Anime / Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

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"The sustenance of life is on the battlefield..."

It is the year Post Disaster 323, that is, over three hundred years after the Calamity War which brought destructive change to Earth's government. Mars has long been colonized, but suffers under crippling poverty, and now some of its colonies are seeking independence.

The Martian city of Chryse is a hotbed of the independence movement, spearheaded by Kudelia Aina Bernstein — the young daughter of an upper-class family. Earth has hired Private Military Contractor Chryse Guard Security (CGS) to enforce Earth's rule of the Chryse region. CGS's Third Group — made up entirely of Child Soldiers, orphans taken off the streets and children of extremely poor families — is given a special assignment: escort Kudelia to Earth to begin informal talks between the Earth government and the Martian independence movement. However, before they can even leave for Earth, CGS is attacked by Gjallarhorn, an elite military unit from Earth. The adults of CGS's first group order the Third Group to Hold the Line against the attack... while the First Group flee to safety, leaving the Third Group behind as Cannon Fodder.

The leader of the Third Group, Orga Itsuka, is not prepared to take this lying down. He orders Mikazuki Augus, his most loyal supporter and the Third Group's Ace Pilot, to enter the fray with the ASW-G-08 Gundam Barbatos — an ancient mobile suit from the Calamity War era, used by the CGS to provide power to their base. Armed with this ancient machine, Mikazuki fends off Gjallarhorn and saves the Third Group. The First Group's casual sacrifice of the Third Group is the last straw in a long line of abuse, and Orga begins taking steps to ensure that the Third Group won't have to suffer such treatment again...

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is the 2015 installment in the long-running Gundam franchise, as part of the Fall 2015 lineup. A second season was confirmed after the end of episode 25, which began airing on October 2nd, 2016. The 2nd Season picks up 6 months after the events of the first, focusing on the flourishing Tekkadan group, now seen as great heroes for their triumphs against Gjallarhorn. Meanwhile Kudelia continues her fight for Martian independance, with McGillis continuing his schemes within Gjallarhorn to seize power and wipe out its corruption.

The series can be streamed for free at Gundam.info and Daisuki, as well as Hulu if you have a subscription. Episodes also go up on Crunchyroll and Funimation a week after they air on the other sites mentioned. The series also began airing as part of [adult swim]'s Toonami block in June 2016, (making this the first Gundam series to air on Toonami in 12 years since Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, and the first to air anywhere on U.S. television in 7 years since Mobile Suit Gundam 00), which was hinted at in a press release and then eventually confirmed by Jason DeMarco on Twitter.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Tropes:

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    A-B 
  • Ace Custom:
    • The entire Gundam regiment from the Calamity War. While they were all built around the same high-performance inner frame, the difference in appearance between the Kimaris and Barbatos (the two suits closest to their original designs) indicates that their seventy-two elite pilots were given considerable freedom to customize their machines.
      • We get to see this unfold with the course of the Barbatos' modifications. It goes from being a half-salvaged mess (Forms 1-3), to how it's pilot preferred during the Calamity War (Form 4), to being built more to Mikazuki's preferences (Form 6), culminating in the Barbatos Lupus in Season 2, which is truly Mikazuki's machine.
    • Via a series of extensive (and messy) modifications, Crank's standard-model Graze eventually gets turned into Norba's Ryusei-Go, a lethal Lightning Bruiser with a fancy paintjob, an Alaya-Vijnana system, and a whole lot of Teiwaz technology under the hood.
    • The Schwalbe Graze is a modified Super Prototype for Gjallarhorn officers who can handle its high mobility and tricky control scheme to its fullest.
    • The Graze Ritter is a sister unit designed for both ceremonial purpose and orbital combat, they are geared with swords for its swift moment under gravity.
    • And then there is Graze Ein, which is a case of the pilot himself becoming the Ace Custom.
    • Julietta got her Reginlaze Julia as her mid-season upgrade, which is a prototype high mobility suit based on the Reginlaze.
  • Ace Pilot: Downplayed by the series as a whole. Although some pilots are highly skilled, even the best pilot around in the most advanced mobile suit available usually isn't a One-Man Army (in contrast to other Gundam shows, where ace pilots can slaughter mooks by the cartload). That said...
    • Mikazuki is hands-down the best pilot in Tekkadan, defeating every opponent he's faced with a minimum of fuss, even when he's severely outnumbered, facing a much more experienced enemy, fighting against another Gundam, or some combination thereof. This is largely due to the Alaya-Vijnana system. Even a single implant allows its user to control their mobile suit with exceptional skill compared to a conventional pilot — and Mika has three implants, with the Barbatos tuned to use the extra "bandwidth" to its fullest.
    • Resident Badass Normal McGillis is the other main example. He manages to keep up with Mikazuki and the Barbatos despite lacking both an Alaya-Vijnana implant and a Gundam of his own. Even Mika, who generally doesn't care about anything in combat except the fight right in front of him at the time, is impressed. He's also one of only two characters to defeat a Gundam with a single-reactor suit in a straight duel, and once he finally gets an Alaya-Vijnana implant, he becomes a genuine One-Man Army - though admittedly one whose spectacular combat performance is often a result of his enemies putting up less of a fight in order to lure him into traps.
    • Amida Arca, head wife of Naze Turbine, 100% natural human and main pilot/resident Badass Normal of the Turbines. While not part of the main characters, she has little to no trouble during any of the skirmishes in, whether the enemy is using superior suits, AV implants or both. She never takes anything more than scratch damage during any of her sorties, and season 2 sees her in her frankly outdated Hyakuren take on Julieta in her top of the line Ace custom... and proceed to tear her a new one with little effort despite having to deal with protecting the Hammerhead, taking out Iok's ship, and the Reginlaze Julia at the same time. The only reason she dies in said conflict is due to literally being bombarded by railguns in an attempt to take out the aforementioned ship, and even then, in her DEATH THROES, lands a long range shot on the cockpit of Iok's cruiser. Despite her aforementioned death, she may very well be the best pilot in the show hands down.
    • Julieta Juris from Season 2 is considered an ace in the whole Rustal's Arianrhod faction as her prototype model Reginlaze Julia is only usable by a high-skilled pilot.
  • Accidental Hero: Tekkadan's repeated victories against Gjallarhorn causes them to be viewed as heroes against tyranny by those whom Gjallarhorn oppresses to the point that Tekkadan's actions inspire working class colonists to instigate an armed rebellion against Gjallarhorn. However, Tekkadan only fought against Gjallarhorn for their survival and to complete their job of escorting Kudelia safely to Earth. As such, they are very perplexed when strangers start singing their praises.
  • Adult Fear: In episode four, Biscuit sends his sisters off to get something for him, and soon thereafter there's a screeching of tires. When they get to the road, the car has skidded to a stop and the girls are both lying motionless on the ground. They're both fine, but it's not immediately obvious. Mika nearly murders the driver before he realizes they're okay.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Season 1 ends with the conclusion of each of the various factions' Tekkadan finally accomplished their first mission and heads back to Mars while Kudelia decided to stay on Earth as Makanai's adviser. On Gjallarhorn's side, McGillis became its new leader and Almeria is going to marry him without knowing that he's her brother's murderer. On the colonies's side, Nobliss Gordon and McMurdo Barristan finally got what they've wanted and were looking forward for new things to come.
  • Aerith and Bob: Eugene and Sakura sound like a common names, anime or not. Then you have unusual ones like Biscuit, Atra, and Kudelia.
  • After the End: The setting is three hundred years after the Calamity War, which caused the collapse of the Earth Sphere government.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Calamity War started with the discovery of half-metal, which was turned into Mobile Armor weapons that inexplicably Turned Against Their Masters.
  • Alternative Calendar: The series is set in the year 323 of the Post Disaster era.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Turbines. Naze is the only adult male on board, barring Maruba when he was a guest.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: One of the first scenes of the show (and the second ED) is a flashback to Mika and Orga when they were kids - amusingly, the height difference was a lot closer then!
  • An Aesop: While the show presents a lot of thorny problems and doesn't pretend to have all the answers, one thing it seems very clear about is that there isn't just one kind of family or one kind of romantic relationship that's valid: it only depends on respect and love.
    • The CGS Third Group started out as exploited orphans and Child Soldiers, with no one to love them or protect their rights. Kudelia wanted to help vulnerable children like them, but she had no one she could trust—not even her own parents. Their rebellion and their decision to create Tekkadan allow them to create an adopted Family of Choice that also helps those like Biscuit and Takaki to take care of their surviving relatives through their work.
    • As for romance and parenthood, sometimes it takes a relatively traditional path, such as with Merrebit and Nadi who get together and have Babies Ever After. Others can be quite unconventional: the Turbines have a relationship based on polygamy and communal raising of children, and it works because everybody knew what they were getting into and decided they didn't mind the responsibilities that come with sharing everything. Eventually this path is followed by Mika, Atra, and Kudelia, who discover that they want to be together as three lovers, and Atra's son Akatsuki grows up with two mommies. Meanwhile, while Yamagi may feel discouraged about whether Norba will notice or return his love, the other boys are sympathetic to his feelings and nobody makes him feel wrong for being gay.
  • Anime Hair: Many characters sport cool or exotic hairstyles that would be *very* difficult to reproduce in real life. Mikazuki's spiky mop is a fairly tame example, but Orga's gravity-defying single, horizontal bang, Kudelia's voluminous, highly stylized Rapunzel Hair and Carta's fox tail braids are particularly notable. There's also Makanai Tougonosuke's epic beard, which projects multiple spiky points in a swirling arrangement.
  • Answer Cut: Tekkadan makes it into Oceania territory, which should be out of Gjallarhorn jurisdiction, until Makanai tells our heroes that a Gjallarhorn officer has come knocking anyway. Cut to Carta Issue commanding the advance.
  • Anyone Can Die: Throughout most of the first season the cast generally enjoys relatively low casualties for both antagonists and protagonist, though this is rumored to be the result of Executive Meddling which led to some Disney Deaths of main characters at the end of the first season against the wishes of writer Mari Okada.. The trope however is played very straight by the final 12 episodes of the show with a number of big named characters biting the dust.
  • Arch-Enemy: McGillis states in episode 35 that the Mobile Suits were created to destroy the Mobile Armors in the Calamity War. As such they are arch enemies. This is furthered by the Mobile Armor that awoke in episode 35 being named Hashmal, a type of angel when the Gundams are named after demons.
  • Armored Coffins: With the exception of Schwalbe Graze, neither mobile suits nor mobile workers come equipped with an Ejection Seat or Escape Pod.
  • Armor Is Useless: One of the greatest aversions of any Gundam series. This is one of the few Gundam series, if not the only one, to not use beam weaponry (at least for what it seems), which typically cut through mobile suits like they were wet tissue paper. And even Mook suits have been shown to take several rounds to go down, making melee weaponry actually justifiable for once. As a result, mobile suit combat tends toward a more medieval style, with pilots either whacking at their opponents with blunt weapons, using weapons that act as giant can openers, or looking for weak points. This aversion is the reason why Mika prefers heavy maces and avoids using a sword.
    • The aversion is also lampshaded with the Mobile Armor's beam weaponry. It's devastating when used on land against civilians and buildings, but even a grunt suit with basic nanolaminate armour can withstand a full sustained blast.
  • Artificial Gravity: A rare instance of it in a Gundam series, which usually uses Centrifugal Gravity instead. Ahab Reactors (the power source for warships and mobile suits) generate artificial gravity, which can have unexpected consequences when they're damaged or abandoned.
  • Ascended Meme: The term "Space Rat" has led to fans to depict Tekkadan members as literal rats, it ends up officially adapted by Megahouse and spawns the Orphanchu spin-off series.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Tekkadan fights the Brewers in a "shoal zone" made up of random space junk somewhere between Jupiter and Earth. Justified by the fact that the area is actually an old battlefield — the collected debris is held together by the Artificial Gravity produced by the still-functioning Ahab Reactors littering the wreckage.
  • Asshole Victim: The adults who rule over CGS on Mars get their just desserts for constantly mistreating the Child Soldier protagonists after Orga has their food laced with sedatives and has them all tied up and brought to the same room so he can inform them that he's running CGS now. Mika calmly Double Taps two of them — one in cold blood when he refuses to acknowledge that he's been disposed, and another who tries to bum rush them as a result.
    • Commander Coral is The Neidermeyer and corrupt to the core, making his death about as unmourned as can be.
  • Avenging the Villain:
    • Ein dedicates his life to avenging Crank's death at the hands of Tekkadan.
    • On Earth, Gjallarhorn's forces opposing Tekkadan in episodes 21 and 24 are commanded by Corlis Stenja, who seeks to avenge the death of his younger brother Orlis Stenja, the corrupt Gjallarhorn officer Mikazuki killed way back in the first episode.
    • Gaelio eventually develops a grudge against Tekkadan for hurting his friends and subordinates, especially Ein's maiming and Carta's death.
    • Iok also develops a grudge against Tekkadan, and by extension, McGillis (because he's working with them), after Hashmal decimated his team. Although this largely because his own fault.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Barbatos is cool and all, but in episode 4 Yukinojo points out that everyone who's qualified to do maintenance on it died out hundreds of years ago, and even the captured Graze would be a better bet. This is later revealed to be more a function of the fact that Tekkadan is an impoverished mercenary group than anything inherent to the Barbatos. For the Bauduins, one of the most prominent and richest of Gjallarhorn's leading families, keeping a Gundam (the Kimaris) in functioning condition is no problem whatsoever.
