So we’ve now reached the end of Armored Trooper Votoms: Pailsen Files. The last six episodes as expected were exciting and helped to wrap up this chapter of the story. I enjoyed it. As with last time there are a lot of things to examine, so let’s get into it. Beware of spoilers!
(*NOTE* This is a repost from our old defunct site MatureManga.net.)
Wokkam looked like he was going to win big. He almost took Monad for the Gilgamesh and would have maintained his own squad of Supreme Survivors. We knew that it wouldn’t go his way as he isn’t in the original series.
The Monad invasion very nearly worked, if it wasn’t for the unpredictability of Overman technology. This is ultimately what led Chirico and his comrades to fail, as well as them not being so invincible after all. After Wokkam put them through a series of tests, it still wasn’t enough.
Wokkam’s decisions and the explosion of Monad led to the loss of 120 million troops. The series reveals that 20 million was the most the Gilgamesh had used in a single operation before. It also shows that my estimated number of 21 billion for the size of the Gilgamesh military from our last edition to be way off the mark. Apologies!
The Gilgamesh top-brass were willing to let Wokkam have the glory after a seemingly huge victory for their side, as long as they got their share. They agreed to the mission because of that, and due to the assassination of one of their own. But when everything fell apart obviously they immediately held Wokkam accountable.
The fact that this operation caused such heavy losses for the Gilgamesh gives more insight as to why the Balarant were eager to start the war again in Mellowlink. After a short period due to the truce, they knew this operation meant that the Gilgamesh were at quite the disadvantage after their severe loss of numbers.
Pailsen was clever, and worthy of his own genius. The doctor working for Wokkam was in fact under Pailsen’s influence all along. More importantly than that, the research on Pailsen’s files had just been a ruse. I think that he knew at some point, someone was going to try and take advantage of his work some day. So he had things planned to prevent this scenario from happening. Wokkam fell for it by believing in what was in those files blindly.
The Birth of Rochina
In Armored Trooper Votoms: Pailsen Files, Ruske is mostly shown as Wokkam’s right hand man. But he realised that Wokkam’s ambitions were wrong. He killed Wokkam and decided to follow Pailsen’s example instead. Ruske created a new identity for himself at the same time, as Rochina. He seemingly followed Pailsen on to the helicopter and helped with his Perfect Soldier project. Until Pailsen and the Secret Society split away from the Gilgamesh in the original series that is.
At this point, it seems that he wasn’t under the influence of Wiseman just yet. When that happened we exactly we are still none the wiser… I’ll get my coat.
Close, But Not Close Enough
So we saw quite definitively that Chirico’s comrades were definitely not Overmen or Supreme Survivors. Unfortunately this again renders all those calculations I did in the last edition I wrote absolutely useless. But it is what it is.
However this doesn’t make things much less interesting. Pailsen interestingly refers to those alongside Chirico as ‘approximations’. From this we can gather that yes, they did have amazing survival traits, but they were unable to manipulate the environment and circumstances around them like Chirico does. They were almost the real deal, but it was in fact only Chirico who was the real McCoy.
Tragically, it was Chirico’s comments that indirectly led to three of his comrades’ deaths. The abilities that Godan, Kochak and Berkhoff had would have probably pulled them to safety otherwise. But in making the others aware of the Supreme Survivor theory, their mentalities changed and ultimately led to their demise.
Fate of the Berkhoff Squad
The others also weren’t too happy to hear about Chirico’s history as a Red Shoulder. This shows that Pailsen’s former troops and their methods were not well regarded at all by regular members of the Gilgamesh military.
Three had pretty much survived up until this point in their lives with differing levels of cowardice or self-preservation. Berkhoff had a history of freaking out and deserting when the going got very tough. But he made a noble sacrifice helping Chirico and Zaki to escape. Kochak was just a coward all round, although he did show his worth with his expertise at the Galeade arctic base.
Godan was seemingly very willing to sacrifice any team member in order to save himself, which had led to his bad reputation. We discovered that the Gilgamesh Purification Squad were those trying to kill him. The idea that the Gilgamesh had a special unit to get rid of bad apples within their own ranks is an intriguing concept.
