The Next Step in Realistic Mech
- Episodes : 52
- Genre : Action, Space, Mech, Military, Drama, Sci-Fi
- Airing Date : April 1, 1983 – March 24, 1984
- Producers : Sunrise
Soukou Kihei Votoms Introduction
Taking place in the far future, two galactic nations have finally ended their century-long war. However, some factions within the Melkian military are not done and have started an insurgency against their own nation by sneaking into their own base to steal military secrets. And whom do they set up to take the fall? Chirico Cuvie, one of their own unit members. Now framed for a crime he didn’t (intend to) commit, he must seek justice with his own wits and with the reluctant assistant of some new friends.
What We Liked About Soukou Kihei Votoms
The series came out during a time when the mech genre was going under reform thanks to the original Gundam series. Votoms takes the realistic mech genre to new extremities. While mech traditionally always have their pilots be teenage academic overachievers, Chirico on the other hand is a seasoned veteran with a 1,000 light year stare. He has hardened experience and skills in survival and combat. While other mech pilots tend to show fear and hesitation since they aren’t soldiers, Chirico treats it like second nature. So if you want a mech anime with a true soldier, Votoms is it.
Why You Should Watch Soukou Kihei Votoms
1. It’s a More Realistic Series
As we said earlier, Chirico is an experienced soldier and because of that, we get a more realistic series. Chirico knows how to fight in and out of a mech. Beyond the fighting, the political atmosphere also has a sense of realism. War has impoverished a majority of the planets. Some turn to crime, and there are those crime bosses that rule the planet or certain parts of the planet with an iron fist as it exploits its residents. Despite how hard the situations get, Chirico’s new friends are doing their best to make an honest living and to live good lives.
As we all know, some people who live in unfortunate circumstances also have to make due with what they have to not only enjoy the life they have, but to make a better one for themselves and their loved ones. Though giant robot warfare may not be realistic, the power of the human spirit most certainly is and this anime does a great job of capturing that.
2. It’s More About the Pilot
When it comes to some mech anime, whether it would be Gundam, Transformers, or Evangelion, the series puts a lot of emphasis on the mech and everyone can agree that’s cool. Votoms, on the other hand, isn’t exactly like that. Every soldier in this anime more or less pilots the same mech (though Yppsylon gets a custom one) and that includes Chirico. As opposed to a teenager getting a super mech, an elite soldier is just simply the superior pilot. Through Fyanna and Yppsylon, viewers see that the military in this anime is more interested in making a perfect soldier as opposed to a perfect mech showing the human element is still the most important quality is having the best military.
Chirico (though it shows he’s in a special class of his own by the ending), on the other hand, tries to make up for this with not only his superior training and experience, but with his own personal knowledge of engineering as he modifies his mech to match the skills of his opponent.
Why You Should Skip Soukou Kihei Votoms
1. It Shows Its Age
Though many longtime mech fans praise this series as a top 5-mech anime, to some fans, it has qualities that show its age. For example, the computers portrayed in this series aren’t the latest 5K iMacs. Instead, they’re more reminiscent of pre-Commodore computers with bulky desktops, monitors, line graphics, BASIC programming and 8-inch floppy disks. To some viewers, the portrayal of some aspects of technology based on what was released upon its broadcast can be used as comedic material.
2. Parts of the Plot Are Forced
A lot of what happens in Votoms can feel forced at times. The series at times does have difficulty finding balance between its humor and dark points. The humor is understandable, but can feel awkward, especially in the beginning. Other than that, Chirico’s obsession with Fyanna, which drives this series, really feels forced despite the reasons given for it. By the time it gets to the ending, it does make sense of everything that happened and why Chirico is so special, but at the same time, it forces him to be a Gary Stu, which he does thankfully reject.
Votoms is certainly for those that are mech enthusiasts. If you want something distinguishable from Gundam, Macross, and Evangelion, Votoms is certainly that anime you’re looking for. It has very interesting themes in regards to existence, religion, government, and who your true friends and family are. While the series does have its flaws in relation to its storytelling and portrayal of technology (in hindsight), try to watch it like it’s 1983, how it was an experimental series and that is where its fans can discover its appreciation.