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Linebarrels of Iron: OVA Collection (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

November 3, 2010 by  



This budget-priced OVA set features two episodes which should be watched after you have seen the entire TV series.  So, if you enjoyed all 24-episodes of “Linebarrels of Iron”, then definitely pick this DVD up.  Otherwise, on its own, it’s an OK release that is more for the fans, especially since it features more fan service.

Image courtesy of © 2008 Eichi Shimiazu, Tomohiro Shimoguchi, Akita Publishing/GONZO/Linebarrel Partners. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Linebarrels of Iron: OVA Collection

DURATION: 2 episodes (50 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Language: English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, Japanese Stereo, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Gonzo/FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: October 5, 2010

Based on the manga series “Kurogane no Linebarrel” by Eiichi Shimizu, Tomohiro Shimoguchi

Directed by Masayuki Kojima

Series Composition by Kiyoko Yoshimura

Screenplay by Kiyoko Yoshimura, Shigeru Morita

Music by Conisch

Character Design by Hisashi Hirai

Chief Animation Director: Hisashi Hirai

Mecha Design by Tsutomo Suzuki

Sound Director by Masafumi Mitsuma

Featuring the following voice talent:

Mamiko Noto/Alexis Tipton as Emi Kizaki

Tetsuya Kakihara/Josh Grelle as Kōichi Hayase

Aya Hirano/Monica Rial as Miu Kujou

Chiwa Saito/Tia Ballard as Rachel Calvin

Emi Shinohara/Michele Specht as Yurianne Faithful

Gô Shinomiya/Joel McDonald as Hideaki Yajima

Hirofumi Nojima/Ian Sinclair as Sobi Nakajima

Jun Fukuyama/Todd Haberkorn as Hisataka Katō

Jun Konno/Jerry Jewell as Makoto Doumyouji

Kana Ueda/Cherami Leigh as Shizuna Endō

Masako Joh/Cynthia Cranz as Chisato Hayase

Miyuki Sawashiro/Mary Morgan as Satoru Yamashita

Noriko Shitaya/Carrie Savage as Risako Niiyama

Rie Kugimiya/Aaron Dismuke as Izuna Endō

Yoshikazu Sato/Bob Carter as Jack Smith

Yuuichi Nakamura/J. Michael Tatum as Reiji Moritsugu

Rachel Calvin, a young American genius, has a hard time reaching JUDA headquarters after wild animals eat her map and a bulldozer crushes her credit card. Upon finally arriving at her destination, she stumbles upon scenes of debauchery that will leave her glasses foggy for days!

And that’s just the beginning! See more of your favorite characters than ever before as the JUDA crew slips out of their uniforms and into their swimsuits for a trip to the beach!

In 2004, the manga series “Kurogane no Linebarrel” (Linebarrels of Iron) was created by Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi. The manga was first serialized in Akita Shoten’s monthly shonen manga magazine “Champion Red” and in 2008, received its anime adaptation featuring a total of 24-episodes which ended in March 2009.

The anime series is directed by Masamitsu Hidaka (known for his directorial work on various “Pokemon” series and films), series composition by Kiyoko Yoshimura (“Chocolate Underground”, “Dogs: Bullets & Carnage”) and Shigeru Morita (“Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”, “Seikon no Qwaser”). Character design for the series is by Hisashi Hirai (“Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”, “Sokyu no Fafner”, “Infinite Ryvius”, “Heroic Age”), mecha design by Tsutomu Suzuki (“Zone of Enders”, Kurokami the Animation”, “Bokurano”) and music by Conisch (“Hitohira”, “Hipira: The Little Vampire”). “Linebarrles of Iron” is animated by Gonzo.

“Linebarrels of Iron” is a story about Kouichi Hayashi, a teenager who is often bullied. He always dreams that his purpose in life is to be an ally of justice but he is often picked on and bullied in front of his childhood friend and the girl he cares about Risako Niyama. Things get so bad that often she tries to defend him and when things get tough, his friend Hideaki Yajima is always there to protect them.

One day, Kouichi is bullied by three people who force him to get their lunch, which Kouichi agrees to and infuriates Risako. He tells her that he believes he has a hidden, latent power to become an ally of justice but of course, his two friends don’t believe it and try to tell him to fight back. Meanwhile, an object called “Linebarrel” is heading towards the planet Earth.

