Review-Roundup: Beautiful Bones 06, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans 06/07
Sure, let’s check the value of this ring that clearly holds sentimental value for someone dealing with death in some way! The whole question of whether it’s a diamond or not even gets a nod during the resolution of the mystery, even though it’s completely unnecessary information. It’s really just there for the sake of the plot and the gimmick of the show.
This time I review:
Beautiful Bones 06: It’s a false suicide… AGAIN! Can we please stop with the “jumping to the conclusion that it’s a suicide”-bit of this show?! It isn’t that suicides couldn’t offer compelling story-material, it’s that this show constantly mistakenly talks about suicides when it really aren’t suicides in the traditional sense (even the one from the last arc was engineered by a crafty evil person after all). And could someone, aside from Sakurako, have some common sense in this show please…?
Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans 06/07: Tekkadan’s in trouble as its original plan has gone down in flames. All that’s left to do is find an alternative. Fearing Mikkazuki’s judgment Orga rushes himself to conclude that the only alternative are the Jupiter-mafia. But on their way there they are pursued by an “old friend” who has gotten some new friends and these new friends are actually greedy pirates/mercenaries. The fun never ends with these orphans!
Beautiful Bones 06 Review:
Instead of resolving a mystery with a factual explanation of the events, this series seems to be fine to just settle for Sakurako’s very educated guesses about what probably has happened.
This is a really dumb mystery-series, isn’t it? I mean, come on! Once again we have to deal with someone claiming something to be a suicide when it obviously isn’t. What does this series even think suicides are?! This series is SO pro-life that the worst crime it has to prevent is suicide. What’s great about this series is that apparently the protagonists (except lady-Sherlock, of course) are the most pessimistic people imaginable when it comes to other people’s emotional state-of-mind. “Wait, he’s sad…? Guess, he must be trying to kill himself! But I know that no person should ever do that which is precisely why I suspect everyone else of doing just that!”: That’s apparently the real theme of this series. It’s all about some morons trying to infer that everything’s a suicide until they’re proven wrong (or right in some rare cases) by Sakurako.
What you get here is once again a story so sentimental that the only way logic expresses himself is by having some super-hardcore nihilist spout depressing pseudo-philosophical gibberish. Of course, there’s the plucky optimistic girl to rebuff all his arguments by screaming and pouting a lot. This pair of the nihilist-teacher and this girl Shoutarou still sees regularly to tell her about his adventures with Sakurako (it’s exactly as insulting as it sounds) are more or less the story trying its hardest to have some sort of discussion about suicide. Of course, it’s unbelievably clunky and blunt.
The teacher’s arguing to actively support suicides actually. In his eyes it’s up to each person to have the free choice of living or being dead and everyone else should at least stay out of the way. It’s a ridiculous argument to throw at a teenage-girl and it’s even more ridiculous when you don’t offer the usual argument of someone with really bad cancer or other bad illnesses/injuries. And he’s right insofar that getting involved in the lady’s business might be a rather heartbreaking affair. Of course, that’s all hypothetical because it isn’t based on any evidence. That’s where he becomes the nihilist because he just jumps to the most pessimistic conclusions left and right: Yes, she wants to kill herself. Yes, she’s probably justified in doing so. And yes, it will scar you emotionally to get involved in that. He might as well have ended with saying that the girl should kill herself, too, because life’s just shit.
On the other side you have the girl, of course – who is pretty much just really naïve and dumb. It isn’t like she’s offering some sort of compelling argument. She’s just accusing the teacher of being a murderer-by-proxy if he doesn’t prevent the suicide. And she sounds so whiny while also tearing up for extra drama that the teacher can’t help but support her in her dumb quest. It’s SO stupid this episode just had to do it multiple times, of course. Whenever the teacher would dive into another pit of nihilism, the girl would just shout accusations while pouting and the teacher would abandon his nihilism to help her instead. She had no compelling argument to offer except that life’s nice and preventing a suicide might be preferable to just letting it happen.
This dynamic could’ve worked except that once again everyone except Sakurako were frigging idiots. I mean, the whole idea that this mystery was about someone killing herself is already way too preposterous to not be laughable. Seriously, in what world would the person trying to kill herself throw a memento and her frigging suicide-note (!) into a river before killing herself somewhere else entirely?! And the letter didn’t even sound like a suicide-note to begin with! When Sakurako says at the end “I apologize that you wasted your time on this”, I wholeheartedly agree because it really was a waste of time! It certainly felt like one watching this episode!
At this point, I certainly hope that the rest of this series will just be longer story-arcs. The writing isn’t great with its lightweight-philosophizing and just reducing all talk about death to “Well, if you’re alive, I guess, you just gotta continue living.”. After six episodes nothing about this series has been particularly great in the story-department. The animation and visual artwork has been fine but the stories and characters seem so dull that it almost seems like a waste to see anything fancier than slice-of-life-imagery. There’s a good and very earnest idea at the heart of this series but nothing in this series has been able to channel it into a good mystery-story so far.
Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans 06/07 Review:
I have no idea why the series even bothers with this overly vague back-and-forth about repairing the Gundam. Clearly they prepare this kid with robot-arms for some sort of story-arc but you can cut out most of the dialogue surrounding mechanical work in this series. One or two lines would totally suffice in that regard.
