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Tear Jerker / Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

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Et Tu, McGillis?
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WARNING: HEAVY SPOILERS INBOUND.

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    Season 1 
  • Danji's death in the first episode. He jumped into a mobile worker for the first time to defend his friends and home, only to get killed unceremoniously. The only thing that's left for his friend to mourn over is an earplug.
  • Crank's death in the third episode. He tried to end things peacefully for the kids still stationed on Mars and went behind his superior's backs in order not bring further bloodshed, trying in his own way to atone for the sin of murdering children. His death is in no way honorable as he's killed by Mikazuki, before even finishing his Last Words.
  • Atra's backstory of how she came to work with Tekkadan shows how much abuse she had to put up in her previous employment (doing menial household chores at a brothel). That includes being bullied by the employers and being deliberately starved for making so much as a single mistake. It got worse to the point where she ran away, only to be exhausted from hunger. If Mikazuki hadn't pointed her out to her current employer, she would have died of starvation.
    • We later learn she was beaten so often that she considered it to be about the same as getting tortured by Gjallahorn to the point of bruises and bleeding, to the point that she claimed she was used to it.
  • Akihiro also has a tragic backstory in which he used to have a family. Not only were his parents killed by pirates, he and his younger brother Masahiro were abducted and sold off to slave traders separately as Human Debris. Akihiro even admits that he had forgotten about his past until he became a part of the Tekkadan family.
    • Even worse, it's revealed that Masahiro is working for a group of pirates who are fighting Tekkadan, though not by choice.
    • Despite his best efforts, Akihiro fails to reach out to his brother. Masahiro has been so broken that hearing Akihiro having people he can call family now that it brings him to a Despair Event Horizon on his own worth as a human being, to the point he chooses to let himself get killed in an attack meant for his brother rather than escaping with him.
  • The fact that we can see that most of the Human Debris from the Brewers don't like their situation or working with them, but they still get killed off unceremoniously. It's the exact same position Tekkadan was in with Maruba, only they didn't have a way out.
    • The Tekkadan group tried to spare some of them, only for them to shoot them from behind and force them to fire back after some of their own are killed. Shino ends up crying later on over it.
    • The surviving Human Debris from the Brewers start crying when Orga offers them protection under Tekkadan, citing that they would be treated well.
  • It was revealed that the reason why an Arranged Marriage was forced on McGillis and his 9-year old fiance is due to political reasons: The Bauduin Family does not wish to give McGillis more political power in two of Gjallahorn's noble families, so they select a less influential family member (the fiance is the daughter of the Head of Bauduin's mistress). You can hear both party-goers and servants making snide remarks about how the fiance was barely out of her diapers.
    • Which makes McGillis's efforts to comfort Almiria about her insecurities all the more heartwarming—and all the more saddening considering he even says that with their situation and his line of work, this might be the happiest they're ever going to be.
  • The fallout between Biscuit and his brother, the latter of whom feels that sacrificing Atra is a Necessary Evil if it means protecting the Slums, and Kudelia and Fumitan, the latter of whom is revealed to be a traitor.
  • The latter part of Episode 16 counts for two reasons: first would be Kudelia seeing the massacre that unfolded on the rallyists of Dort 3 before her very eyes, while she carries a dying picketer in her arms; second, and the one which hits harder, would be Fumitan Taking the Bullet for the girl who apparently touched her heart most despite being instructed by Nobliss to lead her to slaughter.
    • When Mikazuki arrives to get Kudelia out of there; the poor girl, in clear denial, begs him to help Fumitan, insisting she will make it. Mikazuki calmly tells Kudelia they must leave, he even has to drag her away from the corpses and carry her, all the while Kudelia keeps repeating Fumitan's name.
    Mika: That isn't Fumitan anymore.
    • Goes into Meta as well: Yumi Uchiyama tweeted that she and some of the cast were in tears when they dubbed the sequence.
    • The music that plays in the scene, "Fallen Flower".
    • Meanwhile, Savarin Griffon can be seen begging the lifeless body of the chief for forgiveness. Despite everything, he still felt he was working for the workers, and now the horn has sounded for war.
      • We later find out that Savarin hung himself out of grief.
  • The latter part of Episode 18 just tugs at the heartstrings. Seeing Tekkadan paying their respects in their own way to their fallen comrade Fumitan will make you teary-eyed.
  • The fight between Orga and Biscuit in Episode 20 after the latter's brother was Driven to Suicide over the Dort Massacre.
