Linebarrels Of Iron OVA

December 3, 2010

Seriously, 2 OVA episodes of Linebarrels Of Iron? But more importantly, seriously why the heck did I watch this anyway? It isn’t as though I loved the mecha TV series. Probably it was because I felt more ‘complete’ if I were to finish watching what I started. Yeah so, both OVAs came out way back in August 2009 and it slipped my mind because as I’ve said I wasn’t interested in the series. But of course a change of heart (somehow) and since the episodes are more light-hearted and do not have any real impact on the storyline, what the heck, there is no harm in trying.

Episode 25 – Pretty Girl Genius Scientist Rachel-chan
Part 1 – First Visit To Japan, Rachel-chan
If you remember that American scientist and Pani Poni Dash’s Rebecca-look-a-like, Rachel Calvin, this episode is definitely dedicated to her since she just played a supporting role in the TV series. Now she’s got the whole damn episode on her. Heck, even the opening theme is filled with nothing but that blonde loli! Enough to convert non-believers into Rachel-obsessed fans-cum-stalkers. Why, the opening even lasts longer than usual. Approximately 2.5 minutes! Isn’t there anything else better to show than Rachel? Oh wait. This is Rachel’s episode…

I guess the time line here is when she first arrives in Japan looking for JUDA Corporation. I know it’s one of those ironic cliches whereby geniuses aren’t really as smart as they look. In her case, I don’t know but she got lost somewhere in Japan. How the heck did she slip out of the airport and end up in some rural place of Japan? How did she get pass the reception of Satoru and Reiji who are waiting for her at the airport? Maybe the place card isn’t big enough. While Satoru has that silly grin on his face, it is unusual that this got slipped right under the nose of serious Reiji. So back to Rachel. Yes, she’s lost. Her ambiguous map of JUDA’s location in Misaki Town (literally the entire map of Japan) got eaten by a deer. She’s going to teach it a lesson by unleashing some sophisticated technology via her sophisticated suitcase. The deer is too stupid to understand all that. Rachel is too stupid to understand she’s dealing with a deer. Oh dear. Till she encounters a bunch of them. I don’t know how they violated her but she seemed bloody messed up after that. To show even further how ‘dumb’ she is, she tries to use her exclusive credit card to buy food from a takoyaki roadside food stall. No money, no talk. Then in the toilet, she got her ass sprayed by the toilet bowl just because she can’t read Japanese and blames their technology. So who’s the dumb one? At that point I thought she might do Becky’s trademark “Hauhau~” cry…

At this rate, you can guess poor Rachel has walked from one point to the other point of Japan. First snowy then hot summer. Probably she hasn’t got anything to eat so it’s affecting her intelligence. How? She tries to use her credit card to buy stuff from the vending machine! In her frustration, she kicks it and though the noodles came out, it’s pretty messed up. So no food for the scientist. Adding to her misery, she later got her precious credit card steamrolled by a tractor. So people, learn this valuable lesson never to always rely on that plastic card. I guess God has had enough fun of punishing this loli so as Rachel sits dejectedly outside a convenience store, she is picked up by Aika Hasegawa. She calls the JUDA’s boss, Ishigami and he is glad she is found. Just what do you know, he has a board filled with markings of Rachel sightings! Apparently she was spotted all over Japan (meaning she walked the entire country!). Everywhere except Misaki Town. Just bad luck. Rachel is treated to a nice hot meal and then a nice hot natural bath in the hotspring as she breaks down partly besides of being a kid or scared, is glad to have found her way back to civilization. As gratitude, Rachel uses her modified suitcase to give Aika a massage. Those hands made them look more like a molester… And yeah, Reiji and Satoru are still waiting at the airport… Come to think of it, for such a genius girl like her who invents and maintains giant robots, she can’t carry or create a decent GPS?

Part 2 – Room Exploration Time, Rachel-chan
I thought there was some emergency when Aika barges in to wake Rachel up. I didn’t understand what she meant at first but soon realized that since they have 10 minutes of footage left, Rachel and Aika decide to explore and make footage by visiting the rooms of the other JUDA members. So much free time, eh? Shouldn’t she be researching on the robots? Along with their crew of 3 mecha humanoids, they pay a visit to Kouichi first, who is trying to practice his cool summoning lines. Lame. Like that loli is ever interested anyway. But he shoos them out for invading his privacy thingy. Then it’s Satoru’s turn but he’s sleeping. After rummaging through his stuff, they close up to see his sleeping face. Till he realizes and blows his top and kicks them out. Next room then. It’s Miu as she is doing yoga (fanservice cue for showing off her assets and curves). Miu gets frightened when she realizes she’s being filmed. To make things worse, they rummage through her lingerie closet and as expected, she blows her top and kicks them out.

Next are the twins, Shizuna and Izuna. However they are not in as they are visiting the graves of their late parents. Heading to the next room which is Reiji, they see him getting ready to smash a watermelon with a bat. They did a wise move by not intruding any further and head to the next room. Don’t want to know what he’s doing either. Then it’s Emi’s room. Seems Ogawa is helping her do manicure, pedicure and all those womanly things to make her look beautiful. Ogawa seems too close to Emi. As they chat, Rachel felt she’s being treated like a kid (though she acts like one) so Aika did say in order to be a full-fledge woman, she needs to have a little bit more chest. Is that an insult? Yeah, everyone else in the room has superb proportions. Rachel leaves in a huff but decides to get over her frustration by taking this perfect opportunity to check Ogawa’s room. Thinking they’ll get awesome money shots from Ogawa’s mysterious life, they open the door and hear something growling. Before we viewers can see what it is, Ogawa grabs Rachel by her head and you can tell her tone means that Rachel is in deep sh*t. So deep that she’s sweating profusely. She beats up the rest of the crew and destroys all those hard earned footage. I don’t know if Rachel got beaten up too for peeking into her room without permission. Maybe not. Who ever in their right mind would want to whack a loli. Maybe Ogawa…

Episode 26 – Shadows of Iron
Despite its title, this episode feels more like a fanservice episode. Yeah, it’s swimsuits and the beach. Taking place after the events of the TV series (meaning Ishigami is already dead), we see the gang enjoying themselves at JUDA’s spa resort (that’s what the HQ has been turned into. Hey, no more fighting, right?) as relaxation and reward for saving the world. Why is there a large statue of Ishigami that resembles the one in Brazil? Kouichi’s pals like Risako, their little sisters and that ex-bully Furuya even joins them. As usual the gang love seeing the development between Kouichi and Emi, which is going nowhere by the way. Unless you’re Risako of course. She’s not too happy about them being close. Kouichi goes to help Miu but she fumbles so he saves her and they land in a compromising position. Jealous Risako decides to help out with the foodstuff even though she’s not required to. You know why lah. We see Reiji turning himself in and serving his jail sentence at his own will while Jack waits for the day he’ll face him again. Yuriannu visits a grave while Sawatari and his gang are fighting against some mecha gang. Seems he’s going to take over the world himself. But he is suddenly attacked by a beam. To his shock he sees Linebarrel.