Whenever this series can be immediate, it’s amazing. The seventh episode is one of the most entertaining episodes I’ve seen in a while. When everything the series has to deal with is two factions fighting with each other and all the characterization is plot-driven as well, the series feels alive and energetic where many other installments in the Gundam-franchise feel bogged down by preachy moralizing or the desperate need for some sort of pathos. But if the seventh episode is the series at its best the mostly transitional sixth episode still hasn’t convinced me that the larger story of this series offers anything to get invested in.
Where the larger story fails is that it’s hard to see the connection between it and the characters right now. Even Kudelia who should show the strongest connection to it instead is stuck with this “I want to be reliable!”-character-arc while all the concerns of the larger story seem only relevant in the broadest strokes to her. Right now, the larger story is still that Mars got fucked up in the last big war and now Kudelia wants to go to Earth in order to get more economical freedom for Mars. But it feels like the story is about a kid seeing a nice toy on TV and then going to his parents to plea for them to buy him this toy. There’s something very naïve about how Kudelia has engaged with the larger story so far (despite the early promising sign of her immediately realizing that her dad had sold her out to the bad guys). Beyond her idealism Kudelia actually doesn’t offer anything in terms of arguments that would support her need to win economic independence for Mars. After all, if Mars is such a shitshow these days, would they really be able to flourish without depending on Earth? It’s entirely possible I’d say that Mars has gotten ruined to the point where it can’t function independently. The larger story of this series is still the most unsatisfying part of this series.
Mikkazuki becomes somewhat interesting again in the sixth episode as well as he gets characterized indirectly by what Orga thinks of him. Characterization-wise this is certainly the most nuanced story-beat so far. While it further pushes Mikkazuki into ubermensch-territory, it offers a very interesting dynamic between him and Orga. The idea that Orga tries to rise above his own limitations because he kinda fears Mikkazuki’s judgment gives him a very personal motivation for his daredevil-ish attitude so far. What I didn’t like was how Orga now is overly conscious of Mikkazuki only after we got that revelation from the series. As far as I remember previous to the sixth episode the series never showed Orga getting pushed forward by Mikkazuki’s presence as before that it was more like Orga simply trusted Mikkazuki to do his job without question.
It’s a necessary addition because Mikkazuki is still a rather weak character as it’s unclear to really figure out what he’s thinking. He’s a blank slate with a very primitive sense of virtue, His characterization might as well be of a robot who has learned to feel. It isn’t like said robot understands emotions on the same instinctive level a human might but there’s innocence to his relationship with emotions that offers him a certain purity many humans have lost in the course of their lives. Mikkazuki as a character makes sense as long as you’re ignoring the fact that he’s supposed to be a human. A better series would maybe use this angle to talk about autism in a meaningful way but who knows whether he’s supposed to seem autistic or if it’s just the series trying to establish some shtick for this characters they can use as basis for his arc within the series.
But as I said, it’s the seventh episode where the series finds its footing again. There’s so much fun to be found in that episode whose drama never seems overbearing while the action is always engaging. As the orphans are looking for support to get to Earth secretly, they gamble to find support with the criminals of the outer planets and colonies of the solar system. But that’s when the former owner of the company Tekkadan used to be turns up with a mercenary-ship and threatens the orphans.
First of all, the whole setup is so nicely organic as it isn’t about this epic battle with Gjallarhorn for the sake of Martian independence. Instead it’s just the past of Tekkadan coming back to haunt it. If you ignore all the sci-fi-ish tropes the series almost seems down-to-earth with how it’s just about an opportunistic mercenary-crew trying to use a down-on-his-luck idiot for their personal gain.
And the action that unfolds after the conflict gets established is surprising in how dynamic it seems despite the fact that at one point three battle-scenes are happening at once. The sense of place is a bit unclear in a visual sense but story-wise the episode does enough to separate all the three battles from each other and more than that all the battles are connected thematically. The series works best when it can just focus on this crew of orphans forcing themselves to grow up in the face of all the battles they face and also demonstrate that they already had to grow up a big deal simply by the virtue of them being orphans working in a mercenary-company. Everyone who encounters the orphans first looks at them as children and then the series quickly establishes that these orphans are quite capable for their age.
What also helps the seventh episode a great deal is that the social dynamics on the Hammerhead-ship seem just as interesting as those in the Tekkadan-company. What emerges as an enjoyable pattern in this series is that the series constantly subverts the stereotypical presentation of the stereotypical roles it presents. Conceptually nothing about this series is especially inspired but the way the two Gjallarhorn-villains seem more like enlightened aristocrats than power-hungry tyrants, the way Tekkadan is trying to prove that children can do the work of adults, the way the Hammerhead-ship doesn’t seem to care about gender-stereotypes and even the small villain of the first story-arc of this season who constantly harassed the orphans simply because he couldn’t think of anything better to do in the situation he had found himself in because of the blunders of a subordinate. As long as the series stays focused on the immediate it is amazing. It’s the larger story where the series still doesn’t work as well as it does on the ground-level. Also, Mikkazuki still doesn’t seem like a great character.
Episodes-Rating: 6th Episode: 6.5/10 7th Episode: 8.5/10
Posted on November 15, 2015, in Anime, Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Reviews and tagged A Corpse is Buried Under Sakurako's Feet, Anime, Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation, gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Mobile Suit Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans, review, Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.