One of the most underrated mecha series turns 40 and it’s a shame because it was and still is ahead of its time and that series is Armored Trooper Votoms.
The series is an original idea and was directed by Ryosuke Takahashi and written by Soji Yoshikawa and Jinzo Toriumi. The series follows Chirco Cuvie, a special force pilot who was at the wrong place at the wrong time and saw something he should not have seen and everyone wants him dead. What makes the series different from other mecha series such as Gundam is that the mecha in Votoms are more detailed and realistic real-life military issues that can happen in real-life scenarios. With such issues as PTSD, the cost of each outcome in battles, fighting within troops themselves and higher-ups and ethical choices make this series so wonderful to watch.
Not only that but the main weapon of choice in the series, the Armored Trooper Votoms is a humanoid mecha suit that moves and fights as if it was a human. The Votoms is short for Vertical One-man Tank for Offense & ManeuverS. The Votoms were designed by Kunio Okawara, the same designer that created the Mobile Suit Gundam series Gundams. The main Votoms is the iconic Scopedog which many have said is one of the most interesting and original designs ever made and is said it is possible to create in the real world due to the design detail that Okawara made for it.
The main thing that was always front and center in Votoms was the story, the story and character development and interaction with one another was the main focus and the action was second. While the slow burn is not for many and the topics in Votoms can at times go over one’s head, they make up for it with lots of action on the battlefield and music that keeps you in for the ride. The music for Votoms was done by Hiroki Inui who did a great job with the soundtrack. The opening and closing themes were done by Tetsuro Oda and they are just so good.
Votoms was the first series that would tell other side stories in the series via OVA and a spinoff that is many to be the blueprint on how spinoff should be done and that spinoff series is Armor Hunter Mellowlink.
Votoms does have a fan base and while not have the same popularity as Gundam, it still holds a place in anime.