The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Armored Troopers VOTOMS: The Last Red Shoulder

Title: Armored Troopers VOTOMS: The Last Red Shoulder aka Soukou Kihei VOTOMS: The Last Red Shoulder
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise
Format: 1 OVA
Dates: 21 Aug 1985

Synopsis: Shortly following the events that transpired at Uoodo City, military fugitive Chirico Cuive is bent on finding those who set him up as well as finding his precious Fyana. With no leads, he searches for the one man whom he believes to have had connections to the Secret Society he is seeking, Admiral Yolan Pailsen. To do so, Chirico must reunite with the last of his former regiment. Together they seek retribution for the hell they were put through in a struggle that will put an end to the legacy of the blood sucking battalion, the Red Shoulder.

The Highlights
Action: As dirty and gritty as ever.
Continuity: Distinguishes itself without threatening the canon.
Appeal: Severely limited.

To most people, I’ll say it right here that I just cannot recommend this title. Unless you are a mecha fan or into hardcore action, you can just stop reading right now because you’ll be hard pressed to find much enjoyment out of this. Even then, the story holds no weight unless you’re already an avid VOTOMS fan. This whole review would end up being one big preach to the choir. So my advice to any hardcore action fan is to go watch the original VOTOMS first and then you’ll have no excuse not to see The Last Red Shoulder.

Being a side story to better tie in the ends of the Uoodo City and Kummen Jungle arcs, The Last Red Shoulder exists in a way that would have felt almost out of place if put into the original 52 (49 not counting recaps) episode series. The addition of one-time characters as well as the new setting cause this OVA to stand out when watched alongside its TV counterpart; however, the events that transpire makes everything more understandable in the overall context of Chirico’s journey. The birth of Proto 2, The Red Shoulder’s connection with the Secret Society, and Chirico’s reasons to settle in the Kingdom of Kummen are all explored, and presented in the same hardcore style drama the series is known for.

Speaking of hardcore style, that’s pretty much what this OVA is all about apart from depth to the story. And any fans of the series and spin-offs will be happy because The Last Red Shoulder is really more of the same, in a good way. The fight sequences are the same unpredictable battles of desperation that is to be expected. The only difference is that this time the battles are tied together with what amounts to a suicide mission. The Red Shoulders are here to cut ties with their past. These men know they’re not returning, you know they are, and you just have to accept it. It’s so painful, yet so powerful.

Despite everything good I said about this OVA, it is not something I can recommend with a straight face. This anime’s very nature limits it to little more than niche appeal. In the end, The Last Red Shoulder is simply icing on the cake for an awesome series. And even if this will only satisfy the fans of said series, it still is a substantial treat for anyone in need to treat their hardcore fix. And who knows, it may even compel someone to go out and get the original.

The Rating: 7
7/10

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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