Boy oh boy, where do we start with the analysis of this next part of the Votoms anime franchise, Armored Trooper Votoms: Brilliantly Shining Heresy? The series only consists of five episodes, but there’s so much to get through. As always, this will contain huge spoilers.
(*NOTE* This is a repost from our old defunct site MatureManga.net.)
Welcome to the Future
The first thing we see in the introduction is an update on the current state of the Votoms universe. We know the war restarted again already, but it seems it has been raging for another 32 years. That’s already almost a third of the time of the original 100 years war.
We also discover that capsule thing that Chirico and Fyana preserved themselves in at the end of the original series has now fell into common use by both the Gilgamesh and the Balarant. It has now picked up the unflattering name of the cold coffin. Both sides use them to recover and treat injured soldiers at a later date, or not at all.
Unfortunately, Chirico and Fyana weren’t able to be on ice as long as they would have liked. People have said it a lot about Votoms. That instead of Chirico and Fyana casting themselves out into the unknown it probably would have been better for them to remain frozen under the supervision of Gotho and the others. Or at least to have hidden themselves in a remote location. Floating around helplessly in space it was always likely that they would end up in a difficult situation.
The Church of Martial
When doing an analysis of Brilliantly Shining Heresy, what’s interesting is it touches on a lot more on the religious aspects of Votoms. We find out that the Church of Martial commands a great deal of respect and power despite not having so much military might. We can see this when the Gilgamesh and the Balarant actually both come to help assist them at one point. Also that Iskui and Borough from the original series were once a part of it. The church excommunicated them for their beliefs in regards to Perfect Soldiers.
After his exploits against Wiseman and his subsequent freezing, Chirico was now known as the Untouchable One. This name alone suggests that his whereabouts inside the capsule at this time were well-known. People had left him undisturbed up until this point after all the trouble he caused previously. The church hierarchy seemingly don’t want to mess with Chirico because of his power. However they also deem him a threat to their religious beliefs.
A lot of this however is pretty boring, with the decision of a new pope taking up a large portion of the story. While it was a key point of the plot, a lot of the workings of the Church of Martial could have been cut out significantly and the overall story would not have been much different.
By now the race for creating Perfect Soldiers has resulted in new beings known as Nextants. Teitania is the only one we see, but they are cybernetic in nature while retaining a human brain. They also have a second, auxiliary brain that is in charge of their amazing combat capabilities. These far exceed what we have seen so far. The idea of PSs the church see as heresy. Although Montewells was seemingly able to convince them that Nextants are more acceptable, despite Taitania not exactly being fully human.
He planned to use his daughter to kill Chirico, claiming the glory and gaining power and control in the church. It was interesting how Pope Theo still allowed him to become pope. He knew Montewells was just in it for the power trip. It shows that to the church Chirico was enough of a problem that Pope Theo decided to do this, deciding the ends probably justified the means.
Brilliantly Shining Heresy shows Chirico exhibiting even more of his wondrous abilities here. The man was on a falling space station that fell from orbit and suffered a nuclear explosion when it hit the ground, and somehow he was still able to survive. Not only that but he heals from the massive injuries sustained in no time at all. The abilities Wiseman bestowed on him seemingly have no breaking point.
The Trouble with Teitania
Teitania is one major issue I had with this entry in the Votoms franchise. I think she is an interesting character indeed. Her own father sacrificed her in order to turn her into this super weapon under his control. Montewells could have used someone else to make a Nextant. I think he felt that by using his own daughter she would be more likely to obey. Her developing feelings for Chirico however came completely out of the blue. This was a plot point that didn’t develop properly. There are reasons for this however that we will get into later. It would have made more sense if instead of Fyana telling Taitania to love Chirico in her place, to instead say that she should follow Chirico to better understand herself as a Nextant or Perfect Soldier or whatever.
The Phantom Lady
That brings us on to Fyana and her fate. An analysis of Votoms Brilliantly Shining Heresy wouldn’t be complete without this. I have stated previously that I always found her to be a character that seemed like a spare part. The writers could have expanded upon her character and given her more to do. However she was often used as a plot device. Brilliantly Shining Heresy was no different with Chirico once again trying to find and reunite with her.
Despite this, seemingly killing her off and effectively replacing her with Teitania in my opinion was a bad decision from the Votoms staff. Their approach to this transition seemed pretty ham-fisted. I can understand if they wanted a companion with a stronger personality for Chirico in future installments. But as I said above I believe they still could have achieved this with Fyana by bringing out more depth to her character. I think it could have been done better perhaps with Fyana surviving into the next installment at least. That way we as the audience could become more comfortable with the change. Instead the result we got just felt incredibly jarring.
That said, I do kind of like the idea of Chirico having different people alongside him throughout his adventures. Godiva was another one of these, and was someone who had actually left the church as he had disagreed with their stance on Chirico and Fyana.
The Return of Rochina and Chirico’s Fate
One of the more interesting things about this OVA is Rochina. We know that he developed an obsession over Chirico. It’s no surprise that upon retiring from military life that he became for the most part a Chirico historian. He had a key part in directing Chirico’s life for Wiseman, and bared witness to many of his amazing feats. After all that it appeared hard for him to focus on anything else. It’s also interesting that seemingly Chirico allowed him to be responsible for Fyana’s body and to cast her into space at the end. Rochina doesn’t seem evil here, but I don’t think he ever fully was, but has certainly become very unhinged.
Who knows what Chirico will do from here. Back in the original show, his aims were always to get to the bottom of the Secret Society. Together with trying to secure some type of future away from being tools of war for himself and Fyana. At the end of this series fate leaves him with no real obvious goal. He ends up just wandering the desert. You wonder what the next part of Chirico’s story will involve.
After finishing Brilliantly Shining Heresy and initially writing this analysis, I noticed that Votoms had something else very much in common with the Gundam mecha franchise. 12 years after Mobile Suit Gundam’s release in 1979 came Gundam’s first real disappointment in the form of Gundam F91. For those not familiar, Gundam F91 faced indecisiveness about it’s length during production. Eventually Sunrise released it as an almost incomprehensible movie.
Sunrise released Brilliantly Shining Heresy 11 years after the original Votoms and it faced similar production difficulties. Apparently the series was supposed to span 12 episodes similarly to the excellent Armor Hunter Mellowlink. Unfortunately it was reduced reduced to only five. While not as muddled as F91, this OVA definitely didn’t flow as it should have done. This resulted in stunted and under-explained plot points. However like F91, it also marked the first real disappointment in an otherwise superb franchise.
Obviously this being the first and only 90s entry in the Votoms franchise, it has a more polished look compared to previous entries. Character designs were updated such as Fyana’s as her 80s design would have looked very dated and wouldn’t have worked. As always the series did have a good musical score, with a new opening sequence for this part of the story as well as a melancholic ending song.
All things considered this OVA series disappointed me. I must say everything I have watched so far of Armored Trooper Votoms I have enjoyed, up until this point. It’s annoying that after waiting to see how Chirico’s story continued, this is what we ended up with.
When Sunrise released this OVA, there had been over a decade since the end of the original series. So you would think that there would have been time to come up with a much better story. Seeing as would be a long 13 years until the next entry into the Votoms franchise, it appears viewers at the time may have felt the same way.
How did you feel about Brilliantly Shining Heresy? Were you also underwhelmed by this entry into the Votoms franchise? leave us your thoughts down below.