Linebarrels of Iron
Anime DVD Review
Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman learns RIGHT AWAY that "with great power comes great responsibility", and thereafter, he's the good guy we can all relate to. On the other hand, we have Kouichi, the protagonist of Linebarrels of Iron, who becomes more and more of a douche-bag as the series progresses.
And the dude has been handed some enormous power. But it didn't come easily. His life starts out as a complete loser, a punching bag for every bully on the block. He wants to do what's right, but feels totally powerless. When the mysterious, naked, amnesiac Emi crash-lands on his pitiful existence, it literally knocks him off his feet and into a near-death (OK, it's actual death, but I don't want to give it away) experience that bonds him with the Linebarrel Mecha.
So now all that newfound power is going to his head. He wants to do what's right, but he's making a mess of the entire city while trying to do so. And people telling him to stop doesn't seem to stop him, he's got the "fight fever", and continues to pound away, regardless of the damage he's causing. And you've got Emi, now wondering if she hasn't handed near-infinite power to a borderline psychotic.
Oh, and just to stirr up more trouble, there are rival factions of Machinas all vying for the opportunity to defeat Linebarrel, take it over, and use it for their purposes. We're not even sure if the "good guys" (JUDA) are *really* the good guys at all.
And meantime, Kouichi has become a real jerk. His friends can't stand him, he makes his dream-girl sick, and anyone around him is going to get hurt or killed as the bad guys show up episode after episode to try and take Linebarrel. And therein lies the problem with the show. It's derivative, has distracting fanservice, and gets kind of repetitive. And the one original thing about it -- Kouichi -- is so unlikable as a protagonist, you have to wonder who greenlighted this at Gonzo.
If the series turns out to be about Kouichi's transformation into a true hero from the foundation of a jackass, then this could be the "Good Will Hunting" of anime. But can a dead person really grow as a character? (Hey, it worked for Yusuke Urameshi.) We're curious to find out and we hope you are as well.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, March 2010
Below: Scenese from Linebarrels of Iron.