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Linebarrels Of Iron Episode 23: How You Die Decides How You Live

May 11, 2009

“Why, you ask? Because I just think it’s cool to do so!”

Kouichi Hayase, Linebarrels Of Iron Episode 23: How You Die Decides How You Live

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“Statue Of Liberty: World destruction DO NOT WANT.”

The episode opens to a forbidding scene in continuation of a few hours after the previous episode; the entire sky of the Earth is bathed in red, courtesy of the dimensional rift now fully open over Misaki city. An international news channel is broadcasting the entire proceeding all over the Earth, and how Katou and JUDA have joined forces and are requesting full support from the UN in order to combat the invasion fleet from the other side. Katou and Emi are coordinating a docking sequence in-between the Flag and Shangri-La, while the newscaster wishes both groups good luck and signs off.

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“Go go JUDA Rangers!”

Military forces all over the world get into position alongside JUDA and Katou forces; while the entire world prepares to fight, Kouichi connects to the Flag’s bridge and asks Emi if it’s okay for her to not speak with Katou after being separated for so long. Emi reluctantly replies that ending the current conflict is her top priority, and Kouichi decides that if she says so, then it must be.

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“Welcome to Earth, people from… um, Earth…”

Before the conversation can continue further, the dimensional gate disgorges its contents; a fleet of innumerable warships appear and send forth their first attack wave, numbering 600 000 units. Katou, listening to Ishigami’s report about the enemy status, states his thanks for his help, as long as Ishigami doesn’t try anything funny like feed the crew mackerel sushi again.

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“I HAZ SHIELD HAX LOLLOLLOLLOL”

As the combined JUDA/Katou warship deploys its Machinae and Jinrai forces, Katou activates a hidden function of the Spheres; using Shangri=La as a focal point, the Spheres start to link their energies together to form a planet-wide energy shield encompassing the Earth. Katou goes through Operation: TERMINO CLEMENTIA, which involves everyone in space clearing the way for Linebarrel while Kouichi destroys the device in the centre of the dimensional gate, sealing off the way from the other universe.

The battle begins, with the A.I. controlled Jinrais doing a fair job against the enemy Machinae. Moritsugu is in top form, easily clearing out squads of them for Deceive, carrying Linebarrel, to get through. Some of the enemy ships manage to get through the ship, however, and Makoto, Sawatari, and the landside forces flex their hands in anticipation.

Kouichi in space is raring to go, but Deceive holds Linebarrel back with its cables; the plan needs full power from Linebarrel’s Executor, and while Kouichi concurs, he remarks that it’s a pretty sucky way to spend the duration of a big fight. To everyone’s surprise and horror however, Glain-Neider appears and, with Masaki declaring that Katou’s actions were long-anticipated, deals Shangri-La a series of shots, severely damaging the ship and destroying the shield system. Kouichi, seeing Glain-Neider, breaks free from his restrains and rushes headlong at the enemy. Katou orders the two ships to separate and wishes Emi and co. and his Katou comrades good luck; he then proceeds to put Shangri-La on a collision course with Glain-Neider. The impact wrecks the gigantic Machina; however, another object is behind Glain-Neider, and Shangri-La’s self-sacrifice is rendered moot.

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“We’re falling into the atmosphere!” “Quick! Get the emergency umbrellas and bail out!”

The Flag is blown off-course by the resultant explosion; however, an energy shot comes from nowhere and deals the ship a fatal blow. Kouichi flies in close enough for Emi to teleport onboard, and proceeds to advance towards the centre of the dimensional gate, and Moritsugu orders Miu, Yamashita and the Endo twins to return to Earth to provide extra defensive power, while he and Kouichi carve a way towards the centre of the dimensional gate.

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“Boomer Bile! BOOMER BILE! WAAAAAANT HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”

While the battle rages overhead, the enemy forces that landed on Earth have deployed Machinae that are proceeding to kidnap citizens and anyone that is not firing a weapon at them, and offensive forces en masse, giving the Katou and JUDA pilots a hard time just on that alone. Not even Kouichi’s family are spared that fate, and Risako would have ended up the same if Jack Smith and Yajima have not turned up as well. The Endo twins are using Deceive’s Nerve Crack, but the stress from looking into a Machina’s mind is driving Izuna crazy.

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“We’re here to confiscate your hair-care products! It’s for the advancement of our hive-mind!”

Meanwhile Moritsugu and Kouichi have stalled in front of the gate, their progress hampered by Glain-Neider’s core Machina. Kouichi tries to take it out in a single hit, but it is revealed that Glain-Neider’s core, known as the Naked, has the same teleportation abilities as Linebarrel-B. Rachel, monitoring the entire fight from Flag’s lifeboat, notes that the Naked’s D.-.S.O.I.L. is at 370%, meaning that the pilot is a Machina-human hybrid like Eiji as well.

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“Check out my sexy… pipes… *zkzkzkzzz*”

On Earth, Makoto is spiralling into panic as his SSDF teammates are picked off one by one. Sawatari and Yuriannu are cornered by an enemy squad lead by revived Machina-human hybrid Sobi, Painkiller and Hind-kind atop Judy-Two’s giant transport are being taken down by concentrated fire, and Deceive is out of action as well, Izuna having lost his mind. Rachel, Maki and Yui can only observe helplessly from their contained control room as entire countries cease resistance.

Masaki and Kouichi, high above the Earth, are locked in combat. Speaking for both himself and the linked consciousness that is Central, he expresses bewilderment at Kouichi’s standing as the pilot of Linebarrel, the Machina built to destroy other Machinae, given that Kouichi’s skill and mental maturity compared to other pilots are inferior. Masaki then proceeds to declare to every human on Earth that their goal is not to destroy humanity on this side of reality, but to assimilate them in the course of expanding their existence, causing Sawatari and many others to question if continuing the fight is worth the price.

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“Get your grubby mitts off my Gatsby hair gel, freak!”

Kouichi however, shocks everyone when he rejects Masaki’s terms, and gets back into combat with the Naked, using the upholding of justice as his reason. Masaki criticizes him that his justice is just ostracizing people that don’t agree with the majority, and Kouichi replies that it’s just to protect people he want to protect. When Masaki questions the need for such an action, he replies that he just thinks that it’s cool to do so, again shocking everyone back into action and allowing him to gain an upper hand over the dumbfounded Masaki.

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“…  I told you to NOT TOUCH MY HAIR GEL!”

Masaki, however, is evidently pissed that a primitive low-life is spitting in the glory that he perceives humanity’s consciousness to be. Easily evading Kouichi‘s charge, he goes straight for the cockpit. Emi takes the hit for Kouichi, however, and the blade misses its intended target. With her last breath, she says that reality surpasses imagination, and tells Kouichi to become a real hero of justice. Shocked by her death, Kouichi loses it and throws Linebarrel into overdrive.

OMFG cliffhanger!!!

Truth be told I’m a bit sad about Kouichi. What Masaki says about Kouichi having the mental maturity of a kid younger than him while in combat and about his skills being sub-par is so, so true, even this late into the series. I’m pretty sure he’s not such a luck-blessed violent shit-for-brains idiot in the manga, once the Yajima arc knocks some sense into him.

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