Yajima gives Emi permission off her yakisoba job to do something important. Kouichi gets advice from Shizuna about his love problems with Emi (seriously, of all people, that tsundere?). She just tells him to say it straight to Emi that he likes her and be honest to his feelings. Then she mumbles something that indicates that she too has feelings for him. Kouichi is whisked away by the guys and place in the sauna room with Emi. How can he start talking if they’re watching? After all that hesitation, before Kouichi could finally spill it out, Sawatari barges in. Looks like he has lots of injuries over his body. But for Emi’s case, she might have seen something more horrifying than Sawatari’s wounds. Yeah, Kouichi’s towel happens to come off at that very time… Soon several Linebarrel clones start attacking the area so with the first half of the fanservice and love antics done, it comes down to the adrenaline kicking action that we’ve all been waiting for. That’s what this show is supposed to be about, right?

As our heroes gear up to take on the menace, Rachel and some mumbo-jumbo that I can never understand tells me that due to some Dimension Peeler and Hub Dynamo that was destroyed, due to some distortion and proliferation, Linebarrel became synched and appeared as echoes (the clones) burned into space and time and been cast into this world like shadows, thus having the same abilities as the original one. The Factor heroes take on the fake Linebarrels as non-combatants prepare the rest for evacuation. Kouichi was sent flying during one of the attacks so Emi quickly rushes to him. Before a clone could smash Satoru, Reiji arrives back in time to save him (he’s on parole?). Well, he’s not amused that the saviours of the world has turned into wimps so he struts his stuff by taking on lots of them, though he notes it isn’t enough to beat them.

Kouichi wakes up with Emi by his side. He can’t seem to summon Linebarrel so Emi thinks of going back to basics. Yeah, touch her boobs. Since it doesn’t work, she wants him to put both his hands on a boob each. And if that doesn’t work, probably touch everybody else’s boobs (?!) and come to worse case she touches his! Is she that desperate? Kouichi calms her down and gets his resolve to win this battle. A clone just found them but before it could smash them, the real Linebarrel protects them. Now one with Kouichi, it’s time he takes over the lime light and kick ass. After taking out the small fries, a final echo Linebarrel appears through the worm hole. This one is much larger. Satoru thinks of providing backup but Reiji thinks there is no need because as long as that Linebarrel is an echo it can’t beat the one Kouichi is piloting. Kouichi’s Linebarrel powers up though they can only last for 10 minutes. But cocky Kouichi thinks half that time is more than enough. Why? Because he’s the ally of justice! And how it ends is up to viewers’ discretion. They end the show when the exciting final boss is just about to get started? Well, Kouichi has to win, right? Understood lah.

“You’re still the worst!”
Actually it’s not that all bad since it’s been a long interval since I’ve watched the TV series. Sure it’s funny but that’s about it. A little something extra to make us laugh via the characters of the series. Rachel was pretty amusing with her own episode. I would really love to watch her and her ‘intelligence’ if they make more episodes on her. Maybe they should make some on the other characters like Miu and Ogawa. Oh heck, who am I kidding? The romance part still isn’t going anywhere though seasoned viewers would most likely bet Kouichi should end up with Emi. Just like Doumoyouji said, if they both don’t make it clear between themselves, it’ll cause lots of complications to others. Seeing just about any other girl has some sort of feelings for that main guy, why not? Other than that I think the quality of the animation and the art isn’t any better at all. Especially the characters’ blush, they’re like haphazard lines all over their cheeks. WTF?! The 3D animation of the mecha fights are standard Gonzo and their typical work. Enough said. End of blog. Woah! Seriously, that’s all I’ve got to say? Yeah, I’m the worst!

Linebarrels Of Iron

Linebarrels Of Iron

February 27, 2010

Let me assert this again. I am not a mecha fan. I repeat. I AM NOT A MECHA FAN. So what prompt me to go watch Kurogane No Linebarrels AKA Linebarrels Of Iron despite fully aware that this is a mecha series before hand? Firstly, during that time I was unsure on what animes to watch (yeah right). Secondly, if not for my favourite seiyuu Mamiko Noto voicing a particular main character, I would have definitely given this a pass.
 
So based on my opinion, this mecha genre is another typical shonen affair. You know. Junior high school kid gets power in the form of a huge mecha, uses it to fight against hordes of evil bent on taking over the world. Powers up. Fights more villains. Meet new friends and the likes while battling equally more powerful enemies. Expect the usual mecha-busting-city-destroying type of action, if you know what I mean. Of course don’t forget the little fanservice and love triangle comedy. Oh yeah. I guess this was the other part which ‘attracted’ me to watch the series too.
 
And that lucky guy would be 14 year old Kouichi Hayase of Misaki City, Japan. His life is about to take a drastic turn. Well, it’s better than the current because as seen in episode 1, this guy is being bullied by his classmate Furuya and his underlings. Though he has got his best friends Risako Niiyama and Hideaki Yajima (I feel his face is too mature to be a junior high student) to stand up for him, Kouichi allows himself to get bullied because he believes he is some sort of "seigi no mikata" (hero of justice). Another bullying errand has Furuya sending Kouichi to buy bread for them. Along the way, Kouichi gets smashed by a mecha falling from the sky. Yeah, he had to be at the right place at the right time. Or rather wrong place, wrong time. So the results? He died. End of story. Just kidding. But is he really dead or in Heaven? He finds himself unscathed while the ground around him is turned into a crater and… a naked girl lying unconscious besides him. Oh yeah! This must be Heaven. Oh what’s this? A giant white mecha named Linebarrel is next to him too? How cool can this Heaven get? Well, he’s not. He’s still on Earth. So this girl, Emi Kizaki, wakes up, embarrassed about her nudity, Kouichi gives his shirt, she has no memories of what happened previously whatsoever, he takes her back to his home.
 
Then a terrorist group using mechas called ARMAs attack the city. ARMAs take out good mechas easily (a probable hint to show that they need a more powerful hero). Emi’s instinct tells her these are her enemies and rushes out with Kouichi tagging behind. Along the way, they bump into Yajima who is looking for missing Kouichi. He tries to bring him back to school but Kouichi is reluctant so during the heat of the battle, a mecha is flung their way and Yajima protects them by holding up a collapsed wall with all his strength. Instead of being grateful, Kouichi feels pissed because his flashback shows us that he’s always being protected by Yajima and Risako from Furuya and co. Yeah, this bullying thing goes way back. No wonder he’s like that. Since he’s so upset, Kouichi punches a nearby wall and destroys it. Wow! Since when he become powerful like Superman? Heck, it was enough for Emi to regain a little of her memories back and realize that he is the chosen one. She invites him to fight alongside her, places his hand on her breasts (yeow!) and summons Linebarrel and whoosh! That giant white robot appears. Kouichi is bloody confident with his newfound abilities as he pilots Linebarrel like a pro. Is this the kind of justice he has been waiting for? Furthermore, Linebarrel can quickly heal any damage taken. He easily overwhelms the ARMAs and its division leader, Sawatari. In the end, the baddies retreat while Kouichi gloats his new power. However his joy is cut short when Emi says that he is dead. Erm… So is this all a dream. Nope. He really died. Just that he came back to life courtesy of Linebarrel. Something like that.
 
