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Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans; Ep 1

Gundam mecha Mars military science fiction

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#1 Cybersnark

Cybersnark

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 05:30 AM

This got long. I'll use spoiler tags to organize things.

Since this may be some peoples' first exposure to Gundam, a primer:

Spoiler

G-Tekketsu promises to be the first Gundam series to take place in the Mars Sphere --previous series have mentioned mars colonies (Gundam Wing ended with Zechs and Noin departing for Mars on a one-way trip, and AGE's Vagan turned out to be survivors of a failed Mars colony), but all the action thus far has been confined to the Earth Sphere.

(A "Sphere" is a planet's orbital space; the Earth Sphere includes the moon, and the lunar and [some of the] solar Lagrange points. The Mars Sphere includes Phobos, Deimos, and probably Mars' solar Lagrange points.)

My only legal option to watch this is on Daisuki, but those of you who are in the Right Country should also be able to watch on Hulu, Gundam.info, Crunchyroll, and Funimation.

And so, on with the watch-along:

Posted Image

Episode 1: Iron and Blood

Spoiler

I like this show.

The dialogue is a bit clunky (understandable when a show has this much worldbuilding to set up), and the lines betwen Good and Evil are starker than usual (though I know enough about humans to know that people really are that horrible, and I trust that things will get more complex in short order), but the characters are immediately likeable --they're intelligent and work like a well-oiled team, which is a vast improvement over the last couple of series. They managed to have more emotion, intelligence, and coherence in one episode than G-Reco managed in its entire run.

(The subs are legible too, unlike G-Reco, even if someone in the chain of command can't count.)

Even without the franchise legacy, this was just a very well put-together first episode; the pacing was quick but never seemed breathless, and even the small throwaway scenes had a point to them (during the battle, we see the base's lights suddenly go out, as if the main reactor just got up and walked away). Even the clunky worldbuilding was necessary given how the Ahab reactors ended up being plot-relevant (not just here, but in future episodes as well).

Given the poverty we get glimpses of on Mars (Haba's "store" looks like a bunch of cargo boxes haphazardly piled around), and how both the Third and CGS President Maruba are going on about cost of bullets, and loot as the main motivator for combat, I'm guessing that Mars' economy is truly in shambles. Given how economically-conscious Gundam tends to be (the costs of producing/maintaining mobile suits are a real-robot hallmark), this makes me interested to see how things look when (if) our characters get to Earth.

I especially love how, after years of mobile suits being ubiquitous, the show actually made them feel like threats again by keeping them offscreen until the end. Seeing a single suit rip through the Third's tanks like that actually felt like an escalation, rather than just a token fight scene (which in turn made Barbatos' appearance that much more powerful).

A crew of beat-up underdog rebels having to rely on their cunning and creativity against a much larger well-equipped enemy --this show could well surpass 00 as my favourite Gundam series. Even Aina's naïvete is treated as a flaw and not a character trait --she's clearly intelligent and idealistic, but she's been sheltered so much that it almost counts as abuse; a deliberate contrast to the more obvious abuse CGS' "human debris" have been subjected to.

I'm getting definite Firefly vibes from the "lived-in universe" aesthetic --perhaps Cowboy Bebop would be more fitting, considering Mars, but Orga and Mika are so totally playing a young Mal & Zoe.

And Biscuit is clearly going to be the show's MVP.
"Hilarity ensues." --Seamus Harper



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Gundam, mecha, Mars, military science fiction

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