Zaki was a different case, with Pailsen revealing that he was in fact a creation, brainwashed into killing Chirico. It was a shame that he felt he had to commit suicide in the end, not being able to handle his situation. He was a good kid, and Pailsen saying they’ll be able to do more precise brainwashing in the future shows the evil of the man.
At the end of Pailsen Files we get into Chirico’s mind and see that he wanted to be left alone in the void of space forever, meeting the same fate of that of his friends.
This obviously ties in to the end of the original series, where himself and Fyana froze themselves and launched themselves out into space. It seems that Fyana’s protestations in Brilliantly Shining Heresy may have been correct after all. Chirico indeed was looking for some kind of death.
It isn’t surprising, as even by this point he had suffered a lot of trauma. He had lost his memories after what had happened to him growing up on Sunsa. Then he was shoved into the military machine and had already suffered the loss of some friends. He definitely felt guilty that they put themselves in dangerous situations and lost their lives, knowing that he was ultimately always safe from the horror of death.
The Importance of Rank
I’ve mentioned this before in our look at Armor Hunter Mellowlink. That in the world of Votoms military rank is something people take very seriously indeed, and that men will sometimes betray their own ideals for it.
Wapp meets his demise when he is given a shiny new promotion. He’s blinded to the fact he’s going to be sent to certain death in the arctic regions of Galeade. He may have been a loudmouth, but to be fair to him he almost survived that. If he hadn’t have went out there to gloat at the apparent demise of Chirico and his friends, then he probably would have done. Instead he did just that, and his heating device well… overheated and destroyed him and his AT.
Speaking of Wapp, it was a nice nod to the original series to see a picture in his office of himself and Kan Yu, who can also be seen in the ending sequence.
The Other Elephant in the Room
One thing I forgot to talk about, indeed in all of our Votoms stuff so far, is that Pailsen Files has a compilation movie. This is also true of the original series.
The reason why we haven’t addressed these is because obviously I felt it was best to cover the series’ original releases. Also as far as I’m concerned they don’t add anything of value really.
But if you are interested, the movie version of Pailsen Files includes two extra scenes. One of Pailsen’s arrest at the beginning, and an ending sequence showing Chirico landing to safety on a planet somewhere with some hints as to what’s to come.
Luckily I was able to find these on YouTube so you can take a look for yourselves.
In the last edition I complained a lot about the CGI. As Sunrise released Armored Trooper Votoms: Pailsen Files over the period about 10 months however, by the end it had significantly improved. At times it still doesn’t look perfect, but didn’t look as bad as it had done in the earlier episodes.
While the best CGI was in the final Monad episodes, I felt the CGI also paired really well with the setting of the arctic battle in Episode 8, with the ATs ripping through the snow.
Also what was a cool touch was how Chirico’s flashbacks at the end used different animation. It’s similar in style to some of the official artwork for Votoms you may have already seen.
The fact that this series spanned 12 episodes unlike Brilliantly Shining Heresy’s five allowed aspects of the story and the characters to be explored in finer detail. Granted the plot wasn’t too complex, but this was definitely welcome.
I also would have liked to have seen at least one of his comrades to have survived instead of them all having to perish. Maybe Sunrise didn’t have anything planned at the time, but this could have set something up for a future OVA.
Chirico’s past has been explored in quite some detail by this point. So you may be happy to hear that this is the last entry in Votoms that deals with that.
As much as I liked it, this OVA is an example of crossing the line when it comes to Chirico’s past. In the original series he seemed quite oblivious as to why he was special. Pailsen Files is guilty of this, and Roots of Ambition also.
In the end, Pailsen Files was a good series and entry to the Votoms franchise. I wouldn’t say it’s quite as good as the original series or Armor Hunter Mellowlink, but it’s still a worthy addition nonetheless.
What did you make of Armored Trooper Votoms: Pailsen Files? Where does it stand against other entries in the Votoms franchise? We’d love to read your comments down below.