Previously I reviewed season 1 of Iron Blooded Orphans so you can check that out here.
Season 2 pretty much picks up with Tekkadan trying to make it as a legitimate business but through various business and political maneuvers as well as some poor decision making we see our orphans going back into battle.
I reviewed this week to week so if you want to know my thoughts on individual episodes click here.
I’ve made no secret in the past that Gundam and I have a love/hate relationship. The first season of Iron Blooded Orphans was great. I really got into the characters because the orphans had some great chemistry (individual characters didn’t fare so well but as a group they were charming to watch face off against everything that stood in their way). So season 2 should have been fine.
For the most part it is actually fine. The problem is that it doesn’t ever do anything more than fine. This is actually going to be a short review because if you’ve watched any Gundam show you know the basics of how they go anyway. And if you haven’t the Orphans is hardly the starting place even if it is fairly stand-alone.
Tekkadan is now established as a force to be reckoned with and realistically Orga should have been able to run the company legitimately with no further fuss. Yet this is Gundam and we have 25 episodes to fill, so let’s over-complicate things horribly with conspiracies within various organisations and hidden motives everywhere.
I guess the question really comes down to what did season 2 really accomplish?
Season 1 had a clear purpose. The orphans overthrew the company that had pretty much enslaved them and then used their skills to get Kudelia to earth so that she could help Mars not be totally exploited. It had drive all the way through. The villains were clear and their purpose was simple. Stop Kudelia. Some of them were trying to do that to keep the status quo, while others had personal profits on the line, but it was all very clear.
But season 2 loses this sharp focus as motives and goals fragment across multiple organisations. Even the orphans spend a lot of the first half flitting between possible goals before they throw in behind McGillis (which is a really stupid move) and we finally move toward the, at that point, inevitable tragic end.
However, you don’t care about this conflict. Season 1 made you care because you wanted the orphans to find a place and you wanted Kudelia to succeed. In season 2, the orphans have a place but they end up over-reaching and lose it. You can’t even see Rustal Elion as an actual villain because basically he’s doing his job (using somewhat underhanded and unethical methods at times). But we don’t get a motive from him and he doesn’t seem overly personally invested in the conflict.
So there’s no clear purpose, the conflict is pretty much pointless, and there’s no villain to really speak of (though plenty of despicable human beings if that’s enough for you). There’s also very little in the way of character development for our main cast. They learn a little but mostly are fixed where they were during season 1.
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any thing going for this season. There are some spectacular space battles and lots of giant robots smashing each other into bits. Those who watch Gundam for the bang, crash, zwing sound effects will be really pleased. Plus, there’s a nice character death count by the end, though more of the orphans survived than I initially suspected would.
Basically, I found season 2 watchable, but I wouldn’t really recommend it. It didn’t grab me the way season 1 did and while the end is satisfying enough, I’m still wondering exactly what the overall point of season 2 was supposed to be.
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