Ric: Well, after what happened when I tried to condense Chaos; Head, I’ve decided simply to review single episodes from now on to avoid never-ending text monstrosities like that. Anyway, today for your viewing pleasure, we have Linebarrels of Iron episode five.
Anyway, last episode saw the rather brutal death of Yajima, Kouichi’s best friend and the one he looked up to the most, as well as his first solo summoning of the Linebarrel.
This episode begins with two of the villains from the last episode reporting on the loss of their machina at the hands of the Linebarrel, the chair bound one saying how the mission was a success as they managed to see the full abilities of the machine. He then follows up by stating that he is interested in how he will develop from now on, the other man ordering someone off-screen to analyse the data they received.
Yajima then appears to Kouichi in a dream, Kouichi at first thinking that Yajima is still alive, something that Yajima neither denies, nor confirms, offering him his hand and telling him “Don’t just sit there forever.” Before Kouichi can grab Yajima’s hand, he wakes up in JUDA headquarters, face to face with Yui, the executive secretary of the company.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t like that they followed up such a touching scene as the one between Kouichi and Yajima with such a shallow attempt at comic relief as they did, it really killed the mood that they had going.
Anyway, Yui leads him to the office of JUDA’s president, Kunio Ishigami, who happens to be my favourite character in this series so far. He’s such a jolly old chap.
He offers Kouichi a sushi platter and heartily welcomes him to JUDA in his lovably eccentric way saying that as they’re going to be fighting alongside one another they should at least get along. Kouichi, confused by all this gets angry, demanding to know what all this is about, realising that he had seen Kunio before when he fought against another of JUDA’s Machina Factors. (Episode three)
Kunio then mentions that he had been watching Kouichi for a while, that being why JUDA always responded so quickly when he was fighting in the Linebarrel. Kouichi questions why they would need to watch him, with Kunio responding that even while separated from the Linebarrel, he still has potential as a Factor and that JUDA needs all the power they can get right now.
Meanwhile the other Factors within JUDA are conflicted as to why they should allow Kouichi to join them, Yamashita going as far as to say that he won’t be able to handle the responsibilities of being a member, only for another to jump in, saying that considering how quickly he was dragged into this, he can’t be expected to be anything but panicked.
Back to the office and Kunio begins to explain to Kouichi how JUDA is protecting the whole world, and how it is similar to how he claims himself to be a Hero of Justice, protecting his town. He explains that on the outside, JUDA is just a medical equipment company, whereas underneath it all it is a UN commissioned organisation to battle the world’s enemy, KATO-KIKAN.
Kunio mentions that the first recorded account of their movements was recorded in 1999 and that since then, they have been aggressively attacking various parts of the world since then and more recently, sided with local terrorist factions as well. Kunio then brings up an image of their leader on his floating monitor (Really?), identifying him as Hisataka Katou, the one responsible for the death of Yajima.
Kouichi demands proof of this, only to be told by Kunio that no matter how he takes it, the matter will not change, saying that perhaps “the town’s hero” cannot handle the pressure now that the stakes have been raised, resulting in Kouichi getting angry and trying to punch him, only for it to be quite easily blocked. Kunio responds, saying there’s no reason to be afraid.
Kunio takes Kouichi into the hangars in which JUDA’s Machina are kept, calling it their “bedroom”. Kunio mentions that the Machina are from another world, where technology is far more advanced. He then goes into a little techno babble which we’ll ignore for now. Kouichi starts trying to complain his way out of it, only for Kunio to pull out a contract, saying that he had already set it up while Kouichi was asleep.
While Kouichi is trying to get the contract back from Kunio, another one of the factors comes up behind him and kicks him in the nuts repeatedly, shouting at him for damaging her Machina. She scares me.
Anyway, her twin brother pulls her away from Kouichi and introduces himself as Izuna Endo, his sister then begrudgingly introducing herself as Shizuna Endo. Before they can talk anymore, they’re interrupted by Yui, announcing that the SSDF are waiting for the DECIEVE to arrive at their position. Kunio realises what time it is, apologising for making the twins go out again, so soon after they had returned.
The twins seem fine with it, Izuna saying it’s their job, while Shizuna takes the opportunity to insult Kouichi, calling him a worthless burden. Kouichi, somehow avoiding going berserk, leaves in a sulk, only to come face to face with Emi.