One thing different and ‘interesting’ about Kouichi as compared to other teenage heroes is that Kouichi’s sense of justice starts of on a twisted note. Yup, he misuses them even though he repeatedly proclaims that he is the hero of justice. I guess everyone has their own interpretation of what justice means. So as the series progresses, he learns to control and turn this negative energy into a more useful one. Another thing I need to mention is the difference between ARMAs and MACHINAs. They’re both mechas but MACHINAs (like Linebarrel) are robots not from this world and its alien technology called D-SOIL allows regeneration after taking damage unlike human manufactured (or copied, rather) ARMAs which can’t. Because of that, when MACHINAs take damage, the Factor (term for pilot of the MACHINA) also takes the damage and bleeds. Well, that’s what you call one body, one soul.
 
So episode 2 sees the main terrorist group, KATO-KIKAN led by a guy named Hisataka Katou. He is unleashing more of his ARMAs attacking the globe. JUDA may seem like a well known and large medical corporation but behind that facade, they are in fact a group of people with some piloting MACHINAs, and one of the very few things which prevents KATO-KIKAN from taking total victory. They are in a heated battle with the terrorists and are being overwhelmed. However with the return of some cool and good looking bishie but poker face, Reiji Moritsugu and his MACHINA, Vardant, let’s just say he kicks ass. Make that asses. Elsewhere Emi is somehow being accepted into Kouichi’s household and you can tell that a catty fight is on the cards because childhood friend Risako has a secret crush on Kouichi and that kid is too dense to figure it out. So what happens when you put a busty stranger into the mix? Oh yeah. I smell a love triangle coming up. I guess even the respective sisters of Kouichi and Yajima, Mina and Saki, must be loving the new developments unfold, eh? Elsewhere, Kouichi demonstrates his new super strength by overpowering Furuya and co. Kouichi even takes his arrogant gratitude to new heights by thanking Emi for ‘killing’ him because of that a new him of justice has been reborn. Yeah, he even wrote that on the grave of the site where he died. This guy is fast turning into a hate character. Then as part of KATO-KIKAN’s plan to capture Linebarrel, they attack the city once more in hopes of luring it out. He falls into their trap and activates Linebarrel. What about calling Yajima to watch him go into action? How arrogant can he get? He damages the city without giving much thought and only his so called sense of justice pre-occupies his head. Even when 2 of JUDA’s MACHINAs, Miu Kujou’s Painkiller and Satoru Yamashita’s Hind-Kind, arrive to help, he turns down their offer and attacks them! WTF?! He proclaims he is the ONLY REAL justice! WTF???!!! In the end, KATO-KIKAN retreat while JUDA pulled back to avoid further damage while Kouichi laughs in his maniacal I-am-the-hero laugh. Emi and Yajima are devastated to see the monster before their eyes.
 
In episode 3, Kouichi still hasn’t learned his lesson because he is upset that the news didn’t cover his heroic efforts. Furthermore, he is no different that Furuya now that he is having them doing errands for him. Yajima is pretty concerned of Kouichi’s change in attitude and tries to advice him but you can’t reason with him now as he thinks Yajima has inferior complex. Look who is talking. A little guy’s struggle but of course with Kouichi’s super strength, Yajima gets injured. It’s a sign to say "Don’t mess with me, buddy". Meanwhile the ‘battle’ between Risako and Emi turns out… well let’s just say Risako herself admits that Emi is just moe in everything she does whether she’s a klutzy girl or blur girl. Kouichi comes home, don’t know what the fuss is all about, indirectly hurts Risako’s feelings that the old him is gone (which means he may have given up on her). Then the city experiences another bang. Yup, KATO-KIKAN again to lure out Linebarrel. This time led by another division leader, Demitry (looks like Dracula, if you ask me). Yeah, the mindless city destruction again. So it’s Kouichi’s cue for his justice work again. Risako sees him putting his palms on Emi’s boobs and it doesn’t take a genius to interpret what that means. Though Kouichi manages to beat the terrorist, he is still on a rampage so JUDA sends their numero uno guy Reiji to stop him. He shows him his true power and subdues him but Kouichi isn’t happy. Suddenly Linebarrel shuts down before Vardant could land the final blow and Kouichi learns that Emi was the one responsible (she’s also a Factor for Linebarrel). He tells her off so she tells him off, leaving him real stunned. Oh yeah. Bite the hand that feeds you, eh?
 
Due to that, Kouichi has got his Linebarrel confiscated in episode 4. But he still hasn’t learned his lesson. He thinks he’ll become stronger even without Linebarrel. While Emi has lost faith in him, the president of JUDA, Kunio Ishigami, seems to be willing to give that kid a second chance. One night, Yajima once again confronts Kouichi about his attitude. As expected, they fought. Yajima gets badly beaten up as we learn Yajima too liked Risako and appeared to be cool just to impress her but Risako was always more concern for Kouichi. Just then, a rogue MACHINA suddenly appears attacks them and to Kouichi’s horror, Yajima has been impaled by a pole. Before Yajima dies, he tells him to use his powers for good. Something like a certain superhero movie line: "With great powers come great responsibilities". Something like that. But now Kouichi is in a rage and all this anger has given him the ability to summon Linebarrel with his will and without grabbing somebody’s boobs. Of course everyone back at JUDA is surprised to see the Linebarrel suddenly disappearing from their chambers. Even beating up the rogue MACHINA isn’t enough so Kouichi is on a roll, I mean rage. Reiji and Satoru are sent to stop his madness because Kouichi has executed some beam weapon which could be very devastating. A short flashback on how young Kouichi wanted to be a hero of justice. Is this how he wanted it all to turn out? Reiji uses his Vardant as a little sacrifice to disable the beam weapon.
 
I guess it takes a death of a friend to open Kouichi’s eyes. Well, literally. He finds himself naked in the quarters of JUDA with Ishigami’s personal assistant, Yui Ogawa, next to him. She’s fully clothed by the way. Swapped deja vu? Soon she leads him to Ishigami who announces a welcoming party for Kouichi to join JUDA. Since when? What the heck? He’s got an eye on him from the start already. Ishigami gives Kouichi a tour of the JUDA headquarters and the common enemy they are facing. It is obvious that Kouichi isn’t going to be friends with Hisataka once he learns he and his organization is the one behind Yajima’s death. Though Kouichi isn’t willing to join JUDA yet and throws his weak teenage punches which are easily caught by old geezer Ishigami. Thing is, sly Ishigami has somehow got Kouichi’s thumb print signature on the contract to join JUDA while he was unconscious. Then Kouichi meets the twins of the MACHINA Deceive, Shizuna and Izuna Endo. Though Shizuna is another one of those hot tempered little girl not hesitating to kick Kouichi in the crotch, twin boy Izuna is a total opposite. Kinder and trying to restrain her sister. I’ve always wondered if Izuna is suited to be more of a girl since he looks and sounds like one. Which brings me to Satoru’s case. Is he a boy or a girl? Eventually after so much thinking and ‘researching’, I conclude he’s a guy.
 