  • Awesome by Analysis: McGillis Fareed, the Gjallarhorn inspector. Within moments, he's able to identify the ancient Gundam Barbatos, the pilot enhancement system Mikazuki is using, and deduce a weakness.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The 72 Gundam Frames which fought in the Calamity War were designed to fight against the colossal Mobile Armors; AI-Controlled, Beam-Equipped monstrosities which went full-Skynet for reasons unknown.
  • Band of Brothers: Tekkadan is a tight-knit group, as not only are they relying on each other in combat, most of them are also orphans with no family except each other.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Although Gjallarhorn is heavily reformed by the end of the series, there is little doubt that throughout the series they are the villains, and were fighting to remain the authority in the world. Tekkaden was simply trying to find a place to belong in the world, which put them in direct opposition to Gjallarhorn by necessity rather than any actual enmity at first. It's made clear that there are still elements of resentment on both sides by the series end though, particularly in light of the look of anger and distrust that Eugene sends Julietta's way. This makes sense when you remember Julietta, a devoted, borderline fanatical follower of Rustal Elion, is the one who murdered Mikazuki on the battlefield. Julietta doesn't miss it, or it's implications, either.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The male characters are drawn without nipples when walking around bare-chested.
  • Bare Your Midriff: A non-character example. The skinny, unarmoured waists of Post Disaster mobile suits are a core element of the show's mechanical design, showing how low-tech the setting is by Gundam standards. Nobody, not even the genius engineers of the pre-Calamity-War era, has yet figured out how to fully armour such a large, complex joint without sacrificing flexibility, leaving even thickly-clad spaceborne suits like the Hyakuren and Man Rodi with a troublesome weak point.
  • Behind the Black: In episode 17, Ein is chasing after a launch in the distance, but is blocked when the Isaribi rises up in the foreground. Ein is caught off guard by its appearance and has to dodge out of the way to avoid colliding with it. The Isaribi was invisible to the audience thanks to being outside the frame of the shot, but should have been easily visible to Ein.
  • Beta Couple: Naze Turbine and his primary wife Amida. Befitting the Turbines' status as a collective example of The Ace, a best-case scenario for Orga's vision of Tekkadan, they're the stable, Happily Married older couple who look on the teenage cast's hormonal antics with amusement and affection (and occasionally offer a little relationship advice when things aren't going well).
    • As of season 2, old man Yukinojou and Merribit, as they both are the only voice of reason in Tekkadan.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Heroic rescues in the nick of time happen repeatedly.
    • The Barbatos is introduced in this manner, bursting up from the ground and smashing a Gjallarhorn MS flat with one hit just as it's about to kill Orga.
    • At the end of episode 10, Mikazuki shows up in the newly refurbished Barbatos just in time to save Akihiro and Takaki from the Brewers (though episode 11 reveals that Lafter and Azee were right behind him).
    • Lafter and Azee return the favor in episode 19, appearing on the battlefield to take out a Graze about to shoot down the shuttle that Tekkadan was using for reentry into Earth's atmosphere.
    • A rare one from Gjallarhorn in ep. 23 when Gaelio in the newly-upgraded Kimaris Trooper bails out Carta Issue after her Graze Ritter gets totaled. Just as it happened with Ein, Gaelio may be too late.
    • Happens repeatedly in episode 24: first Eugene shows up with mobile worker reinforcements piloted by former Brewers members right when Tekkadan is about to make their final push, then Mikazuki arrives just in time to keep Ein from smashing Kudelia, Orga, and Atra, and finally, we're shown that Mika's rescue was made possible because Montag entered the fray to fight Gaelio in his place.
    • In Episode 26, Mikazuki shows up in his newly upgraded Barbatos Lupus to save Tekkadan from the space pirates who have outnumbered them.
    • In Episode 33, Mikazuki does it twice. Once to save McGillis, and a second time to save Hush.
  • BFS: Carta's Graze Ritter and the units under her command all wield large, somewhat ceremonial (but still effective) broadswords instead of the typical Graze axe.note  The king of the BFS in the Post-Disaster universe belongs to the Gundam Astaroth in the side manga, whose blade is as long as the mobile suit itself, has to fold in half to store on the back and needs a special gauntlet to be wielded. The Helmwige Rincar also have an absurdly large blade.
  • The Big Guy: Norba Shino is the Third Group's largest member, and specializes in hand-to-hand combat as well as piloting. The most buff in Tekkadan is Akihiro, and it carries over to his mobile suit, the Gusion Rebake Full City.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The show ends with Akihiro finally killing Iok, Ride murdering Nobliss and the rest of Tekkadan successfully fleeing from Mars and living in peace after working with Kudelia, Yukinojo and the Arbrau government. Additionally Mars gains its independence with Kudelia as the new chairperson, and the Seven Stars are disbanded after three of them were extinct, creating a more democratic Gjallarhorn that outlaws the use of Human Debris. But Tekkadan as an organization is effectively destroyed, with Mikazuki and Akihiro dying. Rustal is still alive, succeed in his plan of wiping out the Revolutionaries and Tekkadan and remains in power after taking control of Gjallarhorn without his atrocities being exposed while Gaelio is crippled with two of his childhood friends dead.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The subtitles have some interesting translation decisions. For example, the things Mika is frequently seen snacking on are at one point referred to as "Mars palms". (They're dates — that is, the fruit produced by certain types of palm tree.)
    • The Latin American Spanish translation translates the terms Mobile Worker and Mobile Suit to Spanish, rather than keeping them in English, as is normally customary in almost every non-Japanese and non-English translations. Oddly enough, this doesn't happen in the European Spanish ones.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Ālaya-Vijñāna system is implanted in the spinal cord of Child Soldiers — and as seen in the pilot episode, there seems to be little or no anaesthesia involved, and the procedure has a 40% failure rate, which results in paralysis or worse. Even in successful surgeries, the result is a grotesque, obviously-artificial skin-covered metallic data port sticking several inches out of your back.
    • A more extreme example happens late in the series, when Ein Dalton is completely rebuilt as a full-on Cyborg after being mortally wounded in combat. He appears to be built into his mobile suit and it's unclear if he can be removed from it at all.
  • Book Ends:
    • The Barbatos is first seen without its shoulder armor and kneeling. One of the very last shots of the finale is the Barbatos doing the same, albeit in a worse state of disrepair.
    • When we first see Akihiro in the Gusion Rebake, he looks exhausted and his nose is bleeding. In the season finale, in one shot of him in the Rebake while Orga is giving his speech, the same happens, except now he's standing on a hill, looking over several trashed Grazes.
    • The series starts with a flashback of Mikazuki asking Orga what they should do next. The first season ends with Orga asking Mikazuki the same question.
    • Crosses over to the Barbatos' Weapon of Choice: its first appearance in the anime wields the iconic spiked mace. Come the reveal of the Barabatos Lupus Rex, it also gets a spiked mace, only bigger. Closer to the point of this trope, these two maces are the last things we see in the first and second seasons.
    • The series begins and ends at the CGS/Tekkadan headquarters on Mars. Both times involves Gundams and Grazes fighting.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece:
    • The Gundams are examples of this. Barbatos was being used as a power supply by CGS before the Third Group used it in combat out of desperation, and Gaelio's Mid-Season Upgrade meant having the Gundam Kimaris retrieved from storage where his family was keeping it.
    • In the battle against the Earth fleet, Tekkadan decides to use chaff, as in thin strips of aluminium to throw of their sensors, which in the setting is a way more antique piece of technology than even the oldest mobile suits.
    • The Valkyrja Frame mobile suits are developed in the end of the Calamity War.
  • Brick Joke: The Ryusei-Go is painted with eye-like emblems on the head, which serves as a lucky charm. In the ensuing encounter against Graze Ein, Ein literally aimed his Pile Bunker towards the head instead of the cockpit.
    • Not as jokey as most examples, but Atra's bracelet, also a lucky charm, just happens to be on the arm not affected by Mika's brain damage from the Barbatos.
    • The last image of the first season finale is that of Barbatos' old mace still floating in outer space.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 4 toys with the Villains Out Shopping angle, by having McGillis and Gaelio meeting Mika.
    • Episode 6: "As For Them", which may as well be titled As You Know.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Used twice in rapid succession in episode 16. First, Kudelia is saved when an anonymous protester shields her from the machinegun fire that slaughters the entire protest group, and then a few minutes later Fumitan takes a sniper's bullet intended for Kudelia. In both instances, the weapons involved were powerful enough that they really should have gone right through the shield and hit Kudelia anyway.
    • Happens again in Season 2, as Orga saves ride from an ambush.

    C-F 
  • Call-Back:
    • The next episode preview at the end of episode 4 has Biscuit Griffon warning Cookie and Cracker not to pig out on the chocolates McGillis Fareed gave them earlier that ep.
    • In an early episode, Atra gives Mika a Good Luck Charm in the form of a woven leather bracelet, which he's seen smelling a few times, presumably because it smells like Atra. For the next ten episodes or so, we see occasional shots of Mika still wearing the bracelet, but they don't really call any attention to it. Then in episode 15, while looking for Atra, Mika finds an abandoned shoe. He immediately confirms that it's Atra's — by smelling it.
    • Episode 19 refers back to when Kudelia and Mikazuki first met. Their first meeting had Kudelia wanting to shake Mikazuki's hand but he refused since his hands were dirty and Kudelia's were clean. The scene is repeated almost verbatim, with Mikazuki saying his hands are still dirty, but he loosens up and shakes her hand after she points out that her hands are dirty too.
    • Episode 22 has Mikazuki snapping Orga out of his grief, then the latter promised that Tekkadan will crush everyone blocking their way. One episode later, Mikazuki fulfilled Orga's promise and literally crushed Carta and her bodyguards with a wrench mace.
    • Back in season 1, the funeral of Masahiro leads to Naze Turbine telling the Tekkadan boys how regular people would be inspired to have children of their own. In season 2, the funeral of Naze himself is followed by Mika getting to be around Naze's children for a while, and gaining that same inspiration himself, to Atra's hilarious horror.
    • Season 1's closing shot is the Barbatos' old mace floating above the Earth. Season 2's closing shot? The Barbatos Lupus Rex's Ultra Large Mace partially buried in Martian dirt, among the remains of the old Tekkadan base.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The fact that most of Tekkadan is illiterate becomes a plot point when they write their enemies a taunting note, since this tips off McGillis that Kudelia is with them.
    • Crank's Graze, which Tekkadan took possession of in one of the early episodes, becomes important much later. They eventually have it upgraded and customized into the Ryusei-Go, which renders it nigh-unrecognizable, but it's still using the same basic frame and original Ahab reactor. This allows Ein to recognize it as Crank's Graze via the Ahab wave signature it gives off when he encounters it during the Ryusei-Go's debut. The flashy modifications they've made to Crank's originally dignified, professional machine really piss Ein off, and once he upgrades to the Graze Ein, he makes a point of tearing the Ryusei-Go apart. He aimed toward the emblem instead of the cockpit so he can preserve the Graze to remember Crank by.
    • The katana issued to the Barbatos later on in the series. Mikazuki dismisses the weapon and prefers not to use it, thinking it too frail, and opts to stick to his maces and larger blunt weapons. When his wrench mace gets destroyed in the finale, Mikazuki promptly falls back to the katana and cuts down the Graze Ein after a sustained battle.
    • Mikazuki's handgun, numerous times. Throughout the second season, Takaki uses it to kill Radice, Orga uses it to kill several of his assassins in an ambush, and finally Ride uses it in the finale to kill Nobliss.
    • The secret Alaya-Vijnana research facility of Gjallarhorn shown in Episode 23 comes into play again by Season 2, when it turns out that McGillis himself funded the research there in order to find a way to install the system into adults, specifically himself.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The former Brewers Child Soldiers Orga takes into Tekkadan in the middle of the series take an important role in Episode 24 when they and Eugene help Orga break through the Gjallarhorn blockade.
    • They also continue this role further in Season 2. Aston, one of these former Brewers, saves Takaki's life during the SAU-Arbrau war.
  • Child Soldiers: The Third Group is composed adolescents and teenagers. This is due to a combination of the rampant poverty on Mars making it easy to find "recruits" and the fact that the Ālaya-Vijñāna system can only be implanted into children whose bodies are still growing.
  • Combat by Champion: Apparently common prior to the Calamity War, and the more traditionally-minded Gjallarhorn officers still occasionally invoke it.
    • In the third episode, Crank challenges Tekkadan to one as a result of his To Be Lawful or Good dilemma. He'd been ordered to recover Kudelia and a captured Graze from them, but he found the idea of killing Child Soldiers abhorrent. In reality, it was an elaborate form of Seppuku, and he thanks Mikazuki for killing him at the conclusion of the duel, as it was the only honorable course of action he had left.
    • In episode 23, Carta Issue and two of her subordinates challenges Tekkadan to a three-on-three match in order to salvage her honor after being defeated twice by Tekkadan twice already. Mika ignores the challenge and attacks before they're ready, slaughtering all three single-handedly, and treating Carta to an unnecessarily vicious beating for her role in killing Biscuit in their previous battle.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Basically the entirety of Tekkadan. A few (such as Biscuit and Takaki) have no parents but do have other surviving family (and working at CGS allows them to provide for them), while others (such as Akihiko) have family that are either dead or they haven't seen in years.
  • Cooldown Hug: At the end of episode 13, Kudelia notices that Mika is somewhat shaken from the previous battle and hugs him. Mika interprets it as a romantic gesture and responds by kissing her.
