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Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Big Battle

(aka Battle of the Heterogeneous Species)

 

Review by Chris Guanche

November 22, 2007

 

Summary

 

In the Melkian desert city Aa Koba, a Scopedog and the Ecrevisse "Danger Melon" fight inside the Battling stadium. The Scopedog fires its bazooka, but the Ecrevisse dodges, and the round hits the stands, killing several of the audience. Bouleuse Gotho and Chirico Cuvie watch the match, and Gotho wonders if Chirico is thinking of fighting again. Coconna joins them, and Gotho spots someone talking to Ru Shako - an old acquaintance named Cherokee. Cherokee is interested in hiring a Quentman for Battling, and Gotho mentions that he has a Red Shoulder with him whom he could possibly convince to fight. Down in the ring, the Ecrevisse continues to dodge the Scopedog's attacks, but it falls into a chasm. Pilot Radaa Niva uses his crab claw to grab hold of one of the chasm walls, and he jumps out of the chasm when the Scopedog approaches. After knocking the Scopedog down, he uses his crab claw to sever its right arm. He's then asked to stop, but he continues on and drives his pile banker through the head, killing the pilot. Gotho is surprised by Radaa's skills, and Cherokee explains that Radaa is currently undefeated, but a Red Shoulder might have a shot at winning. Radaa senses something and immediately locks his camera's sight on Chirico in the crowd. In an old Balarant land battleship outside the city, a soldier named Jiel Bosun gives a report to Jean-Paul Rochina on the status of Radaa, the Balarant's experimental Perfect Soldier. Bosun says that Radaa is the best they have, but they need more information on the Gilgamesh PS. Rochina points out that they haven't acquired Gilgamesh technology and that war is close to breaking out again, but Bosun has a solution. He's spotted several people in Aa Koba related to the PS project: a science officer named Garman Thomas, and Chirico. Rochina figures that Thomas is following Chirico and Fyana, and he orders Bosun to capture Thomas and Fyana. He also wants to make sure that Chirico is killed in a Battling match, and Bosun explains that he's already setting one up with Radaa. Back in the city, Gotho negotiates with Cherokee over the price a genuine Red Shoulder would attract in a Battling match. Chirico adjusts Fyana's rest chamber, and Vanilla comments on how it's becoming harder to obtain jijirium. Vanilla then shows Chirico a map he acquired during the last Battling match that shows the location of the city's remaining jijirium. Chirico takes the map and drives off in a buggy with Shako. Vanilla, Coconna and Gotho get into another buggy to follow Chirico, and Cherokee reminds Gotho of their deal.

 

Following the map, Chirico and Shako enter a ruined building that leads to an underground area filled with rats and corpses. Elsewhere, Bosun yells at Cherokee over the phone about arranging the match with Chirico and tells him to just kidnap Fyana. Cherokee asks who Fyana is, and Bosun yells at him that it's none of his business. Gotho, Coconna and Vanilla arrive at the spot where Chirico's buggy is, but they're greeted by a group of armed soldiers. Underground, Shako tries to pry open a leaky door, which unleashes a flood of water that washes them away. Shako grabs hold of Chirico and holds on to the ceiling until the water level recedes. Elsewhere, Cherokee and several soldiers approach Fyana's capsule. Chirico and Shako crawl through a tight air duct and drop down into an advanced base. They then take out several guards, but an elevator door opens next to them, filled with even more guards and a Gilgamesh officer. Chirico and Shako are taken to the brig and tossed in with Gotho, Coconna, Vanilla and Thomas. Thomas asks where Fyana is and explains that he might be able to help with her jijirium withdrawal symptoms. Chirico asks if it's possible to turn a PS back into a normal human, and Thomas answers that it might be. Suddenly, the base rocks from an attack by the Ecrevisse, and Chirico and Shako take advantage of the confusion to knock out the guards surrounding them. In the corridor, Radaa mows down a group of soldiers and destroys several attacking Scopedogs. He then smashes into the brig and grabs Thomas with his crab claw. Radaa vows that he'll kill Chirico in a Battling match and then escapes. After escaping, Chirico and the others return to their hideaway and discover that Fyana's missing, and Gotho wonders if Cherokee did it. Cherokee then calls Gotho and says that he's got Fyana and expects the Battling match to proceed as planned. Coconna accuses Gotho of being in on it, and though Vanilla is also suspicious, Chirico believes Gotho. Chirico asks where they are, and Gotho says it must be the old Balarant landship. Vanilla doesn't believe it, and Gotho explains that it survived the war. Chirico wants to attack the landship and says he'll need a helicopter and two ATs. Back at the landship, two technicians examine Radaa and his implants and conclude that their PS is ready for mass production because Radaa has been active for about 200 hours with negligible loss of strength. Bosun believes it's too early for that because they need to stabilize Radaa's emotions by studying the Gilgamesh PS. Radaa asks when he can have another Battling match, and Bosun tells him they've been ordered to return with Fyana. The two argue until Bosun offers to talk to Rochina, and he uses the opportunity to clamp Radaa's arms and legs back down to the examination table.

 

Back at the hideout, Chirico and Gotho begin disassembling a Scopedog and adding custom parts to it. Shako works on his own Scopedog, which he's remodeled to look like a Quentian Berserga AT, and Vanilla arrives with a helicopter. Back at the landship, Bosun has energy pumped into Radaa's cybernetic parts and argues with him about obeying orders. Radaa thinks about Red Shoulders and flashes back to when he was a Balarant ground soldier and was crushed by a Red Shoulder Scopedog. Filled with rage, Radaa breaks free of his restraints and grabs Bosun by the head. Bosun yells at Radaa again to follow orders, but Radaa refuses and crushes his skull. Gotho and Chirico continue to strip down the Scopedog to make it lighter, and Vanilla comments that it would go down from one hit. Cherokee then arrives, and Gotho grabs him by the collar for having the nerve to show up. Cherokee says he didn't do anything bad, because Fyana is safe and they still get to have their Battling match. He points out that he provided their helicopter, and Vanilla explains that dealing with anybody in the town would've eventually led them back to Cherokee. Chirico begins to paint the Light Scopedog's shoulder red, and Gotho comments that the intense look on Chirico's face reminds him of the first time they met. On the landship, Radaa enters a room where Thomas is covering a weakened Fyana with jijirium energy in light form. Thomas tries to stop Radaa from approaching Fyana, but Radaa grabs Thomas and smashes his head in against a wall. Radaa blames Fyana for him almost losing his mind and drags her out of the room. A large crowd gathers outside the landship to watch Chirico and Radaa's fight. On the landship's bridge, two technicians hook Radaa up to a control chair that allows him to pilot the entire ship like an AT. Once the system comes online, Radaa kills the technicians because he doesn't need them anymore. Cherokee fires a flare to signal the start of the match. Chirico, Coconna and Gotho drive off in two buggies, while Shako launches in his Berserga Imitate and Vanilla takes off in the helicopter, which is towing the Light Scopedog. Radaa begins moving the landship and opens fire on Chirico. Coconna defensively dodges the gunfire, and Chirico fires a bazooka at the landship's tank treads to slow it down. Gotho fires a grappling cable on the side of the ship, which Chirico uses to propel himself onto the hull. Vanilla attacks from above to distract Radaa, and Chirico utilizes the distraction to work his way inside the ship. Shako attacks the landship from the front and focuses on the tank treads, but he does little damage. Chirico tosses a grenade at a gun turret and uses the hole created by the explosion to penetrate the ship.

 

Outside, everyone else continues to fight, but onlookers complain to Cherokee that they can't see the Red Shoulder fighting. Inside, Chirico comes under attack from a Busy Crab AT, which is being mentally controlled by Radaa. Just as he's about to attack it, he's shocked to see Fyana in the cockpit, handcuffed to the controls. Chirico asks Fyana if she can stop the Busy Crab, but she isn't able to. Radaa scans the monitors for any sign of Chirico, and Chirico tosses out his bazooka to draw Radaa's fire. Fyana yells out for Chirico to run away, and he climbs some pipes and tosses out a bullet for another distraction. When the Busy Crab approaches, Chirico drops down and blasts open the cockpit to disable the control system and rescue Fyana. Radaa sees on the video monitor that Chirico has rescued Fyana, so he disconnects himself from the landship. Chirico and Fyana get onto an elevator, and Shako rips open a panel on the ship's underbelly to get inside. Chirico plants explosives on the elevator shaft when they reach their destination. Once outside, Chirico uses a smoke signal and Vanilla lands the Scopedog atop the landship. Radaa reaches the top of the landship and opens fire on Chirico while Vanilla takes Fyana to the helicopter. Chirico continues his stream of fire, but Radaa easily dodges the attacks. Inside the landship, Shako smashes through walls and slowly works his way upward. Radaa fires his pile banker through the Scopedog's cockpit, narrowly missing Chirico, and he uses his crab claw to smash the modified light arm. Radaa is momentarily distracted when he sees the Scopedog's Red Shoulder, and Chirico uses the opportunity to attach a grenade to the Ecrevisse and knock it away with an arm punch. Radaa and the Ecrevisse are damaged by the explosion, and he comments that Chirico is definitely a real Red Shoulder. Radaa continues to attack Chirico, but Vanilla fires down on Radaa from above. Shako breaks through the landship's ceiling and attacks Radaa from behind. Chirico's bomb then explodes, setting off a chain reaction throughout the landship that causes it to go out of control and approach the city. Berserk with rage, Radaa opens fire on Chirico with every weapon. Chirico grabs onto the Ecrevisse and uses his braking stakes to plant himself in place and stop Radaa. Shako does the same and arm punches the Ecrevisse's cockpit to trap Radaa. Chirico and Shako then abandon their ATs and escape on Vanilla's helicopter as the landship crashes into the city and explodes, killing Radaa. On a nearby cliff, Chirico tosses away his dog tags because his past as a Red Shoulder no longer matters. Fyana apologizes for causing everyone so much trouble, but Coconna tells her it's ok because they're friends.

 

Commentary

 

Like The Last Red Shoulder before it, Big Battle is an OVA set during the TV series. Specifically, it's set during episode 52, in the one year gap between the events with Wiseman and the epilogue where Chirico and Fyana go into cold sleep as the war begins again. It's also the last time we get to see TV characters like Gotho, Coconna, Vanilla and Shako, since they don't appear in any of the later OVAs. From the looks of it, being on the run isn't easy for them, especially since they need a constant supply of jijirium to keep Fyana alive. We also see that the Gilgamesh are still trying to get her back, but the Balarant also want her to further develop their own PS research. The insane Radaa Niva is basically an artificial PS because of his cybernetic implants, and they're obviously not perfect, given his emotional instability and penchant for killing. We also see that Rochina is still fixated on Chirico, an obsession that continues 32 years later in the Shining Heresy OVA. Unfortunately, Fyana doesn't get much screen time because of her weakened condition, but it's good to see Chirico and the team in action. Radaa was a powerful opponent, and easily on the level of PSes like Fyana and Ypsilon. It's not an easy battle for Chirico, and he certainly couldn't have done it without the assistance of his friends. Overall, another piece of recommended viewing for VOTOMS fans.
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Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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VOTOMS Big Battle VOTOMS Big Battle

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