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Monday, 31 October 2016

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2E5

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Series 2, Episode 5
Inauguration of the Arbrau Defense Forces.

I can tell that this is going to be an episode I have trouble reaching my usual word count for. It's not even that not much happens in it -- plenty happens, and it's clearly a major turning point for the series, but it's a much quieter, slower episode than the four preceding it, and that doesn't necessarily make for a very interesting review.

Some months after the battle with the Dawn Horizon Corps, the Earth Branch of Tekkadan are preparing for the inauguration ceremony of the Arbrau Defense Forces, with Chad making a speech. Things go direly wrong however when a group in Rustall Elion's employ set off a bomb in Makanai's office, injuring both Chad and Makanai. As Takaki struggles to lead Tekkadan while dealing with an increasingly angry and uncontrollable group, and the obstructive influence of Radice, a Teiwaz bureaucrat who secretly helped set up the bombing, Galan Mossa, an ally of Rustall's, takes over the Arbrau Defense Forces. Meanwhile, on the Arianrhod fleet, Juliette and Vidar bond.

As I said before, this is a pretty slow episode: It's obvious from very early on that something is going to go horribly wrong with the inauguration ceremony, so you'd think that most of the episode would involve the build-up to a climactic catastrophe and the fallout from it. Instead, it happens pretty early on and really isn't all that dramatic: It's just one bomb going off in Makanai's office, with the immediate aftermath barely shown (and focusing exclusively on Takaki and Aston's reactions) and the majority of the episode focusing on a mounting sense of unease as a diplomatic crisis brews.

That is a terribly oversized suit.

It's not the way I would have set the episode up, to be honest, and it feels rather like the whole event was rushed in order to hurry the plot along to the potentially juicier territory of a war between different factions on Earth.

You can tell that the show is struggling a little with the episode, trying to write a story that is really just there to bridge the Dawn Horizon arc with the next arc, and which doesn't involve anything in the way of battles, and very little in the way of politicking or backstabbing.

We did get two new characters introduced, though, both of which I imagine will be dead very, very soon. 

Firstly, we get Radice, a Teiwaz bureaucrat who betrays Tekkadan and then obstructs Takaki's attempts to contact Orga, presumably realising that if Takaki and Orga have a conversation, Orga might realise that something's up. I honestly don't imagine that Radice will live past the end of episode seven -- he's not really long-term villain material, and the animators didn't even bother giving him an interesting design -- but at the moment, anyone could end up killing him, so it'll be fun, at least, to see how the show plays that.

The other one is Galan, and I don't see him lasting beyond the first battle between his forces and Tekkadan -- they're nominally on the same side right now, but given that he's working for Rustall, I can't see that lasting very long. He's a character very much in the same vein as Sandoval and Kudal -- distinctive enough that audiences will remember him, but very clearly meant to be a short-lived villain. Maybe he'll end up with his own Gundam for a time, but I doubt it -- he'll probably just get some kind of custom suit, like Sandoval did.

This is not the face of a character who will survive for very long.

We also got an actual extended scene with Vidar! If there was any doubt that that was Gali-Gali's voice coming from his mask before, there's none now. It was nice to see, as well, that he still seemed pretty sweet and gentle, possibly even moreso than he was before McGillis stabbed him with a giant sword -- it adds an extra dimension to his character beyond 'revenge obsessed cyborg,' and it's nice to see him relating to Juliette, as they're both, in a way, people who Rustall gave a second chance when most of Gjallarhorn would have rejected them.

Juliette and Vidar, bros forever.

We also get to see McGillis being a little bit vexed over the whole brewing war situation. While he'll most definitely be back to being an antagonist by the end of the series, it's nice to see him being protagonist-y for now.

Mika, Eugene, Akihiro, Kudelia, and possibly Hash are all off to Earth now, so I imagine we'll see them turn up either next episode or in episode seven, with a 'war on Earth' arc properly starting maybe a little beforehand (so that we can have Takaki struggling without them). In fact, if previews of Aston in a mobile suit cockpit are anything to go by, that'll probably start next episode.

All in all, this is probably my least favourite episode so far this series, but it certainly wasn't terrible. Also, I am kind of laughing at Chad's full name being 'Chad Chadan.' You really didn't try at all there, did you, Sunrise.

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