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  • Abandon Shipping: And a lot of them involving Gaelio, for some reason. McGillis/Gaelio was one of the most popular BL pairings in fandom at first, but once McGillis' true plans were revealed and he betrayed Gaelio, many fans jumped ship to Gaelio/Ein. The same also happens to NL shipping for both McGillis/Carta and McGillis/Almiria, considering that McGillis plotted a Uriah Gambit to his lover, it's no wonder that many fans jumped ship to Gaelio/Carta instead. Unfortunately, that never caught up because of Carta's death, but with his reveal as Vidar in the latter part of Season 2, fans are quick enough to jump ship to Gaelio/Julietta.
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  • Accidental Innuendo: This conversation in Episode 50 between Julietta and a wheelchair-bound, flirting Gaelio:
    Julieta: (pouting) I want to have some meat.
    Gaelio: Good idea. I like you better with a little more meat on you.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: While Ein is well-liked in Japan, he's a Base-Breaking Character in the west due to being very irritating along with his annoying obsession of avenging his superior officer's death.
  • Awesome Music: As one would expect:
    • The first opening theme song, "Raise Your Flag" by Man With A Mission. Apart from accompanying the awesome, from-underground debut of Gundam Barbatos, the song has become the fans' de facto Battlecry for the series.
    • Tekkadan's Leitmotif, the aptly-titled "Iron Blooded Orphans", is a powerful piece of battle, showing how brave, determined, and violent Mika is when he crushes every single obstacle, and how merciless he can become when seeking vengeance.
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    • The first ending theme, MISIA's "Orphans no Namida" (Translated as "Orphans' Tears"), is not only hauntingly beautiful, but also used to accentuate last-minute bits of action during the credits, such as Kudelia's First Kiss, and tear-jerkingly, Biscuit's final moments.
    • The third ending theme, "Streetlight of War", is a sad and beautiful piece, only used when Mikazuki descends to Earth and finally learns the origin of his name.
    • The Third Opening, "Rage of Dust" by Spyair is no slouch either. It plays during Mikazuki's Big Damn Heroes moment aboard the Barbatos Lupus in the second season.
    • The Fourth Opening, "Fighter" by KANA-BOON, continues the trend that the songs it preceeded maintained. Though with Rule of Symbolism apparent throughout the said opening sequence, it could probably invoke a few different tropes altogether.
  • Broken Base:
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    • The Gundam Gusion's design fueled debate within the fandom on what a Gundam should look like, and if the Gusion should be considered a Gundam. Barbatos' design has also had similar discussion. Even after it was rebuilt with its original Gundam-like appearance as the Gusion Rebake, some think that the new design is generic compared to the unique design of the original.
    • The treatment Mika gives Kudelia was a hot button topic for the first two episodes. Some people see his constant dressing her down as something worthy of praise along the lines of her being a useless naive princess (in the same vein as to how Relena, or in a more recent example Marina, is often perceived by the western Gundam fandom), while others see it as being unnecessarily mean or tactless. This feeds into the argument of whether she's ignorant of their plight and is just in the way or if she is making an effort to understand how things look from their point of view and treating them as equals, which is why she's trying to gain independence, but Mika is just being standoffish because he seems to lack enough social skills to explain his perspective on the matter. There are also people who don't think that Mika is necessarily "dressing her down" as much as he is just being blunt without being malicious and that Kudelia is trying to help out and understand the crew as equals but still is in many ways naive and ignorant of their plight but won't stay that way as she acclimates to her situation.
    • Crank's death at Mika's hands after their duel. Some consider it a natural consequence of war and the result of tussling with trained kids. Others were devastated, thinking that Crank deserved more screen time beyond just three episodes.
    • Mika's continuous awesome moments of hanging his enemies their asses every time can either be even more awesome time after time, or just become plain boring and repetitive given how his character seems to be OP murdering machine, where you know he'll just end up moping the floor with his enemies after a short while anyway.
    • On a meta level, the fact that Mari Okada is the lead writer, this being her first Gundam series. There are fans who don't care either way, fans who are excited due to her past output, and fans who are skeptical because of the same (including the fact that she's only written for two mecha show before this, Aquarion Evol and M3: The Dark Metal). There's also the fans who are outright livid about her being lead writer, many of which had completely written off the series as doomed before it even aired.
    • Somewhat minor, but there's a bit of a divide on the technology level of the setting: specifically the lack of beam tech (a real first for a Gundam series) and how relatively baseline the MS are in general (i.e. compare the Barbatos to the Strike Gundam or the Gundam Exia in terms of armament and special features). Is the show better for it, especially in light of Gundam's traditional issues with beam spamming and overabundant gimmicks, or has this actually degraded the action to So Okay, It's Average levels?
    • Lafter's fridging in episode 41 spurred another one, especially since it came right off the heels of Naze and Amida's deaths. Fans considered it either a great One-Two punch of a Wham Episode, or was overly telegraphed and mean-spirited.
    • The focus on politics and plot, over action and mecha fights is one of the biggest dividers of the series. While most love that the show goes deep into the politics and the setting (which is normal for the Gundam franchise), those who came for the mecha fights may be disappointed, especially in the first season, where it wasn't uncommon for there to be two to three episodes between any fight.
    • There are several debates, particularly on Reddit, regarding which Gjallarhorn side (Rustal's and McGillis's) has a high moral ground. But it's best to leave it that way.
