Armored Trooper Votoms is the story of Chirico Cuvie, a soldier and Armored Tooper (giant robot) pilot who was betrayed by his own military and forced on the run. Previously, Chirico found himself in Uoodo, a city where might makes right and people are very likely not to wake up the next morning. In episodes 14-27 of Armored Trooper Votoms, the AWOL soldier Chirico Cuvie trades the disorder and chaos of Uoodo for the focused destruction in the jungles of Kummen, a country at odds with Melkia. Chirico, a man who lives to fight, finds himself in his natural habitat amidst a civil war.
The aptly titled second part of Votoms, the “Kummen Jungle Wars,” sees Chirico acting as a mercenary for the Kummen government, fighting against a rebellious prince who seeks to prevent his nation from abandoning its traditions and modernizing. As the war progresses, it becomes clear that neither side is “good” or “evil” as is often the case with clashes of ideology as well as real robot anime. New characters are introduced on both sides, some familiar and welcome faces appear, Chirico still uses a Scope Dog, and the Perfect Soldier project which forced Chirico on the run is further along than it’s ever been before. …Or is it?
The fighting in Kummen is different from Uoodo, where it was usually cops vs thugs vs Chirico. Instead, Chirico in his mercenary role frequently acts as part of a mechanized platoon, following orders and occasionally giving them. The enemy, being much weaker than them, relies on guerilla tactics and hiding in plain sight in order to confuse the government’s soldiers and weaken resolve. The battles are intense and gritty without much posturing, lives are easily lost, and Chirico continues to wage war in what is basically the Votoms equivalent of a Zaku, a Leo, or a KLF: a rust bucket without many special features other than the strength and skill of the pilot within it.
The only real fault of Votoms is the way it handles romance, as it does so in a very Tomino-esque hammer-over-the-head manner. The origins of romance in the story of Votoms can make it hard to swallow, but don’t let it distract you.
Though the Kummen Jungle Wars arc ties into the greater plotline of Votoms, it can be considered its own self-contained story of a country at war with itself, where tradition and progress are forced against one another to determine the future of the nation. Watching just these 13 episodes alone can be satisfying enough, and if you’re unable to watch the Uoodo arc, the show was courteous enough to throw in a recap episode. At the end of Kummen, while a lot of questions are answered, far more are brought up, and there’s another 26 episodes to go.