Kouichi is sent on a new mission which sees several key new characters from Kato-Kikan introduced.
What They Say:
Moritsugu, Miu, and Kouichi are given a mission to assist the retreat of a US Force transportation aircraft and to exterminate the enemy there. It is the first official assignment for Kouichi. Moritsugu and Kouichi team up and take on Masaki and Yuriannu of KATO-KIKAN, who are leading a vast troop of ARMAs. Meanwhile, Miu, who is backing up the retreat of general troops on PAINKILLER, is attacked by a new enemy MACHINA.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This week <i>Linebarrels of Iron</i> restores some of the drama that occasionally goes missing from the series, but once again it doesn’t manage to get it quite right. Last episode it failed to capitalise on what should have been the most dramatic part of the series to date, and while this episode the show does go for the drama over the comedy in the right way, the writers see fit to throw a number of new characters onto the screen without really building on any of them.
The episode opens with some traditional jokes from the series, as Domyoji and Kouichi are checking out the girls’ showers to try and see what Emi is really like. It obviously doesn’t end well as they are promptly discovered and Kouichi is on the receiving end of a beating. This ongoing joke is starting to wear a little thin, but it seems as if there will be at least one such moment every episode to try and invoke the laughs.
Back at Juda HQ, Kouichi asks the President about what Katou said last week, and in his true “play it down with a joke” fashion, he confirms that he was part of Kato-Kikan and he did steal the Machina from them. He then sends Kouichi, Miu and Reiji to help the US army, but when they arrive on the scene they get far more than they bargained for. A giant Machina appears in the sky, and we learn it is piloted by Masaki Sugawara, the commander of Kato-Kikan’s brigade number one, and the man who took the President’s place in Kato-Kikan. He brings with him several other brigade commanders, including Yurianna Faithfull and Sobi Nakajima, who attack’s Miu’s Painkiller. Unfortunately, Painkiller is not well equipped for close-quarter combat, so Miu is ordered to withdraw but gets caught in a fight nonetheless.
Kouichi continuously wants to help her, but Reiji is insistent that he sticks to the mission; a point that won’t be lost on anyone by the end of the episode. Eventually he does, but Sobi ends up exploiting a flaw in Linebarrel’s regenerating abilities, and stops it from working as he continues to pummel it with his Machina. Another commander, Jack Smith, takes out an army plane and then comes to attack Kouichi, with only Reiji getting in his way to stop Smith from destroying him. The commanders end up withdrawing again, but back at HQ all is not well. Reiji scolds Kouichi for his actions, but Kouichi shows his caring side as he is one who wants to help out his teammates at all times, no matter the cost. We also get a nice little scene in which Emi is made to understand that supposedly Kouichi was in the showers because he wants to know what she really is, now knowing she’s from another world, although it’s not the most convincing answer.
While there was a lot of enjoyment to be had from this episode, with some good action scenes, and even some nicer character moments, and it certainly does the action/comedy balance far, far better than the last outing, it suffers from stuffing a bit too much into the fight scene. The interplay between the President and some of the commanders was good for what we got of it, and I’m looking forward to seeing more, but the very introduction of the four commanders in the one episode meant that none of them got anywhere near enough screen time. There was no time to get to know any of them, and it almost felt like name-dropping for the sake of it as more were appearing. It’s a bit of a shame because they all seem like they could be quite charismatic and enjoyable characters, but we’ll have to wait and see as they’ve been robbed of a proper introduction. Having said that, Jack Smith is by far the coolest enemy we’ve seen so far in the show.
Finally we get to see more of Kato-Kikan with the introduction of several commanders, all of whom look like they could cause Juda some serious problems. It’s unfortunate that their introduction is slightly messy, with all appearing at once and having little to do (although again, Jack Smith’s introduction is superbly done). Some of the character interplay is nice again, and the action is good. It’s another solid episode of <i>Linebarrels</I>, that is now only suffering from uneven execution of some really good ideas. If the writers manage to sort that unevenness out, this show could end up being really good.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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