    • The Final arc as a whole: Some agree that the ending, while bitter for all the lives lost, made things better for the world as a whole. Others state that Rustal, Julieta, and Nobliss getting everything they wanted at the cost of the lives of Tekkadan makes it unacceptable. Likewise, there would always be a heated debate regarding Rustal's actions in the end. It's reach the point where people have debated whether it makes the second season an Even Better Sequel or Seasonal Rot.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Fans correctly guessed Vidar's "secret" identity almost the moment he appeared on-screen, though it wasn't officially confirmed until much later. Heavy foreshadowing aside, there were very few characters he could have been, and a brand-new character would have no reason to hide his face behind a mask.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Tekkadan crushing Jasley during Episode 42 was immensely satisfying after his betrayals resulted in the deaths of Naze, Amida, and Lafter. Seeing Jasely beg for his life when he knows everything he has done backfired on him spectacularly was highly satisfying.
    • Iok getting crushed by Akihiro's pincers is regarded as the best thing in the controversial finale. After doing a lot of stupid things in the past, narrowly escaping death and being responsible for deaths of Naze and Amida and indirectly Lafter, it's satisfying to see Iok getting for what he deserved and Akihiro finally avenging the Turbines. And for what it's worth, Iok's death led to the reformation of Gjallarhorn and the establishment of the Mars' independent government. Even Akihiro lampshades how satisfying and unexpected it was for him to be able to crush Iok with his own hands.
    • [[spoiler:Ride assassinating Nobliss in retaliation for organizing Orga's assassination along with Ride's group wiping out Nobliss' men has also been highly regarded in the finale. After everything Nobliss had done throughout the series, some fans found satisfying to see his Karma Houdini Warranty expire while he is on the toilet of all places, a fitting end for a monster like him to die without any dignity.
  • Complete Monster: Nobliss Gordon is greed personified. While he is publicly a beloved businessman and supporter of noble revolutions, Nobliss is in truth a greedy monster who cares nothing for any cause but filling his wallet. Manipulating the young Kudelia Aina Bernstein into becoming the figurehead for the Mars independence movement, Nobliss has her spied on while tricking the revolutionaries into dying pointlessly. When Kudelia reaches the height of popularity, Nobliss attempts to have her murdered to make her a martyr and spark the biggest, bloodiest, most violent revolution imaginable to profit on it from his arms trade. In the second season, Nobliss continues his corrupt practices by manipulating the media to portray victimized Child Soldiers as villains in the media to help facilitate their slaughter and continue to line his pockets.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Tekkadan has to weaponize this in battle, as they are outnumbered and outmatched by the forces against them. From using the retreating CGS as bait to using a towline on an asteroid to turn around their transport, Tekkadan's Indy Ploys are all that stand between them and annihilation.
    • The sheer amount of unusual weapons carried by the Graze Ein during its maiden sortie in Episode 24, from Dual Axes and Pile Bunkers, up to shoulder-mounted machine guns and even a Leg Drill.
    • Season 2 goes even further with the Gusion Rebake Full City's main weapon: a shield that turns into a giant pair of scissors/pliers capable of crushing a mobile suit torso in one blow.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: By far the worst offender in the entire Gundam franchise, which was already fairly dark to begin with. Detractors point out that it's hard to sympathize with the protagonists, especially Mikazuki, as their actions push them further off the slipper slope. This isn't helped in season 2 where you're required to be ruthless in this society to get ahead. In the final episodes, major characters get killed left and right to the point it stops being dramatic and starts becoming tedious. Not helping matters is that people are comparing it to Zeta and the director's insistence that the entire show is basically a mafia story, NOT a war story.
  • Designated Monkey: To some fans, Gaelio may have Glory Hound tendencies, but he knows that Gjallarhorn is corrupt and wants to reform it from within. Likewise, he never crossed the Moral Event Horizon and only does his duty as a soldier. Unfortunately, McGillis wants him dead because he wants to reform the organization on his own terms and because Gaelio's family is one of the Seven Stars, the founders of Gjallarhorn. It's even sadder that McGillis never valued his friendship with Gaelio and Carta and that he's going to marry Gaelio's little sister, who is clueless of her fiancee's true colors. The writers clearly intended to make Gaelio an Expy of Garma Zabi; however, some fans feel that the circumstances of his life made him a more tragic version of Garma. Other fans, however, feel that Galileo is a Hypocrite who is every bit as complicit in the atrocities of Gjallarhorn as the rest of them, and feel that him beating McGillis in the end means that the writes actually agree with him on some level, thus making him not a monkey at all.
  • Ear Worm: "Raise your FLAAAAAAAAAG!!!"
    • To a lesser extent, Orphans' Tears, which is a haunting bluesy melody that perfectly encapsulates the tragedy of the Child Soldiers. Takes a tear-jerking meaning when it was re-instated as the ending song for Episode 21.
  • Eight Deadly Words: Detractors of the series frequently point this out as a problem. With a bleak setting, extremely morally shady characters (especially the main character), even worse villains, and an underdeveloped Big Bad who not only manages to succeed but ends on a high note, it's pretty easy to stop caring about what happens to the characters.
  • Ending Aversion: The outcome of the final episode is extremely divisive, with a pretty vocal segment of the fandom decrying it for feeling that Tekkadan didn't get the payoff they deserved while Rustal, Julietta, Nobliss, and Gjallarhorn in general successfully destroyed Tekkadan and ended on a high note, with only Iok and Nobliss receiving any form of comeuppance that ultimately rings hollow- the way they won also gets accused of being a complete Ass Pull that only serves to invalidate Tekkadan's efforts for the sake of a half-assed Gray and Grey Morality message. Many who want a sequel for the series tend to request for Rustal and Julieta to get killed and for Gjallarhorn to be destroyed, assuming they don't write a Fix Fic to fulfill the same purpose by having Tekkadan win the Final Battle.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Biscuit was already popular before the show aired due to his design and amusing name, but the first episode just made him more popular due to his portrayal as a kind, competent support officer (and not simply Fat Comic Relief as some viewers had feared). His death in Episode 21 definitely hit fans hard.
    • Crank is also highly popular among the fanbase. Too bad he dies just three episodes in.
    • Yamagi is climbing in popularity, mostly due to the sympathetic portrayal of his crush on Norba.
    • Carta Issue became an instant favorite due to how batshit she is while still being a competent and lethal enemy. Despite losing some points after being responsible for killing Biscuit, she remained popular in the Pixiv community for her fox motif, and is portrayed as having a nice body beneath the uniform. Her popularity increased considerably after episode 23, along with getting paired more with Gaelio.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: While the series portrays the finale as a bittersweet but overall happy ending with Rustal reforming Gjallarhorn and recognizing Martian independence, while Iok and Nobliss Gordon are killed, detractors of the series finale point out that as a member of the previous Gjallarhorn regime, Rustal is at best complicit in or at worst actively responsible for much of the corruption that plagued the organization. Onscreen, he doesn't bat an eye at starting proxy wars, formenting violent rebellions as false flags, and making use of outlawed weapons to achieve his ends. Even with the Seven Stars disbanded, he's managed to hold on to his power by making himself the best possible candidate to be elected to lead Gjallarhorn, and both he and Julietta were willing to side with Nobliss Gordon, of all people. As a result, the detractors see him as carrying on old Gjallarhorn's corrupt practices while propping up a public facade of being a reformer, and Nobliss being assassinated by Ride feels like a hollow attempt at Catharsis Factor that fails because he died having gotten everything he wanted. In addition, the revelation that Ride now leads his own terrorist organization dedicated to avenging Orga's death means the cycle of revenge and violence will continue, thus making Tekkadan's efforts completely meaningless and making the ending seem more like a straight-on Downer Ending.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With the Universal Century fans, as both of the fans debate on whether Universal Century or Post Disaster timelines are even darker in terms on story. On the other hand, half of the Iron-Blooded Orphans fans would defend the show from Universal Century fans despite the problematic final arc, while the latter tries to justify the problems that affected the whole series.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • The appearance of Mikazuki's son and Ride's Roaring Rampage of Revenge along with the absence of Almeria in epilogue could make some decent material for a sequel a la Hathaway's Flash.
    • Many fans were also interested in the Calamity Wars, starring Agnika Kaieru and his friends.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • The show is actually more popular out of Japan than in it. This might also be why the show has Surprisingly Good English on banners and screens—Iron Blooded Orphans is the first Gundam series since 00 to get a full dub and distribution in the US. Its debut on Toonami makes it the franchise's first return to US Cable TV since the end of Mobile Suit Gundam 00) in 2009.
    • Canadians have grown especially fond of the show as of Episode 24, due to the fact that there is a huge mecha battle in a perfect recreation of Edmonton, Alberta. Especially given that Canada is rarely recognized within Anime.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The concept of "Gundam Valhalla" as it relates to Gundam Build Fighters is explored in the official parody comic. With Lafter's death, we see the full repercussions of a character looking into their own universe as fiction, and it's heartbreaking.
    • In the first season we see Carta surrounding herself with handsome blond men, implied to be because of her unrequited crush on McGillis, with this very site's Characters Page noting she Has a Type. Episode 43 revealed that McGillis' was adopted by a man who also had this type, with five blond "sons", seemingly all of whom he abused and raped. This might also serve to explain why Carta's feelings for McGillis are unrequited...
    • The allusions as to Mika and Orga being Gundam's take on Simon and Kamina takes a very chilling meaning after Orga's demise in Episode 48.
    • Ride's Troubling Unchildlike Behavior near the end of the first season where he insists on watching Mikazuki kill Carta takes an even darker turn come the end of the series, where he's one of the few Tekkadan members unable to move on from the war.
  • He's Just Hiding!:
    • There are still some fans who think Gaelio is still alive despite McGillis crushed and punctured his cockpit. And considering that Azee, Lafter and Shino survived Ein's brutal hits, that maybe a possibility. These beliefs were seemingly vindicated in Season 2 with the introduction of Vidar; a mysterious masked man piloting what looks like a repaired Gundam Kimaris with an extra reactor. Come Episode 43, they were right.
    • After episode 45, there are a minority of fans who are in denial of Shino's death. While we do see him bleeding and his cockpit on fire plus he's not wearing his helmet, these fans thought he might have survived as he's probably floating in space and declared they won't confirmed his death until they see his body. Sadly, episode 46 confirmed that he's dead and gone.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • They first deal with "Hitler guy" by locking him in a closet. And boot him off the ship in a locker-sized pod.
    • Takahiro Sakurai voices McGillis, the show's Char Clone who eventually puts on a mask. This becomes a VA joke if you remember the last episode of Code Geass R2 where Sakurai's character, Suzaku Kururugi, ends up wearing the mask of Zero, the identity of the resident Char Clone, Lelouch vi Britannia.
    • Kosuke Toriumi's role as Naze Turbine comes off as this (with a bit of Casting Gag thrown in), considering his previous role as Soutarou Kanou from Maid-Sama!.
    • Dorothy Elias Fahn's casting as Merribit Stapleton can be funny to those who watched her portray Nina Purpleton in Gundam 0083.
    • Johnny Yong Bosch playing Orga, who later gets drunk during a party, brings Yu Narukami from Persona 4 in mind.
    • The first opening, "Raise Your Flag", was the second single for Man With A Mission's upcoming album The World's On Fire. Three months later in mid-January 2016 came a second opening from Blue Encount called "Survivor", and a month after that MWAM's album was released, with its first track being the Image Song for Street Fighter V, also called "Survivor".
    • Mankind finds half-metal, and the first thing they do is make weapons out of it, then act all surprised when the weapons Turned Against Their Masters - are we talking about the backstory of IBO or Battlezone 1998?
    • Humanity creates an AI weapon to fight their wars. A.I. Is a Crapshoot ensues, and the weapons begin wiping out humanity. A brave group uses mechs to defeat the AIs, and feudalistic governments are reestablished while the Earth government oppresses colonies to avoid a disaster like that repeating. Is this Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans or Starsiege?
    • In the same vein as Kosuke Toriumi, seeing Julieta Juris battle against pirates early on is pretty funny if you consider the fact that M.A.O previously played Gokai Yellow; in other words, she went from being a pirate to fighting pirates. Then she upgrades to a new mech with dual Whip Swords — each of the Gokaigers had a "gimmick" fighting style, and Luka's was swinging her cutlasses around on wires like Whip Swords. Gets even funnier when she ends up voicing another Sentai Ranger who Julieta would likely hunt down.
    • Speaking of Gokaiger, in that show, Takahiro Sakurai voiced Jealouso, a Zangyack Action commander, and Kikuko Inoue voiced Insarn, the main female villain, and in that show, Jealouso had an unrequited crush on Insarn since they were younger. In this show, the roles are reversed, with Carta Issue (voiced by Kikuko) pining after McGillis Fareed (voiced by Takahiro) - and just like in Gokaiger, Sakurai's character survives the series and ends up on good terms with the main characters, while Inoue's character is killed by the main characters.
    • While overall response to the Mobile Suits in the show is positive, there are a large amount of people who generally agree that IBO's MS rank among the weakest in the Gundam metaverse, citing the low level of tech, how primitive the weaponry is, the fact that there are almost no MS capable of atmospheric flight in the series, and the most common comment being the lack of beam weaponry in the PD Timeline/the fact that said beam weapons could overcome them with ease. Come season 2, it's revealed that the Nano-Laminate Armor used on EVERY SINGLE MACHINE in PD also doubles as the series' version of anti-beam coating, implied to have specifically been designed to counter beam weaponry. Granted, while machines do still take damage from beam lasers, it makes them surprising more survivable against anything armed only with standard types of beam type weaponry.
    • Atra prodding for Kudelia to have a baby with Mikazuki in Season 2 became more hilarious when after the show just ended, Kudelia's voice actress, Yuka Terasaki, announced on her blog that she's pregnant.
    • Speaking of Atra, the fact that her son's name is Akatsuki also counts considering the said name was previously used as a Fan Nickname for Gaelio's younger sister Almiria (see the Trivia page for details).
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Season 2 episode 10. It's not just the fact that a Robot War figures in the backstory of the Calamity era, since Gundam 00 has already introduced a clone army and aliens - it's the fact that one is now active.
  • Ho Yay: So much that the Pixiv community has denoted the entire series as "鉄血のオルェンズ" note :
    • Are Mikazuki and Orga really Bash Brothers within the lines of Simon and Kamina, or is there some deeper meaning between their synergy? Considering Gundam's reputation among Yaoi Fangirls regarding some of its older stablemates, it's not much of a surprise. Orga has said to Biscuit that he has to always look cool in front of Mika; particularly due to Mika always watching him. Orga has also said that he's not interested in women. The fangirls took this as support for Orga/Mika, making Merribit a potential Die for Our Ship target.
    • Considering the use of terms "brothers" and "Family" in Episodes 8 and 9, this trope also comes to mind regarding Orga and Naze. His Single Tear at the end of Season 2 Episode 15 kinda mirrors the one with Biscuit, as explained below.
    • Orga and Biscuit for that matter. Much of their interactions in Episodes 20 and 21 come across like a married couple having a dispute. Their eventual reconciliation just adds to this. And makes Biscuit's subsequent death all the more tragic.
    • Takaki is very touchy-feely with the people he likes. As of season two he and Aston have grown particularly close; Takaki regularly invites him over for supper, and Aston is familiar enough with Takaki's and Fuka's routines to know when Fuka is studying for an upcoming test. Aston also states that supporting Takaki is more important to him than getting revenge for Chad and swears to protect Takaki's happiness, even if it means killing someone or being killed.
    • Yamagi has a crush on Shino, and Shino, though oblivious, has a particularly tender and caring attitude toward him in the fair share of moments they have.
    • Numerous statements have been made regarding both Shino's alleged bisexuality as well as his apparent popularity among other Tekkadan guys, Eugene and Akihiro in particular. Shino's seiyuu Taishi Murata advocates for the issue, and has stated that Yamagi's feelings most likely wouldn't have been met with rejection if he ever decided to confess them.
    • McGillis and Gaelio used to be a popular pairing in the beginning of the story, this was changed ever since Gaelio was paired with Ein instead and McGillis was implied more to prefer women. And eventually, he's more into accomplishing his goals and stopping Gjallarhorn's oppression rather than falling in love with anyone.
    • Gaelio and Ein. Ein's narration in the preview for Episode 17 consists entirely of him gushing about how great a man Gaelio is and during the episode proper Ein gets injured taking a blow that would have killed Gaelio. Gaelio is very impressed with Ein's skills and resolve and considers him to be an "impressive man." The preview for Episode 22 has Gaelio narrating about how he would do anything to keep Ein alive. It even goes above and beyond by Season 2, when Vidar/Gaelio eventually reveals that Ein's brain is preserved as the Gundam Vidar's pseudo-AV system—making this a literal Cargo Ship of sorts.
    • Speaking of Ein, aside from Gaelio, he's often paired with Crank because of how much Ein remembered him.
  • Iron Woobie: Akihiro Altland is gaining some major points due to the fact the people that he cares about keep dying. After being separated from his little brother for years, he finally finds him and then he dies in a Heroic Sacrifice. Then he starts to treat Aston like family due to his closeness to his brother. Then Aston dies halfway into season two while he's stuck in space. It just get worse when Lafter, someone who had been helping him since season one and might have been more, was assassinated in episode 41. Yet, he managed to pull himself together and continue to move forward.
  • Jerkass Woobie: McGillis is a Manipulative Bastard more than willing to betray his friends and allies for the sake of his personal goals, but it's hard not to feel some empathy for him after learning what his childhood under Iznario was during Episode 43, and he is fighting a corrupt system with the goal of freeing everyone under its thumb, so to some extent he is an Anti-Hero making hard choices that he must.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Some fans who were not entirely fond of episodes with inaction sequences are waiting for Mobile Suit battles instead. Then again, this is hardly a new trend for the Gundam franchise.
    • The series has gotten some attention from fans of multi-ships for featuring actual polygamous relationships depicted positively.
  • LGBT Fanbase: The Bara fandom took a more or less immediate liking to Akihiro. Most Doujinshi is produced well after the series is over and with luck western fans will get a hold of some of it. Doujinshi starring Altland had found its way onto western sites before the first season was halfway over.
  • Love to Hate: Rustal Elion is the epitome of Gjallarhorn's corruption and would do anything to keep the status quo. He's one of the few characters who managed to overrun McGillis's plans and forced Tekkadan into a terrible position as he is the first person who gave them their first defeat. Not even Iznario Fareed can pull that. In the ending, however, he never suffers any comeuppance for his actions and is in a better position at the end of the series, which turned much of this into outright hate among some fans.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Rustal Elion is one of the Seven Stars who lead the military police force Gjallarhorn. A charismatic nobleman and brilliant military strategist, Rustal has the complete trust of his subordinates. When Rustal's rival in the Seven Stars, McGillis, moves against him, Rustal engineers a small scale war to turn McGillis' allies, Tekkadan, against McGillis. While the war fails to break McGillis and Tekkadan's alliance, it does force Tekkadan to shut down their Earth branch, weakening the organization considerably. When the tensions between Rustal and McGillis lead to civil war, Rustal has one of his subordinates infiltrate McGillis' forces, fire an illegal Dainsleif railgun at Rustal's fleet and commit suicide, giving Rustal justification to annihilate McGillis and Tekkadan. While political tensions ultimately force the Seven Stars to disband in favor of democratically elected leaders, Rustal still comes out ahead as he is elected leader of Gjallarhorn. Rustal remains a hero to the public and becomes the first Big Bad of the franchise to win in the end.
  • Memetic Molester: McGillis "Chocolate Man" Fareed got fans thinking that he's a lolicon after being engaged to the nine-year-old Almiria, offering chocolate to Biscuit's little sisters and later asking him how they were doing.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • QUALITYNote  In relation to this, Photoshopping Atra's appearance from that ep into anything.
    • Space Rat note 
    • Where did Chocolate Man touch you? Explanation 
    • Mikazuki, the Murder Manlet. Explanation 
    • Flag RAISED Explanation 
      • On a similar note: (Flag raising intensifies)
      • "Flags at Half-Mast..."SPOILER ENTRY 
      • Raise Your (Death) Flag Explanation 
    • When the second OP started with Kudelia merely looking at her hands before the wreckage of the Barbatos behind her was revealed, jokes were made about how she was responsible.Note 
    • In light of what happened to Ein (getting literally built into a Mobile Suit as part of his cyborgization), fans are now declaring that he has achieved what Setsuna could not: he is his Mobile Suit.
      • By the time of Episode 43, Ein's brain is integrated with Gundam Vidar in the form of Ālaya-Vijñāna System Type-E, in other words, Ein is a Gundam.
      • Others have declared him Gundam's take on a Space Marine Dreadnought, under the caption: EVEN IN DEATH, EIN STILL SERVES, or R-TYPE GRAZE. note 
      • Waifu Destroyer.note 
      • Pay To Win player has logged on.note 
    • Char/McGillis, you double crossed me! note 
    • Fleet Girl Mikazuki x Admiral Orga note 
    • Masked Gaelio note 
    • Fucking McGillis. note 
    • The Mobile Armor Hashmal is already proving to be a Fountain of Memes even before its debut, from the teaser silhouette combined with its resemblance to a Pokémon, to the preorder page attracting "reviews" long before its release. And yet its actual debut can still be a shock.
      • Due to its appearance, some called the Season 2 arc as MA Hunter G.
    • "Iok you fucking IDIOT!", or "Idiok!" (or "Idiok Crud-jan"), or most commonly "Fuck Iok!" note 
      • His sheer incompetence has has ballooned so wildly that many fans have also started comparing Iok to Zapp Brannigan.
      • A new hashtag has been created in Japanese Twitter circles named #イオクがどんな死に方したら満足か考える (Let's think of the satisfying ways to kill Iok), and イオク・クジャン殲滅部隊 (Iok Kujan Annihilation squad) has been making the rounds. Some of the tags include photo-shopping his face on antagonist characters from previous Gundam series being killed, and on one picture, even replacing Radice at them moment he was executed by Takaki.
      • As of the events of Episode 41, the hashtags have spawned the following variants: #ジャスレイがどんな死に方したら満足か考える (Let's think of the satisfying ways to kill Jasley), and #ジャスレイ殺し隊 (Jasley Assassination Team).
    • Speaking of Episode 41, fans have taken to calling any teddy bear with thick eyebrows (badly drawn or otherwise) as a massive death flag, as evidenced by these edited meme pics based on studio stablemate Love Live!.
    • MUH BAEL note 
    • Fucking Dainsleifs note 
    • Don't you ever stop... (止まるんじゃねぇぞ…) note 
  • Misaimed Marketing: The Rirukotto series turns the characters into chibi, cutesy Rylcot (acrylic mascot) charm. While it is good to carry your favorite characters around, and some of them, such as Atra and Biscuit are indeed cheerful, it somehow becomes odd for character with darker personality, such as Mikazuki and especially Ein.
    • Notably averted for the US release as the Double Tap scene is in the first promo.
  • Moe: Despite (or maybe because of) the show focusing on Child Soldiers, there are plenty of adorable characters.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Episode #7 is where Maruba outright states that the human debris caste are expendable enough to risk putting the potentially-crippling Alaya-Vijnana system into. Even the resident mafia enforcer draws the line at what is essentially a human rights violation.
    • The Brewers' leader takes this up a notch by not only putting their Human Debris through the same procedure, but going so far as to starve them. Even Maruba kept his Child Soldiers properly fed.
    • Orga invokes this, then averts it. While he has willingly stated his desire to cross the Moral Event Horizon for the sake of Tekkadan, and many of his threats would be MEH-crossers if they were realized, nothing he has actually done has really come close.
    • Nobliss Gordon crosses it by arranging for Kudelia to get killed by snipers during a non-violent protest, all to turn her into a martyr.
    • In Episode 16, the entirety of Gjallarhorn crosses it when they frame the Dort protestors for a terrorist attack on a government building so Gjallarhorn will have a pretext to massacre them. Which they do. Gjallarhorn would rather gun down dozens of innocents before they'd give the colonists more rights. The previous terrible things Gjallarhorn was portrayed as doing could be attributed to individual corruption, but this was a carefully and deliberately planned operation - ep. 17 even reveals that a lot of the arms supplied to the natives had been pre-sabotaged, turning the supposed armed conflict into a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Even Gaelio expressed dissatisfaction for abuse of such tactics.
    • McGillis crosses it in Episode 23. Not only did he trick Gaelio into authorizing Ein's transformation into the Graze Ein, he also sends Carta to fight Tekkadan in an attempt to get her killed. Astonishingly, he goes even further over the slippery slope in Episode 25 by personally killing Gaelio, who had been his best friend up until that point. McGillis may have good intentions in reshaping the corrupt Gjallarhorn, but he is not a good person.
    • Iok crosses it in Episode 40 by ignoring Naze's attempts to surrender unconditionally and using illegal railguns to attack the Hammerhead and its retreating escape shuttles, even when Julieta is in the way of the attack.
    • Jasley crosses it in Episode 41 by crashing Naze's funeral to get a rise out of Tekkadan so he can use that to overthrow McMurdo. When that didn't work, he had Lafter assassinated and tried to use that get all the Turbines to work under him.
    • Rustal crosses it in Episode 45 when he plots a False Flag Operation by framing McGillis for using the Dainsleif so he can unleash his own Dainsleif squad.
  • Narm:
    • Mikazuki's unemotional "Ohhhhhh" upon seeing the lost Mobile Armor awaken at the start of Episode 36 sounds like he's having an orgasm.
    • Orga's death is a sad thing as it's meant to be, but it becomes drawn out and even comical with how it's presented. He takes a hail of bullets, then has enough breath and time to make a speech, then falls to the ground in a symbolic pose (it didn't help that said pose ended up resembling the Saturday Night Fever pose). Some viewers also felt similarly about Masahiro's death in season 1, in that the tragedy would've been more efficiently conveyed had the character in question died quickly. This gave birth to the "Don't you ever stop" meme above.
  • Narm Charm: All of the "Ryusei-Go" mobile suitsnote  fall under this - when Mobile Suit Gundam AGE tried to do this with Yurin's Farsia in the First Generation Arc, it fell into the category of Narm, so you'd expect a pink mobile suit in this series to do the same thing...yet it surprisingly works. It probably helps that unlike the aforementioned Farsia, any suit bearing the name "Ryusei-Go" is painted because Norba wants it like that, and none of them are introduced under circumstances that are obviously trying to be tragic.
  • Nausea Fuel: The reveal of McGillis' relationship with his stepfather, Iznario. Said relationship is less family and more master and sex slave.
  • Older Than They Think:
  • One True Threesome: Episode 10 has Atra coming to the realization that, like the Turbines, she could share Mika with Kudelia. Fans definitely took notice.
    • In episode 18 Mika hugs Atra and Kudelia together while mourning Fumitan's demise a couple of episodes back, which probably is another step in the OTT direction.
    • Becomes a Brick Joke in the final episode where Atra and Kudelia patted Mika's head together to comfort him, after his 'loss' of arm and eye in battle.
    • Pretty much confirmed as of Season 2 Episode 12 with both declaring that they both love Mika and each other, though the latter might just be platonic.
    • Outright confirmed towards the end of the series after Mika and Atra get a Relationship Upgrade. Rather than being a Ship Sinking, they accept Kudelia into their relationship as well and in the epilogue after Mika has died, Word of God has stated that Atra and Kudelia are married.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • Not the entire empire per se but there are several Gjallarhorn characters who are seen as sympathetic such as Crank, Gaelio and to a lesser extent, Carta, and had a set of fans. And these characters are all killed; two of them were killed by the "hero" of the show, who also pushed his best friend and his group into an entire Roaring Rampage of Revenge after one of their friends was killed. However, Gjallarhorn as a whole, are nowhere near as noble as the aforementioned group of characters within their ranks nor are they popular as the Draco in Leather Pants founding antagonists of the franchise Zeon.
    • There are also those who are rooting for McGillis due to his desire to reform Gjallarhorn and purge it of its corruption, even if it means walking over the corpses of his friends and comrades to do so.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Quite a bit of fans, in addition to supporting Rustal and downplaying the evils of Gjallarhorn, portray Tekkadan as a straight-up terrorist organization, and McGillis as a heartless psychopath, even though they are clearly Anti Heroes within show itself who have to make several unpleasant decisions and were screwed up by tragic pasts.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Mari Okada became an easy target for the things that went wrong in the show such as the characterization and plot deaths, to name a few. Even Lauren Orsini of Anime News Network seem to think that Okada had the most involvement. This is notwithstanding two things: one, some of the plot deaths were already in place prior to Okada's involvement in the series, if Director Tatsuyuki Nagai and some of the series Producers had a say on it; and it was Okada and most of the storyboard staff who brokered a compromise with the director and producers to limit the character body count to what appeared in the final episode.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Season 2 episode 9 has some of the most blatant shipping to date. In the space of half an hour we get Hush X Mika, Merribit X Yukinojo, Julieta X Vidar, Vidar X Vidar, and what many agree to be the OTP Of The Week - Cucubita X Dexter.
