Review: Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans, Episode 5: Beyond the Red Sky


Tekkadan is finally ready to set sail into space as part of its mission to deliver Kudelia to Earth. Unbeknownst to them is the plot that Todo has hatched. Even worse is the fact that Todo’s contact then gets in touch with Gjallarhorn, bringing even more trouble down on the fledgling company’s head. With a new team member, Tekkadan launches into space, only to be attacked by Gjallarhorn forces shortly after; of course, Orga didn’t come unprepared, and Mikazuki launches from their ship to defend his friends while the small space ship docks with the larger space cruiser purchased by Tekkadan in the previous episode. Meanwhile, the company that Todo was working with enters the fray, attempting to stop Tekkadan’s escape. While one member of Tekkadan launches in Crank’s stolen mobile suit to help Mikazuki, another launches in a mobile worker to help them turn the tables on their betrayers. Tekkadan makes its escape and retrieves its sortied members, but not before Mikazuki manages to make a few more enemies for himself.

If action is your thing, then this episode is sure to deliver. While the previous episode was a much more mellow world and plot building piece, this one focuses a lot more on the adrenaline of combat. Granted, the first portion is definitely more devoted to the plot and the overall setup of the betrayal of Tekkadan, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In general, the whole episode carries with it the concern of how Tekkadan is going to overcome is foes and the new threats facing it, which makes for a pretty tense episode overall. The fate of a certain character near the end is the topping to all of this, as the writers literally leave his fate unconfirmed until the final moments, and even though he isn’t necessarily a primary character his actions still make the viewer want him to be okay.

The episode also advances the potential of the Mikazuki love triangle by having Atra decide that she is going to join Tekkadan as a cook. Of course, her feelings for Mikazuki have been pretty obvious early on, and the assumption is that something will likely develop between Mika and Kudelia, but whether this will become a primary focus of the story or not is up for grabs right now. Mikazuki certainly doesn’t present himself as the romantic type, but those of us who like a little romance in our mecha dramas at least have some type of subplot to focus on.

It was also nice to see Mikazuki struggle a bit during the battle in this episode. While he seemed to have a power advantage, the Gjallarhorn pilots gave him a run for his money in terms of skill, with very few—if any—actually dying at his hand. While the standard rule of thumb in Gundam series is that the Gundams are more powerful than any other mobile suits, it would be boring to see the protagonist simply wipe the floor with all of his foes. Of course, it’s not like every other Gundam series does this, either (with the exception of the throwaway scrub suits), and the setting of Iron Blooded Orpahns would appear to have mobile suits to be a more valuable commodity rather than the mass-produced status they seem to have in previous entries. In any event, we still don’t know too much about Iron Blooded Orphans’ world, but we do know that Mikazuki will have his work cut out for him, even in his Gundam.

At the end of the day, there is little (if anything) negative that could be said about this episode. It continues everything that we’ve come to enjoy so far while providing a satisfying dose of action. Where the character rivalries started in this episode will go is unknown, and whether or not launching Todo to Gjallarhorn will have any significance on the plot is a personal question that this writer hopes will be answered in subsequent episodes. Hopefully the quality of the series will continue through its whole run.

A Christian Perspective:

So I honestly drew a blank with this episode. Maybe it’s because I got to caught up in it, or maybe nothing simply stuck out to me, but there wasn’t really any kind of “lesson” that jumped out to me; however, I did eventually think of a comparison between this episode and 2 Chronicles 13-16:

Now Jeroboam had sent troops around to the rear, so that while he was in front of Judah the ambush was behind them. Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked at both front and rear. Then they cried out to the LORD. The priests blew their trumpets and the men of Judah raised the battle cry. At the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands.

The connection for me came from the fact that Tekkadan sort of does get sandwiched between Gjallarhorn and Orcus during this episode’s battle, although it’s not exactly with one in the front and one in the rear. Still, the fledgling company finds itself surrounded by foes, but ultimately finds its way out. The difference between this situation and the one described in the above Scripture is that Tekkadan had to rely on their own craftiness and resourcefulness, while Judah was able to call upon God and He rescued them from their enemies. I don’t know about you, but having God fight for me and take care of my seemingly hopeless situation is much preferred to relying on my own ability to figure it out. It’s not really much of a spiritual lesson, but if nothing else we can see the benefits of having God on our side by looking at it from this perspective.

Content Guide:

Language: 5 “d*rn”, 1 “a**”

Alcohol/Drug Use: A man smokes a cigar

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Todo is tied up in nothing but his boxers
Todo is punched in the face; mobile suit combat takes place, with suits firing at each other, at a space ship, and beignd esroyed in melee combat; one ship fires at another

Blood/Gore: Gaelio’s head bleeds

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