  • Cool Starship: CGS has one that remains docked in an orbital facility, the Will-'o-the-Wisp. After Tekkadan takes possession of it, Orga has it rechristened the Isaribi. In Chinese, it means "fishing boat", and it's also the name of a tramline in Hokkaido. The Turbines and the Brewers have similar vessels, as well (the Turbines' is the Hammerhead, but we never hear the name of the Brewers' ship).
  • Crapsack World: Particularly to lower classes, thanks to Gjallarhorn and deep income divide. The entire universe is not in pristine shape after Calamity War.
    • If you are on Mars, you might see the proliferation on Child Soldier and Human Debris due to poverty caused by economic stranglehold by Mega Corp. from Earth. Even then, the chances are that children became beggars and prostitutes if they didn't make the cut in Private Military Contractor.
    • If you are on Dort, good news is that the lot in life for its inhabitants is marginally better than those on Mars. Bad news is that the keyword is "marginally" since life of working-class denizens on Space Colony is harsh and brutal from the combination of dangerous working conditions and poor housings.
    • Even life on Earth isn't a utopia despite the general prosperity and highest concentration of wealthy population. Just ask McGillis Fareed, who spent his life as Street Urchin.
  • Culture Chop Suey: In simple terms, Japan in IBO is like China in Firefly. Part-Japanese names for nearly everyone, Yukinojo has a stereotypical oji-san hanamaki, and that's before we get a look at the Teiwaz "mafia", which is practically the Yakuza without the labelling.
  • Culture Clash: When Tekkadan landed on Earth, they experienced a lot of culture shock most especially when they encountered a fish which they had never seen in the entire lives because of their impoverished status. They're even shocked that the fish are food and refused to eat it despite that Atra herself prepared it for dinner.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Given the darker tone of IBO, there are more of these than there are even fights. Typically, a Gundam is powerful enough to overwhelm anything it faces, and a Gundam using the Alaya-Vijnana system is an even bigger mismatch, which allows Tekkadan to tear through its enemies almost effortlessly in most cases. When faced with the Graze Ein, a Gundam-tier custom model also equipped with the Alaya-Vijnana system, they get the tables turned on them. Ein is able to take out Azee, Lafter, and Shino — none of them in Gundams and the first two lacking Alaya-Vijnana as well — without much of a fight.
    • In the finale, McGillis's Grimgerde is so maneuverable that Gaelio's Kimaris Trooper can't land a single blow on it. McGillis effortlessly kills Gaelio. Or so it seems.
    • Late into season 2 we have the Tekkadan vs JPT Trust skirmish. Jasley gets humiliated so hard at he's forced to bargain a truce with Orga. Unfortunately, Orga isn't having any of that.
  • Cuteness Proximity: The girls react this way to the presence of the babies aboard the Hammerhead.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Gjallarhorn propaganda teaches that cyborgs, including people with the Alaya-Vijnana system installed, are no longer human. This propaganda is not without basis: Mikazuki's overuse of the Alaya-Vijnana system causes him to lose the use of an eye and an arm when he's not hooked up to Barbatos while Ein appears to lose his mind after being installed into the Graze Ein as part of the ultimate Alaya-Vijnana system.
  • Cycle of Revenge: This trope dominates the latter half of the first season. Galieo Baudin fought the Tekkadan kids throughout the series, but when they mangle his subordinate Ein and kill his childhood friend Carta, It's Personal. Carta herself was a target of this, since she killed Biscuit, causing Mikazuki to lay down some Extreme Mêlée Revenge. Biscuit's death caused the members of Tekkadan to fight for revenge, much to the dismay of their level-headed supervisor Merribell.
    • Ein himself is the most extreme example: Mikazuki kills his commanding officer Lt. Crank in Episode 3, and he spends the rest of the season hunting Tekkadan for payback; he even gets pissed off when he realizes they've salvaged Crank's Graze for their own use, and resolves to take it back in his honor. After getting mangled while protecting Galieo, Ein gladly becomes the "core" of a Super Prototype (which involves amputating his limbs and hooking its computers directly into his nervous system) so he can keep chasing them. At that point he's clearly gone off the deep end, since he rants about how "sinful" Tekkadan and its allies are, and says the only way to "absolve" them is by killing them.
  • Darker and Edgier: One of the darker entries in the Gundam franchise, especially compared to the two installments from the previous year, Build Fighters Try and Reconguista in G. As a comparison: both Iron-Blooded Orphans and G-Reco are available on Hulu. G-Reco (which features institutionalized cannibalism as part of its backstory) is rated TV-14. Iron-Blooded Orphans (which has actual depictions of impoverished children dying in the streets) is rated TV-MA. (Though the Toonami broadcast bounces back and forth between TV-PG and TV-14.) It got to the point that Moral Guardians in Japan complained about the episode where Mika shoots the old CGS management in cold blood without showing any remorse, seeing it as too brutal for children to watch. And a Newtype magazine interview revealed that it was originally meant to be even darker but the director Tatsuyuki Nagai wanted a happier ending in season 1 no matter what so Okada had to lighten it a bit.
  • Darkest Hour: Episode 47: Rustal has started a propaganda campaign portraying Tekkadan as a criminal organization that must be wiped out for the greater good. All of Tekkadan's financial backers cut off support, preventing Tekkadan from repairing their mobile suits from the damage sustained from the previous fight with Arianrhod. And then Arianrhod attacks right before Tekkadan has the chance to put their plan to turn the situation around into action.
  • The Dead Have Names: At the start of Season 2, there is a memorial which listed down the names of those Tekkadan members who died in Season 1. By the end of the show, more names were added but they were etched on the stone instead.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Pretty much most of the characters who have had their respective flashbacks (or have otherwise had an episode focusing on them) throughout the series were killed off shortly thereafter, namely: Masahiro, Fumitan, Biscuit, Carta, Aston, Naze, Amida, Lafter, Norba, and Orga. It has been a joke among fans that the gratuitous usage of the trope here meant "Raising (Death) Flags".
  • Deconstruction: The show tears into the franchise's long-standing notion of Child Soldiers: while other shows in the Gundam series have either an Ordinary High-School Student forced into combat out of self-defense (who is initially traumatized, but eventually grows stronger for their experiences) or a Tyke Bomb created and used by someone else for a specific purpose (who eventually realizes how terrible their situation is and becomes The Atoner), Iron-Blooded Orphans paints the whole notion in a much darker light, with an entire mercenary company of child soldiers who see nothing wrong with their situation and consider fighting, killing, and possibly dying better than any of their other options, and wouldn't leave even if given the opportunity to.
  • Deface of the Moon: Thanks to the Calamity War, the Earth's Moon looks completely unrecognizable, resembling more a misshapen potato rather than the moon one would be used to.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Mika uses one to defeat Gaelio in episode 19. Having seen Gaelio fight in the Gundam Kimaris several times already, he knows that Gaelio's preferred tactic is to make high-speed attacks with the Kimaris' lance, as this makes him difficult to counterattack. So Mika lets Gaelio impale the Barbatos — taking the attack on an additional layer of armor he'd had installed over the cockpit for that exact purpose. Having halted Gaelio's momentum, Mika proceeds to defeat him easily.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Post-Calamity War society is screwed up in a considerable number of ways, and one of the key elements of the show is characters trying to live with horrible things that they've been conditioned to believe to be normal. The main group of protagonists are a group of Child Soldiers who have to have the concept of a funeral explained to them, as they've been surrounded by death their entire lives and never given the luxury of mourning their comrades. The primary antagonists are part of the aristocracy from Earth, and an adult man having a nine-year-old fiance is treated as a minor annoyance, at worst. The closest thing to a modern audience perspective is provided by the civic-minded minor aristocrat Kudelia, who's appalled by the whole ghastly, exploitative mess and wants to fix it as best she can.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Julieta unknowingly goes against Amida in episode 40.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: In episode 16, a mortally wounded Dort protester dies in Kudelia's arms while praising Kudelia for her revolutionary work. The local media makes sure to catch in camera, as they know that it will highlight the terror of what had transpired.
  • Dirty Cop: Gjallarhorn is a military force that rose to power after the end of the Calamity War, whose duty is theoretically to protect humanity by preventing another conflict of that level. In reality, they've become thoroughly corrupt after being in power for three hundred years, and most of its members are primarily interested in making sure they stay in power.
  • Disney Death: In Episode 24, Shino, Lafter, and Azee appear to die, but the next episode reveals that they were just injured.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Kudelia refuses to let Gyojan accompany her on her half-metal mine tour and refuses to acknowledge that his philosophy inspired her, so he hires space pirates to try and kill her.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue is set several years after the final battle where most of the prepubescent members of Tekkadan grow up as young adults.
  • Diving Save: Atra, of all people, uses one in episode 24 in an attempt to save Kudelia. Given that she was trying to save Kudelia from the Graze Ein's giant axe, it almost certainly would have been a Senseless Sacrifice if Mikazuki hadn't showed up in the nick of time to block the attack.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: In the wake of a rain of Dainsleifs the Barbatos and Gusion are reduced to absolute wrecks, with Mikazuki and Akihiro both bleeding out from the numerous wounds they sustained. Do they just lay there and die? Hell no. Akihiro manages to crush Iok for all he'd done before being finished off by several Grazes, while Mikazuki removes the Barbatos' Limiter one last time and effortlessly butchers his way through another dozen enemies before finally succumbing to his wounds.
  • Don't Celebrate Just Yet: After La Résistance wins the shootout against Gjallarhorn in episode 14, Orga tells them not to rejoice since they'll come back with more troops.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Two glaring cases in season 2 episode 10. First with the Teiwaz engineer activating the small Mobile Armor drone just as Yamagi brought word back from Gjallarhorn; then again on Mars, involving someone else from Gjallarhorn (presumably Lockedout Of The Loop) bringing their mobile suit too close to the phenomenally bigger Mobile Armor. As badly as the first one turned out, it was merely a warning.
  • Double Tap: When fighting on foot, Mikazuki always shoots his target more than once to make sure they're dead, notably in episode 3 when shooting the prisoners from the First Group. Also happens on Lafter, where the assassin shots her six times, even though the first shot clearly hit her head.
  • Drop the Hammer:
    • The Barbatos's main weapon is a giant two-handed mace, a complete departure from the usual beam rifle + shield tandem that is common for Gundams used by protagonists in other Gundam series.
    • The Gundam Gusion wields a more traditional example, one that's outfitted with rockets for increased power. Kudal Cadel's main tactic is to build up enough momentum through rocket-assisted spinning before unleashing an asteroid-pulverizing blow.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Biscuit's brother Savarin kills himself over his guilt about not standing with the Dort protesters and being helpless to stop them from being massacred.
    • In season 2 we learn that Builth, the surrogate older brother of new Tekkadan recruit Hush, had previously attempted to join CGS and had received an Alaya-Vijnana implant. Unfortunately, the surgery failed and Builth was left paralyzed from the waist down. He ultimately hanged himself so as not to be a burden on his friends.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The most glaring example of this is Lafter, who is established as a highly skilled Mobile Suit pilot who can be an equal match for Mikazuki. However, in episode 41 she's assassinated out of the blue by a mob hitman without the chance to fight back at all.
  • Dynamic Entry: Routine for Mikazuki and the Barbatos. There are actually slightly fewer fights in the series which he doesn't make his entrance by messily killing a hapless mook out of nowhere.
    • Turned around in episode 21, where Carta Issue and her cadre of Elite Mooks make a surprise entry into the battle by landing from space right on top of Tekkadan, to the point where the Barbatos and Ryusei-Gou have to dodge the impact of the reentry shields the Gjallarhorn forces were riding down on.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Biscuit Griffon, and his sisters Cookie and Cracker. His grandmother Sakura appears to avert this with her first name, but her last name is Pretzel. His brother's named Savarin, which is a type of cake.
  • Emergency Transformation: After being horribly injured by Mikazuki, Ein must be transplanted into a mobile suit to remain combat-effective. That kind of transformation should certainly make RoboCop thank his lucky stars.
  • Enemy Chatter: Several Gjallarhorn soldiers in Edmonton can be seen chatting about the loss of their men, and when Graze Ein entered the city, they are positively terrified of it despite Ein being on their side.
  • Enemy Civil War: In Season 2, McGillis's attempts to consolidate his power within Gjallarhorn lead his Outer Earth Joint Regulatory Fleet into conflict with Rustal's Arianrhod Fleet.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Cookie and Cracker's introductory scene is the two of them messing with Atra by standing in front of her truck.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Several Gjallarhorn officers (such as Crank, McGillis, and Gaelio), while working for a corrupt regime uninterested in anything but maintaining power and unaccountable to anyone but a group of aristocratic families (their own families, in McGillis and Gaelio's case), still take exception to some of Gjallarhorn's more objectionable activities. Crank is appalled by his commanding officer's willingness to slaughter Child Soldiers, Gaelio is disgusted by the fact that they committed a False Flag Operation in order to justify attacking armed-but-currently-peaceful protesters, and McGillis is fed up with their corruption in general, though he's not all sunshine and roses himself, as he's willing to Shoot the Dog when necessary to fight that corruption.
    • Naze and the Turbines turn against Maruba when they find out that Maruba had forced Ālaya-Vijñāna implants on the Tekkadan kids without giving them a choice in the matter. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that this is because they have young children of their own.
    • Judging on his reaction, Rustal is mildly disgusted by Iok's despicable plan on episode 40, even though he brings a victory to Rustal's faction. Or perhaps not, since in Episode 45 he pulls a modified version of Iok's plan.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • Barbatos gets equipped with more armor and weapons in the opening credits as the episodes progress.
