Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $14.98 US
Running Time: 50 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now
Let there be more fan service … and Rachel Calvin!
If you’ve been following my review of the Linebarrels of Iron anime series you can see that the series took me totally by surprise and actually turn out to be an exciting and fun series with characters that will gradually win you over to the point that you will actually want to see them again. Luckily for new Linebarrel of Iron fans, we do get to see the characters again in a two-episode OVA. Guess what? It’s actually a short but fun little ride.
Let me repeat that: It’s actually a short but fun little ride … emphasis on the short. I would have loved it if these two OVA episodes were bundled with Part Two of the series but the two episodes do offer enough bang for the bucks and if you loved the funny, crazy and fan service-y parts of the main series this is guaranteed to be a favorite.
The first episode of the OVA moves the spotlight over to the largely ignored character, Rachel Calvin. Throughout the series, Rachel has been the cute child genius with the adorable blonde pigtails that watches over all of Juda Corporation’s Factors as well as offers her valuable input on Machinas. The series also makes it clear that Rachel is American and in the first episode we go back in time when Rachel Calvin first came to Japan to work for Juda.
Having been handpicked by the always hilarious Juda Corporation President on this UN-commissioned Special Counter Machina Agency exchange program, Rachel finds herself lost in Tokyo having failed to see the two Juda reps waiting for her at the airport. While Rachel is a tech genius, she’s still a child and the city seems a lot bigger than she first imagined. She ends up wandering the city with no cash in her pocket and no idea how to contact or find the Juda Corporation main office.
On the verge of tears, Rachel ends up far from the city and hungry. She runs into a beautiful young woman named Aika who – as fate would have it – is a receptionist at Juda. The two quickly become good friends and, a few years later, Aika joins Rachel in following the pint-sized genius around with her robotic camera crew to catch a peek at what goes on in each of her fellow Juda employee’s dorm rooms.
In one room she finds Kouichi Hayase practicing his cool “Linebarrel, come!” line only to be embarrassed by Rachel’s presence and in another room she finds the lovely Emi getting a makeover by the pretty Miss Ogawa only to find that Rachel upset that she hasn’t developed nicely like these two women. Then, in another room, she finds Moritsugu practicing to split a watermelon in half with a wooden sword in a gag from Part One of the series.
Rachel’s little tour is fun despite the fact that we don’t really get to learn a whole lot about her but in the first half we do see her as she really is … smart yet still very much a child. She’s also cute, which makes this episode cute as well.
In the second episode, which takes place after the events of the final episode in the series, the Juda Corporation now dedicates itself in providing a top-notch spa resort service that is unrivaled in all of Japan. Since Factors are no longer needed, Juda’s employees have taken to helping create the place into a beach resort with spa facilities just like the President wanted. That means plenty of bikinis and fun in the sun for all those working for Juda.
The episode finds Kouichi working behind a noodle stall wondering if the rest of his life would be dedicated to just slinging noodles. He clearly misses the action but, then again, he can’t complain seeing as he continues to work with Emi who he is still not able to tell her how he feels about the girl. Emi is also conflicted and everyone can see that they’re crazy about each another.
While the episode is a good excuse to see all the girls in their skimpiest best, there’s some action in this episode as the only working member of the Katou group, Sawatari, finds himself facing off against a Machina that looks too familiar. Sawatari manages to reach the resort on time and tells Kouichi about the machine that resembles a very familiar Machina and suddenly the fun stops as all the Factors return to their Machinas once again for a final showdown against this threat.
There’s more but it would be ruining the surprise but know that the second episode is actually the real reason you shouldn’t miss this OVA. Yes, there’s more fan service than usual in the two episodes but they really don’t get in the way of the fun or the story and that’s a very good thing.
The OVA of Linebarrels of Iron sets out to have some fun and pulls it off nicely enough that you will find yourself having a blast. It’s also just two episodes so the entire affair is over way too soon just as you’re enjoying the funny and cute situations. If you became a fan of Linebarrels of Iron, this is one you will want to buy.
In the first story, we go back in time when the cute American genius girl, Rachel Calvin, first came to Japan to work for the Juda Corporation only to get lost on her first day in Tokyo. She then offers a peek into the rooms of each of Juda’s Factors. Then, after the events seen in the series, Juda has turned into a spa resort but the fun in the sun is interrupted by a surprisingly familiar enemy.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
Just like the main story episodes, the OVA contains the same lovely animation only this time around you’ll be seeing a lot more skin in these two episodes.
AUDIO QUALITY: B+
The English dub cast as well as the original Japanese voice actors sound like they had a lot of fun recording these two episodes and it shows. I never warmed up to the opening theme song but the closing song, “Remedy” by Maaya Sakamoto makes up for it.
There are trailers and the clean opening and closing theme songs but nothing else on this disc. We would have loved an audio commentary track and some other extras that were missing from Part Two of the series box set.
A short, fun and excessive in its fan service, the OVA of Linebarrels of Iron still manages to be just as entertaining as the main story of this series. While there’s more emphasis on comedy and displaying the Juda girls in skimpy outfits, there are fun romantic and action elements as well that makes this worth the buy if you liked the main series.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment