Review: Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans, Episode 7: Whaling

Review:

Tekkadan learns that their new nemesis is Maruba Arkay, the president of the now defunct CGS, who is demanding the return of his ship. To make matters worse, he has hired Teiwaz—the very organization with whom Tekkadan desires to do business—to work on his behalf. While Naze Turbine, a member of Teiwaz and captain of the ship Hammerhead, desires to assimilate Tekkadan rather than fighting them, Orga flat-out refuses and pitches his own need for Teiwaz’s assistance with the current mission. This request is, of course, declined, which leads to the two sides going hostile, with Mikazuki and Akihiro launching for Tekkadan while the Hammerhead launches its own crew of initially two—but eventually three—female pilots while the two battleships also engage in combat. The battle proves to be more challenging than either side had wagered, but Tekkadan’s strategy ultimately prevails, seemingly earning them the respect of Turbine while simultaneously sparing the lives of Akihiro and one of the Hammerhead pilots.

This episode continues to follow what appears to be an established pattern of alternating between calm episodes and action-oriented ones. While the previous episode was built around exploring some of the main (and side) characters, this one leaves little room for character development (other than the fact that Kudelia can’t put on a space suit by herself) in favor of brutal mobile suit combat. It is, of course, convenient story-telling that Tekkadan’s new opponent should be the very organization with whom they wish to do business (meaning that they don’t have to sniff out Teiwaz anymore, just convince them to actually provide assistance), but at the same time the writers do manage to bring this turn of events back around to previous actions, so at least the appearance of Teiwaz doesn’t come from out of the blue. It should have been expected that taking over CGS would have left at least some hostility, and that comes to fruition this time around.

Story aspects aside, the combat in this episode is truly intense and satisfying, although the way Mikazuki gets fairly well beaten down in the Barbatos does cause one to question what is supposed to be so special about the Gundam unit in this series. While a previous review has praised the fact that the Gundam doesn’t seem to be over-powered this time around—and while that point still stands—it also seems like there isn’t a whole lot to set it apart, when traditionally the Gundam unit(s) is/are specialized suit(s) that outshine all of the others. Granted, the Barbatos does survive a hit that was thought to be deadly this time around, so therein may lie the answer, but the struggle does leave one scratching his head as to why the Gundam should be feared this time around. On the other hand, there is a nod of respect to the realism shown—for all intents and purposes, Tekkadan is still new to this whole world, especially in regards to mobile suit piloting, while their adversaries thus far have been much more experienced. While it seems the Alaya-Vijnana system does give them an edge over foes without that equipment, it is possible that the inexperience of the Tekkadan soldiers means that the system just gives them a fighting chance instead of them simply being slaughtered by more seasoned enemies.

In any event, if you enjoy mobile suits beating the living tar out of each other and holding your breath to see how the protagonists will get themselves out of their current situation, then you will undoubtedly enjoy this episode. There is no easy victory to this battle, and the method by which the battle is decided is not easily predictable. Yet again the series also does a good job of raising as many questions as it answers (at least if you take some time to think), because it certainly isn’t clear where Tekkadan will get all of the resources it will need to repair the damage done in this battle. All-in-all, the series continues to progress nicely without feeling rushed, and it leaves enough to bring viewers back next time.

A Christian Perspective:

Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Pretty much every combatant in this episode embodies this proverb. Mikazuki and Akihiro seemed to be overly confident in their own abilities while the Hammerhead pilots appeared to believe that they would have no problem wiping the floor with the young Tekkadan pilots. This shared cockiness turns disastrous for both sides, as the Hammerhead forces appear to have the upperhand at first, with Akihiro being pinned by the two initial pilots while Mikazuki ulatimely underestimates the third pilot that joins the fray. It doesn’t take long for Akihiro to show his true strength, though, which puts both of his opponents in danger (though Akihiro appears to come close to losing his life), and while Mikazuki initially underestimates his opponent, she seems to do the same to him, assuming that he must have been defeated, which allows Mikazuki to put her into a position that would have resulted in her death had the battle not been called off in the nick of time. The point is that both sides showed an unhealthy amount of pride in this battle, and as a result they both faced death during their skirmish.

The application to real life seems pretty simple here: many times we approach situations with too much pride or confidence in our own abilities, assuming that success or victory will come easy because we are “just that good”, only to find ourselves defeated or, possibly, in sin, because we didn’t rely on God or we took for granted the gifts He gave us and took credit for them ourselves. It is an easy trap to fall into, and we’ve probably all been there several times in our lives. Learning to rely on God can be a difficult thing, and learning to approach situations with humility can be even harder, especially when we are faced with something that we are quick to classify as “easy”, “simple”, or “a decisive victory”. Instead, we should approach situations with humility, acknowledging our own limits and the fact that we don’t know everything that we are getting into.

Content Guide:

Language: 4 “d*rn”, 1 “g*sh”

Alcohol/Drug Use: Two men are shown sitting in a bar with what are likely alcoholic drinks in front of him; Turbine smokes

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: A woman is shown polishing her nails in the episode’s beginning—her top shows a little cleavage, and there are some risque camera angles; a woman in a skimpy outfit is shown next to Turbine—the top of her buttcrack sticks out from her jeans, and her top exposes much of her belly and cleavage; two other women on Turbine’s ship are shown in cleavage-revealing bikini tops; Kudelia is shown in her bra and underwear as she tries to get a space suit on—her top shows cleavage; Atra’s bra is also briefly seen as she zips up her suit; Akihiro is shirtless inside his mobile suit

Violence: Turbine’s ship engages in combat with Tekkadan’s ship; typical Gundam violence—ships are hit with missles and gunfire, mobile suits fire at each other and engage in melee combat, etc.

Blood/Gore: None

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