Some shocks are in store for the characters as tragedy strikes in the latest Linebarrels of Iron.
What They Say
Having lost the LINEBARREL, Kouichi gives in to despair and violently takes his anger out on innocent civilians. Since he is a Factor, no one can match his physical power unarmed. On behalf of Risako who is worried about Kouichi, Yajima decides to confront Kouichi. In the pouring rain, Yajima and Kouichi engage in a fistfight, when a HAGURE MACHINA (stray MACHINA) appears before them...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There’s a moment shortly into this episode where Risako is talking to Yajima about how many strange things are happening are happening around Kouichi recently. As Yajima remembers his recent conversations with Kouichi, he assures Risako that he will give her an explanation about everything tomorrow, once he’s spoken to Kouichi. It’s at this point you should probably realise that the writing is on the wall for him, because as it turns out he unfortunately won’t get to see tomorrow.
But tackling Kouichi’s ongoing situation first, this episode puts him through a variety of emotions and sees him finally see shades of what he has become. When confronted by Yajima, he decides to show him the strength he finally has after all the years of standing in Yajima’s shadow, and literally starts to pummel him. But as in so many cases, the fighting brings out the raw emotion in both of them, and Yajima admits that the only reason he ever protected Kouichi was to get Risako’s attention. He soon realised, though, that she was never attracted to him. Kouichi then realises that he never actually considered Yajima’s feelings either.
Things turn on their head very quickly with the arrival of a stray Machina that has come to get the Linebarrel, and kill its Factor. The episode kind of goes down the expected path from this point, as it’s easy to see where the reconciliation between the two friends will go - it’s happened in so many shows before. Nevertheless, it is well executed and still manages to pack an emotional punch. The attack leaves Yajima wounded, and so when it goes even more berserk, to save his friend Yajima jumps in front of Kouichi and takes the bullets. It’s a sad scene because of what we’ve seen between the two and it has some nice final words, and it’ll be interesting to see who will be Kouichi’s emotional support with Yajima gone, as I’m not sure Risako will be up for the job.
What happens after is also a bit of a giant robot show cliché, but again is handled well. In his rage, Kouichi summons the Linebarrel without Emi being present, and his emotional state sets off a trigger in the Linebarrel. He has completely awakened as a Factor now, and destroys the other Machina. The problem is that the Linebarrel unleashes Executor, an attack that causes mass destruction to the city. Emi is unable to reach it, it is not listening to its Factor, and all the Juda Machina that were sent to help are intimidated by it. Reiji manages to attack it and send it into the sea, but the ramifications of what has happened remain to be seen. The Linebarrel has gone off the rails, Kouichi’s emotional state is definitely not good, and the further damage caused to the city could lead to problems for both Juda and Kouichi. Still, hopefully Kouchi will see some of the errors of his ways and make an effort to redeem himself now.
This was a very enjoyable episode that packed in some good characterisation with an emotional backbone. The loss of Yajima is a big deal, as he seemed to be positioned as Kouichi’s conscience of sorts, but perhaps now that role will just be solidified. The action is again saved until near the end of the episode, but when it comes it is worth the wait. Though a lot of the story so far, especially the developments with Yajima and the Linebarrel going into overdrive, is somewhat expected and a little cliché, Linebarrels of Iron pulls it off well and remains highly entertaining.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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