As readers of this site probably already know, I tend to cover toys and Robodaz does kits. However, this time around we’ve decided to join forces on a kit as I know more about the series it’s from. Specifically, this is a kit of the Scopedog Turbo Custom featured in the Last Red Shoulder OVA, which is a spin-off from Armored Trooper VOTOMS. Bandai has also kicked off a new line of VOTOMS kits at a very nicely sized 1/20 scale. This means the kits are quite big and can contain a lot of detail that you would normally see on some of the bigger VOTOMS toys. Anyway, on with the unboxing.
Armored Trooper VOTOMS is one of the grittiest real robot anime out there. Following Fang of the Sun Dougram, both the writer and director Ryosuke Takahashi and mecha designer Kunio Okawara decided to reduce the size of the mecha down from 10 meters to something closer to 4 meters on their next project.
That turned into VOTOMS and in addition to the size reduction, Takahashi wanted to have the mecha move fast. This resulted in the birth of the roller dash, as the mecha called armored troopers had powered rollers in their feet.
The story itself dealt with the last few years of a century-long war between the Gilgamesh Federation and Balarant Union in the far of Astragius galaxy. Thrust into this was the battle weary Chirico Cuvie on the side of the Gilgamesh forces.
Chirico was also a member of the famed and feared Red Shoulder battalion, but we’ll get onto that in due course.
What’s made VOTOMS stand out both back at the start of the ’80s — and even now — is how it treated war and the mecha used in it. As the series was based around Chirico, his mechanical ride of choice was the Gilgamesh-manufactured Scopedog. The mainstay of their mobile weaponry, the most remarkable aspect of the Scopedog was that it was entirely unremarkable. Mass produced, it was a readily available piece of hardware in the VOTOMS world and was hugely customizable.
By the time the series starts, Chirico is stranded in the city of Woodo, a Blade Runner-like city prone to torrential downpours of acid rain due to all the pollution from the endless war. Forced into the battling arena, he ends up doing rather well and catches the eye of various people in power.
You see, Chirico is a mysterious character in the VOTOMS story and I wouldn’t want to spoil his journey. You should check out the original VOTOMS TV series though, as it is a classic.
In any case, before the events of the series Chirico is a member of the Red Shoulder battalion. This is one of the most feared special force armored trooper groups on the battlefield, as they are so savage they don’t recognise the difference between friend or foe.
Much of the reason behind this is revealed in both the Roots of Ambition and Pailsen Files OVAs (with a taste from the former shown below). Both of these are set before the events in the series, despite being animated sometime after.
The Roots of Ambition OVA is also noteworthy in the case of the Last Red Shoulder, as some key characters appear.
The Scopedog Turbo Custom then is a specific unit used by various Gilgamesh special forces as it not only has roller dash functionality, but also additional rocket propulsion to give its pilots an edge in battle. Normally, the Scopedog Turbo Custom was also the mainstay of the Red Shoulders before they were disbanded but in this instance, its usage in the Last Red Shoulder has a more specific purpose.
Keep an eye out for the review, as it covers quite a lot!