Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans
Episode 10: A Letter from Tomorrow
Release Date: December 6, 2015
Genre: Sci-fi, Mecha
Where to Watch: Daisuki,
Synposis: The ships of Tekkadan and the Turbines head off to Earth, leaving Mikazuki and the mechanic Yukinojo back onboard the Saisei to monitor the repair of Barbatos. Naze prepares to take Tekkadan through a route to Earth that avoids the Gjallarhorn communication beacons, but it is a route that’s used by pirates as well, so he advises caution. Meanwhile, family is the name of the game as multiple characters receive messages from family members on Mars, and they contemplate their life with Tekkadan…
Man, I knew this episode would probably continue the exploration of family that starting in the last two episodes, but I didn’t expect it to hit me as hard as it did. It was really touching to see everyone sharing their ideals and goals for the future of their family, and a couple characters really open up in this episode. The series really isn’t limiting character development and introspection to a few “core members”, but like a true family, everyone is learning and growing alongside each other, and it makes each of them feel really vibrant and alive.
Atra in particular has a lot of screentime in this episode, and none of it is wasted. She’s learning to accept the fact that Mika and Kudelia might become a couple later on, and she’s getting used to stepping back and letting Mika do his own thing. I have enjoyed seeing her and Kudelia grow together as sisters, not rivals, in the past episodes. Their relationship is surprisingly realistic, especially given the fact that Alta suspects Kudelia might have feelings for Mika. Not every anime girl needs to be a tsundere.
But their interactions reveal a whole new side of Atra that I didn’t see coming at all, and I felt really sad for her. Her life prior to meeting Mika and the kids of the former CGS was horrible; she worked at what was basically an…adult club, cleaning and working, while she was only around 8 years old. She eventually ran away from that job, but she nearly starved on the streets were it not for her running into Mikazuki, who helped her find food and a job.
As sad as Atra’s life was in the past, she has hope for the future because of the love of her family in the present, and how they helped bring her out of her old life. And it’s a fitting parallel for the Christian life: we too were lost in our sin, starving for proper love, and the Holy Spirit brought us out of our former life, filled us with the love of Christ, and gave us a new purpose in Him. And now we’re part of Christ’s family, and are no longer alone.
Atra isn’t the only one thinking about her family: both Biscuit and Takaki receive messages from their sisters back on Mars, and they’re encoruragec to work harder in order to support them more. Even Akihiro is revealed to have a brother, but he was lost years back when a band of pirates attacked the merchant fleet they were a part of. That attack killed their parents, and they were each sold as Human Debris. He explains this to Takaki in one of the first times we’ve seen Ahki express emotion other than determination or anger, and I’m really loving all the development everyone is getting. It’s not a mushy love-fest where everyeone is magically getting along, but everyone is working through their own problems and growing because of it, and it’s makes them feel so relateable and human because of it.
Speaking of people, we’re reintroduced to Merribit, the woman who gav Orga her handkerchief when he was throwing up in the last episode. She’s appointed to be a business associate to Tekkadan on behalf of Teiwaz, and while she seems nice enough, Orga doesn’t seem to trust her. To be fair, they did just meet her, but Orga seems to have just begun to feel the weight of the responsibility on him as leader to keep his family safe, and he’s becoming very protective, which is good. I am interested to the part that Merrebit plays in the crew of Tekkadan.
Gimme the Skinny!
Man, with this episode the show really is exploring not only the concept of family, but it explores the families of various characters as well. We get to see a totally different side of life for the members of Tekkadan. We got a small glimpse of that when we were first introduced to Biscuit’s sisters back in Episode 2, but it’s taken further in this episode. Multiple characters that we had no backstory to actually reveal some of their hidden layers in this episode, and it’s a very welcome change of pace from the frolicking space action of a few episodes back. The series likes to take its time with development: it’ll give us a period of action, and then a period to recover from that action with some good character development, and I like it.
While not appearing much as this was a more plot and character focused story, Barbatos does show up in the last act of the episode and makes an amazing entrance that really kicks things up a notch and excites me for the next episode. The show is balancing action and development quite nicely, but I do wonder if we’ll ever see any other Mobile Suits that were around during Barbatos’ time. Gundam series usually have more than one Gundam, so I think there is a possibility that we’ll see maybe one or two before the series is over; if not in this season than perhaps the next.
Also, little Mika is super-kawaii. 😀