Anyway, after the break, the episode juggles around again to Izuna and Shizuna piloting the DECIEVE alongside the SSDF battalion. Shizuna comments on how cowardly she thinks the idea of sneaking into the city is, being interrupted by the appearance of one of KATO-KIKAN’s ARMA squadrons. Izuna panics, but is quickly calmed by Shizuna reminding him that they can take them out with the DECIEVE’s NERVE CRACK. Before we see what it can do, it jumps to the other factors talking to Kunio about how things are with the Kouichi situation, Kunio saying that they will give him a little more time to think.
Back to Kouichi and Emi, being driven back into the town by Yui. Kouichi attempts to start a conversation with her about JUDA, only for her to continually ignore him.
When she finally does talk, she says how all Kouichi has ever done since gaining the power of the Linebarrel was for himself, using the power for his foolish pride and vanity and causing nothing but trouble for everyone around him. Calling him a foolish child playing make-believe and that he isn’t worthy of the Linebarrel. She then goes on to say that Yajima’s death was all Kouichi’s fault, resulting in a silence to wash over the inhabitants of the car.
Kouichi is dropped off at his school, Yajima’s funeral having just begun. As Kouichi leaves to enter the school, Yui mentions that Emi should stop trying so hard to vilify herself, only for Emi to make clear just how much she blames herself for all this, saying that she dragged him into all this and that it’s ok if he hates her for it.
While Yajima’s funeral takes place, the Una twins (as I shall now call them.) are still taking on KATO-KIKAN’s ARMA squadron, NERVE CRACK being revealed as some sort of psychological weapon coming from contact with the wires coming out of DECIEVE’s “arms. The ARMA squadron quickly gain the upper hand by attacking a nearby island, splitting the Una twins’ attention between them and protecting the people living there.
Back to Kouichi who is standing where it all started, taking his anger out on the log he placed in the ground after obtaining the Linebarrel. As he sits down to rest, Kunio calls him, saying that there is an emergency and he needs Kouichi’s help. He mentions the situation that Shizuna and Izuna are stuck in and requests that he rescues them, sending him a video of the two being battered by the ARMA, saying that they
Will die if he does nothing.
Shizuna shouts that they don’t need his help and that he better not come crawling back, being cut off before she can finish. Emi appears, asking Kouichi to become a hero of justice, one that makes no mistakes, a true hero of justice.
From this, Kouichi realises what he must do and decides to go, reaching out for Emi’s breast, only for her to embarrassedly reply that he doesn’t need to grope her to summon Linebarrel anymore and that he has been recognised as its factor. (I’ll admit, this scene made me giggle a bit. XD)
DECIEVE hopelessly continues to attempt to fight off the ARMA, the Una twins almost helplessly being forced to watch as the SSDF crew are massacred by the monstrosities. When the ARMA are just about to be finished off, the Linebarrel swoops in, making quick work of a few of them. Cue the monologue!
Shizuna yells at him from inside DECIEVE, insisting that they don’t need his help, asking why he even came. Kouichi responds with the ever typical (But still kind of cool…) “hero” monologue which I’m sure we all know by now before Shizuna asks him to kill the KATO-KIKAN squadron.
Linebarrel makes quick work of the ARMA that rush towards it, slicing them to pieces with its blade, the squad leader trying to use DECIEVE as a hostage, only for the Linebarrel to rush it, appearing as a Demon, the DECIEVE having used its final NERVE CRACK to confuse the pilot.
Having finished the battle, it appears that everyone acknowledges that Kouichi has taken a step forward, in both his skills as a factor and also in accepting that he is still just a child. Hell, even Shizuna seemed impressed.
Overall, I think this week’s episode was pretty good when it came to developing the plot, but it really let itself down in a few areas. For example at the start when it was developing that tension with Kouichi’s dream, only to completely ruin it by trying to be funny was something that really annoyed me.
The art and animation seemed to be all over the place this week as well, at some points it was great, but at times I was wondering just what was going on in GONZO’s art studio.
A minor thing that really isn’t the series fault is that everything seems to be in capitals, “DECIEVE”, “NERVE CRACK” and all the other Machina they have. It’s really quite a silly decision really.
Anyway, overall, like I said before, it was pretty good, I’m glad that Kouichi is finally getting out of his asshole-ism from previous episode at least.
Ric’s rating for episode 5: 7/10
Ric’s anticipation for episode 6: 6/10
Also, I’m sorry this took so long, I bought Megaman 9 the other day and it seems to have eaten up all of my life. It’s evil and I love it. <3~