    • You can hear the collective Squee! of a million fangirls like another Mobile Armor skyward beam when Yamagi's first real sortie has him forced to squeeze into the same cockpit as Norba Shino, basically spending the whole mission on his lap. Then came Episode 45...
    • After some subtext in the first season, Season 2 looked well on its way of making Akihiro X Lafter canon. Then Lafter became the victim of a nasty bridging dropping.
    • If Akihiro and Lafter are thought to have been on their way to becoming canon, then Shino and Yamagi could very well have been counted as one, as Shino not only came to full realization about how Yamagi felt for him but he also took the initiative to ask him out for a whole night with just the two of them drinking alcohol. Throughout all of their scenes in episode 45 he's being aggressively touchy-feely with Yamagi, playing with his hair, putting their helmets together, vowing he'll never die and telling Yamagi he's more formidable to him than an entire Arianhrod fleet. All of this happening post his private talk with Eugene, where Shino admits he didn't figure it out sooner because he didn't expect these kinds of feelings to bloom amongst Tekkadan family, but he appears happy to be loved nonetheless and motivates himself to protect Tekkadan all the more.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • While small, there seems to be a bit of a tussle between Kudelia fans and Atra fans as to who should be paired with Mikazuki. Finally solidified on Episode 4.
    • Whether Almiria or Carta should be paired with McGilis used to be a question; it was answered in episode 23, where McGillis revealed he was using Carta for his own ends and later dispatched her with the help of Mikazuki. The only thing left to answer is if he was truly in love with Almiria.
    • Gaelio is subjected to this as well, initially the pairing combat was between McGillis fans and Ein fans, after episode 23, the pairing of Carta x Gaelio spawned in Pixiv community all thanks to how Gaelio rescued Carta in a Big Damn Hero moment.
    • Even extends (sort of) to Cargo Ship territory: fans are torn betwen Mace-chan and Wrench Mace-chan as to which is the better weapon for Barbatos (and by extension, Mikazuki.)
    • After the finale of S2, Some fans argue over which of Biscuit's sisters (Cookie and Cracker) should hook up with Akatsuki.
  • Signature Scene:
  • Snark Bait: Like previous Gundam series, this Anime is often a target to many Universal Century fans, mostly due to the heavy amount of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Be careful with your ambition. Pay attention where you are putting your foot down. If you run blindly, you just might trip and take everyone who follows you down with you.
    • Sometimes, it's good to question the judgement of people you respect. Their own flaws may trip them (and those around them- including you) even when they believe that they're doing something for their loved ones.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Episode 44 is all about Tekkadan preparing for what is supposedly the final battle of the series. However, IBO is 50 episodes long and Gundam has never spread a battle over six episodes, which means that complications are very likely. Sure enough, Tekkadan loses the fight and is forced to retreat back to Mars.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • A lot of fans were expecting Carta to pull a Heel–Face Turn, only to be greatly disappointed when Episode 23 aired.
    • Hush initially wanted to become a better pilot than Mikazuki. You’d think he would be The Rival and challenge his status as Tekkadan’s Ace Pilot. Instead, Mikazuki saves his life and he becomes his number #1 fanboy and follows him everywhere, to the point Mikazuki finds it annoying. He's started to pull his own weight with the Hekija, though. Then, he got killed off in episode 49 which made a lot of people disappointed that he was supposed to be the next ace pilot if Mikazuki kicks the bucket.
    • Gaelio/Vidar in Season 2. There are a lot of expectations on him once he made his appearance, most especially his connection toward McGillis. However, he usually sits out on the first half only just to observe McGillis's true motives. It's only in the second half where he revealed his true identity that he got his ass moving. And yet, his last conversation with McGillis in episode 49 hinted that he might take up his role in reforming Gjallarhorn. However, it's Rustal doing the reforming which made a lot of viewers disappointed. In fact, many believe that Gaelio should be the one doing the reforms instead.
    • In a case of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Gundam, Gundam Flauros was barely featured at all, and only participated in three battles before getting destroyed.
    • Though what his actions in the finale do make sense, many fans agreed Rustal Elion is severely underdeveloped as a character which is why some had a hard time accepting him as the one who reforms Gjallarhorn. In fact, there's a lot of backstory potential in him such as his connection to Galan Mossa, his mentor-protege relationship with Julieta which can be similar to Crank and Ein's relationship and his rescue on Gaelio after his defeat from McGillis. Sadly, these were never played well in the show.
  • True Art Is Angsty: It's telling that one of the more critically-acclaimed Gundam series to date can rival even Zeta and Victory on the grittiness of its setting and storytelling, despite having a considerably lower character death count than the latter two.
  • Too Cool to Live: Crank, an honorable soldier who felt genuine sympathy for Tekkadan. Mikazuki kills him without a second thought.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Not the series itself, but the subsequent OP and ED songs for the series, including the second season. Most fans who stuck with the series from the start were not exactly drawn into them, especially considering the critical acclaim (and Ear Worm effect) that the first OP and ED had (though the appeal of the Season 2 OP does come close.)
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The show introduced a character having a polygamous marriage and an adult character engaged to a nine-year-old which caused many viewers find it very unsettling. However, Reality Is Unrealistic as some countries, particularly Islamic countries, do practice polygamy and child marriages today and considering that the show is set in the future, it might be Deliberate Values Dissonance. Also, Gjallarhorn has a lot of parallels with the medieval world, which often did employ the exact same type of cutthroat politics and featured arranged marriages and infighting between powerful families - often simultaneously.
