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Armored Trooper Votoms 2: Kummen Jungle Wars
Continuing from the Uoodo City arc, this second arc to Votoms features Chirico and his group being caught up in the middle of a civil war between a kingdom of traditional religious followers and a group of mercenaries hired to force them into modernizing. Things escalate in the conflict when Chirico learns that the secret society he encountered from the prior arc are involved in influencing the followers in the war and that a second Perfect Soldier has his eyes set on killing him. Like Uoodo City, developments in Kuumen Jungle Wars are solid and engaging as the arc takes its time unveiling the varying tensions and motives between characters and factions, which lead to an intense finale featuring a clash between multiple factions, close friends dueling to the death and Chirico reuniting with Fyana. Obviously, Votoms has yet to end at this point with two more arcs to go and a lack of resolution considering the motives of the secret society that Chirico is after are yet to be revealed. But still, I'm eager to press on into Deadworld Sunsa after seeing how things developed in this arc.
Last updated Tuesday, February 26 2013. Created Tuesday, February 26 2013.
Armored Trooper Votoms 2: Kummen Jungle Wars
(it might be best not to read this review until you have seen stage one, "Uoodo City")|
To be honest, for most of it's length I didn't think this stage was as good as it's predecessor. But Votoms is definitely an acquired taste, and if you didn't acquire it back in stage one (Uoodo City) it's unlikely you would have come this far. So I won't try to convince you that this is a classic series which you absolutely must see. In all likelihood, you are already well aware of the curious mix of strengths and weaknesses which comprise Votoms, and have already made up your mind whether it's worth continuing onwards. Though she wasn't extremely enthusiastic, critic Tasha Robinson described Votoms as "definitely the most ambitious piece of anime I've watched this decade". Perhaps it's this ambition to be like a great novel, telling it's complex story at it's own pace, which somehow intrigues us and keeps us going.
The first episode of this stage is a summary of stage one. Afterwards we see that Chirico has found his way into a Vietnam-like guerilla war, complete with search-and-destroy missions, Russian roulette, napalm, and helicopters (of a sort). I was pleased to see him reunited with his precious companions, Gotho, Vanilla and Coconna, who had been responsible for the humor back in Uoodo City. Unfortunately, Chirico spends his time largely apart from them during this stage, so I found myself laughing a good deal less. For the time being, he's also been seperated from Fyana, the "phantom woman". I think the two surprisingly touching scenes in Uoodo City came when Chirico realised the genuine friendship Gotho, Vanilla and Coconna felt for him, and the affection (perhaps love?) he felt for Fyana--I wanted more of these interpersonal relationships, but was initially disappointed. Maybe Chirico really does have such an emotionless personality that we need his friends (and enemies) to maintain interest and carry the story along. On the other hand, perhaps it's the pity we feel for this hardened warrior which makes us (or at least me) genuinely want him to be reunited with Fyana. One way or the other, something was done right here, because after all my frustration I was impressed by the way things came to a head in the final episode or two. Just as in stage one, the s--- hits the fan at the end, with a three-way battle between the Veela rebels, the mercenaries, and the Melkian military. It's a wild free-for-all, that got pretty damn exciting with hordes of ATs launching an attack while riding in "scooters", a duel-to-the-death between former best friends, and Chirico able to get some answers to his questions from the villain Borough at gunpoint. I think one way in which Kummen Jungle Wars was better than Uoodo City was the way it concluded. Though the story as a whole is clearly far from over, there is a sense of closure here, sort of a feeling that an act of a play is coming to an end. And, believe it or not, we're actually halfway through the Votoms saga! In spite of my misgivings, I'm eager to move on to Deadworld Sunsa.
My favorite line: "Save the preaching for my funeral, pal!" --Kan Yu
Last updated Monday, February 04 2008. Created Saturday, February 28 2004.