete, and this is the end… for now.
Many arduous battles have been fought to get to this point. Many lives lost, many betrayals revealed, and a whole lot of under-utilized dead space in between the big important stuff. This final battle is as engaging as it possibly could be, with some spectacularly choreographed/animated action and some fantastic voice work on the part of the English dub cast, projecting plenty of passionate intensity into every moment. The two battles are as engaging as they can be, given the circumstances.
With that last caveat, there’s something that honestly really bugged me about this final episode, specifically with the battle between McGillis and Gaelio. I know this is going to fall into Douchey mcNitpick mode, but hear me out for a minute.
Why is Gaelio so surprised and shocked at the idea of McGillis having done what he did to further his goals? Throughout a good chunk of this series, McGillis has always been extremely upfront about wanting to end the corruption within Gjallarhorn’s regime, especially around Gaelio’s presence. So to a certain extent, despite the fact that Gaelio has a theoretically genuine reason to be infuriated by his exploitation of Ein and Carta (although the last-minute dramatic revelations for both of those characters makes it tough to really care), he doesn’t have much of an excuse to be all that surprised by what happened. Gaelio, anyone could have seen this coming a mile away. You had to have been at least a little suspicious of what your friend was up to and maybe have tried, I don’t know, looking into it at some point. Just a thought. So this final episode I’d give 7 bloody eyes/10, but for the series as a whole, I have to give it a 5-6/10. For all the spectacular fight scenes and potentially interesting stories that could have been told here, so much of the series instead chose to linger on the empty dead space between major plot-shifting moments, usually to no effect. Inefficient plot structuring, embarrassingly last-minute character reveals, and just plain unengaging filler keep the experience from really living up to its potential, which is essentially the same complaint I’ve had with nearly every other Gundam series I’ve ever tried watching apart from Mobile Fighter G Gundam. This is a show that honestly makes me feel like I wasted my time watching it, which to me is the worst kind of mediocre/bad show. Oh well. Although for anyone who likes this series, this won’t be the end of Gundam on Toonami, as when the new year rolls around, out with the Orphans, and in with Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096, which sounds less like a Gundam show and more like a Kingdom Hearts spinoff.
What did you think of the episode and about the series as a whole? Let us know down in the comments below.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is licensed and produced by Sunrise Inc.
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