    • With added Freeze-Frame Bonus: the quick shot of Naze and Amida in the opening gets replaced in Episode 8 with Naze and his entire harem.
    • In episode 17, the second opening starts to include more shots of the Gusion Rebake and Ryusei-Go. Merribit also replaces the late Fumitan as the mission control person and Kudelia is shown holding Fumitan's necklace in her palm.
    • Somewhat oddly averted with the death of both Biscuit and Carta. They still remain in the opening credits afterwards. The same thing happens in season 2 with Aston Altland and Radice Riloto still in the OP after the events of ep. 7.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: Barbatos is a three hundred year old mobile suit that starts the show as a jury rigged reactor before being hastily repaired to fight off an attack by Gjallarhorn's shiny new Grazes. Being the show's Gundam, it proves to be the superior war machine.
  • Expy: The Gundam franchise is all about the repeated motifs, and while this show is atypical in several ways, it still has a lot of these in it:
    • Gjallarhorn's ubiquitous EB-06 Graze serves as the obligatory Zaku clone, a green, axe-wielding Cyber Cyclops as the standard mook suit for the primary antagonists. It even has a highly similar serial number (the Zaku II was the MS-06), right down to the variant codes - the 06s is the commander variant, the 06j is the Earth-use variant, and the 06r is a fancy, limited-run version for elite pilots (the Graze Ritter/Zaku High Mobility Type). Oddly enough, it's the heroes who get an expy of the most famous Zaku of them all, Char's commander variant - Norba's Ace Custom, the Ryusei-Go, has the oversized antenna, the enhanced agility, and the iconic salmon-pink colour schemenote . It also borrows a fair chunk from one of the Zaku's other expies, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing's 0Z-06MS Leo, a ubiquitous suit produced by an aristocratic N.G.O. Superpower that's used by hero and villain alike and has a blank yellow monoeye, a visor-like protrusion on its forehead, and a blue space-use colour scheme.
      • By extension, the Reginlaze can be seen as one of the Hizack, being developed from the previous suit.
    • The Schwalbe Graze, meanwhile, is an equally obvious Gouf expy - a high-performance suit from the Zaku design family with a blue paintjob and a grappling weapon in its arm that's piloted by a sympathetic Anti-Villain (two of them, in fact).
    • Orga's designated mobile suit, the Shiden Custom, is a white unit with a lone horn on its head, fans even called it the "Unicorn Shiden".
      • The Shiden itself is the standard GM expy, albeit unlike most examples, it doesn't get destroyed nearly as much as the suit that inspired it.
    • Kudelia heavily resembles Relena Peacecraft — that is, a charismatic, young leader of an independence movement.
    • Two of Naze's Bridge Bunnies resemble Milena Vashti and Steer.
    • Naze Turbine's character design is highly reminiscent of Ricardo Fellini, and like Ricardo, one of Naze's defining characteristics is the fact that he has a harem surrounding him.
    • Outside of the Gundam franchise, the Barbatos is like Kamen Rider Kuuga. Both are ancient weapons, start out weak but become better as they are utilized more, have multiple forms and both use foreign objects/weapons for their arsenal.
    • Non-character example with the Shoals of ep. 12, a region full of discarded debris from mobile suits and battleships, drawn together due to the effect of improperly-disposed Ahab reactors amongst them. Substitute gravity for lightning and you basically have the Thunderbolt Sector... perhaps not coincidentally, as the first of the Thunderbolt OVAs was released the same week as the first episode set there..
    • Eugene bears quite a striking resemblance to Graham Aker.
    • Some fans have noticed that Mikazuki and Orga are basically a Gundam-version of Simon and Kamina. Both character designs and their relationship is too similar to be a mere coincidence.
    • The Mobile Armor bears a distinct resemblance to none other than Metal Gear RAY; from the distinct two-legs, two-wings shape, to the head-mounted energy weapon.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Averted. They sent Mikazuki to get into the Barbatos specifically because he was the best pilot they had. It was the first time they used it and decided to go all in from the start.
  • False Flag Operation:
    • Nobliss and Gjallarhorn plot one that begins with Tekkadan unknowingly supplying weapons to the colony workers of Dort 2, and ends with an explosion at a protest rally that gives Gjallarhorn an excuse to massacre the protestors.
    • A more heroic example occurs when Azee and Lafter refit Teiwaz's Hyakuren armor into Rouei in order to avoid implicating the Turbines in Tekkadan's revolution while still being able to help out.
    • McGillis Fareed, under the alias "Montag", helps Tekkadan to defeat Gjallarhorn in order to eliminate the heirs of House Issue and House Bauduin, turning an Arranged Marriage into his own advantage.
    • In Episode 45, Rustal has one of his men infiltrate McGillis' forces and use a Dáinsleif launcher, letting him claim "They did it first!" so he can bring out a double handful of Dáinsleif-equipped Grazes.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • You know someone appreciates the hordes of shirtless young men, and holy god what the hell is sticking out of their spines?!
    • Amida's certainly dressed very revealingly... showing off an enormous scar that stretches from crotch to collar bone. That may depend on your taste, since there are some people who find scars sexy and others who don't care either way.
    • In one episode we get to feast our eyes on the very fat and unattractive Nobliss as he relaxes naked in his sauna.
  • Fantastic Racism: The people of Earth have a strong prejudice against those with cybernetic modifications, such as the Ālaya-Vijñāna system or Nadi's cybernetic legs; the most prominent example of this is seen in Gaelio Bauduin, who considers the AV system-bearing members of Tekkadan to be less than human. Gjallarhorn has intentionally cultivated this prejudice so that the technologies of the Calamity War are less likely to be used against them.
  • Fantastic Slur: "Space rat" is a common pejorative term used to describe people from Mars.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Subverted. One episode has Biscuit receiving a video email from Cookie and Cracker, while Takaki gets one from his sister Fuka (whom, unlike the twins, we've never met before now). Takaki does, in fact, survive the horrible injuries he receives next time he goes into battle, and even makes a full recovery, although it's a close-run thing.
    • Doubled down on in the second season, when Takaki again pulls out a picture of his sister, along with fellow pilot Aston who they had brought into their family after he had been rescued from the Brewers by Tekkadan. Aston dies. Takaki's Heroic B.S.O.D. results in him leaving Tekkadan after shooting the man who had helped arranged the conflict Aston had died in
  • The Federation: The "present" Earth governments (the Strategic Alliance Union (SAU), the African Union, Arbrau and the Oceanian Federation) seem to be this, as were the Earth Sphere authorities from before the Calamity War.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: Orga gets rid of the adults in charge CGS and seizes control of the company for the good of himself and the other abused Child Soldiers. This plot point featured heavily in the preview material for the show, but doesn't actually happen until the third episode.
  • Foreshadowing: The second season's first OP has the disturbing image of Mika crawling on the ground with one arm and one leg. By episode 13, we learn why.
  • Free-Range Children: Cookie and Cracker wander around mostly unsupervised. This is mostly because their family is dirt poor and there's no one available to chaperone them.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In "The Price of Life", there's a brief shot of a historical overview of the PD era and what happened to Mars in that time.
    • You can also see a huge hole in the east of Australia. Is this a nod to Mobile Suit Gundam or is the PD era came after the UC era?
    • In Episode 25, pausing when McGillis finishes off Gaelio shows that McGillis's sword didn't completely penetrate the Kimaris Trooper's cockpit, which foreshadows Gaelio's survival.
  • Fricking Laser Beams: Averted for the first time in the franchise, emphasising the relatively low-tech, post-apocalyptic setting of the show. As it turns out, though, beam weaponry isn't nonexistent, but forgotten, and the cast discover this in the most nightmarish way possible. Slightly Averted again as even a basic grunt suit with nanolaminated armors can deflect the damage easily... but against civilian settlements? Total devastation.

    G-L 
  • Genre Shift: Upon landing on Dort, we get a closer look at the political climate alluded to early on, the action turns up close and personal, and the show spends several episodes on political and urban suspense instead of mecha combat.
    • Season 2 mid-arc largely deals with mafia problems, mainly the fight for power and main influence, on Teiwaz.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Right from the first episode, we see Yukinojo rocking a simple cigarette like a badass, while Maruba smokes those obscenely big cigars like he's Compensating for Something.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The second season introduces complications to the plot. So you got a mercenary group run by children that managed to defeat all opposition? Then more kids should be recruited to make things successful right?
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The English subtitles from the Gundam Info streaming releases are guilty of this; "Darn its" and "hecks" abound, but no actual swearing, no matter how bad the situation gets. It's somewhat jarring, considering the subject material which the show does not otherwise shy away from portraying. Averted with the dub, which uses mild profanity, such as "asshole" and "pissed off", fairly often.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Standard-issue for a Gundam series. The struggle in Iron-Blooded Orphans isn't as much between good and evil as it is between peaople with differing ideologies and the will to defend them to their last breath. Both Tekkadan and Gjallarhorn display moments of valor, loyalty, brutality and revenge because they want to create their own future, regardless of what anyone tells them. If it weren't for their current circumstances, it's not hard to imagine the Gjallarhorn characters would be the heroes of their own story.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Downplayed, as a consequence of the setting's particular brand of Minovsky Physics. Mobile suits and warships equip incredibly durable, electrically-charged "nanolaminate armour" that's virtually immune to all but the biggest and most powerful guns. This means that guns are mostly used as support weapons, and MS close to melee combat in order to make kills. Similarly, warships are equipped with cannons and missiles, but assault ships like the Isaribi and the Hammerhead are also designed for ramming, which is much more effective in ship-to-ship combat.
  • Harmful to Minors: At one point, the kids were watching and cheering Mikazuki stomping their opponents. Merribit tried to stop them, saying that kids shouldn't be watching such a violent scene, to no avail and it only showed how different their outlooks in life are.
  • The Hero Dies: Mikazuki ends up dying at the very end of the series. While many pilots throughout the franchise have died while riding a Gundam, Mikazuki becomes the second main animated character (after Amuro Ray) and the first main character in a TV series to die.
  • Has Two Mommies: Akatsuki, the son of Mikazuki and Atra, is peacefully raised by the latter and Kudelia in the epilogue. That of course is, because his father died before the child was born.
  • Heroic R.R.O.D.: Pushing a Gundam to its full limits can have very negative effects on the pilot, due to the strain their nervous system caused by the Alaya-Vijnana system. This hits Mikazuki hard, with the first instance paralyzing his right arm and the second paralyzing the entire right side of his body.
  • Hope Spot:
    • In the beginning of episode 17, many disgruntled union workers who witnessed some of their members gunned down violently by Gjallarhorn break into the shipyards and find many ships and mobile suits ripe for the picking. Unfortunately for them, Gjallarhorn disabled all of their weaponry beforehand, and they're unable to fight back at all. They would have been completely wiped out were it not for Mikazuki showing up for a Big Damn Heroes moment, and Kudelia later doing a Shaming the Mob moment when she calls Gjallarhorn out on their False Flag Operation against the union workers.
    • In episode 45, Shino plans to use the railgun on his Gundam to destroy the bridge of Rustal's flagship, hoping to take out the leader of the entire army. However, Julietta manages to jam the gun at the last second, causing it to misfire and merely glance the side of it. Shino, in anger and despair, flies towards the enemy fleet and gets killed.
    • In Episode 47, Kudelia figures out how to save Tekkadan from Rustal: convince Makanai to change the Tekkadan members' identities. When Kudelia goes to call Makanai to put her plan into action, she finds that all of the Tekkadan base's communications systems are offline, courtesy of the Arianrhod Grazes that have surrounded the base.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Not in the anime, but the episode 19 of Tekkadan Radio Station spinoff series is hijacked by McGillis and Gaelio and becomes Gjallarhorn Radio Station.
  • Humongous Mecha: Giant humanoid robots are a part of the Gundam universe, so Mobile Suits are a must-have element.
  • Immune to Bullets: Downplayed. The nanolaminate armour found on mobile suits and warships is exceptionally durable, requiring some combination of massive firepower, careful aim, and good luck to breach it. Most guns just aren't up to the task, which is why mobile suits, with their enormous melee weapons, exist, and why ram-ships have come back into fashion.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Given that Guns Are Worthless, this is the most common way for a pilot to die. The easiest way to break through mobile suit armor is with a piercing attack, and the best way to take it out with one good hit is to target the cockpit. As a sign of how unwilling this show is to pull its punches, this results in a lot of messy, painful deaths when cockpits (and pilots) get mangled.
  • Indy Ploy: Mikazuki manages to make the best of a shitty situation by improvising a plan when they're trapped in episode 5.
  • Internal Reveal: At the beginning of episode 25, McGillis reveals himself to Gaelio as the pilot of the mobile suit opposing him, which shocks Gaelio but was already known to the audience.
    • Also happens on episode 37 when Vidar reveals himself as someone who knows McGillis personally, or more explicitly, as Gaelio. At this point though, the fans already knew.
  • Invincible Hero: Mikazuki is virtually unstoppable, using one of the most powerful mobile suits in existence and benefiting from not just one, but three Alaya-Vijnana implants, which let him pilot it with preternatural skill. He's never been defeated in combat and very rarely even finds himself on the defensive. In fact, he's a Deconstruction as some of his enemies have sympathetic backstories and/or are genuinely good people, but are killed off unceremoniously all the same.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Not so much jerkass as tactless, but Mikazuki's early interactions with Kudelia tend to be this. In the first episode he points out that despite her wanting to see him as equals, they weren't. Leaving aside their stations in life, she's their client and he's an expendable mercenary, so she's decidedly more important than he is to the company. In the second episode, she blames herself for the attack, but he points out that they didn't fight to just keep her safe — they were defending their home and their lives from attack.
    • In the third episode, some members of Orga's inner circle attempts to convince him that they should sell Kudelia to Gjallarhorn, as the CGS is strapped for cash and the conflict with Gjallarhorn will cost them more resources and money. Even Kudelia agrees with this logic, volunteering to go with Gjallarhorn so that no one else will die defending her. Orga refuses, not out of ethical concerns, but by pointing out they couldn't trust Gjallarhorn to keep their word.
  • Jousting Lance: Gaelio's Gundam Kimaris uses one as its primary weapon. Given that he tends to fight by making a series of high-speed passes at his target, using his speed to make counterattacking difficult, a lance fits well, as it allows him to turn that speed into offensive power as well.
  • Just a Kid: When Tekkadan boarded the Brewers' ship and encountered a group of children even younger than they were, Shino told his group to lower their weapons and tried to calm the children. It backfired horribly and resulted in many of his allies' deaths. Plagued by the guilt over his careless actions, he starts training to become a mobile suit pilot, believing that he's not worthy of the responsibility of giving orders to others.
  • Just Following Orders: Orga tries to use this as a reason for his men to be spared when Rustal intends to slaughter them all instead of killing him.
  • Kill 'em All: Almost every single major fighter in the series is dead by show's end including Mikazuki himself. Ride, Eugene, Chad, and Dante are some of the only notable fighters to survive the series among Tekkadan and its allies. Gaelio Bauduin also winds up being the only gundam pilot to survive the series making him the first secondary gundam pilot to outlive a protagonist.
    • The aforementioned ending was tamer compared to what Director Tatsuyuki Nagai had in mind during the production process: had it not been for lead writer Mari Okada and the rest of the storyboard staff, the original plan was to have the entirety of Tekkadan offed at the end of the story, including Kudelia.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Mika is perfectly content to shoot people before they're done talking if he's done listening to them.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: In a striking inversion of the technological balance in most Gundam settings (where kinetic weapons are either slowly outmoded by beam weapons or are already badly obsolete at the start of the show), firearms and physical weapons like axes and hammers reign supreme in the Post Disaster era. Directed-energy weapons did once exist, and some of them were remarkably powerful, but they were rendered totally obsolete by the invention of the near-invulnerable energy-deflecting nanolaminate coating. The only way to reliably breach nanolaminate-treated armour is to hit it really hard with a big, heavy object, and so that's what 'modern' Post Disaster warfare is built around. These days, the closest things to energy weapons are anti-ship napalm missiles, which burn hot enough and long enough to eventually overcome the coating's energy-deflecting properties, scorching it away and leaving the ship beneath vulnerable. This doesn't mean that energy weapons are totally harmless, though - when one accidentally gets dug up in Season Two (attached to a genocidal Killer Robot), it turns out that while it's useless against mobile suits, it's fantastic for massacring civilians.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: During the battle in Episode 28, Akihiro catches a Dawn Horizon pilot in the Gusion's claws. The enemy pilot promptly surrenders rather than face a gory death.
  • Last Stand: In the final episode, Mika and Akihiro hold off the Arianrhod Fleet as the remaining members of Tekkadan flee to safety.
  • Leave No Survivors: Rustal makes it clear in Episode 47 that he intended to slaughter Tekkadan down to a man in order to get Gjallarhorn's reputation back.
    • Subverted in the finale. It's heavily implied that he knows that the people working closely with Kudelia are former Tekkadan members, but rather than hunt them down as what he promised to Orga back then, he turns a blind eye and leaves them be.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Episode 37 shows the Gundams themselves doing this. When both Barbatos and Gusion see Hashmal, they use attempt to use their full power but due to safeguards in the OS, this causes the Gundams to stop moving. But come the episode 38, Mika disables the safeguard and we see Barbatos at full force.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Mobile Armor Hashmal is named after a type of angel. Considering that Mobile Armors were responsible for the Calamity War and the demonic-named Gundams were designed to destroy them, light is really not good in this case.
  • Lightning Bruiser: All of the Gundam Frame mobile suits qualify. The Barbatos is capable of smashing apart standard mobile suits with its assorted blunt-force weapons while still remaining fast and agile thanks to the Alaya-Vijnana system. The Kimaris uses its speed to close distances while engaging in lance-thrust attacks. Even the Gusion pre-Rebake is capable of keeping up with the Barbatos despite its bulk.
    • The Grimgerde is capable of matching with the Barbatos despite having no Alaya-Vijnana system (it, however, was a prototype of the Graze frame).
    • Exemplified by the Graze Eins. Almost twice the size of a normal mobile suit, hits four times as hard, and can pirouette like a ballet dancer in an instant.
    • One should not be fooled by the Hashmal's size into thinking it is slow. A big part in why it is so dangerous is just how fast and nimble it is despite it's girth.
  • Lost Superweapon: The Gundam frames qualify, as they're all from the Calamity War three hundred years ago. Only one of the three in season 1 was deliberately kept intact; of the others, one was being used as a glorified generator and one had fallen into the hands of pirates, who lacked the technological know-how to properly refit it.
  • Lost Technology: Ahab reactors, the power source for anything large enough to mount one (most notably, mobile suits and warships), are effectively lost technology as far as the vast majority of humanity is concerned. Only Gjallarhorn is still able to build new ones, and they're not sharing.
  • Love Hurts: Like any Gundam show, falling in love would still get you killed. Carta and Lafter never got a chance to confess and they ended up dead. Though in Carta's case, the guy who she fell in love with didn't give a crap about her and just send her to her doom. Even the happy couple, Naze and Amida, are not spared from this. Shino is also unable to recognize Yamagi's feelings for him and then, he dies. Finally, Mikazuki doesn't live to see his son with Atra.

    M-O 
  • Magnetic Weapons: Several Mobile Suit-mounted weapons such as the Iok's Reginlaze's rifle, and those mounted on the Gundam Flauros. Of particular note are the Dainsleifs, special armor-piercing weapons/ rounds capable of slicing through even the thickest Nano-Laminate armor.
  • Male Gaze: Kudelia is subjected to a lot of ogling by the camera for fanservice purposes; and if you're uneasy about her actual age, not to worry: the Turbines bring even more.
  • Mauve Shirt: Several characters such as Crank, Masahiro and Aston who seemed important during their introduction are eventually killed off a few episodes later.
  • Meaningful Name: The series name, "Iron-Blooded Orphans", is meaningful on multiple levels. The Japanese word in the title, "tekketsu", means "blood and iron", a phrase used to refer to warfare and military strength in general (first used in a famous speech by Otto von Bismarck). It's also a reference to the Tekketsu Kinnotai (Imperial Blood and Iron Corps), a group of nearly 2,000 middle-school boys that were forcibly drafted into the frontlines during the closing stages of World War II. Finally, the cybernetic enhancements forced on the protagonists, which includes (among other things) nanomachines introduced into their bloodstreams, makes them literally "iron-blooded".
  • Meaningful Rename: After the Third Group takes control of the CGS, Orga renames it "Tekkadan" for iron flowers that would never wilt.
  • Mercy Kill: Upon losing at the hands of the Barbatos, a seriously wounded Crank asks Mika to end his life there and now, as he would be disgraced anyway if he returned to Gjallarhorn alive. Mika obliges, even before letting Crank finish thanking him properly.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Episode 17 is practically full of this trope. With the sole exception of Mikazuki, most of the named characters switch to more capable Mobile Suits, and then use them in combat.
    • Season 2 gave even more upgrades. Barbatos upgraded into Barbatos Lupus and later, Barbatos Lupus Rex, Gusion Rebake upgraded into Gusion Rebake Full City, Gundam Kimaris Trooper upgraded into Gundam Vidar, and then Gundam Kimaris Vidar, Ride goes from a stock Shiden to the Riden-Go which was Shino's old custom Shidengiven a new paintjob and Shino got a new, wholesome Gundam Frame, the Gundam Flauros.
    • Late into the season, Hush switches from a Shiden to the Hekija, which was implied to be a last gift from the Turbines.
  • Minovsky Physics: "Ahab reactors" are the primary power source for mobile suits and warships, and have some pretty well-defined characteristics. They produce "Ahab waves" that (as is typical for Gundam) act as a wide-spectrum jammer, making long-range targeting impractical and necessitating the close-range combat that mobile suit specialize in. The Ahab waves themselves can be detected, however, and each reactor has a unique signature, meaning that different reactors (and thus different mobile suits and ships) can be identified at a distance by their Ahab waves alone. Ahab reactors have several other properties as well: they're able to generate Artificial Gravity, and the enable to use of nanolaminate armour.
  • Moral Myopia: Brought up in the second episode when Ein calls Mika a coward for attacking their mobile workers. Mika promptly points out that Gjallarhorn's mobile suits had been attacking CGS's mobile workers until Mika stopped them.
    • Gjallarhorn seems to succumb to this in general. Later episodes have other members of Gjallarhorn (and Ein again) furious at Tekkadan for actions they themselves committed previously, such as Carta becoming angry at them for lacking manners while still trying to murder them all. Fantastic Racism may have something to do with this.
  • Morton's Fork: When the Ālaya-Vijñāna spinal cybernetics implants are introduced, we see a flashback of Orga getting his in a rather painful process. Another character notes that the soldiers performing the procedure beat the crap out of him for having the cheek to not cry out in pain while it was being inserted. Orga just says that if he had made any noise, they would've beaten him for being a crybaby.
  • Mundane Utility: Before Mikazuki gets his hands on it, CGS was using Barbatos as a power source for their base.
  • Mythology Gag: In addition to the requisite Char Clone and other various Expys...
    • The riot policemen/grunts of Gjallarhorn wear Char-like white helmets with built-in masks during the first episode.
    • The Isaribi's ship code is NOA-0093, a reference to Bright Noa (The Captain in Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta, ZZ, and Char's Counterattack) and to Char's Counterattack itself (which took place in the Universal Century year 0093).
    • McGillis' hair-fiddling Character Tic actually comes all the way from Garma Zabi in the original series.
    • Mikazuki's first usage of Gundam Barbatos' giant smooth-bore cannon is similar to Kou Uraki's killing of Cima Garahau.
    • The map of the world in episode four has a massive crater where Sydney, Australia used to be (a reference to the Universal Century timeline, where Sydney was destroyed by a Colony Drop).
    • When Crank's Graze is upgraded into Shino's Ryusei-Go, it was basically given a salmon-pink color scheme — just like Char Aznable's iconic Zaku II Commander Type. The actual Char Clone gets a deep burgundy mobile suit instead, but it's got a machine gun with a drum mag on the top just like the traditional Zaku weapon.
    • The Graze Ritters take some design cues from the Euba mobile suits from Mobile Suit Gundam Age, and Carta's customisations even correspond to those on Ract's custom mobile suit.
    • So far, IBO holds more than a few similarities to Z Gundam. First of all, the Alaya-Vijnana system works in a way that makes it similar to the Psycoframes. Second, the obligatory Char Clone isn't outright evil (we've seen him fight on Tekkadan's side once or twice, like Quattro Bajeena fought alongside the AEUG). Then there's the fact that several Mobile Suits in IBO look like their designs were based on mobile suits from either 0079 or Z (such as Carta Issue's Gaplant-lookalike). And now, in Episode 24, during the heroes' first fight in a city, the Graze Ein appears out of nowhere, taking Tekkadan by surprise, much the same way the Psyco Gundam appeared in Z, except Graze Ein didn't have to transform before wreaking havoc.
    • The new Shiden mobile suit of season 2 is a pretty obvious one to Kai Shiden.
    • Episode 34, which features the debut of the Gundam Vidar, is called "Vidar Rising". This is a reference to the first episode of the original Gundam anime, "Gundam Rising".
    • Episode 36's reveal that nanolaminate armor deflects beam weaponry is similar to how the Akatsuki Gundam's armor as well the Hyaku Shiki which the Akatsuki was based on work.
    • The Gundam Vidar draws on both Duel Gundam and Blitz Gundam's color schemes, while Gundam Flauros has Aegis' colors and transforming gimmick, and Buster's choice of weapons.
    • Orga's designated mobile suit is a white, single-horned Shiden Custom, just like the main protagonist's Gundam in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
    • For a given level of 'gag', the world of Turn A Gundam has a coming-of-age ceremony that involves putting leeches on your back to make permanent scars. The Alaya-Vijnana operation has to be done before you're too old.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Gundams here are named after the demons in Ars Goetia. The scariest part is that they're depicted as ambiguously sentient, and you could actually initiate Deal with the Devil with them.
  • Nanomachines: The Ālaya-Vijñāna interface system is said to use these.
  • Never Learned to Read: Most of Tekkadan (Mika included) are illiterate, though Kudelia starts teaching them how to read during the trip from Mars to Earth.
  • The Nicknamer: A bizarre variation, Mikazuki has a habit of giving nicknames to his enemies rather than his friends. Thus far, McGillis is "Chocolate Man" (because McGillis shared some chocolate with the Griffon twins after almost running them over), and Gaelio is "Gali-Gali". Even after being informed of their real names, he keeps calling them such.
    • Shino's bad habit is renaming every mobile suit he owns as Ryusei-Go (Unit Meteor), even his Gundam Flauros (which became Ryusei-Go IV). It also influenced Ride, as he renamed his turn-me-down Ryusei-Go III from Shino as Riden-Go.
