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Monday, 12 December 2016

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2E11

Mobile Suit Gundam:
Iron-Blooded Orphans
Series 2, Episode 11
Stained Wings.

There has been a kerfuffle on various forums about whether episode thirteen will be called 'Mikazuki Augus' or 'Angel Hunter,' and television guides would seem to suggest that it will, in fact, be called 'Mikazuki Augus.' I imagine people wouldn't care so much, except the last time we got an episode that was named after a character, that character died, and this series has already thrown up a pretty extensive number of death flags for Mika.

Now that's that out of the way, let's talk about this week's episode, which in all honesty was a little bit slower than I'd have liked.

In this week's episode, as the Hashmal becomes active, Tekkadan retreats and teams up with McGillis, with the group planning to ambush Hashmal. Their plan goes awry however when Iok, seeking revenge for his murdered men, provokes Hashmal in changing course. Meanwhile, Julietta and Vidar descend to the surface of Mars, with Vidar seeking out McGillis.

So, a lot of people last week were wondering 'wow, did Rustal not tell Iok about Mobile Armours, or is Iok just an idiot?' and luckily this episode answered that question: Iok is just an idiot. He will presumably die soon, and Rustal's faction will be much better off for it. Either that, or I suppose he'll make a grand trophy husband for some enterprising young pilot one day.

You're so stupid, Iok.

We do get to see both his men politely telling him that he's incompetent and needs to leave, and Julietta rather less politely raking him over the coals for absurdly believing that he'd killed Hashmal with a single sniper shot. So that's always nice. Why on earth did Rustal even send him when he's this stupid?

We also see McGillis' Grimgerde show up again, in heavily reworked form and being piloted by Isurugi, who also seems to be McGillis' chief strategist and new best friend. McGillis notes that his position doesn't allow him to pilot the Grimgerde, forcing him to use a Reginlaze instead, which confirms what a few people were thinking a couple of weeks ago: That McGillis can't pilot his Grimgerde because he can't be seen to be piloting a suit used by the Montag Company.

So we've got Isurugi in Grimgerde and McGillis in Reginlaze, and while they never see any combat in this episode, they do encounter Vidar at the very end, so it seems entirely likely that they're going to be waylaid trying to get past him, especially since he's got his new super-fast Gundam with its weird control system that's probably just Ein.

If this were Gundam Wing, Ride would just be gone.

Meanwhile, we get the Tekkadan boys preparing for an ambush -- most of it is just Orga talking about it and a few shots of the guys getting into position, and a lot of shirtless scenes for Shino and Dante, but we also get things going horribly wrong when Iok screws things up for them, causing Akihiro's unit to try and turn Hashmal's attention back towards their original ambush shot, and for Ride to nearly die.

In true Iron-Blooded Orphans fashion, Ride's attempt to heroically stop Hashmal from destroying a power station filled with people is completely unsuccessful, and he ends up nearly murdered for his trouble, with only Mika's speedy arrival saving him. Honestly, I was fully expecting Ride, as a minor character, to die here to establish the stakes, so it actually came as a nice surprise that he didn't.

We also get to find out more about Hashmal's capabilities, including properly seeing its beam cannon in action. We find out that those Plumas of it are not only extra combat units, but can also repair it during battle (and Hashmal in turn can produce more of them so long as it has the material for it). It's not tremendously surprising that Mobile Armours wiped out a quarter of Earth's population, especially since they also seem to be smarter (or at least quicker thinkers) than human beings are. At the moment, it seems bizarre that humanity even managed to stop them.

Dante and Shino, filling the episode's shirtless scene quota.

So that was Stained Wings. Kind of slow, but it gave us valuable set-up for the next two episodes, which are basically guaranteed to be much faster-paced affairs. Also, now we know that Iok is a total idiot, so that's nice.

Next week, it looks like we're getting the proper battle with Hashmal, including Iok making a comeback of sorts (ugh), and the Flauros' debut, with Yamagi sitting on Shino's lap. I want to make it entirely clear that if you're reading romantic subtext into that, remember that Yamagi canonically has a crush on Shino, Shino is equally canonically bisexual, and the preview has him remarking that maybe he should carry Yamagi 'like a princess,' so the subtext is definitely intentional. It also looks like Ride might definitely die in this episode, so it's entirely possible, even plausible, that Mika's arrival has but granted him a stay of execution.

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