|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Kurogane no Linebarrels
(All episodes watched):|
I had heard that Linebarrels was a terribly generic mecha show, and indeed episode one did have a been-there-done-that feel to it. There was a standard episode one mecha plot with some slight variations that managed to hold my interest to a certain extent. Kouichi's miserable status and his childlike belief in himself as a "champion of justice" seemed so exagerated that at one point I wondered if this series really was intended for kids. There was some snappy music, however, and KnL's saving grace would have to be the CG mecha action scenes--I was thrilled when a mech gets thrown and lands atop a building, demolishing it. Even the action is weighed down by the inexplicably stupid mech pilots who manage to get bayonetted without firing a shot. If so much money and effort is going to be put into animating the combat, how about spending a few yen to write scripts for the same scenes that an adult can take seriously? The twist about Kouichi being dead had yet to be explained, and I was intrigued enough to watch some more. The question was, would this be nothing more than a simplistic "Hero of Justice" versus the bad guys show, or something more?
The character designs reminded me of Gundam Seed. What kept me mildly interested is the mystery behind where Linebarrel had come from and what it means to be a "Factor". That, and the possibility that Kouichi might get foolhardy in a fun way as he revels in his new found role as a Hero of Justice. His attitude seemed to be, 'yeah I'm dead but being dead and resurrected like this is infinitely better than my pathetic old life was'. The conflict between good and bad guys was so generic that it didn't interest me at all--I felt patronized by it. The bad guys especially hold the quality back, being so utterly two dimensional--more like one-and-a-half dimensional. It just felt like they know they are evil, but they are so evil that they don't care. The series would be infinitely more interesting if they honestly believed in the righteousness of their cause, as in Gundam, for example.
Although a lot of people concluded, based on the first episode alone, that this would be a totally generic and unoriginal series, I'm kind of liking it, and I'm glad I didn't give up early on. The comedy in episode three was goofy and fun. Best of all was that this isn't just a harem sort of show where a complete loser enjoys his wildest dreams coming true by chance. Linebarrels actually delves into the feelings of helplessness and anguish which Kouichi felt before he attained his new powers. This became clear when the girl of his dreams declared "you're the worst!"--that would never happen in a harem show. At that point I realised that this show had something special after all. Now, if only the villains had a little depth to them...
Despite it's shortcomings, Linebarels has a plot which isn't completely generic and predictable after all. It seems to move steadily ahead with a purpose (I know this because I actually remember what happened last time), which is a great advantage when it comes to holding viewer interest. A lot of shows are far more original, but their original elements are mixed poorly together and it's unclear which plot developments really matter and which don't. Anyway, I was surprised at what happened between Kouichi and Kajima at the end of the episode; I'm not certain whether to label it corny or brilliant. Kouichi freaking out was pretty neat, though...
Still the usual secret-evil-army-versus-secret-earth-organization, yet kind of fun nevertheless. The nut kick and other jokes were good, as was Kouichi finding that the technique of activating Linebarrels has changed. JUDA tries to recruit Kouichi, which is awkward since the girl is already there working with them. The episode explained a good deal of the nature of the ARMAs. What I like is that this is not just a do-your-best show where a 100% good boy rises to a challenge, yadda, yadda, but a fairly selfish, angry kid finds that saving the world isn't all it's cracked up to be. Early on his craving to be a "hero of justice" seemed wildly overdone, but now it works since he is finding that he needs to be a team player, not fix everything by himself. Certainly not brilliant, but it does have some originality, and I'm enjoying it.
I kind of liked episode six because it dispensed with the usual fight-of-the-week and was basically all comedy. That's probably a good idea for a show like this, in which the villains are so laughably shallow. In a way, Linebarrels almost seems like a parody of generic mecha action shows, since it emphasizes jokes and what goes on between missions so much and the actual conflict so little. While all episodes have at least a little humor, around one third of them are primarily comedy ones. Number twelve, involving a trip to a tropical island for Juda personnel to relax, was great fun--especially the girls-and-tentacles (not what you think) scene, which brought tears of laughter to my eyes. The serious plot and action scenes of Linebarrels remain unremarkable (which is a pity, given the excellent special effects), but the humor is great fun.
Yes, I would say that the comedy is definitely the strong point of the series while the action and drama are modest. The characters are fairly interesting , which enables them to crack good jokes. The plot seems difficult to take seriously, but there are some interesting twists now and then--like the character who betrays his- or her comrades, or the one who returns from the dead. I have no regrets about watching Linebarrels, though I doubt that the average anime fan would see things the same way.
