Back to the blood-soaked lands where it all began
October has come and with it a new season of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. The latest entry in the franchise has returned once more to exploring the horrors of war and a society that has children being trained to kill before they’ve even hit puberty, while bringing us simple yet lovable characters who we can sympathize with. I can honestly say that I have been looking forward to Season 2 now and these are my first impressions.
So, picking up where we left out, Tekkadan has officially been inducted to Teiwaz after completing their first mission to deliver Kudelia and Makanai to the election, making the latter Prime Minister of Arbrau and showing how corrupt Gjallarhorn had become, so now they’ve got some fame behind them and even have an Earth branch as the military adviser of the nation.
However, these changes have essentially lit a powder keg and more conflicts than ever have been brewing. Even more children are being turned into Human Debris and soldiers, while more mobile suits are being upgraded and sent onto the front-lines. So things have gotten a better on a personal scale while growing worse on a galactic scale.
And this isn’t just them saying that these changes have happened. We see them throughout the episode. There’s a terrorist attack in the middle of the street while Mikazuki is bringing the twins to visit their grandmother. Leave it to Gundam to show and tell.
The character development from the previous season hasn’t come undone.
Mikazuki is largely the same ruthless combatant and hope-bringer for Tekkadan. Orga has taken to managing from the office instead of the front-lines. And the other veterans are now training and commanding a bunch of newbies that have joined up.
Kudelia understands that words alone won’t solve anything and remains in contact with the group after starting her own company (named after Fumitan), as well as creating an orphanage at Biscuit’s Grandmother’s farm. Biscuit’s sisters now live in a dorm and attend school, though they are still grieving over the death of their brothers. And McGillis is still coming out ahead despite screwing over everyone else in the previous season and sacrificing his friends, which he acknowledges.
New character-wise, we have the rest of the Seven Stars (with one being a bit out of it) and a bunch of new recruits from Tekkadan that don’t really understand what they’ve gotten into. I mean, they’re whining about not getting the back surgery that the others had gotten and trying to get credit on the front-lines in their first battle. Then comes the Mobile Suits and they start crying about dying.
To be honest, the new recruits don’t make the best first impression compared to the rest of Tekkadan in the first episode of Season 1, but… eh, I’ll give them a minor reprieve to see if they improve.
Music and Animation
The animation remains decent overall, with the really gorgeous scenes reserved for battles and highlighting the epicness of Barbatos once it descends onto the battlefield. The awesome tunes from the first season has also returned, with the battle music getting your blood boiling as the mobile suits start charging in. The closing music isn’t Orphan Tear’s, but a more upbeat rock tune and I get the feeling it’ll grow on me in time.
Overall, I was not disappointed with this episode. It’s given me the same rush that I got watching the first episode of the first season. We see the characters have been up to, how things have changed around the globe after everything that’s happened, and how everyone has been moving further. I can only hope that this season holds up the same standards as last season in the coming months.