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Linebarrels Of Iron Episode 24: Steel Flowers

July 4, 2009

“Really, you’re the worse, Kouichi.”

Emi Kizaki, Linebarrels Of Iron Episode 24: Steel Flowers

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“No! My Gatsby hair gel! You’ll pay for this!”

The end of the world starts off with Kouichi mourning over Kizaki’s death from the last episode, then pushing Linebarrel into OVERDRIVE mode. Rachel, Maki and Yui in the escape pod watch Linebarrel surpass their expected limits in always possible and the JUDA members listen in on the proceedings with mixed feelings of awe and sorrow. Reiji remarks that he hadn’t expected Linebarrel to fully “awaken” under conditions like these, but now that it has, he’s convinced that nothing can stop it.

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“FINAL FUUUUUUUUUSION!!!”

Masaki is still unconvinced however, citing Linebarrel OVERDRIVE’s astronomical power consumption, variable performance dependant on the pilot’s emotions and other technical nitpicks as reasons as to why he believes Linebarrel will fall to him. Avoiding the crazed Kouichi’s attacks, Masaki calls out what seems to be a gigantic version of Glain-Neider and fuses with it using the Naked, forming a monstrosity with what seems to be Linebarrel’s head. More enemy Machina appear and Reiji is forced to activate the full extent of his FACTOR powers to keep them back. Meanwhile on the ground, Soubi-Machina is pounding hard on Yuriannu’s ARMA until Sawatari steps in to block the blows, both trying to bring back their comrade with words.

Masaki in the fused Machina blasts Linebarrel with energy beams, forcing it back; as a response Kouichi activates Executioner at full power and rushed the giant Machina. Masaki fires a powerful beam from the giant Machina’s mouth that blocks most of Executioner’s power, causing the attack to produce a bright flash of light and fail, and Maki observes that Hub Dynamo and the enemy are still intact up there.

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“Hmm, haven’t we seen this in the 50th episodes of two mecha animes before?”

Out of energy, Linebarrel goes silent. While Kouichi is unconscious, he hears Emi calling to him and looks up to find Emi floating in front of him. Emi chides him for going crazy and aimlessly thrashing around just because she’s dead, and not upholding their promise of Kouichi becoming a true hero of justice.

“ZANKANTOU! IKKI TOUSEN(again)!”

Kouichi awakes to reality, and realizes that he’s been doing nothing much all along. With a clear mind now, he rushes Masaki while keeping Executioner at the bare minimum power level. He manages to manoeuvre close enough to deal Masaki a lethal strike. The JUDA members are heartened by Kouichi’s temporary victory and fight harder, while Reiji is pushed back temporarily, and responds to a worried Yamashita that he’s still alive and kicking.

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“No… NO! I’ll never be able to taste glorious breakfast cereal again!”

As the JUDA members fight on even harder, Sawatari and Yuriannu tag-team against Soubi to defeat him. Just as they’re about to initiate their attack however, Soubi manages to break from the hive mind control and tells them to shoot him now before he loses control of himself again. Sawatari hesitates a moment before doing so, and then shoots the cockpit, killing Soubi for real this time.

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“MANLY MOMEEEEEEEEEEENT!!!!!”

Up in space, Kouichi goes in for another strike against Masaki and deals him a fatal blow this time, destroying the giant Machina and taking out a major card of the enemy forces. While Kouichi is successful, Rachel notes that the dimensional gate is exhibiting anomalies, and the end result is that both Earths will be pulled together and crash into each other before breaking down at the quantum level and then mixing together before being re-formed into one (Star Trek physics LOL).

Kouichi says that he’ll go in and destroy Hub Dynamo, over Rachel’s protests that Linebarrel risks being lost in-between dimension as it doesn’t have enough energy to escape from the closing rift. As the world watches, Linebarrel and Kouichi blast off towards the rift, Rachel’s protest trailing after him.

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“We must send all our constipative power to Captain Kouichi!”

Reiji tells Rachel to start up Project JUDA immediately, and Rachel vehemently protests against it saying that it can’t be done without the Flag and Shangri-La; Reiji says that he will make up for their loss. Yamashita asks as to what Project JUDA is, and Rachel explains that it’s a plan to use all available linked Machinae and their energies to power Linebarrel to boost its power. Miu tells Rachel to use it immediately, but Rachel explains that such a procedure will suck the Machinae involved dry, causing the D.-S.O.I.L. to cease function and the Machina to stop operating completely, effectively killing the Factor involved.

