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Episode 3: Squad

 

Review by Chris Guanche

February 24, 2008

 

Summary

 

On the helicopter, Chirico notices that Zaki is still staring at him. the helicopter lands at the frontline base X-2, and the squad meets up with its fifth member, a fat man named Dare Kochak. Kochak yells at Berkoff that he's an engineer and has already complained about being assigned to the squad. The squad is then summoned to a tactical briefing. An officer explains that they'll have to increase their air force fivefold to regain air superiority from the Balarant. Also, to reinforce their front line troops, they'll have to travel over land through the tight Manid Gorge. However, a Balarant base hangs over the top of the valley, and if they were to destroy it, it would bring down more than 10,000 tons of scrap and slow down progress for months. To make sure that the Balarant don't notice, the Berkoff squad is being sent in for a pinpoint attack. Kochak complains about the mission and his lack of nighttime drop experience and is laughed at by the officers. One officer points out that Kochak is old and Zaki is a kid. Another questions entrusting the fate of 3,000 soldiers to the Berkoff squad, and the officer giving the briefing points out that they were sent by Yugunt. When the briefing ends, the officers openly tell the squad members that they don't think they can complete the mission. A major asks them why they were sent by Yugunt, and another grabs Berkoff by the collar, but he says he doesn't know. The major tells Berkoff not to forget the 3,000 elite soldiers who are more valuable than they are. Later, the elite force sets out for the Manid Gorge while the Berkoff squad is airlifted. Berkoff asks Kochak about his age, and Kochak complains about the mission again. The transport pilots tell the squad to get ready for the drop. The plane extends its wings and turns off its engines to run silent and glide in. Kochak asks about enemy radar, but Berkoff explains their Scopedogs have a special coating and won't be noticed until they land. When they reach the target area, the Scopedogs launch out of the plane and deploy their parachutes. Berkoff gives everyone else their orders and heads for the communication tower to destroy it. The major calls Berkoff for a status report, and Berkoff reports that they're approaching the objective. Everyone else lands on either side of the base, but Kochak is stuck to his parachute and nearly falls off the canyon. He causes a rock to fall, which alerts the Balarant to their presence. Chirico wants to abort, but Berkoff says it's too late. Several Chabbys open fire on Berkoff, but he dodges and fires missiles at the communication tower. The others then jump onto large cables and head for the base while firing on Chabbys. More Chabbys emerge from inside the base, and Berkoff opens fire on them as he lands. Kochak panics and freezes when he's ordered to take down damaged units, so Zaki does the job. Chirico rushes inside the base and takes down three Chabbys before getting on the elevator.

 

The firefight continues on the base's surface, and Godan runs out of ammo. Berkoff destroys another Chabby and orders Zaki to take care of an emergency hatch. A Chabby rams into Godan, and Berkoff is knocked down by enemy fire. He quickly gets up and spins a Chabby around before tossing it into another one. He orders Kochak to guard the main get and prevent enemies from getting inside since Chirico is down there. As Chirico rides down the elevator, he destroys the Chabbys that are riding up another elevator. Several Chabbys attack him in the lower level, but he destroys them as he heads deeper inside. Elsewhere, an officer reports to the major that there's four hours until sunrise, and they have to start moving within 40 minutes if they want to leave the valley, but the major wants to wait for a report. Several Chabbys ride up an elevator, but Kochak tosses down a pair of grenades and destroys them. Chirico continues to speed down a spiraling pathway and destroys Chabbys as he encounters them. On the surface, Berkoff and Godan are pinned down behind fallen Chabbys. Several Chabbys speed past Kochak, and he mistakenly opens fire on Godan. The two Chabbys open fire on Chirico, but he destroys them from several levels below. Godan chases a Chabby and knocks it away, and Chirico arm punches another that had knocked him down. On the surface, Zaki is in a pinch and asks Kochak for backup, but Kochak just gets in the way. Zaki jumps off the side of the base and grapples his way back up. Several Chabbys approach him, but Kochak destroys them. The fighting ends, and everyone returns to the base's surface. Godan grabs Kochak by the collar and asks him if he's with the Balarant. He points out that Kochak alerted the enemy to their presence, abandoned his post and damaged Godan's Scopedog. Kochak says it wasn't on purpose, and Berkoff tells Godan to knock it off because the Balarant would've sent a better soldier. As punishment, Godan makes Kochak go around and shoot every single Chabby in the cockpit to make sure the pilots are dead. Kochak nervously goes through the entire base and shoots every Chabby. Berkoff calls the major and reports that the battle is over, although the enemy numbers were higher than they anticipated. The major orders Berkoff to guard perimeter until the convoy passes through. Chirico opens his cockpit and notices Zaki staring at him. Having come close to death, he wonders if such a reckless plan was deliberate. In the lowest part of the base, a damaged Chabby that Kochak missed reactivates.

 

Commentary

 

Now this is starting to feel a bit more like regular VOTOMS, with Chirico back in action in a Scopedog. The Berkoff squad is now complete, but unfortunately their last man is literally dead weight. Kochak is useless as a soldier, and he's probably one of the most annoying characters I've ever seen. Not only did he kill their element of surprise, but he couldn't even fight properly and damaged Godan's Scopedog in the process. Chirico shows off some skills as he takes on a load of Chabbys, including shooting them through the floor. Aside from Kochak, the rest of the team works well against such a large force. One thing that is probably worth mentioning is the CG in this episode, in that I think it sucks. The CG worked in the first episode since it was a stormy outdoors battle, but here it looks pretty bad, especially inside the Balarant base. It looks like what I'd expect to see in a cut scene from an early PS2 game, not an anime OVA from 2007. If the CG keeps looking like this, it would've been better if they just stuck to traditional animation for the combat scenes.

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Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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VOTOMS Pailsen Files Episode 3 VOTOMS Pailsen Files Episode 3

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