When Kouchi is arriving back to school after getting the bullies their food, he sees the object going straight down on him. When Kouchi awakens, he sees a big giant mecha robot in front of him and right next to him, a naked girl. He brings the girl, who doesn’t remember who she is to his home to get some clothes. But while they are talking, three mecha show up in the area. They belong to the Katou Organization and start destroying parts of the city.

The girl, Emi Kizaki immediately remembers that those mecha are the enemy and the military with their mecha start to protect the city and fight against the enemy. Both Kouichi and Emi are stuck in the neighborhood with no chance to escape but his friend Yajima finds them and tries to save them. Kouichi who has had enough of people trying to protect him, gets upset and punches the wall and ends up breaking the wall. Emi then remembers and tells him that he has power and must call the power of Linebarrel. Immediately a light surrounds both Koichi and Emi and he awakens and calls a huge machina named Linebarrel to appear.

We then see a more confident Kouichi with special abilities and Kouichi believes that this latent power to become the ally of justice has finally awakened, when the truth is that on the day the object fell on him, he died but Emi saved his life by having Linebarrel choose him for a factor. He now has special abilities and has been given a second life which is tied to the life of the mecha. But the problem with Kouichi is that the power has gotten to his head, his idea that he’s the ally of justice makes him feel that he is the most powerful being and doesn’t understand humility. All he cares is people recognizing his power and wanting to exact revenge on those who hurt him.

But eventually, he’ll learn a big lesson when someone close to him dies and knows he has a major responsibility by having this newfound power.

In “Linebarrels of Iron: OVA Collection”, there are two OVA episodes. One focuses on how Rachel Calvin came to join JUDA and the second episode featuring the group taking a break and being attacked by a group of Linebarrels.  Who is behind this mysterious group of Linebarrels?

“Linebarrels of Iron” is a series that pits two organizations against each other. The good guys are known as JUDA while the bad guys are known as the Katou Organization.

JUDA consists of:

  • Kouichi Hayase – The main character who goes from the weak teenager constantly being bullied to a boy who controls the powerful machina known as Linebarrel. He was killed on the day Linebarrel crashed into him and shares his life with Linebarrel. Linebarrel has now given him power and also power to automatically restore his body. But because Kouichi is somewhat unstable with his emotions and his belief that he is the ally of justice, his ego tends to get into his head at times. But throughout the series, we see him grow as an individual and becomes protective over the people he cares about, including the girls of JUDA who suddenly start taking a liking towards him.
  • Emi Kizaki – Emi was supposed to be the initial factor (pilot) of Linebarrel. She is a mysterious member of JUDA because she came from another dimension. She tends to be hard on Kouichi but at the same time cares for him. But she gets very angry when she thinks Kouichi is always trying to see her nude.
  • Reiji Moritsugu – The Chief of the Special Task Force at JUDA. He is a calm but cold person who seems to be impervious of pain. He and Kouchi often get into squabbles because of their sense of dealing with justice.
  • Satoru Yamashita – (the blonde factor at JUDA) A subordinate of Reiji and also obsessed with him. Also serious but can be cheerful. She pilots the machina known as Hind-Kind.
  • Shizuna Endo – One of the twins of JUDA, She is very loud and always screaming and hurting Koichi but you can tell she has feelings towards him, especially when Kouichi treats her as a girl and compliments her. She and her brother pilot the machina known as Deceive.
  • Izuna Endo – One of the twins of JUDA, he is very shy and introverted. His sister Shizuna is more domineering. He pilots the machina Deceive along with his sister.
  • Miu Kujo – The kindhearted (and well-endowed) member of JUDA. She has a crush on Kouichi after he saved her life. She pilots the machina Painkiller.
  • Kunio Ishigami – The Chief of JUDA Corporation. A former high-ranking officer of the Katou Organization with many secrets. Also, loves to prank his pilots and have fun.
  • Yui Ogawa – Ishigami’s secretary and is the more maternal member of JUDA, giving the pilots advice and admonishing her boss for his pranks.
  • Rachel Calvin – A genius from the US who is the chief of research and development for JUDA. Often gets angry with Kouichi.

