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Episode 1: Swarm of the Bartoll

 

Review by Peter Laliberte

January 1, 2007

 

Summary

 

Assembly line machines work away in a blood spattered factory. Elsewhere, Kyosuke Nanbu in his Alteisen Riese patrols the Earth Federation's Far East area along with Excellen Browning and her Weissritter. Excellen suggests they end the patrol, but Kyosuke says they haven't finished their scheduled route. She suggests they go to a place with a better signal because the broadcast is about to start, but Kyosuke tells her to leave the information gathering to their teammate, Kusuha Mizuha. Up in orbit, Ryusei Date lands his R-1 mech on the battleship Hagane. He hurries and meets with his fellow teammates Rai F. Branstein, Viletta Vadim, Aya Kobayashi and her sister Mai. Ryusei asks if it's started yet, but Mai tells him it hasn't. She comments on how he's been looking forward to it and he says he can't wait to see the new model. Rai says it's the first of its kind and Viletta explains it's called the Bartoll, built by Wong Industries. Mai says she's never heard of them and Viletta says it's their first time working for the military. Aya says they must be something and Viletta explains that the Bartoll had the best performance. Ryusei exclaims that he wants to go to the exhibition area too. Back on Earth, Kusuha along with Lamia Loveless, Arado Balanga, Seolla Schweizer and Latooni Subota await the Bartolls' arrival. Kusuha is surprised to learn the others haven't piloted an actual Bartoll, but they explain they've only done simulations. Lamia says it will be deployed under their unit but Arado says he doesn't want to give up what he's used to. Latooni explains that the military's priority is the deployment of high performance models. Seolla asks Kusuha if the rest of the ATX team will come and she answers that Kyosuke ordered her to collect information. Arado comments that they're running two hours late already. A TV official asks his crew about the delay but they say the factory sent them out on schedule. The Bartolls are detected and they perform aerial maneuvers. Much to everyone's surprise, the Bartolls attack and destroy several Huckebein MK-II Ms. Lamia orders Latooni, Arado and Seolla to get ready to sortie and tells Kusuha to follow her. Bartolls circle around and use missiles to destroy the platform they're on, blowing them away. The TV crews are destroyed and Ryusei wonders what's going on. Hagane's captain, Tetsuya Onodera, calls them and says that Bartolls are attacking the Izu base. They easily destroy the base and only three Huckebeins manage to launch. They destroy a Bartoll, but are quickly killed themselves. The Hagane prepares to descend but they're flooded by reports of bases being attacked. Bartolls easily lay waste to bases all over the world. At their base, Kyosuke and Excellen are told that their teammate Brooklyn "Bullet" Luckfield has already launched in his Grungust Type 3 to go after Kusuha. Bullet tries to contact Kusuha, but he can't get through. He vows that he won't let them die and continues on. Kyosuke and Excellen sortie to help another base. The military's command center continues to get reports and they wonder how there could be more Bartolls then there should be. Soldiers attack a Bartoll's cockpit, but only dent it before they're killed. The Bartolls detect Kyosuke's and Excellen's arrival, so Excellen attacks them with her rifle. It's deflected by a beam coat and Kyosuke says it won't be easy since they're new models. He adds he doesn't mind taking a chance against tough odds.

 

The Alteisen takes some hits and Kyosuke comments the lock on speed is fast but it doesn't stand up to the Alt in terms of durability. He uses his revolver bunker to destroy some Bartolls and Excellen shoots down some missiles. She takes a Bartoll out with her rifle and Kyosuke gets another one with his bunker. He reloads and they both take out the last Bartoll. Excellen comments that they were less of a challenge than she suspected. Bullet arrives at the exhibition site and calls out for Kusuha and Lamia. Kyosuke and Excellen arrive and she detects the use of gas. She says it's not harmful anymore and they exit their mechs. Bullet looks for the others and Kyosuke says it's too clean. He explains that with so many people, even if they did evacuate there should be at least a few bodies. More Bartolls are detected and they board their mechs. Excellen fires but the shot is dodged. She says it hit them last time and they dodge more missiles. Kyosuke uses his bunker, but the Bartoll avoids it. Kyosuke is shot from behind and crashes into a TV screen. He wonders if they read his moves and attacks again to be sure. The Bartoll dodges and Kyosuke warns the others. Excellen says the ones they fought before weren't that tough and knocks one away. She says it's using attacks she's not good against and one catches her. Bullet knocks it into a bridge with his drill boost knuckle. He destroys another one and Excellen says they must not have the Grungust's data. More Bartolls engage her and they receive a warning from the Hagane. The ATX team moves and the Hagane destroys many Bartolls with its impact guns. Ryusei launches from the Hagane in the R-1 with Rai in the R-2 Powered and Aya in the R-3 Powered. Bartolls fire missiles at Ryusei, but Kyosuke blocks them. Kyosuke attacks with his bunker again, but destroys the Bartoll with his chain gun when it dodges. Rai uses his beam chakram to destroy several Bartolls while Aya destroys some with her strike shields. Ryusei says he won't miss out, but the Bartolls retreat. Tetsuya orders them to return and Excellen wonders who the enemy was. Kyosuke says they'll have to ask them themselves. Ryusei asks about Kusuha and Latooni and Bullet says thousands of others are missing too. Rai says some children and middle-aged men were left behind. Aya wonders if they might have taken shelter with the high ranking military officials. Excellen says they've been asking around Izu but haven't gotten an answer. Viletta informs them a Bartoll has been recovered and they go to the hangar. Ryoto Hikawa tells them that something's strange. He points out that the open switch is gone and that he can't contact the pilot. They cut open the cockpit and a naked female body suspended on wires falls out. Gilliam Yager enters the hangar and identifies it as the ODE System.

 

Commentary

 

Super Robot Wars has always been quite popular and since Original Generation wouldn't cause any licensing issues, this OVA was made. This first episode was released along with Original Generation 2. Since it takes place after Original Generation 2, only those familiar with the games can truly appreciate it. That being said, the only real added advantage is that you know who the characters are. A total newbie to the series (which is what I was when I first watched it) can still easily enjoy it. Since the characters are already established, more focus is put on the mech battles. The battles are well done and show off the signature attacks that fans have come to know and love. The mysteries of the Bartolls are coming to light and with two more episodes left, who knows who else could show up.

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Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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Buy the collection (eps 1-26, OVA 1-3) on DVD from Amazon
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