  • Non-Action Guy: Although Biscuit possesses a Ālaya-Vijñāna implant, he acts as staff officer for Orga, handling administrative and logistical duties. A few of Tekkadan's younger members also fill this role, usually acting as support staff rather than being sent to the front lines.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Averted. By the time Tekkadan reached Edmonton, the residents have been evacuated so that Gjallarhorn could make a defense against Tekkadan. But Ein entered the city to kill Kudelia until Mikazuki stopped him and their fight caused so much collateral damage in the city. In the end, no one calls out on both sides for this. But again, Ein was a Gjalllarhorn soldier who started it so that's probably added on the list of crimes filed against the group.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Mikazuki, in particular, is fond of this. Unlike some of his opponents, he does whatever it takes to defeat his enemy. Against mooks, this usually translates to quick (if spectacularly messy) shots to the cockpit, but anyone who can survive against him without being instagibbed will frequently find themselves subjected to an eye-wateringly brutal beatdown as he gradually wears them down until he can finally manage to kill them. The fight against Carta in episode 23 is a particularly alarming example that goes into Extreme Mêlée Revenge territory.
  • Noodle Incident: In Episode 35, Shino and Zack go to a brothel. The next day, Shino is uncharacteristically deferential to Zack. Before Zack can explain just what happened, an embarrassed Shino shuts him up.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Kudelia is constantly praising Fumitan for being a true and loyal friend. Fumitan is secretly working with Nobliss to martyr Kudelia and these compliments give her a massive guilt trip.
  • Off-Model: Episode 4 had some moments of this, as it's a Breather Episode: Mika gets drawn thinner and missing a nose, while Atra gets a scene where her face is virtually a smiley. On the other hand, all the shots of Mika's Ālaya-Vijñāna system wind up a lot less detailed than they ought to be, which may be a good thing.
  • Official Couple:
    • Mikazuki and Atra, who hook up in Episode 44.
    • 3 episodes later Kudelia and Atra enter a polyamorous relationship sharing Mikazuki.
    • By the end of the series, Gaelio and Julietta.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • In Episode 15, Mika goes full-on Storming the Castle mode on foot to rescue Biscuit and Atra from Gjallarhorn custody, but very little of it is actually shown.
    • Akihiro's first appearance in Episode 25 shows that he defeated a small army of Grazes while the other characters were fighting.
  • Oh, Crap!: Orga gives us one in episode 14, when he realizes that the cargo they'd been hired to deliver was a weapons shipment to would-be revolutionaries and that Gjallarhorn already knew about it.
    • Again to Orga at the start of episode 38 when he realizes that Flauros' railgun weapon became Iok's main reason for attacking Turbines.
  • Older Than They Look: A fair number of Tekkadan's members. Especially prominent with Mikazuki and Atra, both of whom are fifteen years old despite their size. This is Justified: starvation and malnutrition does stunt growth in developing children.
  • One-Winged Angel: Ein, after nearly dying and losing the lower half of his body, is integrated into one of the biggest Mobile Suits in Gundam History.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Mobile Armors, which, as remnants of the Calamity War era, are completely unrelated to the current political struggle, and possess technology that no faction currently has, namely beam weaponry.

    P-R 
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Occurs in both seasons:
    • In season 1, we have Montag, who is clearly McGillis wearing a mask and wig, and isn't even bothering masking his voice. Mikazuki immediately recognizes him, and McGillis quickly drops the act.
    • In season 2, we have Vidar, who is pretty clearly Gaelio, as his voice is similar, he has a very similar fighting style, he is aware of facts and events only Gaelio could have known, and has a very deep understanding of McGillis' way of thinking and motivations. He even directly confronts McGillis and implicitly confirms his identity, causing McGillis to start investigating if Gaelio truly is dead.
  • Please Wake Up: Happens in episode 16, when Kudelia refuses to accept Fumitan's death and refuses to leave the body behind. It takes Mikazuki to convince her otherwise.
  • Pile Bunker:
    • The mace used by the Barbatos has a small one built into its tip; Mika usually uses it for surgical shots to the cockpit.
    • The Graze Ein has these on each arm.
    • Barbatos Lupus Rex has four of them, all in all: 2 on the Ultra-Large Mace and one on each of the Gundam's heels.
    • Kimaris Vidar has two of them in its knees, and a HUGE one as part of its lance.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: In episodes 16 and 17, a crowd of armed protesters tries to air their grievances with the upper management of the company they work for. The leaders of the group try to walk the fine line between being easily dispersed without being able to say their piece and turning the demonstration into an armed rebellion, despite some members of the group wanting to stage a full-on coup. It becomes a moot point went Gjallarhorn detonates an explosive and blames it on the protestors, giving them an excuse to massacre the crowd.
  • Power Limiter: The Gundam mobile suits all have built in limiters that prevent them from going all out in order to protect the pilot from a dangerous amount of feedback from the suit. In the season 1 finale, Mikazuki unwittingly releases Barbatos limiter when fighting Graze Ein and then again, albeit intentionally this time, against the Hashmal. And one last time in the series finale, taking out several Grazes in the process. With one arm missing..
  • Power Walk: A lovely one from Tekkadan in the second OP.
  • Private Military Contractors: The CGS was a PMC hired by the Earth government. After they fall under Orga's command they work for Kudelia as her escort.
  • Production Foreshadowing: The Shoals and its similarity to the Thunderbolt Sector acts as a subtle nod to the Gundam Thunderbolt OVA.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Ālaya-Vijñāna users tend to suffer this when their system has to deal with more data than it's configured to handle.
    • Mikazuki gives our first example while linking his Ālaya-Vijñāna system with the Barbatos, since he was only used to linking with Mobile Workers (and the interface of the Barbatos, while centuries old, is way more complex). After that it's reconfigured to be less of a strain.
    • Akihiro is shown having the same problem with the Gusion, as well, and Playful Hacker Dante Mogro gets hit with a particularly nasty version (and is rendered temporarily catatonic) when he tries to deliver the Barbatos to Mikazuki in episode 17.
    • In episode 19, Eugene's nose gushes when he temporarily takes control of both the Isaribi and the Brewers' ship simultaneously, and he passes out shortly afterward.
    • In episode 25, Mikazuki's nose leaks, his right eye is left completely bloodshot, and he's crying bloody tears when he overclocks the Barbatos in order to take down the Graze Ein. This time, there are lasting consequences: in the aftermath of the battle, Mikazuki has lost most of the sight in his right eye and his right arm only moves when he's connected to the Barbatos.
    • In episode 37, Mikazuki unlocked all of Barbatos' limiters to fight against the until now unstoppable Hashmal. He wins convincingly, although the entire right side of him became paralyzed.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Generally averted with the Gundams; despite some of them still being used after 300 years, the vast majority of them are no longer functional with only 26 of the original 72 still being usable. The Gundam Astaroth from the sidestories for example only has the frame left, everything else on it is salvaged from somewhere else with the left arm's armor taken from a Spinner Rodi for example.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Meet CGS's Third Group, a bunch of child soldiers working for a PMC who stage a coup using a salvaged Gundam when they're treated like Cannon Fodder.
  • Ramming Always Works: Assault ships like Tekkadan's Isaribi and the Turbines' Hammerhead are designed for ramming attacks. The widespread use of Ahab reactors and nanolaminate armor make conventional weapons like cannons and missiles less effective, while simultaneously making it possible for a ship to survive ramming a target.
  • Real Place Background: Episodes 24 and 25 take place in Edmonton, Canada, and the scenes in the show are dead-on ringers for the real city streets.
  • Real Robot Genre: Exceptionally notable even among the Gundam franchise, all Mobile Suits in-universe resort to physical firearms and melee weapons, and beam weaponry is completely omitted (which is averted by Mobile Armors).
  • Reality Ensues:
    • McGillis's big plan is to pilot the Gundam Bael, which makes the Seven Stars families legally obligated to serve him without question. However, since shortly after McGillis gets the Bael, Gaelio and Rustal publically accuse McGillis of killing Carta and attempting to kill Gaelio, the Seven Stars decide to remain neutral in McGillis and Rustal's conflict. As it turns out, the Seven Stars aren't willing to turn control of Gjllarhorn over to an accused traitor just because of a 300 year-old law that was written in an era where humanity was on the brink of extinction.
    • In the final arc, Tekkadan, a small mercenary band with a handful of exceptionally skilled pilots and strong mobile suits, joins forces with a small rebellion and picks a fight with the largest fleet in the solar system. While in most stories, Tekkadan would find a way to prevail against the odds, the story goes with the more realistic route: Tekkadan loses horribly.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Barbatos's eyes glow red when it confronts the Mobile Armor Hashmal after having its limiter removed. The red eyes signify that Barbatos is stronger than ever, but without the limiter, the feedback from Barbatos could potentially kill Mikazuki.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After spending the entire series with divided loyalties, Fumitan saves Kudelia from Gjallarhorn snipers, but dies in the process.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Among Tekkadan's MS pilots, Shino is red (actually pink), Mikazuki is blue, and Akihiro falls in between (the red to Mika's blue, but the blue to Shino's red). For Teiwaz, Lafter is the red to Azee's blue. And also, Vidar's Gundam Vidar to McGillis's Grimgerde.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming:
    • There were 72 Gundam-type frames produced during the Calamity War, each named after one of the seventy-two demons of the Ars Goetia, complete with their serial numbers referencing the order in which they're listed (the Barbatos is ASW-G-08, the Gusion ASW-G-11, the Kimaris ASW-G-66, the Flauros ASW-G-64, the Astaroth ASW-G-29, the Dantalion ASW-G-71, and the Bael ASW-G-01).
      • And fittingly, at the end of season 1, Mikazuki sacrifices use of his right arm and eye outside of Barbatos for more power while using the mobile suit. He made a deal with a devil.
    • The power plants used by space ships, the Gundams, and other high technology are called "Ahab Reactors", a reference to King Ahab of Israel (post-division, with the realm still ruled by the original dynasty founded by King David renamed Judah) who worshiped Baal, also an alternate name of Bael, the first demon of the Ars Goetia.
    • The name of the neural link system implanted on the Third Group is Ālaya-Vijñāna (Japanese: 阿頼耶識 Araya-shiki), named after a concept of Yogacara Buddhism that houses the consciousness and accumulates all potential energy for the mental and physical manifestation of one's existence (the Barbatos requires an Organic Device System, a human, in order for it to work).
    • The Gjallarhorn is in reference to the horn used by Heimdall to announce the beginning of Ragnarok (the Gjallarhorn in the show was formed at the conclusion of the Calamity War and engineered the peace accords among the nations, and ever since has served as a peacekeeping force).
    • The space mafia, Teiwaz, takes it's name from a variant spelling of the Tiwaz rune associated with the god Tyr.
    • McGillis's Grimgerde is a Valkyrie-class MS. Though "Grimgerde" is taken from The Ring of the Nibelung rather than any actual myth.
    • The Mobile Armor unearthed in the second season is called "Hashmal", which is the name of a group of angelic entities associated with electricity in Judeo-Christian folklore. McGillis describes the Mobile Armors as "destroying angels" and the Armor itself is winged, with the platoon of support machines it carries with it being called "Pluma" (Latin for "feather"). It's implied that the Gundam Frames, which were originally built to counter the Mobile Armors, were named after demons specifically because of the angelic motifs of the Mobile Armors.
    • Vidar's name came from Norse god of vengeance.
  • Reluctant Warrior: Crank doesn't want to fight kids. He's just got no choice in the matter.
  • Revisiting the Roots: After AGE's unpopular attempt at making the series more kid friendly and Tomino's story feeling more like a successor to King Gainer, Iron-Blooded Orphans attempts to recapture the darkness of the UC shows and their War Is Hell nature. Child soldiers fighting a war against an overwhelming force is played chillingly straight.
  • Right Hand vs. Left Hand: Gjallarhorn is composed of numerous different departments and political factions, not all of which have the same goals.
    • Teiwaz is similar, with both the Turbines and Tekkadan being semi-independent sub-factions under the main Teiwaz umbrella. There's evidence that the main boss of Teiwaz is deliberately using Tekkadan to further his own goals, regardless of what that would do to Tekkadan.
  • Revenge: A recurring theme in the series. Ein's main motivation almost from the beginning of the series is to get revenge on Tekkadan for killing his commanding officer, and Gaelio begins to feel the same way late in the series after repeating experiencing humiliating defeats and losing friends at their hands. In addition, after Biscuit is killed during a Gjallarhorn attack, Tekkadan decide to stop being on the defensive and take the fight to Gjallarhorn. And when Lafter is killed by Jasley's henchmen Tekkadan decides to go on the offensive once again, only this time they've severed all ties with Teiwaz and the Admoss Foundation to get there.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The Martian independence protest in the first episode invokes familiar imagery from contemporary European protests, such as the bikini clad protesters with slogans painted on their bodies reminiscent of protests done by Pussy Riot in Russia and the "Mars for the Martians" signs sounding just like the "Europe for the Europeans, Africa for the Africans, Asia for the Asians" language that right-wing European anti-immigrant groups use.
    • The presence of "Mars palms" is a subtle one to the controversy over levelling rainforests for palm oil plantations - moving them to Mars makes a neat compromise.
    • Riots over unfair policies from the Arbau government's policies is seen as a Take That! to the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty.
    • The arc on the Dort colonies may hit too close to home for some, with the Paris attacks barely a month before. Comparisons to the general unrest and body-count exacted by the conflicts of the Arab Winter are also eerily on-mark.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • After Carta kills Biscuit, Tekkadan consciously decides to go on one, going all-out against Gjallarhorn (and anyone else who gets in their way), though it's at least partially because they have no other real choice. In particular, when fighting Carta again a few episodes later, Mikazuki eschews his usual brutal efficiency in favor of taking Extreme Mêlée Revenge.
