Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans
Episode 5: Beyond the Red Sky
Release Date: November 1, 2015
Genre: Sci-fi, Mecha
Synopsis: Tekkadan makes their deal with the bling-wearing-yet-shady Mr. Orcus, and he promptly sells them out to Lieutenant Coral, the man who orchestrated the attack on CGS back in the first episodes. Hoping to use this as a way to get out of any reputation damage he’s already suffered, he enlistd the help of Majors Baudin and Fareed to help him capture Tekkadan as they escort the Princess to Earth. On their way to the space station, Tekkadan is confronted by Gjallarhorn and Orcus, but they aren’t without a few tricks up their sleeve, and they engage in a heated space battle.
My Thoughts: This episode was a little bit more action-packed, which I liked. I enjoy the political and moral intrigue of the Gundam franchises, but it does tend to slow the pace down a bit, so I was glad to see the story pick up a bit. I mean, their job was to escort the Princess back in the first episode, and only just now are we seeing them begin to fulfill that role. Hopefully once they actually get her to Earth, the story will really take off.
I’m sure it is…
We finally get to see the culmination of Mr. Todo’s nefarious plans in this epsiodes, and we get to see them hilariously backfire because Orcus doesn’t care if he dies alongside the Tekkadan orphans. In fact, pretty much everyone just sees them as a waste except for Princess Kudelia, and I think that’ll play a big role in her relationship with them. They’ve been used by everyone except her, and the way that she uses their trust is going to really affect how they view her as an individual. Maybe we’ll have an episode where it seems like she only used them to get to Earth, and they abandon her or something. She’s already having a lot of self-doubt and identity issues, so I think that personal struggle is going to be the hallmark of Kudelia’s development as a character.
They’ve got an awful lot of moments…
Speaking of character development, the relationship between Kudelia and Mika is becoming more and more pronounced, to the point where even Atla sees this and volunteers herself as Tekkadan’s personal cook just to get closer to Mika. This dude’s a player and he doesn’t even know it. But I am interested in how his relationship with Kudelia changes him as a character: so far Mika has shown himself to be a caring individual who thinks deeply about his decisions, but is quick to act if he believes he’s helping those he loves. He’s strong and silent, but isn’t afraid to speak. He’s willing to let others tell him what to do, but at the same time he’s good at helping others to understand his ideals. He’s full of contradictions, as noted by Orga in Episode 4, and it’s a bit hard to get a grasp on how he’ll be used in the show as anything other than the Gundam pilot. He’s definitely a character with some layers, and I hope the show takes its time to peel back those layers bit by bit, so we can truly understand who Mika is and why he’s so important.
When Orga’s got his game face on, you know something’s going down…
Orga has a quite a few awesome scenes in this episode; he’s filling the role of leader of Tekkadan quite nicely, and he ensures that those under his charge don’t suffer unnecessarily. He’s got a talent for thinking ahead, and this is really evidenced in the way he brings in Ahki as a backup when they are attacked by Gjallarhorn:
Ahki to the rescue!
Orga knows what he’s doing. I still want to know about his backstory, but his tough-yet-caring, almost fatherly leadership over the orphans of Tekkadan is commendable, and he provides them a figure to look up to. In essence, he and Mika are essential to the group: they provide hope in the form of leadership and battle strength. They give the orphans the sense that they can change their future, that they can make a difference, and that they can make something of themselves. They’re not defined by what any man says about them, but they can shape who they are through their actions.
We got to see a bit of the Gjallarhorn Majors Baudin and McGillis in action, and it was a lot like seeing Setsuna vs Col. Graham and his men all over again. And yes, I will continue to make that comparison all throughout the series; it’s not my fault Mobile Suit Gundam 00 was my first real Gundam series. Well, I guess it kind of is, but that’s beside the point. The story is really shaping up to make McGillis into a rival for Mika, and I’m definitely looking forward to more encounters between them, especially as Mika didn’t really win the fight between them: he simply escaped with the rest of his crew. But they do identify each other during their bout, so I’m interested in how knowledge of the general area of Tekkadan on Mars will affect how and when the Majors will strike.
Gotta love the way Mika remembers people.
Gimme the Skinny!
Overall, this was a pretty solid episode. It had a nice balance between action and plot-progression, and I enjoyed it a good deal. It showed us more of our favorite characters in action, it finally got us into space, and we can finally rest easy knowing that the Princess can make it to Earth now. I’m definitely looking forward to more episodes.
I’m really enjoying the interactions between the members of Tekkadan. From Orga’s fatherly leadership to Mika’s brotherly protection, to even Kudelia’s sisterly love for everyone, it’s becoming more and more apparent to me that G-Tekketsu is less of a story about giant robots fighting, but more of a story about the development of a family and the way this family reacts to the changing world around them. They still don’t know everything about each other, but they’re together for a reason, and they’re making the best of it and learning more about each other through it.
The only thing I didn’t really like about this episode were some of the battle scenes: Gundam Barbatos seemed to lose a lot of detail when the camera zoomed out during the battle sequences, and it was a little disorienting to me, especially as we’ve seen Sunrise deliver awesome battle senses in the Gundam Build Fighters series. It was a small detail, but one that did throw me off a little bit.
Also, Todo-san learned by the end of the episode that treachery doesn’t pay:
I wish Batman: Arkham Knight let me ship my defeated enemies back to their bosses…