Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 17 and Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
- MSRP: 14.98
- Running time: 50
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Linebarrels of Iron
Linebarrels of Iron OVA
Linebarrels of Iron OVA Anime DVD Review
By Chris Beveridge
October 21, 2010
Release Date: October 05, 2010
After all the drama and tension of the series finale, Linebarrels of Iron takes some time to have nothing but fun and fanservice.
What They Say
Rachel Calvin, a young American genius, has a hard time reaching JUDA headquarters after wild animals eat her map and a bulldozer crushes her credit card. Upon finally arriving at her destination, she stumbles upon scenes of debauchery that will leave her glasses foggy for days! And that's just the beginning! See more of your favorite characters than ever before as the JUDA crew slips out of their uniforms and into their swimsuits for a trip to the beach!
Contains OVA episodes 1-2.
FUNimation has a good bilingual presentation for this series though the English language makes out better as is the norm. Gonzo didn't create an original 5.1 mix for it so the Japanese language track is in stereo encoded at 192kbps while the English language mix is in 5.1 encoded at 448kbps. The Japanese track is solid, though you can see it having more impact with a 5.1 mix and additional bass, and the English language mix does provide some of this but still has to work with the source materials. Both languages are very sharp and clear though the English language feels a bit louder and more defined. The stereo track works well and has plenty of placement and directionality across it which makes out better in the English language as well. We didn't have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either language track.
Originally released in 2009, the transfer for these two OVAs are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Just like the series, these episodes look quite good here with vibrant animation that has a lot of movement to it. The action scenes are where the show shines a lot as the battles are very fast paced at times and the flow of the animation is strong with no breakup or blocking to it. Cross coloration is non-existent and there’s very little to notice when it comes to line noise during panning sequences. Colors are generally very strong and solid with only some noisy sections in backgrounds here and there scattered across the twelve episodes.
Unlike the two sets from the TV series which had thinpaks in the slipcovers, this release is a standard clear keepcase that holds the single disc. The cover is designed like the previous sets though in how it looks with a good full display of most of the primary cast of characters in their usual outfits and uniforms along with some of the mecha aspects behind them. The character artwork continues to be pretty appealing and this cover is no exception. The back cover is a little different as the top third features a really nice piece of fanservice artwork of the girls in their bathing suits or less with a few shots from the show along the right side. Below it all it's a lot of black space in which they have the episode titles and basic plot summary, not that there's much of one here. While we don't get any inserts of note, there is a great piece of artwork on the reverse side that has the trio of lead girls enjoying the sauna with some very properly placed steam.
The menus are appealing, though I’m not sure the artwork choices are the best for it. The layout does a sideways piece with the background design that uses the black, red and gray layout to give off a mechanical/industrial feeling with the cold colors. The volume number is given a large bit of space in the middle next to the four navigation selections which is just to the left of the character artwork. The logo looks good, though a bit soft on some displays, and there’s a good action piece of instrumental music that plays for about a minute before looping again. The layout and navigation works well but the character art just doesn’t click or set the mood right. Submenus load quickly and navigation is smooth and easy.
While the first set had a fair number of releases, this one has just the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Like a number of series, after the twenty-four episode action sci-fi series ended, the creators went on to add a couple of standalone OVAs that are all about the fun. A lot of them tend to place these specials within the past of the series and Linebarrels is no exception, at least for part of it. While they get labeled as episodes twenty-five and twenty-six, they're light enough that it doesn't really matter for the first one at least. The second one takes place after the series ends and shows an amusing way things changed for everyone in light of events that played out.
The first OVA gives us a lot of time spent with Rachel, which I would initially believe would be a drag but turns out to be a lot of fun. She wasn't exactly the most used character in the series and when she did play a role, it was either as someone who wasn't being taken seriously because of her looks or she was dropping some fascinating little piece of gear that saved the day. For this, the bulk of the episode focuses on her arrival in Japan and the way it took her an age to actually find her way to the Juda building. Since she's so lost there, we get to see Japan through her eyes and all the little quirks that would be strange to someone from America (who has never watched anime, that is). Rachel's story has a lot of cute moments to it and they do drag it out a bit in a way as it eventually focuses on Rachel digging into the dirt of everyone else after she'd been there for a bit and we get lots of heavy fanservice moments as she digs into their lives. And underwear.
The second episode is a bit more of a split about things as it focuses on Juda's future after the events of the main series. While a good portion of it deals with a mild attack and combat situation with some Linebarrels getting involved, it's really not the main focus that really works for it. It's definitely nicely done with a lot of very well done CG action, but the character material that comes before it is better. With the Chief now a part of what Juda is, he's decided to give back to the town that has suffered a fair bit since they built there and he's turned the bulk of the company into a resort spa. So that means lots of bikinis, skin and innuendo going on throughout it. It's simple fun that turns into the action, which while well done feels forced, or perhaps I just wanted more of the fanservice. I think I can admit to that at this point.
Thankfully, the quality of the show is on par with the TV show for the most part and sometimes a bit better, though mostly when it comes to the CG action material. The character designs, something that I loved from the start, definitely takes on more of a sexualized aspect since it's all about the fanservice here, but it works well and feels like just a fun way of doing things. With the whole point of much of it being about the fun and taking us out of the norm, but not the karaoke aspect we saw happen in the TV series at inappropriate times, what we get here fits in well either at the start of the larger storyline or at the end.
Watching this just after finishing the TV series, these two OVAs provide a good bookend look at the larger series itself. Going back to when Rachel first came to Juda and seeing her trials and tribulations there along with the way she shows off who everyone really is was a lot of fun and made me like the character far more than I did before. The second episode does give us a good dose of action, but the look at Juda after the events of the TV series was a lot more fun because I wanted to see the characters having fun and enjoying life, as well as getting a bit more closure on some relationship issues. It's fun and that was what I wanted and got out of it. These OVAs serve well in giving us a bit of closure to events and leaving you with a smile.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
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