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Episode 12: The Shoals

 

Review by Chris Guanche

January 16, 2016

 

Summary

 

On the Isaribi, Orga tells Naze that he doesn't want cheap thugs to look down on them. In the medical room, Merribit and Ride tell Takaki that he needs to get proper rest and not worry about what's happening. Back on the Hammerhead, Amida reports to Naze and the others that even though they sent out the Hyakuri on patrol to extend their range, they still can't find the Brewers ship. Orga asks if anyone else has info on their navigation path, and Naze thinks it could've been leaked at Saisei. Orga suggests changing course, but Naze points out that they wouldn't find the pirates that way. On the Brewers ship, Masahiro wonders why he had to meet Akihiro now. On the Isaribi's bridge, Biscuit shares the data from Amida suggesting that the pirates will ambush them in the Debris Zone, where mobile suit and ship wreckages were collected after the Calamity War. The debris collects unnaturally because there are still active Ahab reactors there generating gravity. Kudelia is surprised to learn that Ahab reactors are creating the ship's gravity. The presence of so many reactors masks the pirate ship's signature, making the route dangerous, but it's also a good shortcut for Teiwaz on secret jobs. Eugene wants to fight the pirates head on, but Orga thinks that's like fighting blindfolded. Biscuit explains that they intend to send Lafter and Mikazuki as scouts to confuse the Brewers and make them think the ships are nearby. When the pirates reveal themselves, they'll be outflanked. Mikazuki agrees to go easy on Masahiro until Akihiro arrives, but he says he can't keep that promise if he's being beaten. Atra and Kudelia give Mikazuki his lunch and ask him to be cautious. Lafter launches in her Hyakuri, followed by Mikazuki in the Gundam Barbatos and Kutan Type-III. The Brewers boys eat their meager rations and make note of Pedro's portion being there. One of them thinks that Pedro might have been reborn to a new happy life, but Masahiro thinks that human debris can't be reborn. Kudal then walks in and smacks them around before threatening to kill Masahiro if he screws up. The ships lose communication with the two suits, and Eugene hooks up to the Alaya-Vijnana System to pilot the Isaribi.

 

Lafter warns Mikazuki that they should be encountering the enemy soon, and a scout Man Rodi detects them. Brooke orders their forces to launch, and Vito is filled with rage as soon as he sees Mikazuki. Vito chases Mikazuki while Lafter struggles to maneuver in tight spaces. The Hammerhead and Isaribi appear on the pirate ship's port side, and the Hammerhead rams into it while the Isaribi fires wire anchors to keep it locked in place. As Kudal launches in the Gundam Gusion, Brooke tells him that they have to succeed on this job from Gjallarhorn. Tekkadan's Mobile Workers launch and fly over to invade the Brewers ship. Akihiro thanks Orga for helping someone who's human debris, but Orga says he's tired of hearing that. He points out that they can't change what has already happened, but they can change what will happen. Akihiro launches in the Graze Custom, followed by Amida's Hyakuren and Azee's Hyakuren. Kudal orders several boys to help him attack the Isaribi, so Mikazuki moves to intercept them. Mikazuki kills one of the human debris while giving chase to Kudal. Masahiro spots Akihiro and starts shooting at him, but Akihiro grabs him and says he's come to get him. Mikazuki hides behind debris and stabs Vito's cockpit. Masahiro says he waited so long for Akihiro, but he eventually realized that hope was useless. He says their reunion changes nothing because they're still human debris and will die like garbage. Akihiro felt the same way until he found a new family in Tekkadan that treated him like a human. Masahiro is enraged and thinks that Akihiro abandoned him. Mikazuki attacks Kudal and is unable to penetrate his thick armor. Kudal calls for help and complains that the human debris are all useless. He uses his hammer to smash a large piece of debris, but Mikazuki is able to dodge. He then spots Akihiro and decides to use him as a hostage. Masahiro tells Akihiro that he'll soon find out how human debris die. Kudal rushes in and swings his hammer, but Masahiro pushes his brother aside and takes the hit.

 

Commentary

 

The battle against the Brewers continues and inevitably leads to tragedy. Masahiro's sacrifice is definitely tragic, but above even that is the degradation that all the so-called human debris endure. Up to now I thought that all that self-loathing was just Akihiro's thing, but we see that the Brewers boys have gone through the same systematic de-humanization. They've all been convinced that they're garbage and have no hope for a better life, and if they dare to think otherwise, they're literally beaten down for it. Akihiro broke that conditioning by finding a family in Tekkadan, and he obviously thought he could do the same for Masahiro, but his attempt backfired. And yet, even in his anguish, Masahiro pushed his brother aside and saved him. As for the battle itself, it was a good tactic to send out suits with long-range capability to trick the Brewers into thinking the ships were nearby. We've seen plenty of fights before in Gundam with debris fields, but this one seems particularly dense and hazardous. On a minor note, it's nice to see that Mikazuki is continuing his literacy lessons and trying to improve himself. It shows that space rats and human debris can defy what the world tells them and be better that what they're expected to be.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 12 Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 12
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