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Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Alone Again

 

Review by Chris Guanche

June 2, 2011

 

Summary

 

Many rumors spread following Chirico Cuvie's attack on the Church of Marteal, including stories of battles between the Gilgamesh and Balarant, a fight over the succession for the new pope, and an attack by an undying man with improbable genetics. Teitania Montewells arrives at a castle that serves as a Nextant research facility. A technician prepares to perform maintenance on Teitania's body when suddenly several men break into the room and start firing machine guns. Teitania is offered a golden revolver by one of the nurses and uses it to kill all the gunmen. The technician apologizes and says it was an order from the Church, and a nurse adds that they don't have enough new fluids to replace the ones in Teitania's body. Teitania then kills the technician and asks to use the fluid purification filter, even though it will only work on her for a few days. She thinks to herself about how the Church lost its place as a galactic power with the Chirico incident. Teitania boards the ship the assassins were using and sees from their files that they've been following her since leaving Alegium, along with Chirico. Teitania then takes off and heads for space. On a transport ship, Chirico pulls his revolver on two men who attempt to steal his backpack. The ship then arrives at a space station in orbit of planet Melkia. Two station workers worry about the closeness of a Balarant fleet and wonder what the men on an arriving shuttle want. In the station's commercial section, Stevia Vartla receives a large shipment she didn't order with several containers full of Scopedogs. After the shuttle lands, heavily armed Gilgamesh soldiers take over the control room and pull up immigration records noting Chirico's arrival on the station. Stevia calls Bouleuse Gotho in the city of Palegia and tells him that her brother Soltio secretly smuggled in the Scopedogs. Gotho checks the station's cameras and is shocked to see Chirico. Chirico hides as the soldiers look for him, but Stevia finds him first and mentions Gotho and her father, Vanilla Vartla. Later, Stevia has the cargo transported down to the planet and loaded onto hovertrucks. Stevia hears a report about trouble on the roads and decides to travel through the desert. The hovertruck convoy travels though the desert, with Chirico hiding in one of the containers. The convoy stops when several AT Fly transport helicopters drop Burglary Dogs in front of them. The Burglary Dogs then open fire on the convoy and destroy one of the trucks. Chirico listens to the radio in Stevia's truck and hears the pilots identify themselves as part of the Palegian army. They state that all cargo inbound for Greffier will be searched. The Burglary Dogs continue their attack and destroy two more trucks.

 

Another Burglary Dog is dropped and approaches the last truck, so Chirico pretends to take Stevia hostage. The Burglary Dog opens fire anyway, and Chirico drops several explosives in the sand as he falls back. He then puts up his hands in surrender, and one of the pilots wonders if Chirico is the Untouchable One. The explosives then go off, and Chirico pulls the pilot out of the Burglary Dog. He then destroys the AT Flys arm punches one of the Burglary Dogs before tossing a grenade into the cockpit. He fires the missiles from his damaged Burglary Dog at point blank range, destroying both his and the enemy's ATs. Later, Chirico wakes up in a bed, watched over by Coconna Vartla and her daughter Chicio. Chirico tells Coconna that she hasn't changed in 30 years, and she shows him a family picture with her six children. Vanilla loads a cargo container onto a truck and apologizes to a merchant for only being able to bring in a bit of food. A driver comments that the Black Lightning Brigade's checks have become more intense lately. In an underground chamber, a large group of people declare their devotion to fighting in the name of Marteal. A man named Beswood Gar Gashylman addresses the crowd and says they must resist the Black Lightning. He asks Soltio about the ATs, and Soltio explains that he hasn't found their location because of Vanilla's resistance. Vanilla joins several other elders in Greffier's town square to listen to the problems of the residents, many of which are caused by the Black Lightning. The elders discuss the motives and conflict between Gashylman and Glen Patzler, commander of the Black Lightning. Vanilla thinks to himself that he might get away with it if he can scrap the ATs that Soltio smuggled in. Stevia finds Chirico cleaning his gun and tells him that her parents are waiting for him in the garden. Later, Chirico sits down for a reunion dinner with Coconna, Vanilla and Gotho. Gotho explains to Chirico that he made a lot of money selling produce in Kummen, so now he's retired to Greffier. Coconna is happy to see Chirico again, and Vanilla mentions that Chirico's battle with the Black Lightnings will cause more trouble. Coconna then punches Vanilla in the head and reminds him that Chirico was fighting for them. Gotho then adds that Chirico had to show himself to prevent them from getting in trouble over the ATs. Vanilla apologizes, and Chirico returns to his room and finds his revolver in the trash can.

