image
image
image
imageimage
image

image

 

 

Armored Trooper VOTOMS
Red Shoulder Document: Roots of Ambition

 

Review by Chris Guanche

October 16, 2007

 

Summary

 

In Astragius Year 7112, the long war continues between the Gilgamesh Confederation and Balarant Union. On the planet Odon, a transport drops an AT platoon on the ground. As the AT pilots drive through the desert, one of them wonders why they're acting on this mission as if a friendly planet is enemy territory. Suddenly, the ground explodes in front of the trucks and several Scopedogs attack. The AT platoon deploys its own Scopedogs, but they're horrified when they realize that their attackers are the Red Shoulder Battalion. Elsewhere, Chirico Cuvie rides on a spaceship bound for Odon, wondering why he's been transferred out of a regular unit and into the special forces. At Melkian headquarters, General Niharko and an officer named Rakinson discuss how the AT platoon was wiped out by Scopedog-style ATs. As they head into a meeting, Niharko says he'll let Yoran Pailsen make the first move. At the meeting, Pailsen outlines his plan for the third attempt to capture planet Sunsa from the Balarant, but Niharko objects on the grounds that the plan relies to heavily on the Red Shoulders. Pailsen points out that it was the council's decision to keep them secret, and Niharko says that the Red Shoulders are expensive, violate orders and use excessive force. Pailsen counters that the Red Shoulders' success rate is 100 percent, so he thinks Niharko shouldn't waste time by questioning their methods. Niharko says that Pailsen is too secretive, and another officer agrees. Pailsen says he keeps secrets because his unit was attacked the other day by an unknown AT force. Since their secret location was discovered, Pailsen wants absolute secrecy on everything pertaining to the Red Shoulders, and Niharko withdraws his objection. With the objection gone, the council unanimously endorses Pailsen's Sunsa operation. Rakinson tells Niharko that they can't let Pailsen run his own private army, and he mentions that Pailsen is researching a way to find an unkillable soldier. Rakinson thinks they can use that to get an agent inside the Red Shoulders. On the spaceship, several pilots begin to harass Chirico, but a pilot named Virgil Carson defends Chirico and points out that he's wounded. As the ship lands on Odon, all pilots are ordered to their Scopedog Recruit Types. Carson asks Chirico if he's ok to pilot, but Chirico tells him to worry about himself. After the Scopedogs are lined up, the pilots are given their first training mission: attack nearby enemy forces. The Scopedogs move out and almost immediately come under attack from the Red Shoulders, who are using live ammo and destroy several Scopedogs. Chirico tells Carson to follow him because if they run, they'll be targeted. Chirico and Carson evade the Red Shoulders and pick up weapons loaded with live ammo. Chirico realizes that it's not a training mission, but a cruel test to determine who has the best survival instinct. Chirico attacks a group from the front, while Carson attacks from behind. After the two leave, Gregor Galosh, Baiman Haggard and Muza Merime check their conditions.

 

Back at the base, Carson thanks Chirico for saving his life. Base commander Liman appears and tells them that they're now part of the Red Shoulders. Chirico enters his quarters and is attacked by Gregor, Baiman and Muza. After knocking Chirico out, they take him to a confined area to ask him questions. Muza says that Liman sends in assassins to kill men he doesn't like, but Chirico insists that he isn't an assassin. When Baiman asks Chirico what he did before becoming an AT pilot, Chirico begins to have a seizure. Carson arrives and takes Chirico away. Chirico mentions that he always has that seizure when someone asks about his past. Liman watches them over the video. Another officer says he doesn't think Chirico is the one, but Liman notes that Pailsen personally selected Chirico. Two months pass, and Chirico does nothing other than leave his quarters for meals. Liman reports to Pailsen that this could become a detriment to the unit, and Pailsen says he wants Liman to make Chirico complete. Liman says Chirico can't be good if he doesn't train, but Pailsen says that Chirico has innate ability. Recalling an encounter with an early Perfect Soldier growth tube, Pailsen says that he's seen superhuman power before and expects to see it again soon. Later, Liman tells Gregor, Baiman and Muza that Chirico has surpassed their skills, and he wants to see if they can kill him. Gregor says Chirico is nothing special, and Liman shows him Chirico's incredible battle record. He also says that Chirico healed in one week from a hip injury that should've taken three months. The three toss a grenade into Chirico's quarters, but he's not there. They then attack him in the library, but he manages to dodge their fire and escape. He's lured into an abandoned area and is cornered, but Carson arrives and provides enough cover fire for Chirico to escape. Another officer asks Liman what'll happen if those three don't succeed, and Liman comments that Chirico will die one way or another. Carson asks Gregor why he's attacking Chirico, and Gregor answers that he wants to prove Chirico can die like a normal man. Chirico evades a grenade, and Carson joins up with him. Carson says they must have something on Chirico, and he mentions that his entire past is in his personnel file. Suddenly, Baiman drops down from above and attacks them both, while Gregor and Muza grab Chirico from behind. Gregor shoots Chirico twice at point blank range, but misses most time. Muza then jumps in with his machine gun, but it suddenly jams. Liman screams at them over the loudspeaker to kill Chirico, and Gregor says he won't die. Liman says they can join Chirico and begins detonating a series of explosives. Gregor grabs Chirico and says that if he's unkillable, he's going to hang around him. The five run out of the area and safely escape the blast. Liman then announces across the base that Chirico and the others are deserters and issues orders to kill them on sight.

