‘Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans’ started airing a few months ago, and is currently halfway through its first season. I started watching it because of nostalgic reasons, but as the season continued, Sunrise’s new iteration in the Gundam franchise started to intrigue me. Not just the characters, but also the political games being played and the way the story doesn’t openly tell you what is going on, reminiscent of other modern anime such as Attack on Titan. Every new episode answers some questions, but also raises a multitude of new ones. The show offers enough nostalgia, character building, political intrigue and intensive action to keep me invested in the show, and if you are like me, you might enjoy it too!
Like many of you, I grew up watching (and loving) Pokemon, playing the games religiously as well. When Dragonball Z started airing I started watching that as well, much to the chagrin of my parents who saw the violent nature of the show as a bad influence on ~8 year old me. At one point in time and at the height of its popularity, the Dragonball Z broadcast was followed by the show Gundam Wing. At the time, I was a bit too young to understand the storyline, and it didn’t help that the channel broadcasting these shows (Yorin) stopped showing Gundam Wing mid-season, only to pick it up again much later. By that time, I forgot what had happened and stopped watching it all together.
During my teens, Naruto and Bleach drew me back into watching anime, but it wasn’t until seeing Death Note when I was 15 I turned into somewhat of an enthusiast. It wasn’t anywhere near Weeaboo territory, but it did cause me to buy some games which I otherwise wouldn’t have bought (The Lost Odyssey), caused me to start drawing again, and I started reading the source material for my favorite anime’s, manga. I didn’t start wearing a kimono to school or re-enact battles from the shows, but I still enjoy listening to Death Note’s soundtrack. I feel there is no shame in admitting that, since it is actually pretty good. I’m listening to it right now as I’m writing this.
I watched some other classics, such as Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, pretty much every cliché in the book for the casual anime-watcher. One that I especially enjoyed, was Gundam 00. It was grittier than anything I watched before, and had more political depth to it than anything I was used to. However, after its 50 episodes were done broadcasting, my interest in watching anime subsided. I did keep reading the Naruto and Bleach manga’s out of habit, with some excursions to others such as Psyren Call.
My interest in anime was aroused once I started seeing more and more references to a show called ‘Attack on Titan’. Having seen the season a few years ago (and still impatiently waiting for the second) and seeing what modern anime could accomplish, I started looking for my next dosage. I’ve watched some other shows, and was thoroughly captivated by the first season of Sword Art Online (and, subsequently, being disappointed with the second season). However, that was that. Until…
Until I saw there’d be a new Gundam show starting in a few days, somewhere around October. I was skeptical at first. Gundam shows are often a bit hit-and-miss for me. I feel as if every good Gundam show is followed by a rubbish one, only to reboot back and come up with a great one again. I wondered where in the cycle this one would fit. I’m happy to say, with only having seen 14 episodes, this is one of the greater series – approaching Gundam 00 territory.
Without giving away too many details about the story, it starts out on Mars which is kept poor under Earth’s rule after a great war, presumably between the two planets – or among Earth’s greater factions. The main characters are two boys. One, Orga, is somewhat older, and capable of strategic insight. The other, Mikazaki, is younger, but has a talent for using mobile workers. They work for a company tasked with exporting Mars’ resources, but are just small time grunts for said company. The people in charge are corrupt, spineless old men who treat the mainly child-labour force as human garbage. Saying anything more than this would mean spoiling the first few episodes, so I will leave it at that.
If this got you interested, the first 14 episodes are available for streaming free of charge through Crunchyroll, and every sunday a new episode will be added right after its original Japanese broadcast with professional subtitles. If you have seen and liked some of the previously mentioned anime, I’m sure you will like this one as well. You can watch the first episode directly through the following link, and see if it can grip you as well:
PS: you don’t have to have seen previous iterations of Gundam to understand the story, it is a completely separate storyline.