Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 1 – First Impressions – Textbook Sunrise Premiere

Mari Okada is a skilled anime script-writer, that her name even stands out is testimony to that. But she’s also uneven, and seems to be on a downward slope for the most part since the latter part of 2013 – while I liked Nagi no Asukara, it was uneven, her version of Madoka (Selector Infected WIXOSS) wasn’t great, and her version of Neon Genesis Evangelion (M3: The Black Metal) was downright terrible. So now she’s going to give us her version of Gundam, and it’d be official. I’m hopeful, but wary. Gundam in particular, and Sunrise mecha in general have a lot I like, such as the grey morality continuum, “no villains, just antagonists,” some politics at stakeā€¦ but it’s often tired, because it’s the exact same story, again and again. Which might be seen as meta-commentary on the nature of war, but whatever. Let’s see what you’ve got, Okada.

Story / Themes:

Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans anime / Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans anime episode 1 - The price of work

Man, what a dense episode, and forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but such is often the case with Sunrise Mecha shows (of which Gundam is an example, and even precursor for what’s usually going on these days), we have to introduce a large cast of characters, two sides, various political powers, agendas, morality-plays, and setting information. It feels incredibly dense because this type of show, unlike Light Novel adaptations, rarely believes in exposition dumps, but it just throws us into the middle of a situation. If this were a novel, it’d be three, with us seeing various stories unfold concurrently, not just the same story from various points of view. Rarely is the commoner who’s in love with a soldier telling the same story as the others. Regardless, dense.

Continue reading