One fine evening in Townhouse F1, I was kicking back when Eddie stepped into my room and asked that fateful question: "Hey Dave, we're going to order some tapes from Anime Nation. Want anything?" Being in a whimsical mood, I asked him to order the first box set of Armored Troopers VOTOMS, a show that I had never seen and that I had little knowledge about, figuring why not. So this $85 thing came in, and most of my roommates laughed at me for buying something random, but hey, it might be cool, right? Well, it turned out be a cleverly plotted story with interesting characters, exceeding my expectations.
Here is the plot: A war has been going on for over the last 100 years, and Chirico Cuvie is a VOTOM pilot. [Vertical One-man Tank for Offense and Maneuvers -- DON'T FORGET] Formerly part of a special forces team, he was transferred to a group of really bad and traitorous guys who were out to steal lots of gold and something called the "Prototype" from an outpost manned by their own side in the war. The traitors try to kill him, but Chirico is just too durable, and he obviously can't be killed in the first episode. However, the non-traitorous high command gets a hold of poor Chirico, thinks that he's in with the traitors, and subjects him to all sorts of electro-shocks and psychotropic drugs. After he has had enough, Chirico escapes to that den of sin and vice, a place worse than Sodom and Gommorrah combined: Uoodoo City. But the high command is not out of it yet, since they have placed a transponder under Chirico's skin. However, after 6 months, they still have not retrieved him. And so Chirico's quest to find out just what the hell is going on begins.
But what would a review of a mecha show be without a review of the mecha involved? In this case, that would be the ATs. The standard AT, upon which many variants were based, is the Scope Dog. This mech is unusual in both appearance and function. It is not a pretty machine, like the Gundams or the Valkyries, but a more crude and brutal machine. This is in keeping with the dark and sinister atmosphere that permeates VOTOMS [And what does that stand for? Vertical One-man Tank for Offense and Maneuvers]. Additionally, the ATs have treads on the bottoms of their feet that allow them to go at rapid speeds, but they sacrifice mobility. All in all, they are pretty nifty and an interesting change from the average mech.
So I would heartily recommend Armored Troopers VOTOMS, with one caveat. It is pretty old (1983), and it shows. The animation is a tad clunky, the music is rather poor (too much saxophone), and the closing is so lame. But outside of that, VOTOMS is really cool. Plus, it meets with the approval of our esteemed CJAS president, James. Not that that means much.