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Anime / Armored Trooper VOTOMS

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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. Severely 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 on TV Tokyo 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 Brilliantly 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:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: 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.
  • Absent Aliens: Although we do see some subspecies of humans, like the Quentmen and the purple-skinned Nor Barcoff from Pailsen Files.
    • There are also various strange animals like the spider-like creature Chirico throws at a police officer.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Hero: Chirico, to Byronic levels. Also, Mellowlink, powered by hatred and revenge.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fragile Speedster: The ATs zip around much faster than your average Humongous Mecha thanks to their Rollerblade Good but they really can't take much punishment. The whole point of giving the mechs wheels on their soles was so the action could be much more dynamic than in Gundam. Interestingly enough, as one of the comments on this page shows, production was originally intending to simply have the VOTOMS dash in straight lines, stopping every 40 or so meters, but a female member of the animation crew was a slalom fan and suggested they should strafe, giving us the extended battle sequences of the show.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Insistent Terminology: Taking a page from Asimov; despite Wiseman's true form being a Quaintian Overman who uploaded his consciousness into a massive supercomputer mainframe and Chirico's origin as a Overman (an evolved human with perfect reflexes and survival instinct), the majority of the galaxy still declare such beings as either 'God', or 'Children of God'.
  • Interrogated for Nothing: Being subjected to this forces Chirico to desert from the Gilgamesh army.
  • In the Hood: Referenced with the design of the Standing Tortoise, the Secret Society's generic AT and the main mass-produced 'villain machine' of the series. Its vestigial 'head' resembles a shadowy cowl, fitting for the face of the enigmatic and ominous Society's armed forces.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Strike Dog and Rabidlydog in TV series. They're heavy-class ATs 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 ATs 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: Appears in the Z, OE, T, and DD incarnations of Super Robot Wars, as well as SRW 30 via paid DLC.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Meta example. The fact that there's never been a remaster or blu-ray of Mellowlink or Shining Heresy is because the original masters were destroyed in a fire.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catch-Phrase: The show went above and beyond with this - every episode of the original show has its own variation.
  • 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.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Kanjelman. He might be pretty old but for a regular human he's very agile and strong.
  • 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.
  • Short Film: 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:
  • 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.
  • Storming the Beaches: The first episode of Pailsen Files features a disastrous opposed landing against a Balarant position. While the overall operation was a success, the on-screen battle only has a single survivor - Chirico.
  • 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, ATs, 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.