Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now
Finally, Kouichi becomes the true ally of justice.
As I said before in my review of Part One of Linebarrels of Iron, Kouichi Hayase was not the easiest character to like but people have a funny way of changing and the boy that really was despicable turned out to be the type of guy you will actually root for as the series just gets a whole lot better with Part Two of Linebarrels. Believe me when I say that you will be glad you stuck with the series from the very beginning.
Picking up after the Juda Corporation and Katou Organizations’ playful little beach getaway, Kouichi Hayase finds himself avoiding his longtime friend, Risako, who kissed him. Everyone in his school as well as the halls of the Juda Corporation seem to know what happened and Emi Kazaki isn’t happy about it one bit. Genuinely humorous moments aside, Part Two really gets started when Moritsugu not only reveals something about himself to the President but does something so drastic that it will not fail to shock.
The events that unfold because of Moritsugu’s betray leads Juda to try to make sense of what went on as the boyish Yamashita is in shock and Kouichi faces off against Moritsugu using Linebarrel. Moritsugu is a powerful opponent but -thanks to Emi – Linebarrel’s true potential is unlocked in mid-battle. While he loses the fight, Kouichi and his fellow Juda teammates watch as an organization led by Moritsugu’s childhood friend, Eiji Kiriyama, begins a coup and takes over Japan.
Kiriyama’s iron hold on Japan is but the first stage and with the help of the Katou Organization it becomes a force to be reckoned with as the new ruler of Japan sees himself as a true ally of justice. Having control over the media, Kiriyama has everyone believe that Juda is a terrorist group. Mobilizing his troops, Juda’s machinas are locked away with the exception of Linebarrel as Kouichi and Emi go on the run.
Hiding with the Americans, who they aided during a space battle in Part One, Emi and Kouichi are discovered by the enemy but thanks to their friends they manage to escape and meet up with their teammates. Together, as a group, Juda strikes back in one of the more impressive moments of the series as people die and Kouichi goes up against Kiriyama in his Transformers-like machina. At last, Kouichi finally does become the hero that is not driven by some self-centered need.
With Kiriyama out of the way, the series isn’t done with the surprises as a character that was thought to be dead is back again and this time targeting Kouichi and one of his closest friends. Meanwhile, with Kiriyama gone, the Katou Organization is back to its old tricks and this time Hisataka Katou reveals a part of him that is connected to Emi as their pasts are finally revealed. There’s another revelation involving Moritsugu that finally sheds a light on what led him to do what he did.
Oh, there are certainly more surprises that Part Two throws at us and I would be ruining things if I explained further but expect some surprises and interesting twists that finally leads to a suicide mission to save Earth. If anything, Part Two is not short on flashy action sequences, truly funny moments and even more romance as yet another girl shows her interest in Kouichi. In fact, aside from Risako, she takes a bold step in trying to win his heart.
Sadly, all is not perfect with Part Two and that is the final battle that has the Juda and Katou factions joining forces to go up against a common enemy from the future. If Hisataka Katou knew about this enemy threat in the first place, why did he have to play the role of the bad guy if he planned on joining forces with Juda? What’s up with The Matrix-like explanation of machinas so late in the game?
Despite the weak ending twist, Part Two of Linebarrels of Iron is an exciting improvement over the first part. In fact, all the things that made Part One so enjoyable is not only back for this final half of the series but it overshadows the series’ earlier weak spots. Unfortunately, the finale isn’t too convincing but – in the end – what we have here is a great slice of anime entertainment you will not help to like anyway.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Just when things started to calm down after the confrontations between the Katou Organization, the head of another group begins a coup that sparks a vicious battle involving all three factions. With the murder of a key member of the Juda Corporation, though, Kouichi and his teammates fight not only for survival but for true justice.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The animation is still somewhat true to the manga but there is more emphasis on the action this time around than the fan service.
AUDIO QUALITY: B+
The voice acting is decent on both sides with the English dub containing better dialogue than the original Japanese. Unfortunately, if you didn’t like the opening theme song the first time you won’t like it a second time, although both closing theme songs – especially “Kokorono Mamani” by Lisa Komine is simply beautiful.
Unlike the first part, there is no audio commentary track so all we can expect is the textless versions of the opening and closing songs as well as a few trailers.
The second part of Linebarrels of Iron is certainly the better half of this series and despite a weak ending twist, you can’t help but fall under the spell of this exciting series. Kouichi Hayase has certainly become a better person and, as a result, makes him a hero you’ll actually come to like as that series just gets considerably better.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment