First Impressions: Mobile Suit Gundam – Iron Blooded Orphans

With the new season off and running, it’s time for some more First Impressions, starting with the new Gundam anime, Iron Blooded Orphans.

I enjoy Gundam, but as a casual fan I always find it hard to wrap my head around the main ‘Universal Century’ timeline and its 30 years of history and lore. Mercifully, Iron Blooded Orphans – aka G-Tekketsu – stands alone as a new continuity so it’s easy to jump in head-first with no background knowledge needed.

We’re introduced pretty quickly to a group of teens working for a company on Mars known as Chryse Guard Security – Including our protagonist Mikazuki and his friend Orga, part of a small squad who have been handpicked to accompany Kudelia Aina Bernstein, a figurehead of the Mars independence movement and daughter the representative of Mars’ Chryse Autonomous Region on a diplomatic trip to Earth to discuss the relationship between Mars and Earth. Thanks to Kudelia’s father the mission isn’t what it seems, however. When Earth’s Gjallahorn forces attack CGS to stop the brewing rebellion, Mikazuki steps up and takes control of a long forgotten weapon – the Gundam Barbatos, a relic of the Calamity War of 300 years ago.

G-Tekketsu sets the scene quickly. All the Gundam standards are in place – Young pilot, earth vs space-dweller conflict, a princess type, politics. All the boxes are checked, but having the protagonists on the Mars side of this story does add a nice twist on the formula. Mikazuki is a brave and determined kid with a physical augmentation for piloting mobile suits. He doesn’t mess around being an emo like your typical mecha pilot and instead, when the time comes, gets the fuck in that robot and gets shit done. The physical augmentation that interfaces with the Gundam puts an incredible stress on his body, so look for that to be an important plot device as the series progresses.

After only two episodes they’ve managed to create an interesting setting on a poverty-stricken Mars struggling for independence and given us some characters we want to know more about, particularly the relationship between Mikazuki and Orga whose history we get some brief glimpses of. Iron Blooded Orphans is off to a solid start and definitely one to watch this season if Gundam or mecha anime is your thing.