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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2E13

Mobile Suit Gundam:
Iron-Blooded Orphans
Series 2, Episode 13
Hunter of Angels.

So, we've finished the first cour, and you know what that means! Yes, I am naturally talking about how we'll be getting a new opening two weeks from now (hopefully) which is, of course, the most important part of any anime series. Oh, and also, like, big sea changes to the series dynamic and formula and stuff, but that's all way less important, you know?

In this week's episode, Orga reveals to McMurdo how Mika dueled Hashmal in Barbatos, taking heavy damage but eventually managing to defeat the Mobile Armour. Back on Earth, McGillis explains how Iok was at fault for the Mobile Armour activating, causing Rustal to warn Iok not to become a problem. Julieta asks Rustal if she can be the test pilot for a new machine, prompting surprise and concern from Vidar. Back on Mars, Mika has lost the use of one side of his body, along with his legs, leaving him unable to move freely -- but to everybody's surprise, he's unconcerned about this, instead just become more fixated on piloting Barbatos.

So, I've been talking for a while about how the show is setting Mika up to not survive this war, as it keeps framing him as somebody who can't really exist outside of war, and this episode really hammers that in deep. Not because he now can't move, although the fact that he's lost the use of a leg, an arm, and an eye, and seems to only have partial movement in his other leg, definitely places obstacles in the way of him living a normal life -- but rather, it's hammered in by Mika's own actions, as he makes it clear that he doesn't expect or want a life outside of war.

The fight between Mika and Hashmal was very cool, though.

It's clear he thinks that way from pretty early on, when he seems only mildly disappointed that he won't be able to work on the farm any more -- remember, Atra and Kudelia were discussing a few episodes ago how Mika seemed really committed to the farm, and the farm was very much set up as the one glimmering chance Mika had for a normal life, only for this episode to clarify in no uncertain terms that it was never that important to Mika -- but it only becomes more overt when he outright says that this makes things simpler and easier for him, as he can now only be free while in Barbatos, so he may as well just keep fighting until he dies.

There were some people speculating that Mika would die this episode, but what we actually got was far more grim, not because of his injuries but rather because of what they reveal about Mika as a character. To really set up the tragedy that Tekkadan is playing out in abundantly clear terms, we also have Naze echo something Makanai said early in the series: That trying to achieve your goal as quickly as possible only leads to trouble. This time, however, it's squarely directed at Orga, giving Orga an opportunity to veer off the path of tragedy.

Which he doesn't take, because part of the anatomy of a tragedy is that the tragic hero -- which is what Orga is, since Mika, while he's the protagonist, really doesn't have enough agency to be the tragic hero of the story -- receives opportunities to avert tragedy, but can never take them. At this point, Iron-Blooded Orphans is almost a textbook tragedy, and it's fair to assume it might only become moreso from here.

The question of what McGillis' symbol is has been bothering me for a while now,
but I've been too lazy to go back and check. Luckily, this episode makes it very clear
that it's Fenrir.

Elsewhere, we get McGillis sending Isurugi to inquire after what happened to Gali-Gali's remains, with the rather suspicious response of 'his body was cremated and the Kimaris returned to the Bauduin family,' given that Vidar is very much not cremated and the Gundam Vidar is clearly just a rehauled Kimaris. This raises the question of whether the Bauduin family are in league with the Elion family and Kujan family, and if so, why they haven't gone to the other Seven Stars, since the three of them together, with an eyewitness account from Gali-Gali no less, would be all they need to ensure McGillis gets a swift execution.

And also that Iok and Rustal have Jormungandr and Hraesvelgr respectively.

When I asked about this, someone suggested that the three of them are involved in a power grab of their own, and honestly, that makes the most sense out of all the options.

McGillis going full villain, to nobody's surprise.

We also get Julieta putting herself forward to test pilot a new machine, but no hints as to what that machine is. I'm sure somebody knows exactly what machine the characters are referring to, but I admit, I'm completely in the dark here. It's apparently very risky, at least, since Vidar seemed surprised that Rustal would let Julieta pilot it.

It looks like the next episode is going to focus on Teiwaz, which given that Iok has apparently contacted Donomikols, makes it seem like the next arc will focus on Donomikols and his group trying to take down Tekkadan and Naze. I can't wait to see what barely customised factory mech Don will get into while yelling about he's unstoppable. 

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