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Goin’ Japanesque!

Armored Trooper Votoms: Japanese Mecha Anime Masterpiece of Over 30 Years

The anime I am introducing this time is “Armored Trooper Votoms (Soko Kihei Botomuzu)”, a mecha anime (robot anime) broadcasted in Japan from 1983 to 1984.

It is more than 30 years old, but this mecha anime has still deep-rooted popularity even today in 2017.

 

Synopsis

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Two interstellar states called Gilgames and Balarant in Astrageuse Galaxy have been continuing a galactic war for as long as 100 years.

The main character Kiriko Kyubie belongs to Red Shoulder in Gilgames Force, an elite unit that deploys combat robots called Armored Troopers. And he is dispatched in an operation with unknown objectives.

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During the operation Kiriko accidentally witnesses Fianna, a female created to be a perfect soldier.

Fianna being equipped with excellent judgment skills and superior physical abilities, her existence is a confidential matter and by discovering her, Kiriko now gets hunted down by the Gilgames Force he has belonged to.

Kiriko hops from one planet to another in the Astrageuse Galaxy, escaping from or fighting back the chase of the Gilgames Force, and he gradually gets closer to the core of conspiracy that has caught him.

 

Analysis

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In Japan several robot statues built in 1:1 scale exist.

This is because the anime that they are from are masterpieces that still remain in people’s hearts.

Some examples include Gundam introduced in another article.
There is also Tetsujin 28-go coming from a foundation work of the mecha anime.
Patlabor is a robot in a near-future world.
And we have Armored Trooper that appears in this anime.

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Inspired by this statue, Suidobashi Heavy Industry has developed a robot, Kuratas.

Kuratas has partially adopted the design of the Armored Trooper.

Furthermore game arcades in Japan that offer virtual reality playing provide game settings based on this story.

As shown in these examples Armored Troopers that appear in “Armored Trooper Votoms” are very attractive robots.

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First of all its design is radically different from that of previous robots.

It is devoid of a human-like face, made with a simple design including a camera lens and domed shape.

And its body also has a practical design with no ornament.

As for its actions it uses “arm punch mechanism” powered by gunpowder explosion in order to simplify punching actions. It moves by “roller dash”, an automatic high-speed transfer enabled by rollers attached to the leg part. These mechanisms seem like they may actually exist.

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Generally speaking a main robot operated by the main character tends to be a special machine with superior appearance and performances compared to other machines in the story.

But Kiriko, the main character of this anime rides in a robot nicknamed Scope Dog, which is a mass-produced type for ordinary soldiers to operate.

Rather supporting characters pilot robots with special designs and abilities in this story.

For this reason this anime includes an episode in the middle of the story in which the main character disposes his robot when it is destroyed and steals and maneuvers an enemy’s machine.

A robot is usually another main character of these stories, but this anime established a new perspective to treat robots as a vehicle or tool.

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The world of this story has decadent atmosphere of a post-war period, and its setting permeates to minor details.

Ten anime works have adopted the same world settings and if I include novels, manga and games, the total number may be quite a few.

The story depicts not just how the main character Kiriko Kyubie fights while investigating conspiracy. It also meticulously follows his personal change through his various experiences and meetings with other people from a quiet and honest soldier with little emotional expression he once was.

The story gradually reveals the conspiracy without losing attention of the audience as one mystery brings in another, and significant changes arrive towards the end.

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The anime is still popular in Japan today even though more than 30 years have passed since its broadcasting. The official website of the anime still exists at present, being continuously active and managed. Official Website

 

“Armored Trooper Votoms” has a deeply-structured world and a hard and realistic outlook of the world.

It is a must-view piece for you to discuss the history of Japanese mecha anime.

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Berial the Demon

About the author

It has been over 40 years of reading manga in the deep world of manga. Japan’s manga has an endlessly wide variety of genres. I will be recommending special manga for you to read from such infinite amount of works.

View all articles by Berial the Demon
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