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Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans; Ep 44

Gundam mecha military science fiction

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#1 Cybersnark


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Posted 23 February 2017 - 06:44 PM

TW: attempted suicide, blood.

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Episode 44: The Man Who Holds The Soul

McGillis' plan is finally falling apart, and it looks like Tekkadan are going to be the ones who pay the price.


It's interesting that we're seeing the result of Gjallarhorn's educational system at work; even the soldiers staffing headquarters are falling back on superstition and legend, simply because they've never been taught about the Alaya-Vijnana interface or the nature of the Gundams --information that McGillis clearly sought out on his own initiative.

This episode also spotlights the failures within Tekkadan itself, as identified by Merribit, and Nadi, and Eugene, and Kudelia. It's a failure of vision; of not seeing the choices right in front of them, and thus allowing themselves to be herded along this path. If Merribit had been able to serve as an advisor rather than a glorified secretary that social convention has made her. If more people in Tekkadan were thoughtful and creative enough to look for other, non combat-based, options. If Eugene and the other team leads had taken more initiative and borne more weight from Orga. If there were some other way to foster the familial bonds of Tekkadan, that didn't involve throwing their lives away under harsh conditions.

And then there's Mika, who seemingly has no regrets. Mika, who underestimates himself to be nothing more than Orga's weapon, rather than a co-leader with his own voice and a sharper mind than he himself has realized.

I have to admit I'm not entirely satisfied with how this is playing out; McGillis has been a brilliant chessmaster up to this point, and it just doesn't feel right that he'd miscalculate this badly. Unless his "madness" is itself just a feint (note his smile after Orga slugs him) --if he wants to reform Gjallarhorn, becoming its Scourge and forcing it to reject its own mythology would be a logical step.

As much as I love anime, it does have a tradition of unsatisfying deus ex machina or just nonsensical endings, in which complex conflicts suddenly deflate into simple "Good/Evil" binaries. In a lot of ways, Japanese storytelling is very formulaic, and the villains have to lose in specific, socially-accepted, ways --often by succumbing to their own madness or obsession, thereby demonstrating the folly of ambition, regardless of whether this makes sense to their established character.
"Hilarity ensues." --Seamus Harper

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