Kouichi gets more eye opener when he attends Yajima’s funeral. This doesn’t help since Emi continues to scorn him for his irresponsibility. Hey, even those Furuya bullies are crying over Yajima. Who else could teach them a lesson but him. Now he’s gone so the cycle’s disrupted. Haha. Anyway the twins are to engage in a battle with several KATO-KIKAN ARMAs. I find Deceive the weakest in terms of attack because all it could do is send its Nerve Crack to its enemies and make them have horrifying hallucinations. They’ve only got mental victory here. Being the real baddies, they decide to target innocent civilians instead. This gives time to catch Deceive off guard. Kouichi seems to have found a new resolve and I guess it’s enough for Emi’s approval so he summons Linebarrel to kick KATO-KIKAN’s ass and save bratty Shizuna and poor Izuna in his first step to be the real hero. Everyone in JUDA is impressed. Well almost everyone. Reiji doesn’t seem to be happy. Must be his face. So is Kouichi a changed man? You bet. Yeah, he even says how it is never too late to change. Well, better late than never, hero of justice.
 
So Kouichi is now a member of JUDA in episode 6. Yeah, he’s got his own dorm room provided for staffs at the HQ. Same case with Emi too. So he gets introduced to all the other main characters that you’ll see in the series. Ishigami, Yui, Miu, Satoru, Shizuna, Izuna and Reiji. I forgot to mention there is also the young American scientist Rachel Calvin who has an uncanny resemblance to Pani Poni Dash’s Becky. Little girl with blonde hair and white lab coat. Hmm… She too has an elderly middle-aged guy named Maki Goro as her colleague and technician and Hiro Aonuma as JUDA’s field operative. And this Ishigami guy is another weirdo. He loves setting up Kouichi in tight spots to see his twisted version of love development between Kouichi and Emi. Sending pics of Emi changing? Some president this guy is. Only Yui can stop his scheme. But poor Kouichi has to bear the painful end of Emi’s fist/slap. Anyway the rest of this episode sees the JUDA force putting up some weird carnival freak show performance to welcome Kouichi. I don’t know if they’re enjoying tormenting Kouichi because he seems to be the object of torment (no different from getting bullied, eh?) like Rachel making him jump through a loop of fire and Emi doing a magic trick of sawing him into half with a chainsaw! Only thing is, this is no magic trick! WARGH!!! What’s the significance of this party anyway? They should have fun while they can because it will be back to terrorist busting business and in this dog eat dog world, no one is going to praise you for the heroic deeds you’ve done but would quickly blame and find fault when there’s a failure.
 
Being a hero of justice doesn’t exclude him from school. So in episode 7, Kouichi treks to school and I guess the guy who will replace Yajima would be Makoto Doumyouji who makes his grand entrance with a boy’s fight with Kouichi. I don’t know if Kouichi is that desperate that he needs to call Linebarrel. So Kouichi gets reprimanded by Rachel for calling Linebarrel in the midst of some maintenance thingy. The highlight of this episode is that Hisataka himself and his cowboy suit assistant, Masaki Suguwara, personally come to JUDA to see Kouichi and the rest. What happened to all the security? Anyway, Hisataka gets straight to the point. He wants Linebarrel and wants Kouichi to join him. Further explanations reveal that Hisataka is not of this world. No, not an alien universe but rather a parallel world. Just like Emi and the MACHINAs. His goal is to take over this world and the rest of his troops are humans from this world who sympathize with his cause. He also mentions Ishigami was once part of his organization but he turned traitor and stole some of the MACHINAs. Linebarrel is the ultimate MACHINA created by Emi’s dad, Amagatsu. Of course Kouichi rejects his offer outright because he strongly feels Hisataka is responsible for Yajima’s death. So is he going to let the terrorist boss leave easily? Of course not but with all the KATO-KIKAN suddenly appearing to give Hisataka a safe passage out, they have no choice. Meanwhile Risako is trying to get more details out from Emi at a cafe and I don’t know why but Emi seems to be infatuated with her bonsai plant. The next day, Kouichi bumps into Doumyouji again and this time they became friends as he proposes to help Kouichi. Some male bonding thing Emi wouldn’t get. Yup, Doumyouji has Emi join this newly made Hayase Corps with Kouichi as their leader and since Risako is watching from afar, her body reaction seems to indicate she doesn’t want to be left out from the piece of action as they head to a restaurant to plan their next step. On Kouichi’s treat of course.
 
Is bullying Kouichi that fun? Must be lah. In episode 8, Doumyouji and Furuya drag Kouichi along to see Emi, Risako and the other girls changing in school. So when Kouichi’s phone rings and gives them away, only Kouichi gets busted because the other 2 escaped via some secret doorway behind the locker. WTF?! It seems the call from Yui is about some mission to help the Americans kick some ARMA ass. Kouichi confronts Ishigami about his past so he apologizes that he should’ve told him earlier. So our heroes engage the villains. It must be some important mission for KATO-KIKAN because the other division leaders like Yuriannu Faithful, Soubi Nakajima and Jack Smith (who is an ARMA himself) are here as they are trying to prevent to good guys from stopping Masaki in his weird MACHINA from planting black spheres. As Miu takes on Soubi (note how she always gets electrocuted by his lance), Kouichi is thinking of leaving his designated post to stop Masaki and go save Miu and this nearly cause the JUDA to lose. It could’ve been total defeat if Masaki hadn’t call for his team’s retreat after planting the sphere (Reiji taking a blow meant for Kouichi from Jack). So back at JUDA while Rachel is analyzing the sphere but couldn’t get much detail out of it, Kouichi gets knocked around by Reiji for being selfish bla bla bla. Could’ve turned ugly if Miu didn’t plead them to stop. Lastly, Emi decides to strip for Kouichi because she thinks that locker spying thing was some sort of curiosity to see whether she’s human from the alternate world or not. Miu comes in and misinterprets and also does the same. Soon everyone else pretty much sees this and Kouichi blunders that he just wants Emi’s body. Oops. SLAP!
 
After another one of those bath house follies from JUDA (Ishigami showing Kouichi Emi’s inner body secrets – her x-ray skeleton), episode 9 sees our heroes infiltrating one of the enemy’s base in South America. Apparently the local guerrilla group is teaming up with KATO-KIKAN. Emi partly takes over as mission control due to some ill-fated accident which befall on Ishigami leaving him totally bandaged (he deserves it). The assault begins and we see Satoru pretty concerned about Reiji. I hope this admiration thingy won’t turn into some yaoi gay love. Because of that he couldn’t concentrate and his long range MACHINA is no match for the more agile ARMAs and could’ve been toast if not for Reiji. However Reiji shuts Satoru’s damaged MACHINA down soon after relegating Hind-Kind to a gun battery. With Deceive manage to crack in the computer system and access KATO-KIKAN’s secrets, the enemy base surrenders. However Rachel’s joy turns to sorrow when she finds out all the data are empty. Back at JUDA HQ, Satoru and Reiji are in some spat. Reiji is not amused by Satoru’s poor performance even though it was out of concern and shrugs it off. Another development is that Doumyouji is seen as one of the few pilots for Eiji Kiriyama’s SSDF ARMAs, Jinrai. So this guy’s in this game too, huh?
 
