When I first reviewed Attack on Titan, I basically called it the Game of Thrones of anime on account of how many characters were dying.
After reading the rest of the series so far, though, I know this is far from the case.
And now, after finishing Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, which we started but never finished at my university anime club, I can see that the Game of Thrones title suits the Gundam series a lot more.
Iron Blooded Orphans made me wonder just how bloody the other Gundam anime could be, with constant brutal deaths from the large cast of characters, which resulted in a tragic yet fitting ending.
Directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai and developed by Sunrise, the show follows Mikazuki Augus (Kengo Kawanishi) and Orga Itsuka (Yoshimasa Hosoya), two child soldiers who form the organization known as Tekkadan, with their first mission being to escort the maiden of revolution Kudelia Aina Bernstein (Yuka Terasaki) to earth.
What follows is a long and bloody journey both before, during, and long after the mission has ended with, as I said, many brutal and shocking deaths occurring.
Although many of these deaths are telegraphed before they happen, they still carry huge emotional weight that makes you feel for the characters.
Whether these deaths be in massive Gundam fights or Godfather style assassinations, they always hit you where it hurts.
This is helped by how great the characters are.
Orga is definitely my favourite with me caring for him, even when his naïve desire to see Tekkadan succeed as quickly as possible inevitably lead them all down a tragic path.
As for Mikazuki, I was surprised by how much I liked him as a character, considering he is pretty emotionless.
Usually, I find it hard to connect with such characters but I think it completely worked for him.
The other members of Tekkadan like Eugene (Yuchiro Yumehara), Akihiro (Yasuaki Takumi) and Biscuit (Natsuki Hanae) are just as interesting to watch.
Not only this but the antagonists are also understandable, with the anime subverting my expectations on what McGillis’ (Takahiro Sakurai) role would be in the story and also again surprising me with Galieo’s (Masaya Matsukaze) great character arc.
Although, I will say that McGillis’ creepy marriage to Galieo’s nine-year-old sister Almiria (Ai Kakuma) should have obviously been changed.
Seriously, even though we see nothing happen (thankfully) they should have aged her up to make it not feel like grooming.
Sadly, this is not the only problems with the villains as the ones in season two have plot armour that I felt like borderlined on the ridiculous at times.
This is especially the case with Iok (Nobunaga Shimazaki) who can burn in the fiery pits of hell for all I care.
He is easily my most hated anime character of all time with his narcissistic stupidity leading to the deaths of multiple characters.
However, I’m pretty sure we are supposed to hate Iok, so I can’t fault the anime for this because the writers did their job at making him detestable.
As for the animation and music, both are stellar, with there not being one weak moment from either.
The Gundam battles look especially fantastic and this is best showcased in the action packed final episodes, where the tragedy concludes with a bittersweet ending that left me sad yet satisfied, although I will admit it is a divisive end.
I honestly considered giving Iron Blooded Orphans five stars but its problems with some of the villains, namely McGillis’ relationship with Almiria (ew) and the plot armour for the antagonists in season two, held me back.
Still, this does not change the fact that it is a fantastic anime that is a tragic thrill ride from start to finish.
Just prepare to be emotionally crushed by the end.