Thoughts on MSG Iron Blooded Orphans

Well it’s done. The latest Gundam series has finally ended. I just finished the last episode a short while ago and now it’s time to share some thoughts I’ve had the series. I’ll keep the final spoiler stuff to the end.

1 – Overall MS designs were hit or miss.

The Gundams themselves were rather nice, but Barbatos itself really only began to shine in Season 2 in it’s Lupus form. It’s hard to look back at the Season 1 Barbatos now. Gusion tuned out to be quite the interesting suit with the quad arms and “God Hands” nippers (Yes, yes, I get the reference). Flauros, to be honest never struck me as that memorable and the constant pink scheme of Ryusei’s suits was a gag that probably went on for too long.  Bael was a nice, simple design that honestly reminded me of the 1.5 Gundam from 00 Gundam and the Tallgeese III from Wing.

On the opposing side we had Kimaris, which I actually liked it’s initial form, then it became the Trooper which was interesting but didn’t appeal to be. Then, well you should know by now, it became Vidar and quite the sexy beast. Then finally it became Kimaris Vidar which was a mixed bag of a design and not appealing.

With regular MS designs, the Graze dominated the first season and while I enjoyed it’s variations it ultimately didn’t hook me as a great grunt suit. The only versions of the Graze I really liked were the Schawlbe(? Fuck the creators for using bizarre foreign words that I can never recall how to spell) and the Graze Ein. Thankfully Season 2 mixed the grunt designs up and it got more visually interesting. The Frame Shiden suits I thought were superior to the Grazes, as was the upgraded form of the Graze, the Reginglaze(? again, why can’t they just make normal sounding words for the these things?). The Man Rodis however were kind of forgettable. The Teiwaz suits were more interesting especially the… Heji…ma… You know what, whatever.

2 – Some slow and diversionary parts of the story.

While Season 1 was actually fairly straightforward in it’s plot (Get Kudelia to Earth basically) it did have a slow moment when the space pirates showed up and the ensuing battle wasn’t all that satisfying. Also the whole uprising thing on the colony just fell by the wayside and is a plot point never revisited again.

Season 2, while more complex, still had it’s share of diversions, such as the side story of things on Earth and how easily things got fucked up there. Thankfully, that’s the only real slow moment of S2 that stands out to me.

3 – So what the heck was McGillis really trying to do?

He came off a Char… but kind of sucked at the role. Be honest, he failed as a Char. I understand how he wanted to cut out the corruption of Gallijhorn, but why would stealing Bael somehow automatically give him control over the organization? It seems a bit presumptuous and foolhardy, especially looking back on it now.

I honestly still don’t understand his beef with the leaders of Gallijhorn and how all this originated when was a kid. Maybe I’ve just forgot already, but that just goes to show how forgettable his origins were.

It just now appears he hadn’t thoroughly thought his plan out and the amount of resources he would truly need(including Tekkadan) to accomplish his goals.

In the end, I suppose you could say all the bad juju he had spread around came back to bite him the butt in the form of Gailio, a plot move that I actually approved of.

4 – Mikazuki Augus, man with no past.

I think Mika was a decent protagonist. Just okay. Excellent fighter and pilot, but kind of fell short on the character development stick. In all honestly maybe there just wasn’t that much to his past besides befriending Orga and joining the child soldiers of Mars.

His character did soften some as S2 moved along, but didn’t change that much. He did good overall, I’d put him over Heero Yui because at least he killed his targets, but Mika isn’t anywhere close my favs such as Setsuna, Amuro or Judua. In the end, Mika just felt too flat a character to really get attached to.

Also, he’s in the elite group of Gundam protagonists who got laid through the course of the series.

5 – Orga Itsuka, the most troubled, and interesting character.

