Armored Trooper VOTOMS (装甲騎兵ボトムズ Sōkō Kihei Botomuzu?) is a 52-episode anime television series, created by Ryosuke Takahashi and Sunrise, featuring mechanical designs by Kunio Okawara. The series originally aired in Japan from April 1, 1983 to March 23, 1984 on TV Tokyo. Following directly in the footsteps of Takahashi's previous hit series, Fang of the Sun Dougram, VOTOMS continued the trend towards hard science in the mecha anime sub-genre. The televised series focuses on the story of stoic Armored Trooper pilot Chirico Cuvie and his quest for answers after a sudden betrayal leaves him on the run from his own military. The series was supplemented by numerous original video animation releases, and also inspired a number of spin-off works whose media ranges from serialized light novels to video games.
The series followed a main character named Chirico Cuvie, a special forces Armored Trooper pilot and former member of the Red Shoulder Battalion, an elite force used by the Gilgamesh Confederation in its war against the Balarant Union—both interstellar nations within the distant Astragius Galaxy. Gilgamesh and Balarant had until recently been locked in a century-old galactic war whose cause was long ago forgotten. Now, the war is ending and an uneasy truce has settled.
Chirico is suddenly transferred to a unit engaged in a suspicious mission, unaware that he is aiding to steal secrets from what appears to be his own side. Chirico is betrayed and left behind to die, but he survives, is arrested by the Gilgamesh military as a traitor, and tortured for information on their homeworld. He escapes, triggering a pursuit extending across the entire series, with Chirico hunted by the army and criminals alike as he seeks the truth behind the operation. He is especially driven to discover the truth of one of the objects he was assigned to retrieve in that operation: a mysterious and beautiful woman who would become his sole clue to unraveling the galactic conspiracy.
The main characters of the series take their names from the Greek alphabet. Chirico, (Japanese transliteration, "Kiriko"), is from the Greek letter "chi" (Χ), Fyana (Fuiana) is from Greek letter "phi" (Φ), and Ypsilon (Ipushiron) from the Greek letter "upsilon" (Υ).
Except for its starships and medical technology, the VOTOMS universe is fairly low-tech (and is often described as hard science fiction). Soldiers and combat vehicles alike are equipped with missiles and projectile weapons; only large spaceships have energy weapons, and then only in small numbers. The main weapon of the conflict is the common Armored Trooper (also known as AT, described in a derogatory term as a 'tin can with a machine gun'), a mass-produced humanoid combat vehicle piloted by a single soldier. They are known alternately as VOTOMS (Vertical One-man Tank for Offense & ManeuverS).
ATs are rugged, simple machines equipped with one or two weapon systems, usually a light automatic cannon and a rocket or missile pod. They stand between three to four meters tall, with the pilot occupying most of the chest area and the head. Batteries are used to energize a special liquid called Polymer Ringers Solution in the limbs' "muscle cylinders" to emulate a range of human-like motion. Polymer Ringers Solution is highly flammable and breaks down over time, requiring regular replenishment for ATs that do not have Polymer Ringers Solution Purifier systems (typically housed in armored backpacks). ATs can be readily maintained in the field and can even be put together from spare parts using little more than a simple workshop. Unlike other mechas in other series at the time Votoms came out, the Votoms are more or less walking tanks as they can not fly or transform.
ATs have simple internal computer systems that allow them to operate in a semi-autonomous or "rabbit" mode without a pilot. Pilots may also prepare a "mission disk" in advance of deployment which is then inserted into the cockpit computer. The mission disk is used to store information relating to maneuvers that the pilot anticipates will be necessary, such as using the evaluation of an opponent's tactics to prepare against him. The pilot activates the mission disk at the appropriate time and the AT's execution of pre-programmed maneuvers then becomes faster when the pilot needs them. This allows the pilot to pay more attention to the battle and react faster as a result.
- OVA Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Red Shoulder Document: The Roots of Ambition (レッドショルダードキュメント 野望のルーツ) - set roughly a year prior to the TV series
- OVA Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Pailsen Files (ペールゼン・ファイルズ)
- OVA Armor Hunter Mellowlink (機甲猟兵メロウリンク) - starts four months prior to the TV series
- TV Anime Armored Trooper VOTOMS episodes 1-13, Uoodo storyline
- OVA Armored Trooper VOTOMS: The Last Red Shoulder (ザ・ラストレッドショルダー)
- TV Anime Armored Trooper VOTOMS episodes 14-27, Kummen storyline
- OVA Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Battle Of The Heterogeneous Species (ビッグバトル Big Battle) - set during the one-year gap in the TV series
- TV Anime Armored Trooper VOTOMS episodes 28-39, Sunsa storyline
- TV Anime Armored Trooper VOTOMS episodes 40-52, Quent storyline
- OVA Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Shining Heresy (赫奕たる異端) - set 32 years after the television series
- OVA Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Alone Again (孤影再び) - begins 3 months after the end of Shining Heresy
- OVA Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Phantom Chapter (幻影篇)
Opening: Honoo No Sadame (Destiny of the Flames)
Ending: Itsumo Anata ga (Always You)
- Lyrics: Ryōsuke Takahashi
- Composition and Arrangement: Hiroki Inui
- Performed by: Tetsurō Oda
VOTOMS has appeared in numerous video games since the series' original airing. None of them have seen release outside Japan.
- X68000: Dead Ash
- PC8801: Black Unicorn
- PC-9801: Votoms: The Real Battle
- Super Famicom: Votoms - The Battling Road
- PlayStation: Blue Sabre Knights
- PlayStation: Armored Trooper Votoms - Uoodo and Kummen
- PlayStation: Brave Saga (as a guest character)
- PlayStation: Armored Trooper Votoms Lightning Slash
- PlayStation: Armored Trooper Votoms Steel Force
- PlayStation: Brave Saga 2 (as a guest character)
- Dreamcast: Sunrise Eiyuutan (as a guest character)
- PlayStation 2: Sunrise Eiyuutan 2 (as a guest character)
- WonderSwan: Harobots (as a guest character)
- Game Boy Color: GB Harobots (as a guest character)
- Game Boy Color: Brave Saga Shinsou Astaria (as a guest character)
- PlayStation 2: Soukou Kihei Votoms / Armored Trooper Votoms
For a limited time the Armored Trooper Votoms - Uoodo and Kummen game included a Red Shoulder Custom model. Chirico also figures in the Sunrise Eiyuutan (Sunrise Heroes) game for the PlayStation 2
VOTOMS was a direct inspiration for the Heavy Gear role-playing game. VOTOMS also has its own official role-playing game, developed by R. Talsorian Games and using the Fuzion system.
- Armor Hunter Mellowlink, a 12-episode OVA series set in the same universe, but with a different story and characters. Loosely ties in with events that lead to the start of the main TV series.
- Official site (Japanese)
- Episode Synopsis
- Official Roleplaying Game
- Armored Trooper Votoms (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Votoms Then and Now Otaku USA
- THEM anime review
- Armored Trooper Votoms Series Overview
- Mania vol 1 review
- Mania vol 7 review
- Mania vol 8 review
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