English Dub Review: Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans “Settlement”

Revenge is a dish best served in the cold vacuum of space.

OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

Kudelia receives word from Merribit about Tekkadan cutting ties with Admoss and its affiliates, and she can’t get any info from Teiwaz. All Merribit can say in response is ask if they can get a broadcast from Earth.

In space, Jasley’s armored cruiser is in heated battle…with Tekkadan. Jasley, who somehow looks even dumber in a purple space suit than he did in his weird jaguar print coat, is sweating bullets as the boys clean his group’s clock. Everyone gets at least a couple kills to their record, but none of them are happy about it. Of note is Mikazuki in Barbatos Lupus Rex’s maiden fight, laying waste to swaths of soldiers. Jasley starts wondering where Iok’s help is, though no one’s heard anything from him. A flashback shows the initial plan being for the Kujans to box Tekkadan in and finish them off, with Jasley then taking them back to the Saisei to arrest McMurdo so Jasley can finally take his rightful place as the head. And I’m sure that WAS the plan on Iok’s end too until he got that lecture from Rustal. Now, it seems the terms of the deal have changed, as more of their forces are whittled down further and further.

Hush gives Mika room to go on ahead in the Turbine’s remaining Hekija (damn, I was really hoping Azee had come back), though Dante warns him to use it right in their memory. Jasley gets desperate and sends out his Human Debris, which gives him a momentary edge, but it’s soon taken back by Shino and the Flauros. Zack questions Dante and Chad about fighting people who they used to be like, but that doesn’t matter. If they’re on the other side, they don’t get any mercy. This is punctuated by Akihiro demolishing one such soldier while remembering Galan Mossa’s words about being “decent”. If it means keeping more people from dying, Akihiro is done being a decent person.

Back with Rustal’s group, Julieta reflects on her loss against Amida and how much stronger she needs to become. Her mechanic muses that one easy way would be giving up her humanity, hinting at the fate of Ein, the pilot who became one with the predecessor to Julia, but Julieta rejects it outright.

Jasley, meanwhile, has run out of options and finally decides to call McMurdo. He tries pinning this on Tekkadan but McMurdo sees right through it. Everything about this is something Jasley brought on himself, and now that Rustal’s called off Iok, there’s nothing waiting for Jasley’s goons even if they survive. Not that McMurdo can really guarantee that because Tekkadan’s no longer with Teiwaz either. As he gazes at a broken Sakazuki cup (whether it’s Jasley’s or Orga’s is unclear), he gives his final thoughts on Tekkadan as a whole. They don’t think ahead and don’t cut it as an organization, but they’re pretty admirable for trying to avenge Naze.

As Jasley gives the last tantrum and watches his plans literally blow up all around him, he finally relents and calls Orga. Too bad it’s too little, too late since Orga only wanted to see what his groveling face looked like and frankly, he’s seen better. And so, with one last command and a swing of a sword, Jasley is finished. The post-kill feeling is bittersweet, as while they may have paid sufficient sacrifice, now they’re on their own…aside from their link to McGillis. Right on cue, a broadcast goes out from Gjallerhorn soldiers calling for a revolution and pinning everything wrong with the organization today on Rustal Elion. Kudelia asks Merribit about her place in all this, to which she responds that she’s quit Teiwaz to look after the children of Tekkadan and Nadi. Kudelia thought she was part of the family too, but I guess there was a limit.

The boys only have one path ahead of them now: Go with McGillis’ plan and become Sovereign of Mars.

OUR TAKE

Opening salvos have begun with only eight episodes remaining, though a more accurate analogy would probably be receding tides. Tekkadan’s cutting off anyone who’ll be either harmed or harm them in their goals, though they’re pulling in one more unfortunate soul before the waves come crashing down. The wholesale slaughter of Jasley and his team is nonstop brutal metal-on-metal action with a truly satisfying conclusion, even if I honestly expected it far sooner. As said, the Barbatos’ final form gets to truly show off in this and it’s a glorious sight to behold.

On another note, I’ve seen a number of other Gundam shows prior to this, but a thought occurred to me watching the beginning of the descent towards the finale. In particular, the general mood. Usually, by this point, the clear antagonist has been identified, the remaining character drama is set up to be paid off, and the heroes commit to their righteous task of defeating the greater evil and bringing peace to the cosmos. And while that’s certainly what seems to be happening in a sense, the mood feels…off. Tekkadan isn’t some grand champions for justice, they’re child soldiers who just gave up a reasonably successful business (with the MOB, let me remind you) to get revenge and are banking on a coup d’etat in order to seize power. What’s more, the show very clearly knows the implications of this. We’ve been following these guys long enough that we understand what they’re going through, but the coldness of it all is harrowing. Lines about the enjoyment of killing people and forgoing decency only understate the gradual breaking down of the cast’s morals and sense of restraint. I can’t see this ending well for anyone, but I’ll be damned if I won’t be around to see where that ending goes.

Score
8/10

David Kaldor

Green Lynx (David Kaldor): Aimless 20-something given a paid outlet for his thoughts on cartoons. Fears being boring slightly more than being outright disliked.

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