    • Ein, having plotted revenge against Tekkadan since episode 3, finally has his chance when he enters the battlefield in the Graze Ein in episode 24. He single-handedly defeats Azee, Lafter, and Shino, then goes after Kudelia as well, only to end up facing Mikazuki in a duel.
    • After Jasley arranges for the fall of the Turbines and has Lafter murdered, Tekkadan as a whole goes on a rampage against his forces in episode 42, utterly wiping them out in a near-complete Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Robot War: The Calamity War was actually a war between humanity and AI-controlled Mobile Armors.
  • Rust Proof Blood: The remaining smears from Mika's Psychic Nosebleed in the second episode are still distinctly red despite him having passed out for a while.

    S-U 
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The news crew sent to cover the Dort colony protests inadvertently end up saving Kudelia and the others when they disobey orders to stop covering the massacre against the union workers. They then manage to successfully broadcast her live while she calls Gjallarhorn out on their False Flag Operation against the union protesters, who are then forced to let her pass through lest they face even worse political backlash from other nations on Earth.
  • Shaming the Mob: Kudelia successfully does this against Gjallarhorn after witnessing them massacre mostly peaceful union workers. While being broadcast live all over Earth and the nearby colonies, she asks if their brutal slaughtering of innocent civilians fit in their ideals. She then dares them to blow up the ship she's on. Gjallarhorn is then forced to allow her ship through lest they face even worse public backlash from nations around Earth and the colonies if they killed her.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • The anime almost immediately shoots down the idea of shipping any of the Tekkadan guys with the Turbine Crew. All the women of the Turbine crew are in a polyamorous relationship with their leader, Naze Turbine.
    • Although, in Season 2 Azee figures out that Lafter is definitely falling for Akihiro. She's willing to keep this a secret from Naze until Lafter sorts her feelings out. Not that she needed to, as it turns out, since Naze had no problem letting any of them go if they truly found someone else, even encouraging it when Amida brings Lafter's crush on Akihiro to his notice.
    • As a consequence of the Nadi/Merribit pairing, the long-speculated Orga/Merribit pairing gets shot down in the process.
    • The long-speculated Akihiro/Lafter pairing gets immediately shafted after the latter's assassination in Episode 41.
    • The Yamagi/Shino pairing gets shafted with Shino's death in episode 45.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Invoked and enforced in episode 3 when Atra heads home, presumably taking Cookie and Cracker with her, before the CGS takeover.
  • Shown Their Work: The animators' depiction of Edmonton is extremely accurate, down to temporary street signs that got turned into permanent ones.
  • Sigil Spam: Played with - the Tekkadan kids have apparently been leaving Tekkadan-symbol graffiti on the Isaribi walls.
  • Signature Scent: Mika can recognize Atra by smell alone. After she gave him a woven leather bracelet as a good luck charm, we see him smelling it a few times, presumably because it reminds him of her. Much later, in episode 15, Mika is looking for Atra and finds one of her shoes, which he confirms is hers by smelling it.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Very cynical. For starters, the protagonist is a Sociopathic Hero who kills without remorse, the so-called antagonist is a Manipulative Bastard who wants to change the world for the better... by betraying his friends and lying to the masses. The main characters are a group of Child Soldiers who see nothing wrong with their profession, fighting an empire that oppresses the masses through bureaucracy and military intervention. Both sides kill each other in the most brutal and painful ways, with no hope for peace or reconcilation. The ending implies things will be much better, but by that point, so much blood has been shed.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Hovers somewhere between "Men Are More Equal" and "Almost Perfect Equality". While Tekkadan is almost exclusively male (the sole exception being Atra, a noncombatant), after leaving Mars they encounter the Turbines, who are almost entirely female (though the sole male, Naze, is captain of the ship and leader of the group, as well as the husband of the entire crew). The Turbine mobile suit pilots (women all) give Tekkadan their toughest fight up until that point, with the Tekkadan pilots just barely holding their own until the Turbine pilots were called off. Other women (such as Fumitan and Merribit) are shown to be competent and reliable within their fields of expertise, and do not hesitate to tell Tekkadan (and Orga in particular) when they're screwing up. For the Gjallarhorn otherwise, other than Carta, the entire organization is run exclusively by males, and even the most prominent female politician, Henri Fleurs, is an Unwitting Pawn to one of them. However, for the combatants, Julieta is shown to be competent and is capable of battling against Mikazuki on her own.
  • Slipping a Mickey: The Third Group spikes the First Group's food with sedatives so they can tie them up and give them an ultimatum: accept the change in management, or leave.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: "Freesia" by Uru is the most solemn sounding of the ending songs.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: Briefly happens when Tekkadan fights against Carta Issue. Mikazuki is on the Soldier side and is a Combat Pragmatist in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Carta is on the Warrior side and is stuck in the Pre-Calamity War Gjallarhorn knight mindset. When Carta requested for a Combat by Champion, Mikazuki outright ignored her request, killed her bodyguards when they are outside the mobile suits and delivered a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Carta herself.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Mikazuki's fight against Carta in episode 23 is set to the usual heroic music that accompanies his fights, as he systematically tears her mobile suit to pieces around her instead of going for his usual quick kill, leaving her injured, helpless, and delirious in her cockpit even as he continues to attack, which comes off as less than heroic.
  • Space Pirates: The Brewers in the first season, and Dawn Horizon Corps in the second season.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The final episode reveals Akatsuki Augus, who's unmistakably the son of Mika. He's practically a Palette Swap!
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The most downplayed example of all Gundam franchises, most mobile suits destroyed from melee weapons don't blow up spontaneously.
  • Superpower Russian Roulette: The surgery for getting the Alaya-Vijnana implanted is one massive gamble. Succeed, and you get the ability to pilot machinery like no normal could ever hope achieve. Fail, and you could suffer neurological damage and be left severely crippled for life, or straight-up die. The success rate is three in every five - good luck.
  • Super Prototype:
    • There's a reason the Schwalbe Graze piloted by a select few elite Gjallarhorn pilots is called the EB-05s (as opposed to the standard EB-06 Graze) - according to the translated manual, it's one of several prototypes for the production model that was rejected for being too tricky to handle for regular pilots. Gjallarhorn went with a different design for the regular Graze, but built a few more Schwalbes for those elite pilots capable of drawing out its impressive performance without getting themselves killed.
    • Montag's Grimgerde, which was the Graze's predecessor that was used during the Calamity War. An ultra-high mobility mobile suit with rare Absurdly Sharp Blades installed on each arm's chobham shield, along with matching autocannons. Naturally, it's painted red.
  • Surprisingly Good English: Various bits of text in the background, from computer screens that characters are reading, to messages the characters write each other, to signs and TV headlines, are all rendered in generally accurate English.
  • Symbolic Blood: Several mobile suits are seen covered in black fluid after being on the receiving end of a beat down.
  • Talking Is a Free Action:
    • Defied in episode 21. once the Outer Earth Orbit Regulatory Fleet arrives, they begin to pose dramatically while Carta Issue introduces her squad with a Large Ham monologue, only to be interrupted by Akihiro by shooting her subordinate.
    Akihiro: (With a confused look complete with Sweat Drop) It was... okay to shoot, right?
    Beat
    Mikazuki: Of course.
    • Done again during Tekkedan's 2nd encounter with Carta Issue. Mikazuki sees the opportunity to attack her during all her Large Ham boasting. Carta's men call him out on it.
    • In Episode 46, Julieta decides that the middle of a battle is a great time to rant to Mikazuki about how great Rustal is. Unfortunately for her, Mikazuki still doesn't believe in this trope and bashes her cockpit in with his mace while she's distracted by her own ranting.
  • Technologically Advanced Foe: The Mobile Armors possess technology that no faction in the current conflict has, not even Gjallarhorn. More specifically, they carry beam weapons in an era where every other combatant relies on solid ordnance.
  • Tempting Fate: McGillis offers Orga a deal that if Tekkadan help him into reforming Gjallarhorn, they would become "Kings of Mars". When Orga asked his fellow members on whether he should accept the offer or not, none of them never made a deep though about the deal due a lack of understanding on what "King of Mars" really means and their only response is "Okay, whatever. Let's go for it." Later on, disaster struck on them when they slowly lose their friends and reputation and then, the organization that they worked so hard to build had crumbled into Rustal Elion's hand.
  • Terraform: In the Post Disaster timeline, Mars has been successfully terraformed into a planet suitable for life. Though while it does have patches of forests, it is still largely a desert world.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Season 2 episode 13, conveniently enough, where we learn what it took - and what it cost - to take down Mobile Armor Hashmal.
  • Time Skip:
    • A teeny one between eps. 23 and 24 - Tekkadan has been stuck outside Edmonton for three days while Gjallarhorn, dug in deep at the border, keep the kids out with everything they have.
    • A more significant one between Seasons 1 and 2: enough time has passed for Tekkadan to establish itself as a fully-fledged PMC and open a second branch on Earth, for Kudelia to found the Admoss Corporation and begin half-metal mining operations on Mars, and for things to somehow get even worse as Gjallarhorn loses influence and the economic blocs begin building stockpiles of both mobile suits and Child Soldiers.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies:
    • Episode 3 is titled "Glorious Demise". We get three onscreen fatalities, but the one most likely pointed at here is Crank.
    • Episode 13 is titled "Funeral Rite". Masahiro dies in this episode.
    • Episode 16 is titled "Fumitan Admoss". Exactly What It Says on the Tin
    • Episode 23 is titled "The Last Lie", a reference to Gaelio letting Carta believe that McGillis had come to rescue her, in order to Let Her Die Happy.
    • Episode 31 is titled "My Friend", as Aston has started to considers kids at Earth Branch of Tekkadan, especially Takaki, as his friend. He's dead protecting said friend.
    • Episode 40 is titled "Lit by a Blazing Sun", a reference to Amida's words that "men are just like flowers, they need a sun to flourish; that is woman's role." Naze and Amida bit the space dust in this episode.
    • Episode 41 is titled "Natural for Human", also a Call-Back from Amida's words about human's feeling that Lafter started to feel after working with Tekkadan for so long. She is assassinated in this episode.
    • Episode 45 is titled "If This is the End...", right smack in the middle of Tekkadan's Hopeless Boss Fight with the Arianrhod Fleet. Shino falls in battle after failing to carry out a jury-rigged tactic. For an additional level of emphasis: if you watched the episode in the official Gundam.info YouTube page, a bloodied Shino serves as the video icon, overtly telegraphing his demise.
    • Much like Episode 16 mentioned above is Episode 49: "McGillis Fareed."
  • Top Wife: Amida Arca is Naze Turbine's first, closest and most favorite wife who is also his right-handed woman their group, the Turbines, which is entirely composed of women who are taken in by Naze and registered as his wives. Amida is also a talented pilot which also makes her the commander of the Turbines' mobile suit unit. She is also considered as a Cool Big Sis and a mother figure to the Turbines and by extension, Tekkadan.
  • Trash the Set: Episode 40, in two stages. We see scenes inside the Hammerhead that we've seen before go up in flames after the first barrage of rail gun fire, before Naze takes it on a suicide run and crashes the whole ship into an Arianrod battleship.
  • Tripod Terror: Appropriately enough for a series taking place on Mars. The Mobile Workers used by CGS have three legs each ending in a single wheel.
  • Turned Against Their Masters:
    • Orga leads the Third Group in taking over the CGS after they're ordered on a virtual Suicide Mission and refuse to serve under the First Group, who see them as sacrificial pawns.
    • For as for now unexplained reasons, the Mobile Armors turned against their creators, causing the Calamity War.
  • Undying Loyalty: Deconstructed repeatedly. A recurring theme in Iron-Blooded Orphans is how dangerous unconditional loyalty is.
    • Mikazuki is completely loyal to Orga, to the point where he has no problems sacrificing himself to fulfill Orga's goals. In addition to the physical harm this causes Mika, it also cause Orga to not reflect on his actions as much as he should, as Orga convinces himself that Mikazuki would let him know if he ever went too far. By the time Mikazuki realizes how much harm this attitude is doing to both him and Orga, Mika has already crippled himself in Orga's service and doesn't see himself having a future once the fighting ends.
    • Tekkadan in general is fanatically loyal to Orga and refuse to question his orders meaning that no one is willing to dissuade Orga from entering into a disastrous alliance with McGillis.
    • Ein's loyalty to Crank leads him to go on a quest to avenge him by killing the very children that Crank was willing to die to save. In the end, Ein becomes a (near-literal) monster that Crank would be ashamed of.
    • Carta's loyalty to McGillis causes her to ignore how he ordered her to fight Tekkadan while greatly outnumbered leading to her death.
    • Julieta's loyalty to Rustal causes her to both overlook how he is nowhere near as heroic as she thinks he is and to view herself as expendable if it means fulfilling Rustal's ambitions. After Mikazuki nearly kills her, Julieta realizes how dangerous this trope is and becomes more critical of Rustal.
    • Iok's men are so loyal to him that they fail to realize that he is grossly incompetent and unfit for command. Iok's incompetence gets several of them killed.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Done in the battle in Episodes 45 and 46. Tekkadan's plan to use the Flauros's Super Galaxy Cannon to one-shot Rustal's flagship is discussed on screen and ends in failure. However, Tekkadan's plan to blow up the Hotarubi with a chaff bomb to disorient Arianrhod long enough to escape is devised off screen and the audience doesn't learn the specifics until right before the plan succeeds.