  • Episode 21: Biscuit's death at the end of the ep. This gets foreshadowed by a LOT of deathflags, namely the conversation between Cookie and Cracker back on Mars, the Cannot Spit It Out moment between him and Orga prior to the assault on the island, and Merribit's reassurance to Orga that he'd be able to talk to him on the next day.
    • Made all the more tear-jerking on two counts: the return of MISIA's Orphan's Tears as the ending song; and the fact that the episode aired on February 28 - Japanese Biscuit Day.
  • Episode 22: The fallout of Biscuit's death hits everyone hard. Orga is sitting on his ass in the dark, not certain what to do and blaming himself, the kids are fighting among themselves, Atra is making mistakes cooking but is staying busy to distract herself, they don't know how they're going to explain to Cookie and Cracker that both their brothers are dead, Merribit is struggling to find some way of encouraging them but can't, and the Turbine girls cite they can't tell them anything advice-wise because they were in the same boat a few years ago and not really better off.
  • Episode 23: Gaelio is put through the emotional wringer in this one. First, he has to deal with Ein's consciousness basically being transplanted into a robot, then Carta dies still calling out McGillis' name.
    • The former's transformation into a mobile suit might as well make RoboCop thank his lucky stars.
    • Merribit's attempt to defuse the younger children from being a group of TykeBombs are met with refusal by the children themselves, who become enamored by brutality of Mika's revenge for Biscuit. It's enough to bring her to tears.
    • Orga himself realizes that they no longer have anywhere to return to after Biscuit's death, forgetting that they have friends and- in some cases- family back on Mars. It shows that without him they have gotten completely off-track, poisoned with thoughts of revenge.
    • Notwithstanding her actions in the past few episodes, Carta's death comes off as this as well. Having already disgraced her family's name twice for her failure to defeat Tekkadan, the way she was beaten the third time comes off as a Disproportionate Retribution courtesy of Barbatos' No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Made all the more apparent when one counts the final flashback and conversation between her and McGillis, the only man she loved most. The scene is one of those rare moments where one would be placated to root for Gjallarhorn, in the hopes that she'd eventually make a Heel–Face Turn in the long run.
      • For extra tragedy, Mikazuki's killings of Carta and her men are so brutal they might as well be considered a war crime. If anything, his actions are a huge Take That! against those who were treating Iron-Blooded Orphans as a power fantasy.
  • Episode 24:
    • When we finally get to see Ein in action, he's exacting his revenge onto Azee, Lafter, Shino and even Kudelia, everyone else but Mikazuki, it's definitely not what Crank and Gaelio wanted. The latter may want Mika dead, but definitely not seeing his new friend being corrupted by his treacherous old frield, McGillis.
    • Gaelio's gradual breakdown is now in full effect, not only he has to deal with Mika, who maimed his new friend and murdered his childhood friend, he has to see the one who betrayed him is none other than his treacherous old friend, McGillis.
  • Episode 25:
    • Gaelio goes off the deep end when McGillis reveals himself and he realizes that he was the one who sent Carta to her death and used Ein as a pawn. And Gaelio, who wasn't really even evil, per se, just on the "wrong" side, dies knowing that, among other things, McGillis is going to have control over his little sister and there's nothing he can do.
    • This doubles as a Tearjerker for McGillis as well, as even though he won't stop what he's doing, he's genuinely remorseful at taking the lives of the people who loved him, and admits sorrowfully that Gaelio was his only friend in the world.
    • Almiria's reaction to Gaelio's death is heartwrenching. And in all likelihood, she has no idea that she's being consoled by the very person who betrayed and killed him.

    Season 2 
  • Episode 26
    • Tekkadan's victory in Season 1 has led to things getting even worse on a global-scale. Because Gjallarhorn's corruption was revealed, it's public standing was lost and the world grew more chaotic and dangerous since they don't have the authority they once did. And because of Tekkadan's exploits with child soldiers being so famous, the number of both child soldiers and human debris skyrocketed.
    • It's shown that while Cookie and Cracker are still mostly happy, they really miss Biscuit.
    • When McGillis is asked if he has a friend on Mars that can help him, you see him actually shudder. He then states he no longer has any friends.
  • Episode 27
    • Hush's obsession with becoming a mobile suit pilot through Alaya-Vijnana stems from the suicide of his own brother in the past, joining CGS to make a living but was rendered paralyzed from waist down due to failed surgery. Watching Mikazuki (seemingly) lounging around became all the more painful to watch for Hush.
    • Kudelia blaming herself for Allium's death, and for Tekkadan who dirtied their hands again for her cause in Episode 29.