 

The next day, the Black Lightning sends its Burglary Dogs to attack Greffier in search of Chirico. The Burglary Dogs break through the front gate, and Vanilla runs away. Gashylman address a synod of elders and says he has to act because Greffier's freedom is being threatened. Vanilla hides in a cargo crane and realizes that the Black Lightning is searching for the ATs, not Chirico. Coconna tries to reassure Chicio about the Burglary Dogs in town. She then goes into Chirico's room and notices that his backpack is gone. Gotho walks in and says that Chirico probably left so that he wouldn't cause them trouble. He says that people will always be after Chirico, either to take advantage of his abilities or kill him in search of the glory it would bring. Because of that, Gotho is glad they were able to give Chirico a brief respite from his troubles. Coconna blames Vanilla for the things he said, but Gotho asks her to forgive Vanilla because he was only thinking about their family and the city. He guesses that Coconna had lots of questions for Chirico, and she says that she never had the chance to ask them, including what happened to Fyana. Chirico walks through an aqueduct and encounters to young children offering prayers to Marteal. One of them releases a messenger pigeon and says that Marteal's Shield of Order will come to save them. At night, Chirico sleeps inside one of the AT containers. Two trucks attempt to leave Greffier to deliver food to a nearby village, but the Black Lightnings destroy them. Stevia overhears Soltio as he drives away to investigate where the ATs are hidden. He reaches the warehouse and is followed by Stevia and Gashylman, who has two Burglary Dogs with him. Soltio accuses Gashylman of working with the Black Lightnings, and Gashylman explains that by creating conflict he can discredit the synod and seize power as the new cardinal. Gashylman comments that the deaths of people in Greffier will makes his lies true. The Burglary Dogs prepare to kill Soltio and Stevia, but Chirico suddenly attacks them with a Scopedog and pushes them out of the warehouse and into an old amphitheater. Chirico arm punches the Burglary Dogs and comes under fire from Gashylman's AT Fly. One of the Burglary Dogs grabs Chirico, but he manages to make it take the fire from the AT Fly. Chirico then grabs a rifle and destroys the AT Fly.

 

Chirico tells Soltio and Stevia to hide as he loads up a Burglary Dog for combat. He then launches and begins destroying Burglary Dogs while they're vulnerable in transport. Chirico encounters Vanilla and asks for some hovertrucks as help. Soltio drives up and says he wants to fight, but Vanilla punches him in the face. Vanilla tells Soltio that he doesn't understand what war is and that everyone will be trying to kill him. He tells Chirico he's ready to go, but Chirico punches him in the stomach and knocks him out. He asks Soltio to tell Vanilla he's sorry and that he's going to take care of things from now own. The Black Lightning force of 250 ATs approach Greffier and open fire on the hovertrucks. Chirico emerges from one of the containers and starts mowing down entire lines of Burglary Dogs. He then destroys several incoming AT Flys. Teitania's ship then flies by, under attack from several Church ships and AT Flys. She destroys the AT Flys with a Gatling gun and sees the messenger pigeon flying by. Her damaged ship crashes, but just before then she launches in a pink Order Buckler. The Church ships begin dropping Erdspinnes, which open fire on the Black Lightnings while trying to kill Teitania. An Erdspinne then slams into Teitania, but he arm punches it. Another opens fire and manages to penetrate the Order Buckler's cockpit, hitting Teitania in the chest. An Erdspinne pilot notices that Teitania's evasion rate has dropped and notes that she might be operating without an auxiliary brain. Teitania comes under fire from the Erdspinnes and Church ships, but Chirico fires missiles to destroy two of the ships. He then drops smoke charges and offers Teitania two rifles, although she says she doesn't need his help. She takes then anyway and opens fire on the Erdspinnes, saying she can't accept Chirico's way of life. She destroys the last of the Church ships and continues attacking the Erdspinnes. After the battle, Chirico walks through the wreckage of ATs and spots Teitania's Order Buckler, which has been impaled against the wreckage of a Church ship. She tells Chirico that they took care of it in time and that she can see the star behind him. She tells him to look at it because it will disappear, but he won't turn away. The "star" is the capsule containing Fyana's body, but Chirico refuses to look at it. Chirico then lifts Teitania's severed torso out of the cockpit and hugs her. He carries her into the desert just as Stevia pulls up in her jeep. Vanilla and the others searched for Chirico, but all they could find was a freshly dug grave covered with flowers.

 

Commentary

 

Although this is the last VOTOMS OVA starring Chirico production wise, chronologically it takes place between Shining Heresy and Phantom Arc. As such, it's the missing link explaining how he met his old friends and disappeared again, leading to his later appearance in Phantom Arc. Alone Again does explain a bit more about what Vanilla and the others have been up to, but it also raises a few unanswered questions. What's with this local chapter of Marteal devotees who talk endlessly of fighting? What's the motive of the Black Lightning Brigade? We see that Soltio is part of these Marteal devotees, but not really why. Although this OVA does answer the question of what happened to Teitania, her role here is quite small, and it's almost like she's only around to die. Ironically, that's pretty similar to what Fyana's role was in Shining Heresy. The scene with her death was a bit sad though, with Chirico's refusal to look at Fyana's capsule as it flew away like a shooting star. In a way, I think it means that he's accepted her loss and won't look to the past. I also have to make note of something that's become very cliche in VOTOMS, and that's the ending where Chirico walks alone into the horizon in some desert. They could've tried something a bit more original than that. In the end, this isn't a bad final entry for Chirico, but it could've been better. Given how rushed the story is both here and in Phantom Arc, I think it would've been better if they were both the same OVA series, and maybe 12 episodes. It would've given more time to explain everything and bring a better conclusion.

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Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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