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Monday, 19 December 2016

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2E12

Mobile Suit Gundam:
Iron-Blooded Orphans
Series 2, Episode 12
Battle for Chryse.

Huh, so it turns out next week's episode really is titled 'Angel Hunter.' Or 'Hunter of Angels,' depending on how you want to parse it. Surprising, but you know, not hugely important.

We're edging up on the end of the first cour of this show -- although the break between them is only going to be a one week break for New Year's, so we won't be without it for especially long -- which means we're also edging up on the end of the first act and with it, the conclusion of at least some plots. We will doubtless have a conclusion to the Hashmal plot, at the very least, but the end of the first cour can also potentially function as a way of fundamentally altering the dynamic of the show, so we might also see some big sea changes in how things function at Tekkadan.

I say this partly because the preview seems to show Mika without the use of his legs, so. There is that.

In this week's episode, as Hashmal heads towards Chryse, Tekkadan, McGillis' faction, and Julieta all scramble to take it down and claim glory for themselves, a task made more difficult by several failures on Tekkadan's part, and made far more complicated when they discover that the Gundams can't go near Hashmal without shutting down, the product of a conflict between the Gundams automatically releasing their limiters, and the pilot-protection limiters still being in place. As Tekkadan try to cut Hashmal off from its Plumas, Shino and Yamagi are sent out in the company's new Gundam, the Gundam Flauros.


So, one interesting thing this episode gave us is that it clarifies -- implicitly, at least -- that while Gundams require pilots, they are intelligent to a certain degree, presumably via the same technology that drives Hashmal's artificial intelligence. They can choose to undo their own limiters, even if they can't do the same for the limiters that protect their pilots, and they're able to recognise and respond to the presence of a Mobile Armour. This was implied to some degree before, given that we'd seen Mika talking to Barbatos and treating it like a person, but it's always been easy to dismiss that as just Mika being kinda weird.

It adds an interesting extra dimension to the show, and while the idea of Gundams having some form of intelligence and will isn't new -- I remember Gundam Wing implying as much once or twice -- it's not really a plot detail that ever gets especially old.

Speaking of Barbatos, somebody elsewhere remarked that this episode ends in exactly the same way as the last one -- with Mika dramatically appearing to defend someone from being killed by Hashmal -- but that it's impossible to hate because the show pulls it off with such style and panache, and you know what, they're not wrong. In fact, until it was pointed out to me, I didn't even realise that this episode's ending was identical to episode eleven's.

Barbatos is very good at the dramatic glowy eye thing.

The fight between McGillis, Isurugi, and Vidar never really materialises, as Julieta angrily tells Vidar to come and help her babysit Iok before they get a chance to throw down, and he reluctantly agrees. That's a shame, but McGillis does at least know that Gali-Gali is alive now, so that will presumably influence his actions to one degree or another in the next few episodes.

We also got it confirmed that, no, McGillis definitely is the antagonist here, he is using Tekkadan, as he outright tells Isurugi that he's doing so. No surprises there, I don't think anybody was really expecting McGillis 'I Arranged For One Of My Best Friends To Die And I Murdered The Other And Also I Might Be A Paedophile' Fareed to actually be working for Tekkadan's benefit.

The big draw of this episode, however, was the appearance of the Flauros. We don't get to see it for very long, and in fact the scene it appears in seems to split its focus fairly evenly between 'showing off its transformation gimmick and railguns' and 'shippy subtext between Shino and Yamagi,' but we do get a glimpse of it, and hopefully it'll factor into the next episode in a slightly bigger role.


Speaking of shippy subtext, we get Atra nervously asking Kudelia if she likes Mika (and it's very clearly meant in the 'do you like-like Mika' sense) and having Kudelia confirm that she does, only to then say that she likes Atra, too, with Atra responding in kind. A lot of people are saying that this confirms the three of them as an OT3, but honestly, while it heavily suggests that Atra and Kudelia would both be down for that, we have very little indication that Mika even recognises that it's an option. Romance is barely on his radar, and the show has already clarified fairly thoroughly before that he doesn't really understand it.

Anyway, this was a really fun, fast-paced episode, which god knows we needed after a lot of slow paced ones. It looks like the next episode will wrap up the battle with Hashmal fairly quickly, and spend a lot of time focusing on the aftermath, which will be interesting, at least. Then again, we've been misled by previews before, so who can really say.

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