The necessary Christmas episode 10 sees Risako preparing to make Christmas dinner for Kouichi and the JUDA girls in Santarina outfits. But Christmas will be the last for some as KATO-KIKAN has some ARMA type laser satellite and has fired several random shots over the a few cities of the world, turning them into huge craters. Is this what terrorists of the future would become to? So the only way to stop this is to send Kouichi to space with Satoru. The duo is sent off by an American army officer, Lt. Judy Brown. Can Kouichi make it back in time for his Christmas dinner with Risako? During their transport, Kouichi learns of Satoru’s past and how he looked up to Reiji. The other JUDA members are deployed around the globe to protect several important cities as KATO-KIKAN isn’t going to let the good guys wreck their plans. Doumyouji and the other SSDF pilots come to their aid. As for Kouichi, he’s going to face another KATO-KIKAN division leader. What happens if you mix a psychopath and a sadist together? Some short and ugly glutton Riku Ousei who is piloting the satellite as his ARMA. Somehow I get a feeling he has some resemblance to the Hunchback of Notre Dame…
 
The tense confrontation continues in episode 11. It’s tough intercepting Riku because his ARMA is fast. Kouichi is pissed because Riku once again blasts another heavily populated city. A good and bad thing is that, the satellite takes time to recharge so they have to take it out during that period before another random shot is fired. Satoru is still having self confidence problems so Judy tells him off that he is only strong as he thinks he is. Emi has concluded analyzing the satellite’s movements and sees a pattern. However Riku’s ARMA is heavily armoured so any direct attack is useless. I’m not sure about this part because Kouichi thinks of using some super powerful Executor move which will drain all its power to defeat the enemy and Satoru has been tasked to ‘catch’ him as Linebarrel falls from orbit. Kouichi manages to do so, fries Riku in the process and the plan of Satoru catching him works. KATO-KIKAN forces retreat upon learning the satellite’s destruction as everyone back on the ground celebrates the hero of justice. How does it feel like now to be the true hero of justice? With the world saved, Kouichi even has time to attend the Christmas party at JUDA and even makes it in time fir Risako’s Christmas dinner albeit a little late. Phew. Emi opens her present from Kouichi which is a necklace and what is this? Miu looking a little jealous? Hint, hint.
 
After a hard fought victory, Ishigami takes his JUDA members to a tropical island for fun and relaxation in episode 12. Yeah, I know. Fanservice. Risako and Furuya are invited. Even KATO-KIKAN is on the island to relax. No fighting here. Hey, can both sides even afford a day off? Jack on the other hand seems to be cutting tentacles of some giant monster in which things indicate he was the source of accidentally releasing it in the first place. He then spots a house and gets enthralled by the way Risako cuts her food. Yeah, he pretty much falls for that girl. Meanwhile Hisataka and Ishigami meet at some tomb cliff and Hisataka wants the latter to rejoin them. He declines. Slowly, the other girls went missing so the remaining ones man a search for them. Risako have everything to worry about because Kouichi is seen more concern for missing Emi. What more Kouichi found her bikini lying on the ground. I don’t know if Yuriannu really had an intention to shota rape Izuna or not. In the end, it turns out some giant squid has its tentacles wrapped all around the ladies so Jack destroys it as Kouichi gets another full view of Emi’s nakedness. Deja vu? Yeah, the slap maybe. I guess everyone has squid meat for BBQ dinner, eh? The final interesting development has Kouichi and Risako talking together alone at the beach and before that guy knows it, Risako kisses him!
 
Kouichi gets the shock of his life when he comes back to school in episode 13. The whole damn school knows about his kiss with Risako and are bloody supportive! Even those admirers happily withdraw for the sake of Kouichi’s happiness. Well Risako, your dream has come true but why are you so embarrassed? Who wouldn’t? Hey, how did everybody know about this? Apparently while the duo was smooching, the other JUDA guys became keh-poh-chi and had a field day ‘observing’ their passionate moment from behind a rock. That is why always get a room. So with lots of teen hormones in this episode, it is no wonder Emi is treating Kouichi coldly even though she’s giving an excuse of him fooling around with her childhood friend (yeah right). Kouichi and Satoru are called in to Ishigami’s office as the president is discussing about the spheres with Reiji. Another shocking twist of events is that when Kouichi and Satoru entered the room, they see Reiji has put a bullet right in Ishigami’s head! OMG! Say it isn’t true! Reiji fires several shots at the kids but they dodged. Reiji summons Vardant and tells Kouichi to fight him. While Satoru is left paralyzed in shock watching the 2 mechas battle, evil Kiriyama initiates his plan to take over Japan via a coup. Kouichi isn’t satisfied with Reiji’s betrayal but the latter continues to mock the former saying that nothing in him has improved since. Of course this is just a psychological warfare to have Kouichi dance right into Reiji’s hands as Linebarrel shuts down after taking many blows. Emi suddenly further remembers her past and jumps down from the building right into Linebarrel’s cockpit. Kids, don’t try this anywhere. Emi pilots Linebarrel back to life and this time unlocks Linebarrel’s teleportation ability to give Reiji a hard time. However due to the strain on Emi, she and the mecha too shut down. Reiji uses this chance to escape as Kouichi regains consciousness and is surprised to see unconscious Emi next to him. I can’t believe that specky Reiji turned to the other side! Or was he on that side all the while?
 
Everyone is in the state of shock in episode 14. Reiji’s betrayal, Ishigami’s death and Kiriyama’s coup invasion backed by KATO-KIKAN. Oh the madness, oh the sadness. The more for Satoru. Kouichi accompanies unconscious Emi in her room. Doumyouji offers his services to Kiriyama and he has high hopes for the young lad. Another defection? Soon Hisataka makes a live telecast about his world conquest and will decide those who will live and those who will die. Kiriyama unleashes his force towards JUDA to confiscate their MACHINAs so the JUDA members are contemplating to fight back or quietly surrender. The answer for Kouichi is obvious. So Kouichi is not too happy that Doumyouji is on the other side so the 2 duke it out. Doumyouji is satisfied with Kouichi’s fight and resolve and tells him to take Linebarrel and run. Before anything else could happen, Kiriyama in his MACHINA, Pretender, intercepts and brands Doumyouji a traitor, blasting him away. Kiriyama’s Pretender has Nerve Crack ability too. If not for Emi suddenly waking up, running out from nowhere and making contact with Linebarrel, Kouichi could’ve been killed under his own illusions as Emi teleports them away. And the last scene is intriguing. So is that Yajima in some chamber or what?
 