The Katou Organization:

  • Hisataka Katou – The head of the Katou Organization. Cold and calm, his goal is world conquest with bloodshed. He is the pilot of the massive mecha known as Shangri-La.
  • Masaki Sugwara – The right hand man of Katou. The First Division Captain who is mysterious and sports a cowboy outfit and long hair with no emotions. Pilots the second largest Machina known as Glein-Neidr.
  • Takuro Sawatari – The Fourth Division Captain of the Katou Organization. Violent and brutal and wants to destroy Linebarrel. He pilots the Arma Idaten.
  • Dimitri Magarov – Third Division Captain and a creepy looking man who pilots the Arma, Kagutsuchi.
  • Yurianne Faithful – The Seventh Division Captain. An attractive redhead who pilots the Arma Tsubaki-Hime.
  • Riku Ousei – The Eighth Division Captain who is very obese and a psychopath. Pilots the Arma Yaoyorozu.
  • Jack Smith – The Sixth Division Captain – A human with a power of the Arma, doesn’t pilot any mecha and follows the code of honor in combat.

“Linebarrels of Iron: OVA Collection” comes with a total of 2 OVA episodes on one DVD. Here is a basic, spoilerless summary of each episode:

  • EPISODE 1 – Pretty Girl Genius Scientist Rachel – There are two parts in this first episode.  The first part is a prologue of how the young American genius Rachel Calvert came to join JUDA and become their chief of research and development.  The second part features Rachel broadcasting a show on her new co-workers of JUDA.
  • EPISODE 2 – Shadows of Iron – The JUDA team are on a break but suddenly the are attacked by a group of Linebarrels.  Who is responsible for them?

VIDEO:

“Linebarrels of Iron: OVA Collection” definitely looks better than its TV counterpart.  More artistic backgrounds, more lighting, more shading and more detail are featured on the OVA episodes.  For the first OVA, we see a Rachel Calvin visiting a variety of locations and the fact that this is an OVA and not a TV episode that has a much more strict deadline, there is more effort put into the overall artistic backgrounds and more locations are featured.

Meanwhile, the second episode features much more mecha action and great battles between Moritsugu and the other Linebarrels.  Also, a much more emphasis on the the female characters bosom it seems.  So, if anything, its quite evident that the OVA episodes are geared for the men because there is quite a bit of fan-service in these two episodes.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Audio for “Linebarrels of Iron: OVA Collection” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and Japanese Stereo. Both voice acting for the English and Japanese are well done. The English dub is very well done and was quite pleased with the amount of action and sound effects. Good use of surround channels and good punchy bass for booms from the subwoofer. I definitely would love to hear this soundtrack ala lossless audio if brought to Blu-ray. But for the most part, English dub soundtrack is well done and more immersive. Japanese soundtrack is very good but only in stereo but if you have a home theater receiver capable of setting audio on all channels, it definitely makes the soundtrack much more immersive.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Linebarrels of Iron: OVA Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • Textless Opening Song – (1:47) Opening theme song by JAM Project.
  • Textless Closing Song – (1:35) The ending theme by Maaya Sakamoto.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

“Linebarrels of Iron” is a pretty cool mecha, harem anime TV series and I definitely recommend both DVD volumes currently available from FUNimation Entertainment.

But what makes me scratch my head is the fact that these two episodes were not included in part 2 of the “Linebarrels of Iron” TV series because these are two short episodes that could have easily been put on the part two DVD (which FUNImation Entertainment usually does).  But because there are only two episodes on a single DVD, this anime release is budget-priced.

The first episode is Rachel Calvin driven, and while Rachel is known as the feisty young American genius, not really too sure why she got her own episode but for fans of the series, it is a welcome addition since we don’t know too much about her.

But the second episode is where the action’s at and the way it ends, it ends in a cliffhanger and makes you wonder if there will be a continuing TV series or OVA release to continue this storyline.

The only reason why I think that these two OVA’s were not included in PART 2 of the “Linebarrels of Iron” TV series DVD box set was because these are some fan service that may have needed a different type of rating.  For example, the opening sequence tries to make the young Rachel Calvin seem quite sexy.  But she’s a young girl and personally, she’s the last person you expected the animators trying to make sexy but I suppose the hardcore otaku fans of the series will probably dig that.  And of course, the second episode, definitely a fan service episode with Kizaki and Ritsuko in their teeny bikinis.  But that is my opinion of why these episodes were not included on the Part 2 DVD box set.

On it’s own, it’s hard to recommend this OVA to people who have never watched the TV series but if you have, then the fact that this release goes for under $10 is quite enticing and I can see fans of the series definitely purchasing this OVA collection.

Overall, “Linebarrels of Iron: OVA Collection” is more for the fans of the series and by no means are these two episodes meant as a starting point for those curious of “Linebarrels of Iron”.  Watch both volumes of the TV series first and then watch this OVA collection.






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