Anime: Armored Trooper VOTOMS
That day, the accursed war which had so disrupted my destiny had ended. But its end was ultimately meaningless for me. The moment I saw her, my own personal war had begun.
— Chirico Cuvie
Astragius Galaxy, year 7213. For one hundred years the space nations of Gilgamesh and Balarant have warred against each other for reasons long forgotten. Severly exhausted, they both agreed to a ceasefire. With peace just over the horizon, some Gilgamesh soldiers turned traitor and attacked a Gilgamesh research station to steal its contents.
Their only problem is that Chirico Cuvie, a last-minute transfer from the Special Forces who is not in the know about the whole treason thing, finds their main objective first: a strange woman locked inside a container filled with blue light. Almost dying from the traitors' attempt to silence him, Chirico is picked up by the main Gilgamesh force, who brutally interrogate him about the operation. He escapes, and sets out to find the truth behind that day and that woman.Armored Trooper VOTOMS
is a 52-episode anime
series that ran from April 1, 1983 to March 23, 1984, directed by Ryosuke Takahashi. It is divided up into four separate arcs, each one with their own unique mood and setting. Several additional VOTOMS OVAs
have been created, such as the Pailsen Files
, set before the events of the main series, and the Heretic Saints/Shining Heresy
, set 32 years after the events of the series, as well as several other one-shot OVAs
detailing the life of Chirico Cuvie, the series protagonist and others. A spinoff, Armor Hunter Mellowlink
, was also created; it is set in the same universe as VOTOMS, but involves an entirely different cast of characters.
The character sheet
is practically complete now.
Armored Trooper VOTOMS contains examples of the following tropes:
- Absent Aliens: Although we do see some subspecies of humans, like the Quentmen and the purple-skinned Nor Barcoff from Pailsen Files.
- Ace Custom: Considering how simply designed an average AT is, it isn't a surprise that quite a lot of individual mods exist. Most notably, there are the Turbo Custom, Red Shoulder and Burglary Dog derivatives of the regular Scopedog made and used by Chirico. Subverted in that they break as easy as normal ATs and the difference is usually a bunch of extra guns strapped to it.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Kanjelman. He might be pretty old but for a regular human he's very agile and strong.
- Badass Normal:
- Chirico Subverted, because the last story arc reveals Chirico to be superhuman
- Played straighter than any show should be allowed to with Mellowlink. He's basically the Golgo 13 of the VOTOMS universe.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Subverted. Captain Rochina tries to do one near the end of the series: telling the soldiers from the Society that he has to enter the Wiseman Chamber as an order from Killy. He fails.
- Berserk Button: It's probably not a good idea to play the Red Shoulder march anywhere within the earshot of Chirico.
- Big Brother Mentor: To some extent, Gotho
- Blood Sport: Battling on Planet Uoodoo.
- Paygan takes this to the extreme in Case; Irvine, going as far as firing into the crowd just to have Irvine fight him in his upgraded Blood Dog.
- Born Lucky: Chirico, who with a combination of his own skill and some pretty unbelievable luck manages to defy odds and survive things no other man should. Subverted when he's revealed to be an Abnormal Survivor, with minor Reality Warper powers.
- Mellowlink. Although he has some pretty cunning tactics and prepares for the worst when he can, many times he survives his fights simply because fortune favors him. Also, one of the more important factors for Red Shoulders and Abnormal Survivors is luck, or at least Pailsen believes so.
- Conspicuous CG: The Pailsen Files, although not as egregious as some other CG adaptations of older anime it's still cheap looking enough to set off some fans who preferred the conventional animation of the older OVAs.
- While it does indeed stand out when compared to the rest of the show's animation, at the same time the CG itself has some quite fluid animation for the Armored Troopers, especially in servo and joint manipulation.
- Crapsack World: Melkia seems to have deteriorated into this following the Gilgamesh-Balarant conflict, if Uoodo and the Kunmen region are anything to go by.
- Determinator: Chirico, Yipsilon and multiple other characters. Though Mellowlink tops all of them.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- The entire Kunmen arc is more than a little reminiscent of the Vietnam War, complete with the jungle villages, the harsh conflict between the stubborn natives and the brutal mercenaries, the moral ambiguity...and the fact that it takes the form of a proxy war between the Melkians and the Secret Society.
- The first scene of the Pailsen Files is D-Day, plain and simple. The show doesn't even try to be subtle with it. It uses some of the exact same camera shots as Saving Private Ryan. Lampshaded by the fansubbers by having inserting on-screen during the eyecatch "was it me, or was that whole scene just D-Day with robots?"
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Arguably subverted, in that while Gotho, Vanilla, and Coconna go on to live happy and peaceful lives, the galaxy is plunged back into war, this time without Wiseman guiding them, and an entire planet has been destroyed, displacing all its inhabitants.
- Eyecatch: Starts out as Chirico looking back as the show logo comes on, but gets upgraded to Chirico looking back as the screen flashes blue and the show logo comes on, then to Chirico looking back as the show logo flashes blue to come on.
- Expy: The Scopedog is modeled after mooks of Gundam franchise, Zakus.
- Faux Action Girl: Surprisingly, Fyana, despite her being really tough in the first arc, she quickly descends into a Damsel in Distress. Later remedied somewhat, fighting alongside Chirico, but her dependance of Jijirium radiation often leaves her incapacitated.
- Fun with Acronyms: The titular VOTOMS stands for Vertical One-man Tank for Offense and ManueverS.
- Gambit Pileup: Much of the series, but the final showdown of the Kummen arc in particular.
- Everyone having been manipulated by Wiseman.
- Girl in a Box: Fyana, although she stays in the box for a while after Chirico opens it.
- Guns Akimbo: Mostly used as concentrated fire in the general direction. The effective use of different targets in different directions variant is restricted to the Super Soldiers. Barcoff, already fatally wounded, stands in the open and keeps firing left and right to take as many Balarant ATs with him and to buy time for Chirico and Zaki.
- Hand Cannon: Chirico's handgun resembles a sawed-off shotgun more than your average pistol, and he can take out an AT with it, shooting the pilot straight through the armor.
- Honor Before Reason: Chirico trying to save Fyana even though he could easily walk away and in doing so would probably escape from those who are after him. Coconna also, when she tries to save him, forcing Gotho and Vanilla to come along with her early on in the series—when the three of them could just as easily escape and leave Chirico behind, especially considering Chirico doesn't always want their help.
- Interrogated for Nothing: Being subjected to this forces Chirico to desert from the Gilgamesh army.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Strike Dog and Rabidlydog in TV series. They're heavy-class A Ts like Standing Tortoises, but have better performance than Scopedogs. The Strike Dog suffers from short operational time, but the Rabidlydog fixed that. The Last Red Shoulder added the Bloodsucker and Big Battle added the Ecrevisse to this trope. It's worthy to note that while Chirico could stand up against the Strike Dog and Bloodsuckers with just a modified Scopedog, he needed a Light Scopedog to keep up with the Ecrevisse.
- Made of Explodium: Polymer Ringer's Solution, the fuel that allows A Ts to move in a fluid human-like way, is so volatile that a sufficiently hard impact, or even exposure to a large enough temperature difference will cause it to ignite without warning.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Appear in Super Robot Wars: Z II: Hakai-hen, Sasei-hen, and Z III: Jigoku-hen.
- Mighty Glacier: Technically, the Standing Tortoise is this to the Scopedog. It has thicker armor and can carry more missiles. But it isn't as fast and also is harder to control, notable for fact that it can't turn its head camera independent of the body; the pilot's only sideview option is by sliding a shutter on the cockpit's side and looking with his own eyes.
- Mini-Mecha: The four-meter tall Armored Troopers, expendable to the extent that they are usually deployed in thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands. Of which it is unlikely for even a tenth to survive. While sufficiently equipped to wage war anywhere, from difficult terrain to open space, they are still quite vulnerable and easily destroyed.
- The upgraded version of the Blood Dog in Case; Irvine almost broke tradition.
- Morality Chain: Coconna, to Chirico and company.
- The Neidermeyer: Capt. Kan Yu of the Assemble EX-10 mercenaries. While he actually is a fairly proficient soldier and AT pilot, he sucks as a team leader. He is short-tempered, refuses to listen to anything his subordinates say that isn't obsequious agreement, guns down civilians at the slightest provocation (real or imagined - half the time, the civvies die simply for breathing), and has compromised at least one covert op simply to show what big balls he has. Then, there's the little fact that he despises Chirico yet keeps getting his ass saved by him, which just adds fuel to the fire of his hate...
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - In Pailsen Files, After Chirico, Godan and Zaki blow up an entire PRL tank deposit, the explosion created a massive dust cloud that completely blocks out the sunlight, causing the entire planet to turn from a hot desert into a snowy tundra, thrown in with an impending super cold air-mass as cold as minus 250 degrees.
- Off Model: Episode 29 of the original series had some very sloppily drawn scenes of Chirico and Fyana. There's also a shot memetically known as "Chirico is dead"/"dead Chirico" due to the questionable quality of how his unconscious body was drawn.
- The scientist twins occasionally have their uniform colors swapped, and episode 32 even had a scene where they spoke in each others' voices for a brief dialogue exchange.
- Only Known by Their Nickname - The official names for various AT's are never revealed. Some are only known by their Battling ringname like the Purple Bear (a scout variant of Scopedog) or Strong Bacchus (heavy armored Scopedog), while the Balarant Union's AT's are known by Gilgamesh's silly English codenames (e.g. the Fatty), with the sole exception being the Ecrevisse (French for "crayfish").
- Pile Bunker: Mellowlink's signature weapon. Also seen on all Berserga-type AT.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Coconna wears a dress with feathers on the sleeves in the Kunmen arc.
- The Power of Friendship - Gotho, Vanilla, and Coconna are somehow always there to save Chirico whether he wants their help or not. Early on Coconna had to somehow force Gotho and Vanilla to come along and help rather than leave Chirico to die.
- The Power of Hate: What drives Mellowlink in his quest for Revenge.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits - The Barcoff Squad in Palisen Files.
- Reality Warper: Abnormal Survivors. several are speculated to be these, but only Chirico seems to truly incarnate the often insane survival skills seen mainly in Roots of Ambition, Pailsen Files and the last episode of Shining Heresy.
- To be more specific, it's believed (or at least Pailsen thinks so) that Abnormal Survivors subtly influence given probabilities of things happening around them, causing lethal situations to become non-lethal or even harmless.
- Real Robot Genre: One of the early pioneers of this genre. Armored Troopers are mass-produced, have a very basic design, have limited ammunition, require refueling, and are basically bipedal tanks.
- Screw Destiny: In the finale, Chirico is offered godhood by Wiseman, an ancient computer system that has been manipulating civilization for millennia. He has been groomed by Wiseman for this fate his entire life. Naturally, he destroys Wiseman, first by shooting it, and then by dismantling it piece by piece.
- Shirtless Scene: Chirico gets a lot of these.
- Short Anime Movie: Over the years many OVAs have been released, expanding the storyline and character details and filling in some of the loose threads of the series.
- Shout-Out: To 2001: A Space Odyssey. The destruction of Wiseman is very obviously based on HAL-9000's death scene.
- Teitania is a Terminator. Even the music when she is chasing some "freelance cold capsule contractors" is similar to the score of the films.
- Each of the four arcs is similar to a film. Woodo is First Blood, Kunmen is Rambo, Sunsa is Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Quent is 2001.
- Sinister Minister: Borough. While the nature of religion in the Votoms universe is largely unexplained (until Shining Heresy), his garb is unmistakably that of a high religious official.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Everything, from a lowly Scopedog to a mighty space battleship blows up very easily. And in droves. Taken to the limits in Pailsen Files where an entire armada and a fortress planet with garrison is destroyed.
- Taken a step further in episodes 30 and 33, where Standing Tortoise Mk-2s blow up just by being slammed with EMPTY bazookas, one thrown, and one used as a baseball bat.
- You can usually tell how close to the end of an Act in the original series you are by the amount of explosions seen in an episode. Generally by the arc finale EVERYTHING will be blowing up, including vehicles, A Ts, and random scenery.
- The show's love of applying this trope led to an imageboard argument that concluded "The tech in Votoms honestly isn't realistic, in fact it may be less so than even some Gundam series. Votoms tech is cheap, highly prone to exploding, and would generally give a safety review board heart attacks."
- The Stoic: Chirico Cuvie, to a degree that vastly exceeds many other mecha protagonists (or even anime protagonists in general), only rarely changing his expression, and then usually not changing beyond dull surprise or pain. It's such an iconic part of the character that literally every picture of him when he appears has him wearing this expression.
- Super Prototype: Double subverted in PS1 Steel Force video games, where player can find the prototype of Scopedog, Spending Wolf. At first glance, it seem to be slower version of Scopedog. The "super" part come from fact that Gilgamesh actually want every Spending Wolf to come back from battle and collect their data. So Spending Wolf has thicker armor, and few equipments, including fire extinguisher, that got removed in Scopedog.
- Super Soldier: The Perfect Soldiers Fyana and Ypsilon. The "Nextant" Tietania in the Shining Heresy OVA. Also, what Red Shoulders strive to be. Chirico too, although his origins are shrouded in mystery.
- Tracking Device: Gilgamesh has one injected in Chirico, which is removed at the start of the Kummen arc.
- Transhuman: The PS's arguably inspired Zeta Gundam's Cyber-Newtypes
- True Companions: Chirico, Gotho, Vanilla, Coconna, and later on Fyana, though Chirico isn't that requiting and often runs off to do things on his own, particularly early on in the series.
- Coconna especially due to her strong infatuation toward Chirico.
- Villainous Breakdown: Kan Yu suffers this after losing his position as the commander of Chirico's special team in a secret mission.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Chirico has blue hair, along with a few other minor characters. Most of the other major characters have normal hair colors.