Linebarrels Of Iron Episode 4: The Price Of Justice

October 30, 2008

“It’s not what you need to do… it’s what you want to do that truly matters.”

Hideki Yajima to Kouichi Hayase, Linebarrels Of Iron episode 4: The Price Of Justice.

Pretty late this time; I was tied up the entire damned week.

Okay, a moment of silence for Yajima, please.

Right. So this now officially marks the end of all the previous whining episodes. It was truly epic this time round, marred only by a small color malfunction in either the media player or the video itself. Don’t overreact when everything looks like it was airbrushed in maroon.

The episode starts off with Kouichi in bed one bright morning, as he thinks back to yesterday. Ack, that would make it next morning.

His recent act of arrogance has gotten on Emi’s bad side, and his defeat at the hands of Reiji and the Vardant has resulted in Linebarrel being confiscated by JUDA. True to his obnoxious self, however, he convinces himself that he doesn’t need the Linebarrel to be strong, and tries to go back to sleep. Meanwhile, both his sister and his mother decide that staying this late was unbecoming of a healthy young teen whose entire purpose in life, currently, is to study. Kouichi’s sister gladly takes up the task of waking him up, and starts off with a aerial butt-slam to his abdomen. Of course, no sane person would stay in bed after that, but Kouichi is even more stubborn than Shin. His sister than proceeds to bounce on him for many times before finally spotting Yamija waiting outside the house.

Kouichi does get up, but he completely ignores Yajima as he walks out of the front door, only stopping to shoot down Yajima’s concerns by telling him that he’s fine. Meanwhile, the people back at JUDA are checking out the Linebarrel. Apparently the Linebarrel is a machine exceeding their wildest expectations, since Rachel remarks that in a short while since its reappropriation by JUDA forces, Linebarrel has almost completely healed itself, something that the other JUDA-owned Machinae apparently can’t do.

The scene later cuts to Emi, now in a JUDA-owned building. Apparently, she’s moved out of Kouichi’s house. Well, nothing less.

At Kouichi’s school, Risako confronts him about yesterday’s events. She inadvertedly blurts out that Kouichi was living with Emi, causing the whole class to look their way. Kouichi tells her to quiet down and that Emi is now gone, but Risako, remembering the boob-grab scene, is so flustered by it that she stutters for a bit, slaps Kouichi out of embarresment, and then flees the room. Kouichi chases after her; after seeing Yajima entering the room and catching the end of efterthing, he promptly stops.

Cut to the JUDA building’s recreational centre, where Rachel, and Miu are decked out in swimwear. God forbid, Miu has some gravity-defying boobs. *cough* Well, the three are having a converstion about how the twin Factors, Shizuna and Izuna Endo, are slated to return tomorrow. Apparently the two got on the wrong side of some U.S. military officials while they were on their anti-Katou stint there. Rachel remarks that the U.S. military were highy territorial (and most likely wasn’t happy at having to rely on Japanese-sponsored forces), while Satoru asserts that it was probably the hot-headed Shizuna who went aroung picking fights. Rachel jokingly threatens to tell on Satoru, and a wild grab for Rachel’s mobile phone results in a wet and not very happy Satoru.

Miu is, as usual, concerned, and Satoru tells Rachel to haul ass back to the States. Rachel states that she wouldn’t return even if the States ordered her to; apparently, the Linebarrel is such a facinating and out-of-the-ordinary Machina that Rachel’s huge interest in it is only matched by Linebarrel’s height.

Satoru remarks that with such a monster like Linebarrel, the wouldn’t have to worry about being overpowered by Katou forces anymore, at which Rachel writes her off as an idiot and reminds her that the Linebarrel is useless without its Factor.

Satoru takes revenge by dousing Rachel, and the entire hoo-haa dissolves into a water fight. Wow, it sure looks viscous…

Miu, watching from the poolside, spots Ishigami and Emi walking off to a private spot together, and alerts the other two about it. Ishigami apologizes for not being there to secure the Linebarrel during its drop, and even says that Emi must have been confused when she arrived in this “strange world” for the first time; to which Emi replies that it’s not a concern, and that she did cause plenty of trouble for others too. When Ishigami inquires about the state of her amnesia, Emi replies that she has gotten most of her memories back, save for the time before she came to Earth.

