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The Bright Slap, Offering Angst Relief Since 1979

July 5, 2009

“I am… a HERO OF JUSTICE!”

Kouichi Hayase, Linebarrels Of Iron

Right, so… Linebarrels Of Iron, END. Let me elaborate the bad points first.

The bad:

– Animation was dodgy. The animation for the entire series was like walking into a pit filled with hills and climbing out again.

– Storyline was compressed, definitely. Examples include Miu appearing right from the start and Soubi staring out as a bad guy.

– Yamashita was nerfed, in combat skill AND personality. Sad thing is, Hind-Kind was never really made to brawl…and that was what it had to do.

– Kouichi’s attitude. It does improve but it doesn’t change, it’s just forward with a rock head and lots of luck. His JUDA uniform must have some kinda luck-buffing ability or something. This point is a major one because it really pulled down the rest of the good points.

– All the girls going red at Kouichi. First it was red with anger, then red with embarrassment. I understand that this is a staple in anime and manga, but there must be something cute or endearing about whiny morons like Kouichi that only girls can see because I don’t get it for the life of me.

– In direct relation to the above, Miu’s random love for Kouichi sprouting out of nowhere. Or was that during the first 12 episodes? Either way it was pretty random.

– Cheesy lines. Only an occasional blotch, but they leave a sour aftertaste. Example: Emi’s catchphrase.

– Everyone looking up to Kouichi and going “GOD HATH DESCENDED!” in the final episode. What was up with that worshipping?!

Now let’s see what kept me watching.

– Animation. At the start and end of the series you can see that they really put in effort for the fight scenes. Also of points to note are Hind-Kind/Bullet Arms against the ARMAs in Ep. 9, Sawatari and his IDATEN, most of the fight scenes with Vardant and Reiji, Linebarrel B v.s. Vardant, and the friendship attack against Glain-Neider by Linebarrel and Apparition in Ep. 19.

– Voice acting. Alot of emotions there; packed a well-thrown punch.

– IT. IS. A. MECHA. ANIME.

– Humor was scattered but well-placed.

– Character development was nicely done, with alot about the Factors revealed including the main reason about their fighting against the enemy.

– I love Ishigami. He’s awesome.

– Eji’s hostage-taker moment. Eji’s jihad moment. Basically, any moment where Eji was a bad guy on the field.

– The whole affair with Yamashita’s gender. Frankly, I could care less which side of the scale s/he’s on and I’m sure the thousands of ero-artists who caught a whiff of Linebarrel’s character lineup are now furiously doodling something very wrong.

– Loveable tsundere Shizuna, moe shota Izuna, Risako the childhood friend, mental klutz Emi who dropped from the sky, team mom Yui, genius loli Rachel, manly science/field man Maki and Hiro, and silent service from the landlady. Some of it are standard character templates, but you can’t deny that it helped add diversity to the show.

So, that’s about that. In a nutshell, Linebarrels is just another mech anime. Well, that’s on the surface. Underneath it elaborates more about each individual pilot’s reason for fighting, and with such a large cast of pilots in charge of special machines (*cough*Machina*cough*) there is much past to be revealed. Emotions were well-exhibited, coupled together with mostly-fitting music and superb voice acting (courtesy of the star-studded cast). Fight scenes, while not always well-animated, were generally acceptable when it featured an ace and a few mooks, an ace and an ace, or it featured Kouichi getting knocked about. Surprisingly, Kouichi’s “inexplainable” ability to move Linebarrel was his saving point; he’s not very good at it at first, but by the end of the series he knows when to keep his head down and when to stick out his sword (abeit not before Emi-ghost verbally slapped him); he isn’t even what I’d call above-average skill, but he’s good enough to survive. Amazingly the show had no loose ends hanging, ending everything with absolute certainty… well, save a few points that can be ignored. The story was compressed but not disjointed, which meant that the show avoided a huge pitfall with this aspect. Lucky them.

To sum it up in a sentence: It’s not Strike Witches quality, but you can expect to be satisfied with this one, though I’d rather recommend Fafner of the Azure or GunXSword for more serious mech fixes..

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