Anime Review: Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans

Phew...this series was a heck of a ride. As a quick summary, the story takes place in a world where Mars has been colonized by humanity. The main characters are what is known as Human Debris, child labor treated as lesser humans. These kids revolt against their "employers" and try to find their way in the world. The best description I've been able to come up with for this series is that it's a Gundam show without all of the "frills" (if that makes sense). The mobile suits don't have superpowers and the main characters aren't really backed by some lofty ideals. They're just kids thrust into a crazy world trying to find their place to call home.

Another part of the "no frills" idea is the lack of hesitation the show has with brutally murdering people. This can be a good or bad thing depending on what type of viewer you are. But the show will build some characters up as allies and then emotionally wrench them away, and it will also build other characters up as frustrating villains and cathartically gun them down without prejudice. So, all in all, a wholesome show, right? And while it's true that they're pretty much asking for it with an opening song literally called "RAISE YOUR FLAG", the show could at least be a little less crazy with the death flags. Those things are everywhere...

Character-wise, I think the series has some strong ones, but runs into problems with managing the extended cast. This is especially true in the second season when characters like Hush and Julietta are introduced as characters with a lot of importance, but ultimately do nothing much to establish themselves. But like I said, there are still some really cool side characters that do pretty well, like Ride, Eugene, and Akihiro to name a few. While Mikazuki is the main character and is certainly impressive in battle, I think the fact that he's designed as Orga's "blunt weapon" hinders him overall.

In the music area, the show does really well. The opening songs in the show are very memorable and intense, which fit the tone of the show. The soundtrack is also very uses strings well to add the same kind of energy to the scenes in the show. Also, the first ending song makes for some really amazing lead-ins at the end of an episode. Overall I think the show was an enjoyable experience even if I think it tries too hard at times to force the emotional scenes to happen.

Overall Score: 7/10

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