Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans

Set in a completely different continuity than the Universal Century continuity Iron Blooded Orphans chronicles the story of a group of child workers on Mars who are uses as essentially slave labor by their boss and their latter involvement with the Martian Independence movement it's figure head and leader Kudelia Aina Bernstein and the ensueing fight to protect her and the youth's newly founded organization founded by Orga Itsuka who with the help of his right hand man Mikazuki Augus overthrow their employer and take on a contract to escort Kudelia back to earth all the while avoiding criminal syndicates, space pirates, and Gjallarhorn a corrupt power bloc on earth that put end to The Calamity War centuries ago. Iron Blooded Orphans is not as some have called it Mari Okada's Gundam no it is a Gundam series with some of the worst aspects of Okada's writing soldered on to an Gundam story. From pointless character deaths that confuse something being sad with it being poignant, unresolved love triangles, and themes of family some of these are better done than others the actual skeleton of the idea a rag tag bunch of kids gain access to an old Mobile Gundam Suit from a long ago fought centuries old war. While they try to assert their independence, autonomy, and basic humanity in a society that sees them as nothing more than expendable pawns in games of real politick. Is interesting it's only that Mikazuki has all the personality of a fence post and is only really defined by his relationship to Orga along with his almost emotionless and sociopathic tendencies that make him hard to sympathize with but much like  Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan makes him almost inhuman in fact by the end of the series I found myself more broken up over the death of one of the antagionists than one of the main secondary charcters and even than it all felt so telegraphed as to feel artificial. I am by no means an Okada hater I thought Wandering Son was a truly empathetic portrait of someone struggling with their Gender Identity or that Anohana really got the idea of mourning someone and learning to move on. Yet this is many of Okada's worst traits as a writer combined with cliché Gundam plot elements that felt borrowed from series as different as Gundam Unicorn to Gundam Seed. In fact it could be easy to see Iron Blooded Orphans as an attempt to make a new Gundam Seed for a New Generation. But at least SEED gave Kira some kind of emotional range and the dark elements made sense. In Iron Blooded Orphans the dark elements feel gratuitous and Mikazuki frankly feels like a cipher. In short this is a tiresome and bland Gundam series that has none of the grim seriousness of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, the over the top goofy charm of G Gundam, or the angst and moral conundrums of Gundam Wing. Any of these would be a better choice than this tepid attempt at Gundam for a new generation.

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