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Alternative Character Interpretation / Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

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The entire series runs on this — its story is symmetrical enough that picturing Tekkadan as the heroes or villains (Gjallarhorn, too) are equally viable.

  • Mikazuki - Reluctant soldier who only fights to protect his friends and wants to be more than just a soldier vs. bloodthirsty sociopath who uses his so-called friends as an outlet for his violent urges. When he's about to land the final blow to Carta and the latter is reduced to crying for help, Mika reacts with shock when she says McGillis' name. Was he surprised by her mention of McGillis' name? Or was it a genuine "My God, What Have I Done?" moment? Additionally, there's the utterly ruthless way he kills Lt. Crank in the middle of his dramatic Final Speech. Is he simply being the cold Consummate Professional he was trained to be as a mercenary, or is it an expression of contempt? Crank, after all, is a pseudo-Knight in Shining Armor with an expensive Humongous Mecha that few normal combatants could even touch, whereas before getting the Barbatos, Mikazuki has been relegated to piloting what amounts to a futuristic Technical with little armor. Up until this point, Crank has had the luxury of being able to take his time in combat, while for Mikazuki one slip up meant death, thus the grandiose speechifying typical of Gundam characters could come off as a rather extravagant demonstration of privilege. Mikazuki being offended by this would be pretty consistent with his comments to Kudelia about inequality in the first episode.
  • Gundam Barbatos - Is it merely a weapon? Or is it secretly a sentient being? When first activated it allowed Mika to be able to recognize its name on the monitor despite the fact at the time he was illiterate. When Mika is killing Carta, it appears to be shedding tears note , and when Mika needs insight and power when dealing with Ein, the Barbatos granted Mika the techniques he needed to use the katana. Following the fight with Hashmal it seems that the latter is the more correct interpretation.
    • With the introduction of Gundam Bael, it very much looks like some, if not all, Gundam Units have the souls of former pilots trapped within them, possibly making this a case of And I Must Scream.
  • Orga - Is he willing to crush whoever blocking his way? Or is Mika pushing him to this conclusion by force?
  • Gaelio - When he finally decides to kill Mikazuki for what he did to Carta, he keeps Mika away from Ein when the latter was brutalizing the rest of the Tekkadan members. Does Gaelio want to go for the killing blow on his own? Or is he going for a Revenge by Proxy by having Ein slaughter every last one of Mika's friends, forcing Mika to watch them dying before him, one by one? Gaelio is aware of Gjallarhorn's corruption and wants to reform it but he does not do anything about it despite being a member of the Seven Stars families and in Season 2, he willingly sides with Rustal Elion who represents the ugly side of the organization. Either he's unable to reform due to his over-reliance on friendship and loyalty to his family or that his revenge on McGillis blinded him, making unable to see the true picture.
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  • Ein - An annoying officer who can't let go of Crank's memory and psychotic monster for going after our heroes in later episodes? Or a tragic man who's unfortunate circumstances in life has pushed him to do what he did?
  • McGillis - Is he truly a ruthless Manipulative Bastard who gleefully betrays his friends, is he secretly lying to himself and withstanding the sadness on the loss of friendship and trust, or is he a mix of both of these and a never really grew up because of his experiences? Those in-universe arguing for the former can't be said to be unbiased about it.
  • Carta Issue - Either she's an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who wants to restore her honor after being humilitated or an ruthless and obnoxious soldier who's willing to go over red tape just to get what she wants. Depending how you really felt about her, you could either find her death as pitiful or deserving.
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  • Atra - Does she want Kudelia and herself to be Mikazuki's harem because Kudelia is too much competition for her and she thinks she'd never win, or because she deeply cares about the both of them? Does she love Kudelia as a friend or as much as she loves Mikazuki?
  • Rustal - A corrupt Gjallarhorn Lord who uses every method to secure his position and power, including committing war crimes and manipulating his subordinates with his charisma? Or a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's desperately trying to stop McGillis from taking over Gjallarhorn and possibly running the Post-Disaster society in a Might Makes Right principle, where the strongest people lord over the weak with brute force? While his actions in the finale seem to support the latter, it could just as easily be viewed as Pragmatic Villainy on his behalf.

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