From the gist of the conversation it seems that Ishigami knows quite a bit about the Machinae, and even seems to be on first-hand terms on Emi’s father, Dr. Kizaki. Emi, however, expresses concerns about the Linebarrel’s Factor, to which Ishigami replies that in order for a new Factor to be choosen for the Linebarrel, the old one would have to die. Emi shows only mild surprise at this, but Ishigami apparently still believes in Kouichi, him being willing to give the kid a second chance.

Cut back to Kouichi, where he is being accosted by three older youths, apparently called over by the three resident bullies a while back.

Kouichi repeats the “Fu*kface” Syndrome most commonly associated with Soul Eater, and proceeds to beat the crap out of all three of his attackers, thinking to himself that even without the Linebarrel, he’s still the strongest. He’s unaware of the fact that his every move is watched by JUDA.

Stupid Pose time!

Ishigami, hearing about everything via his agent, expresses his unhappiness at the waiting Reiji’s facial expression, maintaining the view that the kid has potential just below the surface.

Cut to Emi, where she’s in the room prepared by JUDA. Yui Ogawa, Ishigami’s personal secretary, tells Emi that the JUDA uniforms in the room are for Emi’s use for the time being. Emi very nearly lets Yui clear away the old clothes, but stops her at the last moment. Emotional reasons aside, those ARE someone else’s clothes after all…

We have a brief shot of Kouichi walking on the streets, with the three coward bullies follwing behind (and reasonably bruised as well).

Meanwhile, Risako is complaning to Yajima about Kouichi’s recent and rapidly degenerating attitude. Risako askes if Yajima has any clue as to what’s happening, but Yajima, remembering Kouichi’s rant about how he could only watch on as Yajima protected both him and Risako, doesn’t have the heart to tell her. Yajima then tells Risako if she could wait until tomorrow, and that he would talk to Kouichi again today to persuade him to get together with them. Risako agrees, and even offers to make lunch for all three of them for tomorrow, before running off the buy ingredients.

Yajima goes to confront Kouichi before he can get to his own house, telling him that if he wants to prove that he’s become stronger, he’ll have to beat Yajima into a bloody pulp first. Of course, Kouichi, being the arrogant bastard, has no compunctions about that.

Back at the outskirts of the city though, a menacing form appeares from thin air; an enemy Machina, bent on the destruction of Kouichi, and the capture of Linebarrel.

Meanwhile, at the local park, it’s clear that Yajima is no match for Kuoichi, as Kouichi’s Factor-enhanced strength and speed easily overwhelms even Yajima’s best efforts. Yajima, however, refuses to give up, and continues to go at Kouichi. Kouichi, of course, continues beating him.

Meanwhile, Risako and the boys’ respective sisters are picking out food at the supermarket; Risako has the entire meal planned out, and even has a way for kouichi to consume green peppers, which he hates. The sisters remark that Risako knows everything about the guys, and tease her that that was the power of love.

Meanwhile, Yajima is getting some major hurt laid on him, but with each punch Kouichi swings, he feels more guilty with himself. Kouichi finally doesn’t have the heart to continue this one-sided fistfight anymore, and tells Yajima to give it up. Yajima then takes the chance; he finally confesses to Kouichi that the only reason that he protected him was to appear cool in front of Risako, but when he realized that Risako was more concerned about Kouichi than himself, he felt ashamed of himself. Kouichi tries to hide his feelings by shrugging off Yajima’s confession, but when Yajima tells Kouichi that he was more an ordinary guy than the hero of justice Kouichi thought him to be, Kouichi finally loosens up, and the two reconcile. Well, almost.

They were this close, even closer than Code Geass R2’s reconciliation scene, when an explosion blows both of them away. Kouichi, being stronger, is generally unharmed, but Yajima…

… well, Yajima has the worst luck of the draw; speared through by shrapnel, abeit a really huge piece of sharpnel, from a steel pole. Kouichi almost loses control, not believing that someting like a Machinae attack could happen right before they made well… and would cost his friend his life.