Orga on the other hand was a much more interesting character to follow throughout the story. His rise to leading to a rag tag group of child soldiers to a full blown PMC and all the politics surrounding it made some great story telling and a fascinating evolution of his character. He wasn’t always strong, in fact he was quite human in his depiction but he always strove to do what was best. In that sense, it makes sense why Mika had such blind devotion to him as did the rest of Tekkadan.

6 – Almiria Baudwin, the most useless character.

So useless and pointless, she didn’t get an mention in the series ending.

Really, what was the purpose of this character? I can envision the whole show continuing on as given without her involvement. She didn’t even really do anything.

So McGillis is/was married to her to, I guess to supplant the Baudwin name in Gallijhorn? I don’t get why this was necessary.

Also, do need to mention she is 9 years old? WTF Sunrise.

Oh sure, McGillis killed her big bro and she throws a temporary hissy fit, but she forgives him and stands by him as he practically leads a civil war in Gallijhorn and keeps ruining her family name. As if she has no fucking clue what is going on anymore.

Most useless character.

7 – Iok Kujan, the man everyone hates.

Iok, sometimes referred to as Idiok, fall alongside such memorable Gundam characters like Jerrid Mesa and Ali Al Sanchez. Through sheer stupidity and dumb luck he manages to kill off a few liked characters, set off small disasters and yet somehow escapes death and retribution time and time again.

He eventually became his own joke and meme, but yes, he did die in the end.

8 – Let’s all go out in Game of Thrones style

All right, enough teasing around. Let’s get to some spoiler stuff, so fair warning.

A lot of characters die. Surprisingly, most of the stars of Tekkadan fall in the last ten episodes with nary a serious blow to the opposition (the sole exception being Iok).

I won’t get too specific, but yeah, your main protagonists are dead. Mika and Orga don’t survive this show.

It’s actually quite daring of the makers to go this route. I’m a bit surprised. In the past, namely SeeD, when the main was threatened to get killed off, fan outcry forced Sunrise to keep Kira shoehorned into the series. But not this time.

We get a somewhat bittersweet end, but the goals of the heroes still came to pass. Mika and Akihiro both had some great final battle moments in the last throw-down. Although Juiletta’s appearance was kind of redundant and kind of kill stealish.

It would be an interesting thought experiment to imagine how differently things might had been had McGillis and Tekkadan endured and beat back Rustal’s forces. Would the wars and battles had been never ending then? Would Earth and Mars been at perpetual war with each other? We may never know now, but we know that a Season 3 or movie is pretty much out of the question now.

9 – We should all agree, Dainsleifs suck.

These started out as interesting weapons, but quickly got overpowered and overused in S2. They became the cheap shot of choice for the opposition.

10 – The past is interesting, but we can’t let on too much about it.

In this series are supposed to about 72 Gundams in existence, although most are supposedly destroyed or inoperable. In addition to that, there are several Mobile Armors supposedly dormant and it is unknown how many there are/were. There were also other forbidden weapons as well, as we only got to see beam weapons once and the dainsleifs.

This all leaves a lot of speculation as to the nature of these other Gundams, MAs and weapons and the exact nature and history of the Calamity War. Unless Sunrise/Bandai decides to tell the story of the Calamity War someday, we have to relegate ourselves to speculation on what else is out there in the IBO universe.

 

Final thoughts since I want to wrap this up.

While I can’t get into too much else, I think IBO as a whole was a fairly successful series. It turned out a bit better than I expected it to and I’m rather glad the makers took a huge risk with the ending they went with. Too often we get shows that play it too safe with main characters (Looking right at you Jesus Yamato) and lets them survive impossible situations.

Thankfully IBO kept things real in that regard. Character development was a mixed bag, but I would say I enjoyed Orga more than Mika. Mech designs were a hit or miss with me.

In the end though, I was satisfied with IBO.

As for what comes next, there’s Twlight Axis and the S2 of Thunderbolt, both are OVAs.

As of right now, there are no concrete plans for a new series, so we’ll just have to wait and see what Sunrise comes up with. No rush though.

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