  • Episode 31: Silent War
    • Julieta asking Vidar, the mysterious masked man who he actually is. He replied in synthesized voice that he's not even sure. No matter who he turned out to be, it's implied that what happened in the past couldn't have been nice to him.
  • Episode 32: My Friend
    • Aston dies taking a blow for Takaki. That's not the worst part; the reason this occurs is because of a combination of Radice's betrayal and Takaki's rash actions; the fact that McGillis attempted to prevent killing either of them make it worse.
    • Takaki killing Radice for his betrayal. Takaki, up to this point, has been portrayed as one of the nicest members of Tekkadan, up there with Biscuit. Unlike other members like Mikazuki and Akihiro, he's never killed before. Takaki's actions here are played as a somber loss of innocence.
    • After nearly getting killed in battle, Hush finally knows the difference between himself and Mikazuki in terms of battle prowess. What makes it even more tearjerking is that Mikazuki had to save him and told Hush to not get in the way.
  • Episode 33
    • Chad has woken up to find the mess left behind by his absence and feels guilty over the deaths that resulted, mentioning that it's hard to keep pushing forward.
    • Takaki, likewise, is still reeling from Aston's death and, combined with the other factors like allowing Radice to control most of the Earth Branch, decides to leave Tekkadan to stay with his sister.
  • Episode 36
    • As the Mobile Armor Hashmal rampages toward an inhabited area, Ride puts himself and his Shiden in the path of its weapon, only for the beam to deflect off of his armor and destroy the settlement and its inhabitants anyway. Ride's shock, guilt, and grief at not being able to save them is made even worse when he is immediately overwhelmed by the Plumas. If not for Mikazuki's intervention, he would certainly have died there as well.
  • Episode 38
    • Though Mikazuki was able to brutally destroy Hashmal, his right leg is completely paralyzed which means he cannot walk anymore and had to rely on Hush to carry him. It doesn't help that he wants to be closer to Barbatos since he can freely move when he pilots. The people around him such as Kudelia and Atra are concerned that his only purpose now is to fight until he can no longer do it which also explain Atra, persuading Kudelia to have a kid with Mika.
    • There's also Mika asking Kudelia about the farm and even though Kudelia volunteers to help in the farmwork, Mika turn it down because he knows that she's busy with her mission. But if you really think about it, he also doesn't want Kudelia to take pity on him for his crippled state. He knows that his current purpose is to fight for Orga and there's no turning back on it. If you remember in Season 1 that he wants to build a farm someday, you know that he cannot do it anymore after what had happened. So, it's like his chance for a normal life is gone and all he can do is to move forward and fight.
  • The fourth opening has a scene where Orga gently picks up a seemingly catatonic Mikazuki out of bed. It really sells how dysfunctional their relationship is.
  • Episode 39:
    • When Orga realizes that the Turbines are being hunted by Arianrhod Fleet, he calls and begs to save them. Naze turns him down by saying that this isn't his fight and he'll be risking Tekkadan by doing so. All Orga can do is swallow his words.
  • Episode 40:
    • At the start of the episode. Naze calls McMurdo and begs that he'll take in the rest of the Turbines. McMurdo allows it and Naze gives a small smile
    • The deaths of Amida and Naze. Naze showed he would do anything to protect his family and Amida would do anything to protect him.
      • As Naze died, we see Amida's spirit embrace him one last time as the Hammerhead explodes
    • We then have a silent montage of everyone reacting to their deaths. We even see Orga shed a Single Tear as a result.
  • Episode 41: Just when Lafter was about to move on with her life after saying goodbye to Akihiro, she ends up assassinated by one of Jasley's thugs inside a stuffed toy shop. Azee's Scream Discretion Shot did not help matters.
    • Nor did Akihiro's reaction upon learning of the same, as despite approaching the situation with Tranquil Fury, he later on went berserk inside the workout room until he fell on his back tired.
    • Not only is that the third person he's cared for to die, but Tekkadan as a whole have to retaliate and will lose their standing in Teiwaz. Everything Naze had done for them will be undone, and they'll be reliant on McGillis for support and protection, who we know has betrayed his two closest friends before. Jasley's ambition has cost both innocent lives and everything they had built up for themselves since the trip to Earth.
  • Episode 42:
    • Akihiro remembers Galan Moss' words about decent people dying first and states if it means more people he loves will die, he'll be a monster. He then adds that he'll apologize to Masahiro, Aston and Lafter in the next life.
    • Tekkadan has cut ties with everyone, this includes Kudelia to keep them safe. Kudelia takes it hard as she saw herself as part of their family, even as Cucubita assures her that this wasn't meant to exclude her from their family.