Reiji replies that he doesn’t care, and readies his Machina for energy transfer. As Kouichi struggles to reach the centre of the rift, the other JUDA members involved also voice their assent to it, and Rachel readies all Machina for energy transfer. Maki offers to push the final button in lieu of Yui starting the entire chain of events. All the energies of all the Machina (oddly, even Talisman at the bottom of the sea) linked streak towards Vardant in orbit, and using its binder wings as a gigantic mirror, Reiji and the Vardant send the gathered energy to Linebarrel.

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“Hey look! It’s another angsty me and and another whiny you!”

Linebarrel meanwhile is having major trouble until the energy blast slams into Linebarrel, filling its energy gauge and allowing Linebarrel to traverse the final distance.  As all the JUDA and Katou members on the ground continue to fight against enemy forces and protecting the now-prone Machinae, Reiji tells Kouichi that even if he understands someone’s pain, he has to know how to save them from it to truly be a hero of justice, and he hopes that Kouichi will become like that someday and take on Ishigami’s and Katou’s role.

With the feelings of all the JUDA members to boost him, Kouichi makes it to the core of the rift and destroys Hub Dynamo. As Sawatari, Yuriannu and Makoto continue to defend the JUDA members, the rift explodes without Hub Dynamo to sustain it, and all the Machinae and machinery from the other Earth ceases to operate; all the people captured to form a new hive-mind were returned as well.

“OMGWTFBBG I WASN’T SUPPOSED TO KNOW ABOUT DANCOUGA AT THIS TIME YET!!!”

Amidst the celebration amongst the masses for their victory, the JUDA and Katou members mourn the loss of their Machinae pilots and their sacrifices. Kouichi and Linebarrel themselves are lost in-between dimensions. Kouichi is silent until he realizes the Emi is awake, and is in shock as to its occurrence until Emi tells him that Linebarrel saved her. The two embrace and are content until they notice another machine passing by them; they see its pilots, who strangely look like a little Kouichi and a little Emi. A bright flash then occurs, and everything turns white.

A fragment of the Flag in orbit registers Linebarrel, thrown out of the rift and back into Earth’s orbit and sends its position to the escape pod. Rachel realizes that all the Machina Factors are alive as well, and there is much celebration to be had.

“Truth be told Yamashita, I only went for you because you looked like an easy-get loli.”

Reiji, who is content to die while falling through the atmosphere, is caught by Yamashita and Hind-Kind’s Bullet Arms. Yamashita tells Reiji to continue living as Ishigami wouldn’t have wanted him to kill himself to atone for his actions. Hiro arrives to tell Risako the good news, and as he gets pounced on by the landlady’s dog, Yajima arrives and tells Risako to come with him to meet Kouichi, and the two run off.

Reiji, alone with Yamashita, explains that there were people who wanted Kouichi to become a true hero, and that it happened as a hero is only born as others want a hero to exist.

“H-ho-hotel resevation? What do you m-m-mean?”

Kouichi meanwhile is in a fluster over the whole re-entering the atmosphere thing, but Emi says that Linebarrel has enough power to make it back and that everyone is coming for them. Emi then calls Kouichi by his given name and tells him that he should call her by her given name as well; he is hesitant at first, but eventually does so, and Emi is content.

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“Full circle.”

After an undetermined period of time (probably five minutes later?), the final scene is that of Kouichi’s “I was reborn here” wooden marking in Linebarrel’s touchdown pit; the place is now filled with flowers, obscuring the board.

Well that was the end, and what an end it was, fire, death, explosions, giant robots, random energy beams, a Captain Planet moment, Stoner Sunshine scene and a non-canon cameo by Dancougar(WTF?!). On one hand it was rather disappointing as to its fairy tale ending and Kouichi just rushing around and tactlessly blowing up things; on the other hand it was probably much preferable to an alternate ending where, say, Kouichi and Emi are doomed to drift the dimensional sea, the Factors themselves were converted into energy to power Linebarrel (I didn’t trust them to NOT do that), Sawatari and Yuriannu had to sacrifice themselves to take down Soubi, Makoto was gangbanged by enemy fire and shot to pieces, samurai ARMA-Jack was stepped on, etc.

So, great job Gonzo, you managed to avoid total reputation-smearing with this one.

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