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Episode 1: Woodo

 

Review by Chris Guanche

August 27, 2010

 

Summary

 

Coconna Vartla argues with her husband Vanilla and throws vases and plates at him. He says it's not his fault that Chirico Cuvie left, but Coconna blames him and says Chirico has a hole in his heart because of Fyana. She says that if she knew Vanilla was this kind of man, she wouldn't have had six kids with him. Bouleuse Gotho and the Vartla children watch the argument, and they force him into the room to intervene. Gotho tells them to stop fighting, and Coconna cries about Chirico being alone. Gotho tells Coconna that she hasn't changed at all over the years and asks how long she and Vanilla have been married. Vanilla says it's been 25 years, and Gotho suggests they celebrate by traveling to places where they have fond memories. They both refuse, but they change their minds when Gotho mentions they might encounter Chirico along the way. Later, Coconna and Vanilla fly to Woodo City on planet Melkia and are amazed to see that the city has been rebuilt. Coconna wonders what happened to a strange shop they went to that served snakes and lizards, and Vanilla points out there was a food shortage after the war. He wonders what happened to his old hideout, so they travel to that part of the city and find it still in ruins. Vanilla's old hideout is in the exact same condition, and he recalls the time they stole a huge amount of gold from the police. They both talk about Chirico while impersonating his voice. Coconna thinks that someone else has been there ahead of them because the air isn't stagnant. She then notices footprints in the dust, and Vanilla wonders if Chirico was there. Vanilla then decides to go to Gotho's old junkyard office, where they met Chirico for the first time. Vanilla comments that the junkyard also hasn't changed in 30 years. They explore Gotho's old office and see that it's still the same as it was when they left Woodo. Vanilla spots more footprints in the dust and sees a a strange Battling poster with a Red Shoulder Scopedog on it. Vanilla knows something isn't right, because the Scopedog's painted red on the wrong shoulder, and the shade of red is off.

 

Vanilla and Coconna visit the Battling stadium while a match is going on between a Purple Bear and Strong Bacchus. They get past the crowd and head to the pilot's locker room, where they find Gotho waiting. Coconna asks him what he's doing there, and Vanilla says he figured out the trick with the Red Shoulder poster. Vanilla asks about the footprints, but Gotho doesn't know what he's talking about. Quentman Ru Shako then walks in and asks about Chirico. Vanilla says that Shako hasn't changed at all, and Shako explains that Quentmen age slowly, but he notes the three of them have all gotten older. He then asks again about Chirico, but Vanilla says they haven't found him. Gotho then introduces Shako to the AT pilots, who feel hostile when Shako ignores them. A pilot named Gombo tries to pick a fight, but Gotho stops them. Shako insults them by saying Battling is a game he doesn't participate in. Gombo knocks Gotho aside and puts a knife to Shako's neck, so Gotho suggests settling things with a Battling match. Gombo heads to the AT hangar and finds someone standing next to his AT, and that person drops a large hook to kill Gombo. Vanilla, Coconna and Gotho head to the VIP area to watch the match, and Vanilla comments that this is the VIP area Fyana used when they knew her only as the Phantom Lady. The Battling match begins when Shako enters the stadium in his Berserga WP, and Gotho wonders how Gombo will do against Shako. The Scopedog Red Shoulder Custom then enters the stadium, piloted by the man who killed Gombo. The Scopedog immediately opens fire on Shako, and Vanilla is surprised that they're using real ammo, which is not what Gotho arranged for. Someone comes into the VIP lounge and informs Gotho that Gombo is dead. The Scopedog chases after Shako, and Vanilla wonders who it is and why they're trying to kill Shako. Shako hides behind a wall as the Scopedog speeds through the maze and comes out the other end. Shako escapes again, but the Scopedog fires missiles, one of which hits the crowd. The Scopedog fires at Shako again, destroying the Berserga's right arm. Gotho comments that the Scopedog pilot is predicting Shako's moves, and no one in Battling is that skilled. The Scopedog slowly walks through the maze, and an injured Shako hides by powering down his Berserga. Shako then attacks the Scopedog from behind and rams his pile bunker through its torso. He then jumps out of the cockpit just before the ATs explode. After the fire is extinguished, Gotho checks the Scopedog's cockpit and finds it empty. Shako is convinced the pilot escaped, and Vanilla doesn't think there's anyone who could do that. He wonders if it was Chirico, but Coconna says Chirico would never try to kill Shako. Shako explains that he has to see Chirico, but he doesn't know why, which Vanilla says doesn't make any sense. Shako then says wherever there's gunfire and smoke, Chirico will be there.

 

Commentary

 

The opening episode of Phantom Arc marks a significant change from previous OVAs because it's the first time in 24 years that we've seen Gotho, Vanilla, Coconna and Shako. We see that in the last 30 years Vanilla and Coconna have had six kids, and Gotho is somehow still alive, even though he was already old in VOTOMS. There's a lot of nostalgia as Vanilla and Coconna return to Woodo, and that nostalgia carries through in the presentation, as the OVA features the same voice actors, music and opening/ending themes from the TV series. The story here definitely picks up after the events of Shining Heresy, although some things have happened since Coconna and Vanilla are arguing about Chirico leaving. Their desire to find Chirico reunites them with Shako, who is also looking for Chirico. Things take an interesting turn when a mysterious man attacks Shako and tries to kill him. Who is he, and how is he so skilled? As with Pailsen Files, the AT combat is all CGI, but it's definitely improved in Phantom Arc. There are enough mysteries here to keep you engaged for the next episode.

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Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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VOTOMS Phantom Arc Episode 1 VOTOMS Phantom Arc Episode 1

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