    • Much like the Carta episodes from the first season, this episode more or less cemented how ruthless that Tekkadan has forced themselves to become. To the horror of Zack, they mow down the Human Debris that Jasley employed without mercy. Hush, Atra, and even Merribit, who has in the past tried to be the Voice of Reason and Morality Chain for the group, have all also adapted to "kill or be killed" line of thinking.
    • Eugene admitting to Orga that he and the others don't really understand the intricacies of their new alliance with McGillis now that they've cut off ties with Teiwaz and the Admoss Foundation (i.e. Kudelia, to keep her safe), and only asks him once if this will really make things better for them before accepting. Makes you wonder how aware the members of Tekkadan know what they're getting themselves into, Undying Loyalty or not.
  • Episode 43:
    • The reveal that McGillis was a prostitute as a child and his adopted father only adopted him to regularly have sex with him. It really explains why he hates Gjallarhorn's current state.
      • It makes his engagement to Almiria downright depressing. It's easy to imagine that he sees himself in Almiria's place. And his kind and respectful attitude towards her is how he would have liked to have been treated.
    • Vidar finally reveals himself as Gaelio to McGillis. He then explains why he wanted to be McGillis' friend and only to realize that McGillis didn't care about things like love or trust but only power.
  • Episode 44:
    • When Almiria learned the truth that Gaelio is alive and exposes McGillis's crimes to the public which included killing him, she's completely devastated and heartbroken. Later on, she tries to kill McGillis for what he did to her brother. When that didn't worked, she tries to kill herself only for McGillis to stop her. She's just a nine-years-old girl who had no idea on what's really going on and her thinking of committing suicide is just too tragic and horrifying.
    • Minor, but during Orga's Rousing Speech, which included the promise of women, Akihiro, from the Gusion, vocally voices his disinterest, showing that Lafter's murder embittered him from the idea of being with anyone ever again.
  • Episode 45:
    • Two words: Shino's death. To make things worse, this was an All or Nothing gambit like they usually do but due to Julietta's interference, Shino misses the last shot. In rage he continues to fly forward where he is gunned down. Any hope of survival is crushed with a Gory Discretion Shot.
    • As is Yamagi's Aborted Declaration of Love when he realizes Shino is still oblivious to his feelings.
  • Episode 47:
    • Rustal has the media label Tekkadan as criminals, cutting off their support on every level. The only one who continues to do so is Kudelia, and just when they hope to get a new start Rustal comes in with the intention of killing them all.
    • Orga being so desperate for Tekkadan to survive, that he is literally begging for Rustal to spare them, even willing to give himself up just so his family can live. He is crushed when Rustal refuses.
  • Episode 48:
    • Another two words: Orga's death. The group is ambushed by a group of assassins and while they repelled them, Orga was seen Taking the Bullet for Ride and heavily injured. As the Ending sounded he affirmed he is the leader of Tekkadan again, vowing to lead the gang for a better life before succumbing to his injuries. The rest on the scene (including Kudelia and Atra) screams in agony. The knife twists further in the next episode preview, which Mika decides to ask Orga what name his child should be named.
  • Episode 49:
    • Gaelio finally kills McGillis like he was trying to do all season. But as the deed is completed, he's on the verge of tears, still having lingering feelings of friendship from all the time they shared together.
    • And this results in Almiria being left a widow at age 9, if her calling herself as his wife means they got hitched between seasons. This is after she'd decided to stay loyal to him.
    • McGillis is a sad character overall when he reveals that he truly did care about both Gaelio and Carta but he mentally ran away from their friendship as he felt he would throw away his goal otherwise. He even admits that he doesn't truly understand happiness. In the end McGillis was just a child whose abuse destroyed his life.
    • Hush dies in combat, telling Mikazuki he would eventually catch up to him and to keep going.
  • Episode 50:
    • Mikazuki's Last Stand and death. Especially when Julieta tears open Barbatos's cockpit only to realize that Mika is already unconcious and dying. In his final moments, all he can think about is how disappointed Atra and Kudelia are going to be that he got Atra's good luck bracelet dirty.
    • Akihiro's death. He dies killing Iok, feeling satisfied that he could face the others in the afterlife, but it's bittersweet because from the moment he was sold into being a Human Debris he lost all the family he had and died on the battlefield.
    • Ride murders Nobliss, which is great. What is sad is that, as far as the public is concerned, Nobliss was a benevolent philanthropist and Ride will most likely be an outlaw for the rest of his life. The ending also implies that he cut off ties with most of the other surviving members of Tekkadan.
    • The Bittersweet Ending as a whole really.
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