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Kikou Ryohei Mellowlink (OVA)
Sometimes you can dig up some really neat stuff while digging through old anime fansubs--as an example, I would offer up Armor Hunter Mellowlink. I'd heard of this series, a spinoff of Armored Trooper Votoms, some time ago, but was incapable of tracking it down until relatively recently. The artwork and animation are definitely similar--quite eighty-ish. Votoms, with no less than 52 episodes, was frustrating in that it tended to waste a lot of time before the various plot arcs got genuinely serious and exciting, and I feared that this show might be similarly done. The first episode raised the spectre of Mellowlink being just another of the usual "you-can't-hit-me-no-matter-how-many-bullets-you-shoot" heroes. Nevertheless, it got the job of explaining the basic premise of the series done, and left me fairly intrigued and wanting to see how this plot would develop. Apparently, a number of fairly high ranking Melkean officers plotted a get-rich-quick-scheme involving the theft of a large quantity of precious Jijirium, in what became known as "The Planpandoll Scandal". To cover up the heist, they arranged that a unit of "Armor Hunters" would serve a scapegoats. Since dead men tell no tales, these unwitting soldiers would be assigned a suicidal mission, then posthumously blamed for the Jijirium theft. The problem is, one man--Private Arity Mellowlink--managed to survive. After his unit, the Schweppes (or Shuepes, depending on the fansub) platoon made a heroic stand against overwhelming odds, sole survivor Mellowlink found himself falsely accused of the crime, court-martialled, perjured, and convicted. He doesn't take this betrayal of both himself and his dead comrades lightly, however, and escapes to begin his quest for revenge.|
Some episodes are definitely better than others, but I was pleased to see that a sophisticated plot developed, rather than just villain-of-the-week episodes in which Mellowlink continually took out yet another generic Planpandoll conspirator. Though episodes tend to climax with a sort of David vs. Goliath fight between Mellowlink and one or more ATs, care is taken to vary the details so that they don't get too repetitive. The scandal gets deeper and deeper as Mellowlink hunts down his targets and learns of new conspirators which even he wasn't aware of. Furthermore, who is this mysterious girl Mellowlink keeps running into? What's her link to the scandal? What does Military Investigator Carradyne (or "Kyaradain") intend to do (I was completely fooled)? Once I got over my misgivings with the first episode, I was always eager to see the next one.
This show has a neat style to it, which made it excede my initial expectations. It's hard to define, but clearly some extra effort was made to keep it exciting and intriguing. Little touches like Mellowlink always presenting his intended target with one of his fallen comrades' dogtags, or his habit of smearing his own face with streaks of blood when his back is to the wall. A lot of care was put into making the ATs plausible and realistic--they move like they're on rollerskates, which is most cool indeed. Mellowlink's trademark Anti-AT Rifle has a sort of cartridge operated bayonet meant to punch holes through the armor of ATs and deal with the pilots inside, Sort of like the punching mechanism in the arms of the ATs themselves. No, the action isn't always particularly realistic, but that's okay, because it's exciting and fun nevertheless. The first half of the final episode included what has got to be the best chase scene I have ever seen in anime--Damn, somebody took some trouble to come up with some neat tricks! The best thing about it is that it wasn't pure luck which got Mellowlink and LuLucy out of there alive (the fire retardant chemical part was especially brilliant). An anti-AT rifle isn't the only weapon Arity can use to take out ATs! The story ends on a sort of cathartic note--again, it's hard to say why, but it just felt right. The moral seems to be that maybe Mellowlink's insatiable quest for revenge hasn't exactly been wise, but very few persons are in a position to criticise him when much higher powers start taking "revenge" on each other!
Considering it's age, I'm surprised how well thought-out this show was and how well the pieces fit together--or maybe cutting corners hasn't always been SOP! At only 12 episodes, it could be argued that this slam-bang action story with a message is just what Votoms should have been. The dated animation tempted me to rate it as a "Rent", but even so, things move so fluidly and excitingly that I think it deserves a "Buy". If you are a fan of mecha action, do yourself a favor and check this one out.
Last updated Sunday, February 24 2008. Created Tuesday, October 18 2005.
Kikou Ryohei Mellowlink (OVA)
This a very old series, but it does have some charm if you are into the macho-warrior and mecha-combat anime. |
There is a summary of the first episode along with some screen snaps in the <episode details> section.
Last updated Thursday, February 12 2009. Created Saturday, April 16 2005.
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