SO…….I tackle on one of the biggest franchise in all of anime (at least one show of that I fully watched with this). Its name is quite synonymous when it comes to mecha anime over the past 40 years (well, actually 38 years coming 2017) or so.
And ladies and gentlemen, that franchise……that name…..is of course….
Yes, this particular franchise has been around since 1979 and there has been countless anime series, OVAs, movies, manga, novels, video games……i.e. a whole bunch of shit I’ll get exhausted naming them all. No, really, just look it up on Wikipedia and all that.
Now when this premiered in October 4th, 2015, I didn’t think about watching this at first mainly because I don’t know if I need to follow other Gundam shows to watch this and thankfully, you don’t.
If I have to give one positive out of the way, it’s that. Any newcomer that can watch this won’t feel lost watching this as it feels like its own thing. It’s much like watching Gatchaman Crowds without having to watch the original series…….now let’s get to the meat of the series.
300 years after a great conflict between Earth and Mars known as the “Calamity War,” a woman named Kudelia sets out on a journey to Earth to speak for the independence of the Martian city of Chryse, which is under the control of the Earth government. Escorting her is the private security company CGS members Mikazuki Augus and Orga Itsuka. When a group named Gjallarhorn attacks CGS and Cordelia, Orga sees this as a chance to rebel against CGS and launch a coup. Mikazuki and Orga are thrust into a new conflict. To fend off Gjallarhorn, Mikazuki rides an old mobile suit from the Calamity War, powered by a nuclear reactor, the Gundam Barbatos.
So, with any Gundam or some mecha trying to be this, this is bound to be 3 things: some great-looking mecha action, powerful dramatic moments between characters and some politics that most of you won’t probably pay attention to. All 3 are presented well in the series although for those that want more mecha fights will probably won’t be too pleased, considering it’s getting dialogue heavy in some episodes. One episode, it involves a lot of talking and the next could involve some action or it can be two episodes with that same follow.
However…….that’s actually what I like about the show. The dialogue and drama does lead into the action and occasionally that’s actually a good way to lead things, meaning it doesn’t drag to where it seems like forever to get to the action and the pacing does switch speeds to either fast, slow or in the median.
Like I said before, I love the character drama happening throughout the series. Some character types and tropes do seem familiar and we can predict what might happen to them in the future but it doesn’t mean I didn’t care about them. It’s how they are presented and how they cooperate and interact with each other and while we knew some fates of them, it was still sad the way some of them died. Hell, one death in here was expected but it was still depressing as hell. Honestly, I like the majority of our characters, including our main characters Mikazuki and Orga. I know people got up in arms when it comes to Mika killing his adversaries so cold and emotionless yet…….I’m fine with that as it was indicted that shit like this isn’t actually brand new to him or Orga. Plus, I’m pretty sure his life as an orphan in the streets was so fucked up, this doesn’t seem that shocking anymore. The emotionless part, I get why people bitched at that but to be fair, this was handled better than one main character from a show that drew inspiration from Gundam…..well, it was labeled the “Gundam Killer” and look what happened to that.
The other people in Tekkadan, I do like the majority of although my favorites in there is Biscuit Griffon (yes, that’s his name – sisters are named Cookie and Cracker, grandmother is Sakura Pretzel and a brother named Savarin – that’s a light ring-shaped cake made with yeast and soaked in liqueur-flavored syrup – yeah, Gundam is weird with names.) and Atra Mixta, who really had a fucked-up life as an orphan (worked in a brothel and abused there, too.) and works as a cook with them and does have more insight in the world and as a character than we imagined.
Kudelia Aina Bernstein and her role trying to seek independence for Chryse and helping with Tekkadan does seem like a Disney Princess-role as most people spectate and then there’s the “are they or aren’t they?” thing with her and Mikazuki (and maybe Atra since she got a crush on Mikazuki, too.). However, I do feel that Kudelia is a well-rounded character in the series that delivers on the dramatic intrigue part.
Now, of course, the animation here is courtesy from none other than Sunrise, the legendary studio behind it all and I feel like it’s about time they put their good mecha animation into their bread and butter and the artwork looks great in HD although I think people will think less of that and more of this…..
(You knew I was going to use this.)
Anyway, onto the music and let me just say…….hot damn, “Raise your Flag” by MAN WITH A MISSION is the best way to start out this show because it is so thrilling and epic to hear as the episode starts from the bombast of the drums to the chorus to just about everything. This song is an amazing opening to the show and they also have an even greater ending song called “Orphans no Namida” by Misia with this blend of soul and jazz that easily hit every emotion of the show and one of my favorite anime EDs of all time……. Hell, it’s a better Bond song than the Sam Smith one from last year.
……what sucks about it is that it was only used for the first half. The second half uses “Survivor” by Blue Encount as the opening and for the ending “STEEL -Tekketsu no Kizuna-” by TRUE and the songs are not bad per se……just a cookie cutter opening and ending for any action anime. You could add this to any anime and it wouldn’t make a difference. It’s just another generic opening and ending song. I miss that song now when the new season started.
For the English dub and yes, this is from Bang Zoom and it aired on Toonami, this one was fairly decent. It’s something I would recommend in dub form and maybe it’s a little stiff but nothing awful about it. Once again, Chris Cason takes on directing this dub (he is on fire with BZ lately…..especially since he’s now directing the dub to Mob Psycho 100…Yeah, I’m shocked, too.) and another FUNimation regular takes on writing and this time, it’s Josh Grelle with the pen….or keyboard.
We got a showcase of some veteran and rookie actors in here from Johnny Yong Bosch (Orga), Cherami Leigh (Kudelia), Cassandra Morris (Atra), Kirk Thornton, Richard Epcar, Lucien Dodge, Amanda Miller, Julie Ann Taylor and a lot of names I know but too many to list but hey, y’all did good!!!
Oh, and yes, Kyle McCarley as Mikazuki was fitting in that role.
FINAL VERDICT: Coming from someone who isn’t a Gundam fan and not trying to jump on everything of theirs, I have a blast with Iron Blooded Orphans. This is the mecha show that I wanted Aldnoah.Zero to be, from the captivating drama to the amazing action to getting devoted to these characters and rightfully balanced without feeling like a drag and seeing what outcome happens to them. There’s a reason why I put this on my top anime list of 2015 and all the reasons are there and I’m glad to see it aired on Toonami.
In other words, this blood is rich with a….
As of now…….well, there hasn’t been any word of a Blu-ray release of it yet. I know RightStuf owns Gundam property so we’ll probably know by them hopefully in 2017. However, you can stream it on Crunchyroll, Hulu, Daisuki and Gundam.Info. The series has aired on Adult Swim’s Toonami and could be watch there on their site as of today. Oh, and the second season is currently now streaming on those aforementioned sites.
This has been MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, and remember to RAISE YOUR FLAG!!!!! Motherfucker!!!!
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM: IRON BLOODED ORPHANS – animated by SUNRISE