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Episode 4: The Price of Life

 

Review by Chris Guanche

October 28, 2015

 

Summary

 

Akihiro finishes his workout first and leaves before Mikazuki. Outside, Todo panics and tells himself they're all going to be killed by Gjallarhorn. Orga and Biscuit walk by and ask Todo if he's going to the meeting. He overhears them talking about finding a guide and thinks that there's a way to use them. At the meeting, Biscuit outlines the travel plan, which involves taking an orbital mass driver and then to the spaceport Hakobune, where they transfer to their ship and proceed to Earth with a guide ship. Kudelia asks about the guide ship, so Biscuit explains that most routes to Earth are controlled by Gjallarhorn, and given their situation they have to take back routes. Todo mentions that he knows the CEO of the Orcus Company and can get them as guides. Eugene doesn't trust him, but Orga points out that Todo knows what'll happen if he screws up. Fumitan asks about the ship, and Biscuit tells her that the CGS ship Will-O'-the-Wisp is docked at Hakobune. The ship will have to officially be claimed by Tekkadan, so Orga leaves that task in the hands of Akihiro and Dexter. At the Gjallarhorn orbital station, McGillis and Gaelio discuss what Coral is up to just before he walks in. McGillis shocks him by stating that their work is almost done, and he asks about a company that went out and hasn't returned. Coral makes up a lie about sending them out to suppress a civilian riot. He then tries to offer them a bribe, but McGillis cuts him off and threatens to arrest him. Mikazuki polishes the cockpit of the Gundam Barbatos and stops when Orga and Biscuit come over. They ask Nadi if they can take the suit to space, but he's not sure because it's centuries old and from before the Calamity War. He notes that mobile suits aren't his speciality, but he thinks the Graze would be better off since it's newer. Akihiro arrives at the Chryse spaceport with Dexter, Dante Mogro and Chad and recalls his conversation with Orga before leaving. Orga gave the contract data to Akihiro and the other "human debris," which frees them from Maruba and lets them do as they please. Orga didn't want their gratitude, but offered to protect them if they stayed. Todo reports that Orcus has agreed to guide them to Earth, but only for a 45 percent cut of what they're making off Kudelia. Eugene disapproves and tells Todo that he'd better not be taking kickbacks. Biscuit thinks that by escorting a celebrity like Kudelia it will spread the Tekkadan name and get them more work. Kudelia tells Fumitan that she thinks she's weak and recalls her conversation with Nobliss, who transferred money to her and commended her for bravely going to Earth. Mikazuki tells Kudelia that she looks troubled and asks if she wants to come with him off base. Nearby, McGillis and Gaelio survey the spot where the battle happened and discuss Kudelia hiding herself. Norman had visited Coral the day before the battle, so McGillis thinks he wanted to capture Kudelia to get in the good graces of the Regulatory Bureau.

 

Ride stands on the Graze's hands to paint over the CGS logo outside the main building. Mikazuki and Biscuit take Kudelia and Fumitan to a large corn field belonging to Biscuit's grandmother, Sakura Pretzel. Atra runs over to greet Mikazuki and is surprised to see Kudelia there. She then blushes after noticing that Mikazuki is wearing the bracelet and tells him that it matches hers. Gaelio drives an SUV through an empty field and tells McGillis that they should just interrogate Coral rather than keep investigating him. McGillis thinks that Coral will just act dumb, so they need concrete evidence. Gaelio mentions that he'll be speaking with his little sister Almiria and asks if McGillis will join the call. Gaelio jokes that McGillis has it hard with their parents' decision to give him a 9-year-old fiance. Kudelia pulls corn from a stalk and falls backward, but Mikazuki catches her. She tells him that the field is lovely and makes her feel refreshed, so she wonders if that's why he brought her out. He asks her how much she thinks one corn sells for, and she answers 200 galars, but he tells her it's only 50 galars for 10 kilos. He explains that it's sold cheaply for biofuel and that Sakura would have a hard time without Biscuit's salary to help. Mikazuki asks Kudelia if she knows about human debris, and she answers that she only vaguely knows about people sold for money. He tells her that people like Akihiro are sold for low prices and can't get good jobs even if they're free. He then says they're able to hang on because of Kudelia and thanks her. Cookie and Cracker tease Atra about how Kudelia is going to steal Mikazuki away from her, and Biscuit asks them for a fresh basket. A moment later, they cry out when they're nearly hit by the SUV. Mikazuki runs over and starts choking Gaelio as soon as he gets out of the SUV. He only stops when Sakura tells him to and the girls explain that it was just an accident. McGillis gets out to apologize, and Biscuit immediately recognizes the Gjallarhorn symbol on the SUV. Fumitan sees the logo as well and pushes Kudelia into a row of corn so that she's not spotted. Gaelio doesn't accept Mikazuki's apology and tries to punch him, but Mikazuki easily dodges. Gaelio notices the implants on Mikazuki's back and becomes nauseated when McGillis explains what they are. McGillis apologizes to the girls and offers them a bag of candy. He then asks Biscuit about the recent battle, but Biscuit plays dumb. Before leaving, McGillis compliments Mikazuki on his skills and tells him that he'd make a great soldier. On Hakobune, Akihiro and the others inspect the Will-O'-the-Wisp, which Orga has renamed to Isaribi. McGillis tells Gaelio about how the nearby PMC called CGS recently changed its name and owner. Mikazuki and the others return to base and see the new Tekkadan logo painted on the building. Todo makes a covert phone call and vows to remind the boys how terrifying adults can be.

 

Commentary

 

The focus of this episode is a welcome shift away from combat to character and world building. Orga is putting in the real work of making Tekkadan a functioning company, including all the bureaucracy and boring paperwork. They'll have to take a back route to get to Earth, but Todo can't be trusted at all and clearly has a trap (and payday) lined up. Up to now Eugene has only been a grump who disagrees with everything Orga does, but he's obviously right in this case about Todo. For anyone who thinks Mikazuki is some cold-hearted warrior like Heero Yuy or Setsuna F. Seiei, he's shown enough warmth in previous episodes and especially this one to counter that argument. He didn't have to bring Kudelia to the corn field to clear her mind, but he did it anyway. And yet, if there's even the slightest sign of danger he clicks into action mode like when he immediately attacked Gaelio. The encounter between McGillis and Mikazuki calls back to similar scenes between Setsuna and Graham Aker in Gundam 00, or Amuro Ray and Ramba Ral in the original series. Of course, Mikazuki and McGillis haven't fought yet, but when they do, McGillis will surely recognize his moves. So far, he's being presented as another character who fits the mold of the honorable enemy. He's serious about his inspection job and instantly rebuffs Coral's transparent attempts at bribery. Of course, at this early stage we haven't seen any of Gjallarhorn's upper echelon to know if they're more like McGillis or Coral, but I'd presume they lean more toward the latter. A couple of map screens show us the political division of Earth into four economic blocs, not unlike the three superpowers from Gundam 00. It'll be interesting to see what role they play once the cast finally gets to Earth. As a final comment, the animation in this episode takes a noticeable drop in quality despite not having any battles. I almost hesitate to mention it because I'm sure the eventual home video release will replace the low quality scenes. However, I'm still not a fan of the practice and wince whenever horrible animation is on screen.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 4 Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans Episode 4

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Buy the collection (eps 1-13) on Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon
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