    • Also, the casual discussion between Atra and Kudelia about who gets to bear Mika's children sticks out like a sore thumb given that one of the overarching themes of the series is that Tekkadan, competent as they tend to be, are still mostly just teenage boys. And particularly for Mika and Atra, who are 15 (maybe about 16 by S2) but look significantly younger than that. Especially Atra, whose lack of physical development is discussed and even made fun of at points. Although there are a few arguable justifications even for this:
      • The theme of kids having to grow up too fast is part of what makes the plot point work.
      • Given Atra's past note  she certainly wouldn't be as innocent of sexual matters as you would assume by looking at her.
      • Such conversations seem tame, and even comforting, when contrasted with some of the awful stuff these teenagers see on a regular basis. Which was perhaps the whole point.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: A lot of viewers were totally surprised that the feminine-looking mechanic in the epilogue happens to be a very grown-up Yamagi.
  • Wangst: Several viewers disliked Kudelia's constant self-pity during in the first half of the show. Fortunately, she gets better in the second half when she started becoming more serious with her role.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Gundam shows have traditionally been marketed for young boys, and especially with the last major productions being more blatantly aimed at kids, it seems many weren't prepared for the more adult themes Iron-Blooded Orphans is portraying. From a darkly realistic portrayal of Child Soldiers, abject poverty, slavery, prostitution, pedophilia, and an actual harem, as well as the main character coldly gunning down prisoners (granted, they were all Asshole Victims), the show has received criticism in Japan from concerned parents (who are either against the show itself or are calling for more stringent standards on Japan's TV age-rating system). note  It fell square into this largely because it aired at the prime-time family slot, which is traditionally the time slot for big-name little kid shows, making the confusion very understandable.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Rustal Elion's actions in the show's finale is a very heated topic, wherein some people compared his actions to several Real Life world leaders who did some morally questionable actions but are praised positively in the media. There are also some who see the show as an allegory for Imperial Japan and its subsequent occupation by the United States.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Ends up being an Invoked Trope with Carta. Twice in the series, Carta and her men actually get the drop on Tekkadan and could have actually carried a successful ambush. She is so determined to fight an honorable duel that they forgo ambushing Tekkadan, and instead announce their presence and form a battle formation before actually attacking.
    • The CGS comanders certainly invoke this, too. The main boss, who ordered his men to run like cowards while letting the children die to buy time, has the arrogance to, while being held at gunpoint tell them to let him and his men go and they'll forget it ever happened. Needless to say, he doesn't last long. Of course, the next commander to get it is even dumber. Despite the fact that he and the rest just saw that the so-called space rats were perfectly willing to execute them for what they did, he chooses to not only insult, but attack Orga. He, too, does not last long.
    • Iok Kujan wants glory for himself when he receives plans from Rustal to destroy the mobile armor in Mars. However, he did not realize that very presence of his mobile suit near the excavation site would trigger the unmanned mobile armor, programmed to hunt down any mobile suit in its vicinity, regardless of who operates the mobile suit. And after all his escorts are crushed just to buy him an escape, he hangs around and camps in a gorge, attempting to cap a Mobile Armor that he had no hope of beating even if his mech wasn't beaten half to shit. Not to mention that diverting the Mobile Armor away from a proper ambush causes the collateral damage to rise exponentially.
    • Unfortunately for everyone involved, McGillis' grab for the Gundam Bael. He spent his entire life working up to this, to use the Gundam the very founder of Gjallarhorn used for a sort of symbolic victory. The entire master plan effectively amounted to, "I have Bael, therefore you must obey," all while broadly broadcasting his intent and showing his hand once and for all. Needless to say, not only does this not work as his enemies don't really get deterred at all and even get the excuse to wipe him out at that point, but even those that "support" him refuse to actually help fight against Rustal, forcing McGillis and Tekkadan into a corner that gets them slaughtered in the finale. While Vidar/Gaelio was a Spanner in the Works to say the least, no one else could've done much or interfered in his plans up to this point, so it effectively screwed the main characters irreparably.
  • Win Back the Crowd: While the Build Fighters series' can be said to have held the line, IBO has the task of carrying forward for those who want serious mecha action again. A number of long-time fans who have been disappointed with the last few Gundam series are expressing their appreciation for how this one has brought them back. This even applies to the Gundam Wiki: almost every suit from Iron-Blooded Orphans has a full write-up while most of the Reconguista in G articles are stubs, including the articles about the G-Self and its variants. The series was confirmed for a second season in the fall of 2016, making it the first mainstream Gundam series (not counting the Lighter and Softer Build Fighters) to return to the airwaves since Gundam 00.
  • The Woobie:
    • Many of the younger Tekkadan kids veer into serious Woobie territory. Start with almost all of them being orphans so poor they would normally be starving or doing something worst on the streets in most cases. Then you add in the horrifying Alaya-Vijnana surgery that a number of the unlucky ones don't survive or recover from while those that do the CGS used to readily send them to their deaths as fodder... and that's not counting the Human Debris who have no choice and their inevitable early deaths. These kids don't even understand what a funeral is. How warped this has made them becomes apparent when they want to watch Mika wipe the floor with Carta and her crew as vengeance for Biscuit's death.
    • Almiria Bauduin is just a little girl who is forced into an Arranged Marriage and had no idea on what is going on in the world. Though her fiancee treated her with respect, she felt very insecure about the engagement because of her young age. Likewise, she had no idea that he killed her brother and when she learned that her brother came back from the dead which also exposed her fiancee's crimes to public, she's completely devastated and tries to kill him. When that didn't work, she tries to commit suicide but her fiancee stopped her. You felt really sorry for this girl who had to grow up such as Crapsack World.

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