Armored Trooper Votoms (1983– )
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But so what--it is an action-packed character-driven tale, taking place in the Astragious Galaxy-- a galaxy and a society not our own...yet in some ways, similar. The story follows Chirico Cuvie as he attempts to find out who nearly killed him on a secret mission. Along the way, Chirico meets a dedicated group of friends, a mysterious but beautiful woman, Fyana,and gets clues that lead to shocking revelations about his own forgotten past and his incredible destiny.
During that, we're treated to great characters and kick-ass mecha combat featuring one of anime's most realistic mecha--the Scopedog. VOTOMS never flinches from showing the harsh reality of war--people die (rather messily, too) and sometimes one cannot tell the good guys from the bad. The higher-ups are the ones moving the chess pieces, but even then, they too may be pawns as well...
VOTOMS is still popular in Japan after all these years, and a new series, THE PAILSEN FILES, just started in Japan. Once again, the original creative crew has come back, including Ryosuke Takahashi, the director; Shoji Yoshikawa, the writer; Norio Shioyama, the character designer; and Kunio Okawara, the mecha designer. Okawara is no mere name in anime, for the man is THE mecha designer, one whose long list of works (GUNDAM, DOUGRAM, SPT LAYZNER, DRAGONAR, for starters) set the standard.
It's too bad that only the original series is available in the US, and that there are not many VOTOMS fans here...but I could be wrong. It is still an excellent show, and while I don't agree that it beats out GUNDAM (the original 1979 series and the original three movies, not that GUNDAM SEED stuff), it is a worthy successor. At a time when people seem to think that starting wars is fun and has no consequences, VOTOMS reminds us in all its terrible glory that war, truly, is hell.