Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans
Episode 7: Whaling
Release Date: November 15, 2015
Genre: Sci-fi, Mecha
Synopsis: Tekkadan is introduced to Naze Turbine, a mid-level boss working for Teiwaz. He was hired by Maruba to reclaim all fo the former CGS’ property, and he wants everything back. He offers to give the kids of Tekkadan work if they serve him, but Orga refuses, despite their need to ally with the Teiwaz mafia. Thus begins the second major space conflict in the lives of our iron-blooded orphans…
This episode really picked up where the last episode left off, and the pace picked up just enough for the show to feel comfortable; not rushed, and yet not slow. It picks up in intensity towards the end of the episode, and it really pulled me into the action.
Looks like a Hammerhead shark. I like it.
I’m a sucker for any type of space ship-to-ship combat, and this episode had a good amount of it. Naze’s ship is much larger than Tekkadan’s, so they’re forced to play a more defensive role in the battle: thinking more tactically than aggressively, but the way they manage to turn the battle around is both genius and amazing, But let me not get too far ahead of myself.
Naze Turbine is one of the many characters we see saw in the OP of the series, and he’s introduced as a suave, businessman/mobster type that works as a sub-boss in the Teiwaz mafia. He exudes an air of someone who’s used to getting his way, and he rides the wave of Maruba’s angst against Tekkadan smoothly into offering them a job as his subordinates. He even plays on Orga’s fatherly instincts by saying that the orphans will be given safe work with him. But these same instincts are what keep Orga from taking Naze’s deal, and he refuses, leading to the combat-focused latter half of the episode.
She’s got quite the nasty scar. I wonder how she got it?
We also meet the tough-yet-well-endowed Amika, Naze’s lover and main Mobile Suit pilot. She seems to play both the role of girlfriend and ace pilot, and I’m wondering what part she’ll play in the future of the series. In fact, all of the enemy pilots and operatives are female for some reason. Does Naze have an all-female crew for a reason? Was it intentional or coincidental? It is a nice change, and it’s good to see more and more diversity in sci-fi shows, which tend to fall into tropes fairly easily. The good thing about Gundam shows is that they manage to come up with something fairly original in almost each new series, whether big or small, and this all-female crew that doesn’t have a female leader just because “girl power” is an interesting choice.
The space battle takes up the most time in this episode, and it was very well-animated. Each scene was fast-paced and intense, and I really have to hand it to Sunrise for making everything move smoothly. The fights between the Suits of Mika and Ahki were especially well-animated: I felt the speed of Barbatos as it was pulled along behind an enemy Suit by its grapple line, and I felt Ahki’s rage as he took on two pilots by himself.
Ahki in the middle; taking on two Suits by himself.
The ship-to-ship combat was also excellent, and it really helped to underscore that tactical thinking, not sheer firepower, is what wins an engagement of this kind. It gave me the same edge-of-my-seat feeling as I had when I was reading through the Halo novels; each movement of the ships in combat had to be made with a purpose: every weapon fired, every thrust from the engines, every turn of the ship required the utmost care and thought from the captain, and I really appreciate the level of realism in this sequence.
Loop the loop and over the top!
I’m glad to see that each character introduced is taking an active role in the series as a whole: normally you’d think of guys like Eugene and Biscuit as side characters who sometimes help out the mains, but they each have different viewpoints and bring different skills to the table, and the series is doing that with all of its characters: even Fumitan, Kudelia’s aide who we didn’t really hear that much of until last episode, plays a role in ship communication. It’s a sign of good writers when a series can use all of its introduced characters to their fullest like this, and I have to say that Sunrise is doing a good job of making each character feel important. That being said, I do hope that they don’t spread too little butter over too much bread, as it were, and lose character development for the sake of multi-character interactions. They seem to lean towards using those multi-character interactions to keep the development going, and that’s good, but I do hope we get to have those intimate, in-your-head type of experiences with our characters.
Gimme The Skinny!
This episode was a lot more fast-paced than the last one, and in all the right ways. There are new characters introduced in the form of Naze Turbine and Amika (not to mention his all-female crew and the introduction of two female Mobile Suit pilots), and it does seem like we’ll be getting some good character development and plot progression with Naze by the end of the next episode.
We are given a LOT of action this time around, and it was all well-thought out and well-executed. You can feel the love that the animators and the designers have for this series: it shows in the intensity of the action and the expressiveness of the characters faces. You can feel the brotherly sarcasm between Orga and Eugene, and you can feel the rage that Ahki feels at himself and his opponents. The battles between both Mobile Suits and ships were each memorable, and they kept me interested in each of them the entire time. They’re definitely striving for a fair amount of realism in the show, and it shows in the space combat. From the precise actions needed for ship-to-ship combat to the tactical thinking of the mobile suit pilots, I’m really enjoying how the series (and Gundam series in general) view war in a realistic way, rather than a “run-and-gun, spray-and-pray” way that some stories like to do. The heroes aren’t invincible just because they’re the heroes: they too get battered and bruised and can be defeated at any time, and they know this. But their will and determination to press on, to make something better of themselves and accomplish it with their own hands,: that is what makes them all so loveable. Because we too want to make something of ourselves, whether it is through work or school or career or family.