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Monday, 7 November 2016

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2E6.


Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Series 2, Episode 6
Silent War.



We are now officially a quarter of the way through the series, unless it turns out to not be twenty-four episodes, which -- I mean, it will, right? Of course it will. I feel foolish for even asking. We're also heading deeper into the second arc of the show, the war between Arbrau, which Tekkadan are military advisors to, and the SAU, which has requested McGillis' help in 'arbitrating the conflict.'

I actually initially thought that 'arbitrating the conflict' meant they wanted McGillis to enact diplomatic methods with Arbrau, but it seems that actually means 'be our allies and shoot stuff,' so that's a thing.

Picking up three weeks or so after the end of episode five, the sixth episode sees Takaki, Aston, and the rest of Tekkadan thrown into a war with the SAU where neither side can seem to make progress. As nerves fray over the endless stalemate, Galan Mossa continues to exert power over Tekkadan, manipulating him into doing his bidding. On the SAU side, McGillis slowly begins to realise that somebody is manipulating the flow of the war to ensure a stalemate. Meanwhile, in space, Eugene, Mika, Kudelia and the others arrive at Earth, but find themselves unable to land.

Cool anoraks, guys.

So, it's time to start taking bets on who's going to die in the next two episodes! Galan, I think, is obvious -- he's a bragging, obvious villain who is conspicuously animated in less detail than the main characters, and who has been established as an ace pilot in a custom version of a mass-produced suit, and we've seen that archetype three or four times now on the show, and they've always ended up super dead, very quickly. At the moment, McGillis or Aston seems like the likeliest candidate for killing him.

Radice is also not going to last very long, obviously.

The real question, though, is whether Takaki, Aston, or Fuka is going to end up kicking the bucket. It seems pretty likely that one of them will, given that the show is taking pains to set up Takaki and Aston as having a sweet, puppy-love-ish romance plot, with much mutual reaffirmation of the others' importance and with Aston already being part of the family -- so I will be astounded if one of the three doesn't die in this arc. It'll be tragic, but at this point it seems almost unavoidable.

I say that largely because Takaki and Aston, and their ever-growing collection of death flags, are the main focus of this episode, and given the show's tone and the fact that we're six episodes in and Tekkadan hasn't lost anyone yet, it seems likely that that's meant to make us invested in one of them dying, and the aftermath thereof. Out of the two, I'd bet that Takaki will die, since while Aston has a character arc of sorts, Takaki doesn't.

D'aww, they're adorable.

Apart from them, it seems entirely likely that Makanai or Chad could die, with the latter being tragic while the former would give Kudelia a reason to step up and take a more active role in Earth politics, as Makanai's sort-of-successor.

Apart from the Takaki and Aston stuff, we also get a little bit of progress on Hash's plot (I will die before I call him 'Hush'), as he is revealed to be an apt pupil who has been spending much of his time in simulators and who will be getting his first mobile suit assignment when the space group of Tekkadan arrive on Earth. I suspect that means we'll see him piloting one of the new Shidens, hopefully to great effect.

Meanwhile, we also get a brief scene with Vidar and Juliette, where he informs her that the Gundam Vidar has a 'unique control system.' The obvious speculation is that it's the Alaya-Vijnana System, but that's hardly unique, so in all likelihood it's actually something that's vaguely Alaya-Vijnana esque but which we haven't actually seen before. Either way, I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing the Gundam Vidar in battle soon, and with luck, the Flauros as well before long.

Bring back Grimgerde.

The episode ends with McGillis taking to the battlefield in his Schwalbe (what happened to your cool Grimgerde, McGillis? We loved that old thing!), and Galan heading out in his Geirail. The preview also shows us that the Tekkadan space group are going to get down to Earth somehow, and I'm willing to bet that McGillis is involved in that, somehow.

Either way, a pretty good, and actually fairly emotional episode. It looks like next week we're heading straight into a battle that will probably take up the entire episode, and maybe even spill over into episode eight -- it seems increasingly likely that this series is going to be made up of six four episode arcs, which I think would help tremendously with some of the pacing issues the first series had.


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