Yajima, however, spends his final moment imparting some words of wisdom to his longtime friend. It’s not what Kouichi needs to do, but rather what he wants to do, that matters the most, and since Kouichi now has power, he should use it for good.

As the rouge Machinae fires again, Yajima pushes Kouichi away, and tells him not to worry, since this was how it had been for the past for both of them. Machine-gun fire rakes the ground and blows apart Yajima, leaving nothing but the arm that Yajima used to push Kouichi away.

GSD opening scene deja vu. Really. Except Yajima isn’t Kouichi’s sister and Kouichi doesn’t have a sister complex.

Kouichi lets loose a howl of fury and grief, which far away, in JUDA HQ, manifests itself in the form of Linebarrel disappearing from its place in the underground hangar.  Rachel and other present personel are all shocked, since the implications of Kouichi summoning the Linebarrel without Emi’s help can only mean one thing.

Kouichi, remembering Yajima’s last words, boards the Linebarrel, and having fully manifested his latent Factor abilities, proceeds to pound the mystery Machinae. His smashing spree, however, is interrupted by Reji/Vardant, Satoru/Hind-Kind and Miu/Painkiller. Kouichi, however, repels all thier initial attacks with ease, damages a persistant Miu and her Painkiller, and proceeds to deal the mystery Machinae a fatal wound with the Linebarrel’s blades.

However, Kouichi is now beyond reasoning; the quick death of the mystery Machinae is hardly enough, as the Linebarrel goes 00 and spews out particles. It turns out that they grant the Linebarrel flight, and the expanding of the machine’s tail binders further solidifies this fact.

This simple line proves that the Machinae are somewhat sentient, for the uninformed.

In the air, the Linebarrel draws a weapon from its tail binder, and, revealing it to be a beam weapon, butally swings it downwards. The victim of circumstance this time round was a bridge full to the brim with cars. Maybe people too, since differences to the manga are certainly evident throughout the four episodes that have been broadcasted.

As the three watch on, Yui askes if Emi could call on Linebarrel to stop. The answer is no, since Linebarrel now has a fully-fledged Factor by the name of Kouichi Hayase.

The only scene true to the manga. Shinn Asuka in SEED is nada compared to Kouichi’s fury.

Reiji hatches a daring plan to stop Kouichi’s madness; with the Hind-Kind’s bullet arms, he would propel himself up to Linebarrel’s altitude and destroy the beam weapon. As both pilots clash, there is a flashback…

A class assignment in the past involved writing an essay about future dreams. In the classroom, Yajima says that he would like to get rich and make his mother’s life easier, and askes Kouichi about his dream. Kouichi replies that he would like to protect the weak like a hero of justice, but later retracts his statements by saying they sound too childish. Yajima, however, encourages him by telling Kouichi that he should work towards that dream.

The Vardant ends the flashback when Reiji disables the beam weapon (which Emi revealed to be called Executor way earlier than the manga) with a swift cut at the cost of half of Vardant, and the episode ends when the Linebarrel, deprived of energy after using its beam weapon, falls into the nearby sea.

Well, this episode was what everyone expected. Yajima dies, and Kouichi finally realized his folly. Kouichi’s mirror character Shinn Asuka of Gundam SEED Destiny had it near the start of the series, but it turned him into a total bitch. First-time watchers of Linebarrels are going to be left wondering what the hell is going to happen now that something as major as a friendly death has occured this early in the series. It’s not uncommon, but it’s not evryday business, either.

CG for this episode was rather well done, with all of Kouichi’s fury transferred into the Linebarrel and animated better than usual. Though during the start of the episode, the art seemed to deviate from Hisashi Hirai’s style for some parts…

Well, once again, apologies for being this late in putting up the review of Linebarrels Of Iron Episode 4: The Price Of Justice. Looks like the entire JUDA cast turned up to protest my lateness as well…

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