  • Unusual User Interface: Intra-spinal cybernetic implants in this case. The Ālaya-Vijñāna system, which can only be attached to growing children, uses nanomachines to give the pilots increased spacial awareness by creating a pseudo-brain lobe allowing them to process data better.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: Not with any of the Gundams, but between Grazes. The first one happens in Episode 17 between Norba's Ryusei-Go (Upgrade) vs Ein's Schwalbe Graze (Prototype). The second fight between them in Episode 24 also counts, with Norba being the Prototype against the Graze Ein (upgrade).

    V-Z 
  • Vehicular Turnabout: Tekkadan does this repeatedly, salvaging mobile suits and other vehicles they've defeated and using them for their own purposes. It's implied that this is standard procedure, as no one but Gjallarhorn is actually capable of producing new Ahab reactors, meaning the only way for anyone else to get them is to get creative in acquiring them. Most of the mobile suits Tekkadan ends up with are actually sold off to Teiwaz to held Tekkadan cover their operating costs, but several they keep.
    • Of particular note is a humble Graze, originally piloted by Crank when he duels Mika in episode 3. It's first used by Akihiro as a stopgap measure (it's the only functioning mobile suit they have besides Mika's Barbatos), then later upgraded into the Ryusei-Go (improving its performance and adding support for the Ālaya-Vijñāna system) and piloted by Norba after Akihiro has moved on to the Gusion.
    • The Gusion itself is also an example, having originally been in the hands of the Brewers. Given that the Brewers are Space Pirates and the Gusion is a Gundam model from the Calamity War, the Brewers presumably got it the same way.
    • The Brewers' ship is also commandeered by Tekkadan, showing up again in episode 19, where they use it as a disposable decoy and shield for the Isaribi while breaking through a Gjallarhorn fleet.
    • Barbatos Lupus Rex is equipped with Hashmal's claw and tail, that are made from the same material as Grimgerde's sword.
  • Villainous Valor:
    • A random Mook in episode 19 pursues the Barbatos to continue the battle even as they begin reentry into Earth's atmosphere. The guy has no name and no backstory, but he gave Mika a better fight than Gaelio did in that episode, despite knowing that he was doomed even if he won. Mika kills him and then survives reentry by using his mobile suit as a heat shield, and the Graze Ritter's shoulder armors are salvaged and attached onto the Barbatos' 6th form.
    • Ein always remembers who respected him despite being half-Martian, to the degree that he sacrifices himself to save Gaelio twice, and he dedicates his entire career is to avenging Crank and protecting Gaelio.
    • Carta is one of the few non-corrupt Gjallarhorn officers who believes in honor and valor, her decorative mobile suit and ceremonial poses are for mentoring her subordinates to remain pure and honorable, and her she's willing to confront her enemies with an honorable duel instead of a sneak attack or ambush. This backfires miserably when her opponent is a Combat Pragmatist who is more interested in Revenge against her than putting Honor Before Reason.
  • Visual Pun: Why does Ride Mass choose a lightning bolt for a symbol when he gets his own Shiden? Because he renamed it after himself, Riden-Go (pronounced Raiden.)
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Happens to a drunken Orga in episode 9.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Mikazuki and the other Tekkadan pilots go shirtless frequently, due to the Ālaya-Vijñāna interface in their spines. They even go into combat with bare torsos while they're fighting on a planet, though in space they use pilot suits tailored to accommodate their cybernetics.
  • Walking Tank: The mobile workers are a semi-example, having wheels mounted on movable legs for added maneuverability. The Earth forces, meanwhile, have their own version which looks like a legged version of the original series' Magella Attack Tank.
  • Wall of Text: Used several times to provide backstory as a Freeze-Frame Bonus via a screen full of Unreadably Fast Text. Episode 4 gives us a detailed summary of what happened after the Calamity War, and episode 6 has a summary of Teiwaz and how big of a conglomerate itself is.
  • War Is Hell: As a shonen war story from a pacifist writer, the Gundam franchise was founded on exploring the horrors of war through the eyes of Child Soldiers, but IBO still manages to stand out as one of its bluntest and most brutal entries. Violence is an unwelcome and relatively infrequent intrusion into the cast's lives, and generally consists of traumatised children engaging in bloody gun-battles as towering war-machines rip their enemies (and their squishy, vulnerable pilots) apart with huge, evil-looking weapons. Most of the rest of the show consists of exploring a world ravaged by war, and the downright alarming psychological/physical impact it has on those forced to fight. The Brewers arc in particular has been described by a number of Internet commentators as an unlicensed crossover with Beasts of No Nation.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The main gun of Hashmal, the first dug up mobile armor. For the general setting, it's power is unprecedented but has almost no effect on mobile suit nano-laminate armor. Against landscapes and cities however..
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: The plot revolves around political tension between various Earth-based governments and one of their Martian colonies.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Things turn really serious in episode 17. Though it was no bed of roses up until that point, episode 17 is when we see that Gjallarhorn is truly suffering from systemic corruption, rather than just a few bad apples, and that they'll have to be taken on rather than appealing to a Reasonable Authority Figure in their ranks. In this episode, Gjallarhorn massacres hundreds, if not thousands, of protesters by staging a False Flag Operation to make it look like the protesters were attacking them. In addition, the only reason the protesters felt confident enough to act overtly in the first place is because they'd managed to acquire weapons to defend themselves with if Gjallarhorn tried to attack — only for it to turn out that Gjallarhorn arranged for the weapon shipments in the first place, and they were all sabotaged and useless.
    • In episode 24, Tekkadan has their first all-out battle against Gjallarhorn. While they had fought plenty of skirmishes and fairly minor engagements up until that point, episode 24 opens on the tail end of a three-day battle, with Tekkadan taking heavy casualties among their rank-and-file (rather than a handful of losses during especially dangerous missions, such as boarding actions on enemy ships) for the first time. It marks the beginning of the end one way or another, as Tekkadan doesn't have the numbers or the logistics to keep up that kind of thing for very long.
    • Episode 25: Gaelio and Ein are killed by McGillis and Mika respectively, while Kudelia's speech before the Arbrau parliament and the events in Edmonton thoroughly discredits Gjallarhorn's standing with the Earth economic blocs who are now re-arming themselves. Iznario is forced to step down as leader of Gjallarhorn as McGillis takes his place along with Todo as his second-in-command. Mika has also been left with a crippled arm and mostly-blind right eye due to pushing the Alaya-Vijnana beyond its limit during his fight with Ein.
    • Episode 30: Radice is bribed by an Arbrau agent into planting a bomb in Makanai's headquarters. The bomb places both Makanai and Chad into comas, allowing Radice to take over Tekkadan's Earth branch. Arbrau blames the SAU power bloc for the bombing, creating tensions that will almost certainly lead to a war. Takaki's closing monologue implies that this war will spiral completely out of control.
    • Episode 35: The thing that Tekkadan found while excavating a half-metal mine was "Bigger than a Mobile Suit"? Turns out that it's a Mobile Armor...it has drones...and BEAM WEAPONRY (when it was said no beam weaponry will appear!). And it's hostile to everyone.
    • Episode 38: Mikazuki manages to destroy the Hashmal, but the backlash from fighting without Barbatos's limiter paralyzes the right half of his body. And Mikazuki doesn't mind.
    • Episode 41: Jasley has waited long enough for the succession for McMurdo's position as the head honcho of Teiwaz, so he sets a civil war against Tekkadan with the help of Iok Kujan. The trigger? Him selling Naze and Turbines to Arianrhod, and when that is not enough to goad Tekkadan into attacking him, he simply assassinates Lafter.
    • Episode 43: Gaelio is confirmed to be Vidar, McGillis is now an AV user (along with a chunk of his past revealed), and for the first time in 300 years, the Gundam Bael has been deployed as McGillis stages a coup.
    • Episode 48: The Turbines decide to save Tekkadan from their hopeless battle against Arianrhod. Then, assassins under Nobliss Gordon kill Orga.
  • Wham Line: In episode 43, when Mika was about to finish Vidar/Gaelio, McGillis taunts him, saying he can't beat Mika. Gaelio agrees that he can't beat them...
    Vidar/Gaelio: "But with the two of us..."
    McGillis: "What?"
    Vidar/Gaelio: "Ein!"
  • Wham Shot:
    • The final shot of Episode 35, the skies of Mars cut in two by the slowly fading but unmistakeable pink line of a particle beam.
    • Episode 43 showed McGillis shirtless inside the cockpit of Gundam Bael which made viewers wondering why he's bare-chested. Then the next scene shows an Ālaya-Vijñāna interface on his back which he used to pilot Bael.
    • the final shot of Episode 48 A lifeless Orga face down in his own blood pointing upwards.
    • The dying moments of Mikazuki Augus aboard the nearly-destroyed Barbatos Lupus Rex.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Maruba, the actual boss of CGS who was the first to flee in the first episode, reappears without warning at the end of episode 6.
    • Todo's disappeared from the screen after episode 5, but episode 11 reveals that Gjallarhorn has been interrogating him at every given opportunity, and he might have been responsible for feeding the Brewers information on the side. We finally see him again in episode 18, in the hands of McGillis Fareed.
    • That one guy who spotted Mika snooping around trying to track down Biscuit and Atra during the Dort arc. Did he tell Mika what happened, or did Mika have to beat it out of him (which seems a LOT more likely)?
    • The fates of Almiria, her father, Sakura, and Todo remain unanswered.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The second half of Episode 50 showed us the fate of the surviving characters some years after the final battle:
    • Rustal reforms Gjallarhorn into a democratic system and abolishes the Seven Stars since three of them have been extinct. Kudelia becomes the chairperson of the Martian Union and also signs with Rustal in abolishing the Human Debris system. Gaelio has the pseudo Alaya-Vijnana implant removed from his neck and is wheelchair-bound while Julieta continues working for Rustal and is possibly next in line to lead Gjallarhorn. Julieta and Gaelio themselves are in the process of getting together. Rustal is aware most of Tekkadan's membership have survived, seeing Eugene as Kudelia's bodyguard, but looks the other way, likely recognizing they no longer have the capacity to be a threat.
    • Eugene and Chad work for Kudelia as bodyguards and aides while Dante and Derma work at Kudelia's orphanage, helping other orphans. Derma himself has gotten a robotic arm to replace the one he lost. Nadi and Merribit have started a new company, Kassapa Industries, and are still together with a kid, with another one on the way. Yamagi, Zack and Dane finally found some good jobs with them, while Ride, implied to have cut off ties with everyone, is on the run after hunting down and assassinating Nobliss Gordon in order to avenge Orga's death. Makanai passed away while Takaki becomes the secretary for the new Arbrau Prime Minister.
    • The Turbines under Azee and Eco remain stable in the years following Naze, Amida and Lafter's deaths. Azee herself seems to have gained the same closeness Naze had with Mc Murdo, playing chess with him. Teiwaz itself was instrumental in paving the way for the Martian Union.
    • Atra remains in Mikazuki's farm and raises his and her child, Akatsuki, with Kudelia. Though unseen, Cookie and Cracker are also living with them.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: In an inversion of the franchise norm: Tekkadan lost to the Arianhrod Fleet in the final battle at Mars, but has managed to limit their casualties to a few actual combatants (including their Gundam pilots); with half of Gjallarhorn's Seven Star families gone, Rustal was forced to abolish the system in favor of a more democratic setup, while reducing the organization's control over the Mars colonies, allowing the formation of the Martian Union and the abolition of the heinous culture of Human Debris alongside Kudelia.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • In Episode 24, the audience learns how absurdly powerful the Graze Ein is when Ein rapidly defeats Azee, Lafter, and Shino with little apparent effort.
    • Episode 37, we already knew from the previous episode that the Mobile Armor is insanely powerful, but just to really drive the point home, even McGillis gets thrashed by it like a rag doll.
  • Worf Had the Flu:
    • In episode 7, Mika has more trouble against the Turbines than he should have because Barbaros' reactor hasn't been fine tuned.
    • In the finale, Mikazuki and Akihiro probably would have slaughtered Julieta and Iok if their Gundams hadn't been devastated by an orbital Dainsleif strike. With the damage they took, Akihiro was killed by Grazes after killing Iok and Mikazuki only had a slight advantage over Julieta, despite releasing Barbatos's limiter.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • McGillis considers Mikazuki to be one after seeing him fight off not only him, but also multiple Gjallarhon Grazes at once.
    • After their brief battle with Tekkadan in episode 7, the Turbine group picks up a healthy respect for them.
    • After one scrap, Julietta Juris regards Amida Arca with actual respect, as opposed to the shock and awe she felt when seeing Mikazuki (whom she'd fought to a standstill once) tear into the Mobile Armor Hashmal.
  • Would Hurt a Child: There's bound to be some level of this in a show about Child Soldiers, but the show doesn't shy away from showing the results up close and personal, from children on sentry duty being sniped in the head as prelude to an attack to child combat pilots being smashed to paste by enemy mobile suit.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: Crank is horrified when he realizes that he's fighting child soldiers. When his superior officer, Coral, orders him to continue to try to capture Kudelia despite this, he challenges Mikazuki to a duel over her. Crank's intent is to disable the Barbatos, spare Mika's life, and take Kudelia, allowing him to carry out his orders without killing any more child soldiers. Mika finds this to be ridiculous, especially since Crank unknowingly killed several child soldiers in the previous battle.
    • Subverted with Naze Turbine. He has no qualms with picking a fight against child soldiers if they were antagonizing him. However, what he does have problems with are if said child soldiers had Ālaya-Vijñāna nodes forcibly installed into them by their Jerkass former boss.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Anime/MobileSuitGundamIronBloodedOrphans