Kiriyama has taken over Japan in episode 15 and the entire country is like in an emergency state. Anybody that goes against them will be immediately executed in public! He also uses the media to make JUDA a terrorist and has Kouichi’s mom and sister making a live telecast emotional plea for his return. Yeah, they’re playing it over and over again. Not to mention some embarrassing song they’re singing. I’m not sure how Linebarrels stays hidden but Kouichi and Emi are taking refuge in a US military base in Japan with Judy. The Americans too are preparing to evacuate, since this is Japan’s internal problem. Sort of. Don’t want to get involve, eh? By the way, Rachel has already ‘fled’ to USA since she’s an American to avoid being persecuted. Aonuma gives Miu and Satoru some weird disguise so that they can go see Kouichi and Emi. Arrogant Kiriyama is working together with Reiji and his greed has him wanting to take over KATO-KIKAN next. The next day, Kiriyama is fast becoming Japan’s leader. KATO-KIKAN unleashes attacks on nations which opposes them. The American base in Japan is under attack by Sawatari and Demitry to lure Linebarrel out. Kouichi wants to fight them but Judy restrains him as he will be playing right into their trap. Judy buys the kids some time to escape as she takes on Demitry and in the process sacrifices herself to take out as many KATO-KIKAN forces (including Demitry).
 
All JUDA casts reunite on a US aircraft carrier in episode 16. However only Linebarrel is not grounded like the other MACHINAs due to some security program thingy. So the plan is while Kouichi distracts the enemy, the rest will infiltrate JUDA HQ via some secret route that Ishigami left to reactivate their disabled MACHINAs courtesy of some new gadget from Rachel. With Kouichi’s Linebarrel in sight, Kiriyama decides to show the world the supreme hero he is and tells Reiji not to interfere. Round 2, fight! Meanwhile the gang infiltrates the HQ and goes through a series of security authentication check points (100 of them I think) just to reach their goal. That hologram Ishigami is still as annoying as ever. Even in death. Did he really predict all this? I don’t know they have to play some Twister game or even a strip rock-scissors-paper! WTF?! As Kouichi gets a sound beating from Kiriyama, the rest have managed to enter where their MACHINAs are kept as Rachel starts her hacking. When Kiriyama finally got hit by Kouichi, he is upset and decides to play dirty by targeting Emi whom he spots staring from the JUDA building. Dirty bastard! Of course with Emi’s power to teleport Linebarrel in front to block the missiles. Kiriyama decides to unleash his trump card by using some nearby tanks but his scheme is foiled because Aonuma and Doumyouji disabled them earlier. It seems Doumyouji never defected and joined Kiriyama to attack from within. With the MACHINAs restored, Kiriyama gets desperate and the tables turned on him because the whole world has seen with their true eyes that he is trying to destroy Misaki City. He crashes into the sea. So much for his glory. Hisataka meanwhile welcomes Reiji as a member of KATO-KIKAN. With Japan freed from Kiriyama’s rule and everyone returning to JUDA, Satoru receives a letter from Reiji while Risako is wondering if she’ll ever get to see Kouichi when somebody familiar approaches her. It’s Yajima! Damn, he’s alive! Should’ve seen this one coming.
 
Sure everyone is sure shocked with his return so in episode 17, Yajima tells he has been receiving treatment somewhere else. Don’t mind the details as long as he’s back. Also, Misaki City has been declared independent of Japan and under US territory due to some previous don’t-know-what-splitting-of-the-country from Kiriyama, who is now missing. Can this actually happen? Another defection takes place. No, not from JUDA to KATO-KIKAN but the other way round. Jack is now on JUDA’s side because if he continues to be on KATO-KIKAN, he can’t fight Reiji. Plus, he had some agreement with Hisataka that he would leave whenever he wanted. The rest of the episode sees the JUDA kids along with Risako, Yajima, Doumyouji and even Furuya attending some cosplay karaoke event. I don’t want to say who’s horrible. During the toilet break, Yajima and Kouichi have another round of talk. Yajima isn’t happy that Kouichi is fooling around instead of being the hero of justice and tells him to give it up. Viewers would say that he is jealous of the attention Kouichi now gets. Kouichi doesn’t take this lightly and they got into a fight. Everyone else comes out and is surprised to see best friends fighting. Yajima pins the blame on Emi, making her feel guilty. If you think you have seen enough shocking developments, here’s another one. Yajima has become a Factor. No way! Yes way. He summons his MACHINA, Apparition (the rouge MACHINA that killed him). Looks like he is working for KATO-KIKAN as he tosses Kouichi a disk containing the whereabouts of their base and to meet them there. Yup, his task is to kidnap Emi. So much for being best friends.
 
The twins are trying to tell the world the terrorist they are of KATO-KIKAN in episode 18 and as everyone else is still pondering about Yajima being a factor, revenge hungry Sawatari leads another attack to avenge the death of Demitry. Thankfully Misaki City is covered with a temporary shield as they try to break it down. Doumyouji tells Kouichi to go save Emi and leave the rest of protecting the city. Hey, sometimes you have to let them get the cool parts too. Kouichi arrives at a frozen abandoned Russian base only to find Hisataka waiting alone. Only God knows where Yajima went with Emi. Hopefully he didn’t do anything funny on her. So they chat about how Yajima became Apparition’s Factor and the change in both their attitude when they got revived. Is that how dead people are when they revived? They also talked about peace and some theories which simply don’t interest me. Yajima is seen talking to Emi and his talk indicates he wants Emi to stop using Kouichi to pilot her Linebarrel so that Kouichi and Risako can be happy together. Since Emi can’t decide, this furthers unsettles him and he nearly ripped her dress (because she tripped and he tried to catch her lah!). So if she can’t decide, he’ll decide for her: Leave Kouichi. Back at JUDA HQ, Masaki’s MACHINA has disabled the shield. Hisataka asks Kouichi to join him once more but the latter rejects. That’s when Yajima arrives but Hisataka says Kouichi can take Emi and go. So what was that kidnapping all for? Or did Yajima take to long so Hisataka got upset? Hey, did Hisataka hint that Emi is his sister? As Kouichi flies back with Emi, Yajima still isn’t happy and catches up. He fires a warning shot and wants Kouichi to dump Emi for Risako. Oh, now he’s playing matchmaker, eh?
 
So the guys duke it out in episode 19 while Emi helplessly watch the boys fight. Yajima is persistent that Kouichi should go back to his normal life with Risako and let him do the protecting job but after all that he has been through, is he going to go back to his old ways? The mecha bout turns into a man to man fight and after trading many blows, in the end the truth is that Yajima who likes Risako was too afraid to confess to her in fear of rejection and thus the reason he ‘used’ Kouichi to make Risako happy. So Kouichi tells his buddy to go tell Risako himself. Yup, Kouichi wins. Because of the heavy assault of KATO-KIKAN on JUDA HQ, Kouichi and Emi quickly flew back and leave bruised Yajima to reflect on his mistakes. After Masaki has planted another sphere right in the middle of the school, the attack continues but luckily Kouichi is back to do some serious kick ass. Another good thing is that Yajima has realized his faults so he too flies back and helps Kouichi defend against the menace. However Hisataka orders his team to withdraw saying that their goal of putting the sphere has been achieved and has never ordered an attack (hinting Masaki may have been the one responsible). Later Yajima does confess to Risako, shocking her but she apologizes because her heart is on you-know-who but he is okay with it. Just that he wants to let her know and lift that burden off his shoulders. Another Kouichi-Emi moment and they could’ve kissed if not for Rachel’s calling. Miu looking on depressingly jealous… Anyway Rachel explains that the planting of the spheres are supposed to open some inter-dimensional gate from the alternate world. In other words as Yajima heard, a full scale invasion. So this KATO-KIKAN is just a vanguard force? By the way, Hisataka has successfully unlocked some key after playing some weird programming game (I think).
 
