The space opera. A genre defined by manly men fighting in robots attempting to save the world from evil forces only to return to a nice girl awaiting them on their home planet. The mech battles draw the men and the elaborate tales of love and drama bring the women to watch a very old genre. One of the genre’s signature series, Gundam, has been running for almost forever with a different reincarnation airing almost every new anime season, even sometimes overlapping another Gundam series. A testament to how successful the franchise has been thus far.
In the new series Iron-Blooded Orphans the usual romance plot is spiced up quite a bit. A mercenary group operated by children decides to revolt against the adults who treat them like garbage and form their own mercenary group, Tekkadan. Their first mission is to escort the diplomat Kudelia from Mars to Earth so that she may plead for human rights.
While the plot sounds typical enough, the group is filled solely of boys and men and many have never been around anyone of the opposite sex besides Biscuit’s sisters and Atra, who clearly has a thing for Mikazuki. Because of this, the series is dripping with sexual undertones. Everyone is blushing, every word said has a double meaning, and every main character has that ONE special someone that is thought about constantly. Pure. Yaoi. Bliss.
Moment #1: A Confession?! (Episode 6)
After Tekkadan’s original guide betrayed them Orga decides to reach out to Teiwaz, a group that is well known to be a syndicate. As Orga heads to Teiwaz’s headquarters, Biscuit confronts him about the dangers of doing so. Biscuit questions Orga on whether or not he is choosing the dangerous path on purpose or not. Orga then dives into full out confession mode. He admits that he believes he must do this in order to move forward, but the kicker is because he believes Mikazuki’s eyes are all on him. Orga then continues to gush about Mikazuki saying that, “He’s strong, cool, and has courage. He mastered a Mobile Suit in his first battle, and now reads and writes.” Orga then admits that he cannot “betray those eyes”. He always has to “be the coolest Orga Itsuka”.
Has anyone been as blindly in love as Orga is?! He’s doing this all for Mikazuki! He truly admires Mikazuki and it shows considering the two hardly need to say a word for them to understand each other. Their bond is unbreakable. They talk about each other as if they are in awe of the other’s presence. It is absolutely adorable. The two really need to sort themselves out so that everyone can have a good old fashioned nose bleed.
Moment #2: Getting Drunk and Letting out Secrets (Episode 9)
After earning quite a bit of money from selling parts stolen from Gjallarhorn, Orga decides to give his crew the much needed downtime they have been looking for. For the young ones, he brings back all sorts of delicacies and sweets that would otherwise be out of reach for children of poverty, but for the “adults” he has something much better planned. Orga takes everyone out to a nice izakaya to drink and eat to their hearts’ content although Orga is the one who ends up completely smashed. The next scene cuts to Orga leaning over a balcony, sick as hell. The only one there to help him is Mikazuki as he gently rubs Orga’s back.
This scene is absolutely adorable! It isn’t often that Orga’s more sensitive and vulnerable side is seen and to see Mikazuki step up and be the strong one in this situation is icing on the cake. Orga’s face is completely red with a blush even after Mikazuki has enlisted the help of the others to carry Orga back. In fact, the scene even gets better. In his passed out state Orga whispers, “I can finally make a family for you.” It’s quite obvious who he’s talking about (*cough* Mikazuki*cough*. While no family in the traditional sense, Tekkadan is definitely a loving and caring family.
As a side note, Akihiro is carrying Orga.
Moment #3: Not Interested in Women (Episode 9)
During Orga’s party many of the men ate and drank their fill, but a small group couldn’t help but wonder if the celebration could be improved upon by adding some women to the mix. The group enthusiastically agrees. Or rather all but one agrees. Akihiro shyly looks to the side and states that he doesn’t understand what the big idea is. The group begins teasing them and the scene is cut short early leaving the audience confused.
While the scene is quite short, it opens up a giant can of worms. Does Akihiro just not understand women because he’s technically a “child” or does he just not PREFER women? It’s safe to assume most fans will gravitate to the latter, but the question is WHO is he paired with?! Mikazuki and Orga seem to be a pretty solid pair so far, but Mikazuki and Akihiro DO train together…alone. Shirtless. In a room with beds. Could this possibly be a love triangle? THERE MUST BE MORE.
Moment #4: Only One Left Out (Episode 10)
The scene begins with a message from Tekkadan’s accountant back on Mars explaining that everything is well back on the home front to Biscuit, Eugene, Norba, and Orga. Orga dismisses Biscuit so that he may receive his own personal messages from his sisters in private. Eugene immediately exclaims that he would “rather receive a message from a woman” than from family. Norba teases Eugene by saying he’d rather have a woman in front of him than long distance because he loves the physical aspects of a woman best.
Eugene exclaims that it’s the emotional aspect of a relationship with a woman that is best. Norba then throws Eugene under the bus, wondering how Eugene could possibly know anything after having his first experience just days prior. Eugene seeks backup in Orga, but is left hanging as Orga explains that he doesn’t “care much about women.” A small blush forms on Orga’s cheeks. Eugene presses the issue further stating that a man must know a woman to become a “true man”. Eugene and Norba continue their antics while Orga looks away and exclaims that he “doesn’t care” because he has a family.
Orga, while carrying the physical traits of a man still has the mentality of a child. Of course he isn’t interested in women when he has Mikazuki in the wings. He can say he cares about his family more than his personal life, but clearly he is confusing romantic feelings with familial love. There is one other character in recent anime that has done this and I believe his name is Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club. While Orga needs to sort out his feelings for Mikazuki, all the fans will continue to watching him cutely stumble over his own feet when faced with the idea of love. There has to be a happy ending somewhere…though it is a Gundam series.
Moment #5: Norba and Yamagi (Episode 7)
Yamagi maintains many of the Mobile Workers, but there is just one that he gravitates to in particular. As Tekkadan prepares to take on the enemy, Yamagi preps Norba’s machine. As thanks Norba reaches out to grab Yamagi’s hand. Yamagi hesitates until Norba grabs a hold and then pulls Yamagi from the cockpit, leaving him stunned. Yamagi looks down at his hand and forms a fist. The scene is brief, but is a special moment shared between the two.
For a while Yamagi has seemed to pay special attention to Norba, but this scene really seals the deal on how Yamagi truly feels for the older man. In fact, this scene is one of the rare ones that actually shows really canon feelings from one character and it is super cute. Yamagi’s look of astonishment for being recognized by Norba forces butterflies into the stomachs of everyone watching. Since these two are minor characters they don’t get much screen time, but the audience is still rooting for them!
While the series never overtly shows any physical contact or states anything blatantly, the idea of these relationships blossoming off screen can sometimes be more tantalizing than giving fan girls what they want. Even better is the idea of manly men on a giant ship succumbing to their secret desires between the sheets. The series isn’t over so perhaps these relationships still have a chance to come to fruition. Only time will tell. Until then, speculation fanfiction will always be there for comfort.