 

Chirico and the others suit up for battle and launch in their Scopedogs. Chirico goes off on his own and fires a bazooka at the control tower to blind the Red Shoulders. The Red Shoulders deploy, and their bloodlust leads to a messy battle. As backup arrives, Chirico and Carson manage to slip out and head away from the base. A helicopter spots them, so they try to evade it and head into a canyon, only to find that they're surrounded by the Red Shoulders. One of the pilots asks Liman if he wants Chirico, and Liman orders them all to kill Chirico. Just then, a countermanding order comes in directly from Pailsen. Liman calls Pailsen and tells him that Chirico isn't the man he thinks he is. Chirico had no ammo left and nowhere to run, so he would've died without Pailsen's interference. Pailsen notes that even so, Chirico is unique and managed to survive again, regardless of the circumstance. Pailsen orders Liman to call his men off because he's coming to see Chirico personally. Chirico is taken back to the based and strapped into a chair in a dark room. Pailsen tells Chirico that he's the one who brought him over. He says he's spent more than half his life creating the Red Shoulders, and though he wanted to surpass previous human achievement, he's been frustrated by human limitations. He says that's changed now because Chirico is the supreme survivor. Chirico doesn't understand, and Pailsen explains that occasionally, people are born with gifts, so it's possible someone could have the innate ability to survive more than other humans. Pailsen says an army of such men would be the real Red Shoulders, guaranteed to live through any mission or danger. He explains that they could use science to reproduce a body like Chirico's. Pailsen goes on and says that he's gone through great lengths to study Chirico's past. Chirico joined the army at 16, and at the age of 10 he showed up at a memory center. Pailsen's interest lies in the time before that, and Chirico begins to panic. Pailsen tells him that he'll never be free of his pain if he's afraid to confront his past. Pailsen tells Chirico that he saw him in a fire, and Chirico suddenly breaks free of his restraints and begins to choke Pailsen. Chirico screams that no one controls him, not even God. Struggling, Pailsen manages to grab his gun and shoots Chirico in the chest. Later, as Pailsen prepares to leave he tells Liman that he won't be charging the others with anything yet. He says that he's disappointed because there is no such thing as a supreme survivor, and he should've met with Chirico sooner. Carson and the others stand around Chirico's corpse, and they're shocked when he suddenly wakes up. Liman sends a report to Pailsen stating that the bullet very slightly missed Chirico's heart, but he thinks Pailsen might've missed because he wanted to. Pailsen then recalls seeing Chirico as a boy during one of the earlier battles on Sunsa. He concludes that he wasn't wrong about Chirico, but he can't forgive him.

 

Later, Melkian forces rally in orbit around Sunsa to carry out Pailsen's plan. As the battle begins, Scopedogs engage in combat against Balarant's Fatty Land Types. From his Scopedog Commander Custom, Liman orders the Red Shoulders to spread out and prepare an ambush at a nearby ridge. He orders Chirico and Carson to proceed on their own and asks Chirico to use a locator beacon for tracking, but Carson points out that it'll make Chirico a target for every enemy. As Chirico surveys the battered landscape, he says the area looks familiar. Carson concludes that Chirico must be regaining his memory, and he tells him not to fight it. A Fatty ambushes them and hits Carson's Scopedog, and Chirico destroys the Fatty. Mortally wounded, Carson explains that he's an agent of the high command, sent to Odon. Chirico figured something was going on, and Carson says it took a lot of work to figure out why Pailsen was so interested in Chirico. But beyond that, his mission was also to gather as much info as possible on Pailsen's shady activities to bring him down. Luckily, he found what he needed and sent in a report before leaving Odon. As Carson dies, he tells Chirico to go find his past. Gregor, Baiman and Muza arrive, but Chirico leaves and returns to the battle. He recalls being a young boy in a fire, and he spots Liman's commander type Scopedog. Chirico says it's his turn to test Liman, and Liman counters that no man is unkillable. Chirico dodges Liman's attack and manages to destroy one of the Scopedogs backing him up. Liman gets in close and blows away some of the equipment on Chirico's Scopedog Turbo Custom. Liman uses a pile bunker to stab Chirico's cockpit, but Chirico manages to dodge. Liman follows up with several arm punches, and Chirico falls back and comes under attack from the other Scopedog. His body wounded by shots that penetrated the cockpit, Chirico presses on until his visor is hit. Later, with Liman dead, Gregor and the others patch up Chirico's wounds. The battle ends in success, and the Melkian Army holds a victory parade several days later. Rakinson tells Niharko that Carson managed to get them enough info to nail Pailsen. Pailsen happily watches as the Red Shoulder pilots drive by on trucks, standing next to their Scopedogs. He's shocked when he sees the last truck come along, which is carrying Gregor, Baiman, Muza and most importantly, Chirico.

 

Commentary

 

Another chapter of the VOTOMS saga comes to a close, revealing more details about Chirico's past, as well as the mysterious Pailsen and the Red Shoulders. Unlike most of the other OVAs, which are set during or after the TV series, this one takes place before. So you won't be seeing any appearances by Fyana, Gotho, Vanilla, Coconna or the Secret Society. The Last Red Shoulder introduced us to Gregor, Baiman and Muza, but here we see they didn't always get along with Chirico. They were goaded into killing him, all as part of Pailsen's carefully planned tests for Chirico. The conclusion: Pailsen was definitely right about Chirico's miraculous survival ability, but at the same time, he's pissed at him too. I think that's because Chirico refused to submit to Pailsen's will and be his happy, perfect killing machine. That's what probably eventually leads to Chirico's transfer out of the Red Shoulders and the attempt to kill him at Lido in the TV series. This OVA certainly shed some light on Chirico's past as a native of Sunsa, and there will probably be more about his past in Pailsen Files.
image

image

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

5 out of 5 stars
Spacer

image

VOTOMS Roots of Ambition VOTOMS Roots of Ambition

image

image

image

image

image

image
image
image
imageimage