While the twins and Jack are on a world tour to spread the word that JUDA is the good guy and KATO-KIKAN the terrorist, in episode 20, those UN guys don’t give a damn and chase them away. Miu is sinking into depression after overhearing Rachel and Maki’s analysis that Painkiller could be weak. Yeah, her love life is going anywhere too. Just kidding. For good news, Risako temporarily stays at JUDA and Yajima is on their side. Could things get better? Well, everyone’s Kouichi-bashing that he’s maturing and such has got Miu to stand up for him and think that he’s cool (desperate?). So when Kouichi goes to give her encouragement, Miu suddenly kisses him! Wow! Is this guy lucky or what? Soon they’ve got red alert that Deceive is being attack by those UN guys who are still thinking they are the terrorist. Kouichi and Miu fly to their rescue and it seems Jack has been taken out by Soubi and Yuriannu while Deceive heavily damaged and grounded. So another battle on the grand scale. Soubi must be having a field day electrocuting Miu so many times but she gets pissed to see Kouichi being blown away by Soubi’s attack and it somehow activated her D-SOIL thingy and powers up. Miu is going to do an extreme move. She is going to sacrifice herself. She confesses she loves Kouichi before pulling off the crazy move. Of course after seeing so many deaths Kouichi isn’t going to let anymore people die (especially another girl to his harem. Haha! Just joking) and activates Linebarrel’s Mode B teleport system to save Miu and slash Soubi’s MACHINA into half. Yuriannu orders a retreat. And yeah, Miu kisses Kouichi again. Oh yeah. Finally Yui manages to unlock some system which turns JUDA into a flying HQ called FLAG. Can’t believe Ishigami even installed all this prior to his death.
 
Episode 21 starts off with Reiji’s past. Because his sister was the only thing he had, he turned to fights and beat up delinquents as he viewed this protection as his form of justice. But the rest of society didn’t think so and he was equally like a thug himself. Then his sister got murdered and nobody stood by his side except for Kiriyama. And they both went on to realize their so called justice. Then it’s like some sort of trend because Vardant came falling on him, he died, got revived by Hisataka. Back at FLAG, Ishigami is back in the form of a hologram AI and he is no different when he was alive. Yeah, those punch lines too. Is there a program to uninstall his wittiness? So everybody else is pretty preoccupied with Kouichi’s popularity. I mean, he got kissed by 2 girls already right? Even Izuna suggests Shizuna to kiss him! Nanyate?! I don’t know if Emi and Miu are being sadists without modesty because they forced Kouichi to strip and take some medical examination as they’re concerned over his health for piloting Linebarrel. Elsewhere, Masaki does a forceful experiment on Soubi using his body. Now this guy seems to have an agenda of his own. Since Satoru didn’t get on FLAG, he meets Reiji in the forest and asks lots of questions. With Reiji being indifferent, Satoru decides to fight Reiji. At the same time, Kiriyama appears in his Pretender. Now half his face spots a mechanical look like Kano from Mortal Kombat. He is going to attack FLAG with his swarm of unmanned Jinrais so Kouichi is tasked to bring back Satoru while the rest defend the base. Kiriyama is pushing his Pretender to the limits and Rachel concludes that both Factor and MACHINA may merge. In the end, his insanity has his D-SOIL gone overload, explodes and kills him, surprising all those KATO-KIKAN spectators. Hisataka hints that this may be Masaki’s doing though the latter kept quiet. Satoru’s Hind-Kind is badly beaten by Reiji’s Vardant and could’ve been toast if Kouichi hadn’t appeared in time. The hero has always got to appear at the right moment, right?
 
The much anticipated power fight begins in episode 22. Even in Mode B, Kouichi’s moves are predictable as Reiji is still able to get the better of him. He continues to mock his useless effort of being a hero of justice and that is when Kouichi got mad and released some super power, cutting off an arm of Vardant. Then Reiji is satsified and tells him not to forget this feeling and that he and Linebarrel can move forward. Hey, he was helping him? Here’s another twist. Hisataka appears and informs the coming invasion and offers his side to join them. What’s going on?! He mentions KATO-KIKAN’s true goal is to stop the other world’s invasion and all this was to raise their fighting will and power. WTF?! Didin’t see this one coming. Emi then fully remembers her brother Hisataka. Flashback time. In the other world, humans were fused to become MACHINA, lacking feelings. As usual, they seek to expand their kind and the remaining few true humans, Amagatsu was working on a project to counter this. Hisataka was also working along him and some disagreement causes him to shoot his own dad. So Hisataka worked his way up and gained the trust from the higher ups of the other world, Central (one of them being Masaki), and led this fake invasion. He vows to stop it and plans to permenantly seal the dimensional rift. Though both sides are uneasy after some deaths, nevertheless they agree to work together to save the world. Hey, even hologram Ishigami knows about this. It seems he had Reiji killed him so that his body could be fused into 1 and pilot FLAG. No wonder the punch lines are still coming in. This is some grand elaborated plan, eh? Sure had everyone fooled. Soon Risako leaves to return to her nagging mom who thinks it’s better for her not to mix with those terrorists so she gives Kouichi an emotional hug. Then Doumyouji and Yajima forces Kouichi to make up with Emi and they could’ve kissed if not for the alert of the coming invasion. Always leave it too late.
 
The invasion begins in episode 23 and it’s like doomsday on Earth. Hisataka activates the spheres’ other ability to create a shield to protect Earth but the pillar-like ships are decreasing the barrier’s power by the second. It descends onto Earth and though the JUDA and KATO-KIKAN MACHINAs are trying their best to protect, there are just too many of them. Their morale is at all time low. Plus, the enemy is sucking up Earthlings to turn them into human-MACHINAs. Just like how Soubi is. Human-MACHINA Masaki leads the invasion attack and destroys Hisataka’s ship and tells his former boss that Central already knows of his plan. So Hisataka apologizes to Emi and sacrifices himself to open a path for Kouichi. Kouichi then comes face to face with Masaki in another MACHINA, Override. Masaki mocks his hero of justice sense and offers him a chance and the rest of the humans to become one via this twisted evolution. Of course Kouichi doesn’t give a sh*t about all that and tells him off his honest reason for protecting the ones he loves: He just wants to look cool. Well, it’s better than being fair and all that bull. This gives everyone hope to fight back again. Masaki starts attacking and thrusts his sword into Linebarrel. However, Emi takes the strike and before her last breath, tells Kouichi to become a real hero of justice. Now Kouichi is mad. Very mad. Thankfully he didn’t turn big and green. Instead, Linebarrel undergoes a powerful transformation which Reiji hints it is its true form. Nobody messes with his woman.
 
