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Mobile Suit Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans
Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans is another Gundam series set in an alternate timeline, this one being the Post Disaster timeline. Set in a future where hostilities between human settlers on Mars and the Earth Sphere are escalating due to Earth's influence on Martian affairs through the private military organization Gjallarhorn, the series is prominently focused on a private Martian military group called Tekkadan who are given the job of protecting Kudelia Aina Bernstein, the young daughter of a Martian political family who seeks to travel to Earth to persuade the Earth Sphere government to grant independence to Martian settlers and inform them of Gjallarhorn's corruption. As Tekkadan make their journey to Earth while protecting Kudelia, they are continuously hunted down by Gjallarhorn forces seeking to prevent Kudelia from making it to Earth.|
Iron Blooded Orphans has many of the typical elements you would find from a Gundam series. There are escalating conflicts between Earth and space residents, prejudice felt from those having unique abilities of some sort (Alaya-Vijnana implanted pilots in place of Newtypes), a strong willed young woman seeking to settle conflicts between the opposing sides, a high death count, corrupt individuals on the opposing side taking advantage of hostilities for their personal gain, and a young man piloting the highly powerful Gundam mecha used throughout the series. While drawing from these elements, Iron Blooded Orphans actually uses them to create its own unique plot and character developments and give it its own unique identity.
A strong element that Iron Blooded Orphans offers up is exploring the problems faced by child soldiers through the fighting they undergo. This gets prominent focus through Mikazuki's character as due to his upbringing as a child soldier, he is psychologically unstable from his inability to properly express his emotions and deal with social situations outside of military settings. The boy will usually find himself giving into berserk rages while in battle, is completely merciless to enemy forces and has difficulty properly expressing emotions; traits that he is well aware of internally throughout the series. His interactions with Kudelia at varying points in the series lead Mikazuki to get some gradual developments in improving his social skills and empathy toward others. Besides Mikazuki, the series also explores the good deal of abuse that child soldiers are subjected to through military factions like the Brewers as the children are subjected to fear and abuse, as well as being forced into getting the risky Alaya Vijnana implants used to empower the mobile suits they pilot.
Iron Blooded Orphans plays up on many of the strengths that make Universal Century titles like Gundam Unicorn and Zeta Gundam worthwhile and memorable titles in the Gundam franchise. The series explores the conflict between Tekkadan and Gjallarhorn from the perspectives of both sides as viewers get introduced to characters among both sides that have a good deal of depth in their motivations and personalities, making the majority of characters among both factions relatable to the audience. Some of the characters find their personal beliefs challenged from confronting the harsh realities of war, this prominently shown through Kudelia's exposure to the escalation in Earth and Mars' hostilities toward one another and Tekkadan's continued struggles against Gjallarhorn. Besides the mentioned child soldiers, the series is also not afraid to show how brutal and harsh war can be with major characters being killed off, the morality of some characters deteriorating from dealing with war's brutality and influential figures among Gjallarhorn exploiting said hostilities for their personal gain.
The series does have its occasional bumps in quality though, mostly stemming from the typical flaws of Gundam titles. Mikazuki is mostly unstoppable as the pilot of Gundam Barbatos, killing any kind of suspense for whether or not he survives any battles throughout the series. Some characters in the series are portrayed to be rather shallow and are over-the-top in their villainy, notable case being Kudel Cadel of the Brewers. Also, the series doesn't escape the occasional annoying habit of having mobile suit pilots angrily yelling out ideologies and motives at their enemies during heated battles that are found from a number of past Gundam titles.
Visually, Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is easily one of the better quality titles released this past year. The series sports a great amount of visual detail put into the designs of its scenery, character and mecha designs; accompanied with a bright color palette. The mecha designs mostly borrow off of visual details used from past Gundam titles, including Barbatos maintaining the classic Gundam appearance. Mecha battle scenes offer up the animated highlight of the series as battles between Tekkadan and enemy forces take place in a variety of locations throughout the series that include space colonies, space, reentry into Earth and on the Earth itself. The fight scenes are mostly fluid, have great choreography and the variety of locations offer diversity in the ways that mecha battles are fought throughout the series.
Overall, Iron Blooded Orphans is easily among the best alternate continuity titles that you can find within the Gundam franchise. Offering up all the strengths of the Gundam franchise with its own spin on them and having a strong focus on the effects that war has on child soldiers, Iron Blooded Orphans is a definite recommendation for seasoned Gundam fans or those looking for a worthwhile mecha title to get into without having to delve too deep into the convoluted continuities of the Gundam franchise.
Last updated Sunday, March 27 2016. Created Sunday, March 27 2016.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.mbs.jp/g-tekketsu/|