Reviews: Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans

One of the Best Gundam

Orga Itsuka is the leader of a group of what's called "human debris", orphans part of a PMC organization who have underwent a medical operation to interface their nervous system directly with machines, dubbed "Alaya-Vijnana". When they are tasked with escorting Martian revolutionary aristocrat Kudelia Aina Bernstein to Earth, they are attacked by Gjallarhorn, a powerful and corrupt army that wants to keep their absolute control over both Earth and space. Abandoned, desperate, and with nobody to turn to, Orga directs his best friend Mikazuki Augus to pilot their only asset, a 300-year-old relic from a colossal war - Gundam Barbatos, while they also aided by Gjallarhorn officer McGillis Fareed, who wants their help to root out Gjallarhorn's corruption from the inside-out. But will Orga's and McGillis' alliance change their world for the better, or will it lead to their own destruction?

Iron Blooded Orphans is definitely one of the better Gundam series out there, cutting out much of the philosophical crap that plagues so many of the shows and instead going where no Gundam show has gone before: not just using child soldiers as characters, but fully exploring the concept itself. However, this show is not for the faint of heart; it is perhaps the darkest Gundam series yet, going beyond drama to ultimately be a tragedy. I do have mixed feelings about the irony of the ending.

Iron Blooded Orphans also has other differences from most Gundam series: it puts more emphasis on pilot than machine, and introduces an entirely different style of combat. Instead of the Gundams being Super Prototypes with superior armor and weaponry piloted by novices, they are centuries old relics with only twice the power source, and piloting skill and the Alaya-Vijnana increase in reaction speed are what truly make a difference on the battlefield. And instead of beam weaponry being cutting edge technology that cuts through warships like soft butter, it is out-of-date and unable to pierce modern armor, with kinetic weapons only able to be marginally more effective, for once actually justifying melee weapons and actually giving combat more of a medieval feel to it, and making mobile suits mostly incapable of taking on warships.

Good Series, Bitter Ending

Gundam Ironblooded Orphans was a great entry into the Gundam Franchise after the last few failures. It felt more grounded in reality, with protagonists that we could empathize with. And up until Season 2's midpoint it was great.

However, the writing gets clunky after that. Needless to say, the ending is bittersweet as hell, possibly the most bitter ending in Gundam because of how the writing got screwed up around the middle of the second season. Yes, the system changed. But to do so most, if not all, the characters we empathized with had to die.

I think that the writer was trying to point out how change comes at a heavy price, but this is where the writing gets clunky. You see, despite Tekkadanís actions at the end of Season 1 being viewed as heroic because they were fighting against a frankly corrupt system, they made things worse for everyone else by showing the value of Child Soldiers and the amount of Human Debris increased. So to contrast this, they tried to show things improving for everyone else by killing Tekkadan off as a scapegoat through corrupt and illegal means and the people who changed the system were the privileged few who came to empathize with them.

It sends a message that only those in a position of power already can change the system for the better, while those who arenít serve as the foundation by dying.

A good series, but a good gateway? But the Great Naze

As a watcher of series of anime who has yet to see Gundam, I must wonder if this is the best to go to start?

It is good, I will say that. The characters are fairly solid, and the story has good twists and turns. But is it a series that is the best for new fans to see Gundam?

It is on a modern decon trend such as Madoka, Hunterx Hunter, and Arc-V after all.

But the reviewer must give praises to one character, and one character alone.


After years of high school harems led by idiots, a new form of Harem character has appeared. He's one who has finished his story, has an entire ship filled with a harem, and actually has kids! This sort of character should be more common, just to see what the genre can be without the limitations of the sexless protagonist.

...Or is Naze Turbine a faint glimmer of light in the category of harem characters....