Kouichi is going to do some serious killing in episode 24. He powers up his Executor move with powers off the scales that no instrument could measure and slashes the last boss mother ship with Masaki in it and seals the portal while Sawatari and Yuriannu put Soubi out of his misery while he still had his last humanity left in him. However it’s not over yet as the portal starts to reopen and from the mumbo jumbo scientific explanation, I understand that both worlds are set to collide. Linebarrel has no energy left so Reiji suggests a final order in which all MACHINAs are to channel their energy to Linebarrel via Vardant so that our hero can cut the core and seal it for good. It’s dangerous since it can put the Factors’ lives in danger. But you know, if they can protect the world… Kouichi now sounds more mature because he knows that power is not needed but the will to do it. So yeah. Everybody gives Kouichi their power as he cuts the core and the portal closes, taking Linebarrel with it. Though all MACHINAs are shut down as a result, on the bright side, the invading MACHINAs and those pillar ships start to crumble and release the human captives. They rejoice when they learn their world is saved. Floating in suspended animation, Kouichi is surprised to see Emi come back to life as she says Linebarrel saved her. As they embrace, they see another passing MACHINA with a couple of young kids piloting it (a mirror of themselves from the other world perhaps?). As not to make it end bad, Linebarrel appears back via a wormhole and its signal brings relief to everyone including the other Factors. Kouichi and Emi had a little chat as they fall into orbit but no kiss…
 
So that is how it ends? I’m not a mecha fan so I think it is not my place to say whether such an ending is good or not. But somehow I felt it could’ve ended much better. Sure, the world is saved from an invasion which could turn us all into mindless robots but that’s so much about it. With the threat gone, I wonder if JUDA’s existence is needed. As mentioned this is probable a mecha series and not so much a love harem comedy so I got a little annoyed when Kouichi didn’t make his stand clear on which girl he chooses. Things indicate it should be Emi but the abrupt ending doesn’t seem to bring any conclusive development. Damn, if they had kissed, then I’d go "Wohoo! This is one lucky bastard! Kissed by 3 gorgeous ladies!". Now that the other world is sealed, Emi has got to continue living in the world, right? Right. This show should have a little more fanservice and love comedy…
 
Based on my little reading up on the comments of other viewers who watched this series, a big majority of them did not like it and felt it is somewhat a rip-off from that epic Code Geass series (haven’t watched it myself so I can’t compare). Furthermore, Kouichi’s bad start as a twisted hero of justice turned everyone off and made him a hate figure. And I don’t know why viewers consider Masaki’s cowboy outfit a total failure. Maybe the producers should’ve put his MACHINA as a rodeo horse, eh? Just kidding. Of course if you’re a die-hard or seasoned mecha fan, there are other better and more established mecha series out there like the long running Gundam series and its spin-offs. I know I may sound a little sadistic at this point (partly because of how the show ended) but seeing after a few characters were killed in the series, I thought everybody should have died in the end. Yeah, what good does it bring if you’re a dead hero.
 
The twist in the storyline that Hisataka was on the good side actually caught me offguard. Perhaps I should’ve paid attention. I didn’t expect that to happen. We’ve always been shown that he’s the bad guy via his actions which caused the lost of many lives. Still, I feel all this plan to stop the invasion is one hell of an elaborated scheme. Would it be easier to tell the truth? Perhaps so, the impact won’t be there and our heroes won’t learn any true lesson. Maybe that’s why poker face Reiji was so convincing and successful in his role. Kouichi has certainly matured from his initial character with all the support from his friends so he isn’t totally an ass till the end. Yeah, without him, the rest has got nobody to tease about his ‘brawns over brains’ attitude.
 
Mamiko Noto is the voice behind Emi and as her fan I can say it makes her character sound more tolerable otherwise a bias me would’ve turned a blind eye too. Tetsuya Kakihara does Kouichi and just like lots of teenagers filled with angst, yeah he does sound pretty convincing. He’s the voice of Fujioka in Minami-ke series. A surprise seiyuu for me is that Rie Kugimiya voices Izuna! Man, I can’t recognize her if she does not do her typical tsundere loli role! Stop doing such roles, Rie! You were only meant for that kind of voice roles! Who am I kidding. Coincidentally, Chiwa Saito, the voice behind Rachel, was the also voice behind Rebecca in Pani Poni Dash. Mere coincidence? Or are both characters really mirrors of each other in alternate worlds. Other casts include Aya Hirano as Miu (Haruhi in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu), Kana Ueda as Shizuna (Mikan in Gakuen Alice), Yuuichi Nakamura as Reiji (Tomoya in Clannad), Miyuki Sawashiro as Satoru (Shinkurou in Kurenai), Jouji Nakata as Ishigami (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou), Jun Fukuyama as Hisataka (Lelouch in Code Geass), Noriko Shitaya as Risako (Kuro in Kurokami) and Gou Shinomiya as Yajima.
 
For those who have heard the trademark gothic style of music from Ali Project, one can easily identify their hyped up and ‘naughty’ singing style in the opening theme called Kitei No Tsurugi. Both ending themes are sung by Maaya Sakamoto. Ame Ga Furu (1st ending theme) sounds more like a dramatic pop song while Remedy (2nd ending theme) feels like a slow pop ballad. A segment which I like is the next episode preview narration. In most cases, some random character will boast and gloat about themselves or whatever and it always ends with a thundering thud as Emi cuts in and says "Anata ga saitei", meaning "You are the worse". Haha! How appropriate. I guess we all love her telling off those characters so much that the final narration has desperate Kouichi wanting Emi to tell him that he is the worse since Emi wasn’t around anymore and got stabbed by Masaki’s Override during the show proper. Haha! Oh Emi, dear Emi.
 
While the drawing and art is your typical Japanese anime standards with good looking guys and girls, I’m not sure in terms of mecha battles if this series should be considered good. I’ll give them points for the smooth CG effects during the MACHINA and ARMA battle scenes. Not to mention their designs. As a noob in this genre, of course they look pretty awesome to me. And the names that they give to some of them. How does Painkiller sound to you? And yeah, I find it a little odd when the characters blush because their cheeks will have ‘unrefined’ lines drawn over them.
 
I guess in many mecha series, a massive destruction of a populated city is inevitable. In this case, the entire world. Now they have to start picking up the pieces and rebuild everything from scratch. That way, maybe mankind could learn to really live freely with each other. After watching this series, it’s not that I have found any interest in the mecha genre. But maybe if they put ecchi fanservice elements with some love triangle harem, then maybe, just maybe there is a big chance that I will watch it. Uh huh. Being a hero of justice has it merits because you get the girl(s) in the end! And in addition to looking cool I would also… *Loud thud*… "I’m the worse". Damn it…
 

Linebarrels Of Iron