Come to think of it, I haven't seen the same sort of awesome special effects that the first episode had in subsequent ones. The average quality isn't bad by any means, but it looks like extra effort was put into the first one to "grab" viewers. Still, I am occasionally thrilled by a scene of brilliance, such as the one just prior to the station break in episode 20 where Kouichi and his opponent decide to dismount from their mecha and settle things with their fists. The scene where they each land a blow just as lightning strikes left me highly impressed. This show is actually pretty fun!
Episode 21 gave me a surprise: the blond-haired Yamashita, who I had assumed was a girl up until now, is actually male! I had thought the reason Yamashita had been close to Moritsugu early in the series was because she/he had a secret crush on him. The episode also provided a revealing look at Moritsugu's past, which gave him a good deal more personality than he had had up until now; or maybe I should say it explained the personality he has had all along. Interesting characters do much more for this show than mecha fights, I think.
I had been wondering why the bad guys dominated the ED sequence of the show's second half, and were being depicted in a friendly, affectionate manner, and now I know. Episode 22 brings a mind-boggling reallignment of good and evil forces. If it had been handled skillfully, by dropping some vague hints here and there, and basically letting us know that there is something strange and unrevealled about the KATO-KIKAN pilots' motivations, it might have been convincing and quite cool. As it is, they just act like stereotypical villains up until virtually the last moment, and the effect of the revelation is more disappointing than thrilling. Oh, well... Also annoying was the revelation that there are no less than six million "units" standing by to invade earth, so obviously up until now they've just been screwing around on an insignificant scale and pretty much throwing away the element of surprise. With the benefit of hindsight, the stereotypical strategy and tactics which have been employed by KATO-KIKAN up until now actually make a little sense. A little.
We go into the final episode with the cliffhanger that apparently a major character has been killed, but I had a feeling that this person would not remain dead. Briefly I held my breath at the thought that we just might get a powerful and tragic conclusion, but no, it was not to be. Instead there is the usual happily-ever-after ending, which left me disappointed. It was hard to take the emotions that were being expressed during the climactic battle seriously. Given everything about the show up until now, you know things will work out somehow, therefore feelings of angst seem corny. It could have been worse, I suppose.
Linebarrels as a whole seems a series which had fun, sometimes goofy characters, some good jokes, occasional interesting plot twists, but was tied to an unimagnitive basic premise and long term plot. It wasn't the total disaster which a lot of people predicted at the beginning, but it wasn't anything near exceptional either.
P.S: Apparently, "Barrels" stands for Biogenous Armament Revivify Ravager Energized Lifeform Sustain. Clearly the makers were gambling that nobody would pause on that frame!
My favorite line: "You're the worst!" --Emi
Last updated Monday, February 22 2010. Created Thursday, October 09 2008.
Kurogane no Linebarrels
So he's dead eh? I was thinking that he was on the path for GSD to become the Emo king.
And this whole Infinite Ryvius look made me think it was by Sunrise, but it is from the guy who USED to work for Sunrise.
Last updated Sunday, October 05 2008. Created Sunday, October 05 2008.
Kurogane no Linebarrels
OMG!! Another loser wonderboy story ...|
The main character, Kouichi is a loserboy who is picked on by bullies at school and has to be rescued by one of childhood (girl)friends. At least until a towering mecha literally drops on him one day. To bad it killed him, but HEY!! That would be the end of the story. So the mecha brings him back to life, gives him super abilities and even introduces him to a cute naked girl .... (errr, humanoid interface unit?) ... what ever ... And then Kouichi spins off into his 'champion of justice' trip.
And by episode 8, it is getting to be a bit too weird. It has all of the cliches of too many other series: enemies from another dimension intent on taking over the world with giant mechas, a loser main character who claims to be a 'hero for justice' and the commander who is a quirky guy who plays a lot of pranks. But the juvenile girls locker room and fanservice antics are a bit too much. Just how many times can the main character get beaten up by the girls for getting caught spying on them?
It tries to be a mecha combat story, but it has too much goofy comedy. And it is obviously not a romance comedy. It is just a weird mix of them all and seems too distracted to be good at any one of them.
Needless to say, I am not really impressed by this series. It is a fun watch, if you are into light-hearted and silly teen-mecha stories. I have seen it once and that enough to keep me happy.
Last updated Saturday, May 09 2009. Created Saturday, October 04 2008.