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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2E14

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Series 2, Episode 14

So, we need to start this review talking about the most important thing in this episode: The new opening! It's got some pretty nice music in the form of Fighter by Kana-Boon, but the imagery doesn't reveal much new to us, bar that there's a focus on Mika's frailty, and that in the villain shot of McGillis with Almiria, he's now looming over her and leaning down towards her, instead of kneeling as he was in this series' first opening. Whether that means anything is dubious, but it's always nice to get a reminder that McGillis is really creepy around Almiria, I suppose.

In this week's episode, we see a shift in the focus of the action, from Tekkadan to the Turbines. With Iok driven into a furious rage by the awakening and defeat of Hashmal, Jasley Donomikols manipulates him into shutting off Turbine supply lines and attacking them on semi trumped up charges of trafficking banned weapons. As the Turbines reject Tekkadan's help, and as McMurdo wavers over whether to offer them any help or not, they find themselves left alone to face Gjallarhorn. In flashbacks, Naze and Amida reveal how they fell in love and created the Turbines.

Honestly, I'm surprised by this viewpoint shift: I suspect it won't last very long, maybe one more episode after this, or two if Tekkadan get involved in some fashion, but in a series with a limited number of episodes to tell its story, and still a lot of story to get done, it's a slightly odd choice. This goes doubly since it's obvious how this is going to end: The Turbines are almost certainly going to end up either destroyed or forced to withdraw their support from Tekkadan. It's been being set up since their introduction that one day Tekkadan would have to get by without their support, so the biggest surprise is that it took this long for it to happen.

McGillis, why do you need a window that huge.

Most of this episode, then, is set-up for a battle between Iok's forces (and possibly Jasley's, as well) and Naze's. We're told that Iok is blocking Turbine trading and supply lines, thus backing them into a corner, and that there's nothing that McGillis can do (although whether he even would is questionable -- Tekkadan needing to rely on him more is good for him), since this is standard operating procedure for the Arianrhod fleet.

We do also get Rustal explaining to Vidar exactly why he keeps Iok around: Iok is beloved by his men, and inspires people to action under him, which in fairness is something we've seen before. We also get a curious remark that if Vidar took off his mask, Iok would be unnecessary, indicating that Vidar maybe doesn't need the mask to survive like we all assumed. Whether Rustal means 'because then everyone could see your pretty face, Gali-Gali' or 'because then everyone could see your horrible scars' is debatable.

The backstory we get with Naze and Amida, meanwhile, is all pretty interesting. We find out that most of the Turbines were working in unsafe conditions as shipping workers before Naze and Amida recruited them, and that most of them are Naze's wives only in name, as a measure to assist in legally protecting them and keeping them in his group. That isn't the most compelling explanation I've seen, but given that we know Jasley and probably McMurdo are kind of misogynist, I can buy it, I suppose.

We also get to see that Naze and Amida's romance was adorable, with Naze hiring Amida as a bodyguard and then falling head over heels for her on account of how  strong, competent, and good at piloting she was. 

Amida, when she was younger and had better fashion sense.

Meanwhile, on Mars, most of the story revolves around Atra's weird plan to make Mika stop piloting Barbatos by having him impregnate either her or Kudelia. I mean, one problem with that is that it obviously won't work, but the other problem is that this doesn't really add anything to the story? It just makes Atra seem either weirdly over-childish, hugely manipulative, or both. I've seen no shortage of fanboys praising this plot turn for reasons which I'll charitably describe as 'deeply creepy,' but it just seems like pointless time-wasting to me.

Hash's face here.

Next episode, we'll be seeing Gjallarhorn vs Turbines, which might be the largest scale battle we've seen in a while, at least in terms of sheer numbers. This will also likely involve us seeing whatever it is that Julieta is test-piloting: The Gundam Bael, maybe? A new, Gundam-esque frame? Something which isn't a Gundam at all? Who knows. If we don't find out next week, we'll probably know the week after, at least. We should also get to see the Turbines' new suits in action, so that'll be nice as well.

It also looks like there's something afoot with Tekkadan going on next episode, possibly involving Merribit. She was originally a Teiwaz member, so that's maybe not entirely surprising -- hell, she might even have worked for the Turbines at one point.

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