86-Eighty-Six’s Underrated Predecessor Might Be the Better Mecha Anime

86-Eighty-Six is currently the biggest name in mecha anime, making a splash more than any other franchise. Its combination of giant robot action with politics and betrayal has captivated audiences, making the former light novel franchise much more mainstream. However, as good as the series is, the franchise seems to pull a lot from another classic but somewhat forgotten mecha series.

Armored Trooper VOTOMS is not only a mecha series like 86-Eighty-Six, but it also had some of the same plot twists and concepts in its storyline. Having come out over 30 years before 86 was first published, it's hard not to notice the similarities between these two epic military mecha anime.

How Armored Trooper VOTOMS and 86-Eighty-Six Are Similar

The basic premise of VOTOMS and 86 are similar enough, as they both feature warring factions/nations in an advanced future. The former is based around the war between the Gilgamesh and Balarant countries, while 86 pits the Republic of San Magnolia against the Empire of Giad. Both of these wars are fought mainly via giant robotic armors, be they VOTOMS in the one series or Juggernauts in the other.

The pilots of these robots in both series' are treated as second-class citizens, being seen as expendable and without much chance of surviving into the future. This is reflected in their derogatory titles, with the pilots of VOTOMS being called "Bottoms," while the "86" that pilot the Juggernauts are simply called that for their living in the 86th district. Finally, the plots' biggest similarity is that, in the case of both San Magnolia and Gilgamesh, not all is what it seems. These seemingly "good" factions have a lot of blood on their hands and are involved in nefarious deeds behind the scenes. This sees this eventually turn against the protagonists, who discover the truth behind the wars they had been forced to fight in.

Why Fans Of 86-Eighty-Six Should Check Out VOTOMS

Long before 86 became a hit with modern audiences, VOTOMS was considered a classic in the pantheon of mecha anime. One of the first "Real Robot" anime to come after the success of the original Mobile Suit GundamVOTOMS was itself something of a spiritual successor to the series Fang of the Sun Dougram. This meant the series had much more realistic action than some viewers were used to in mecha anime, represented mainly in just how militarized, non-streamlined and "ugly" the title robots are.

Despite how less than aesthetically pleasing they may look, the mechs have also graced plastic quite a few times throughout the years in the form of collectible toys and model kits. The volatile nature of the VOTOMS units makes things even more harrowing and realistic, completely taking things away from the goofier Super Robot anime of the years before and more toward a fairly gritty space war series. The art style and designs were also much more of the "classic" era of mecha anime, eschewing the more colorful and unrealistic-looking characters of today's anime. Thus, watching the beloved series is very much a blast from the past. This is capped off with a good storyline full of twists, turns and incredible robot action.

Given that its 52-episode run finished decades ago, it's also quite easy to get into VOTOMS during the wait for more 86 content. The series can both be streamed through HIDIVE as well as purchased on Blu-Ray through retailers such as Amazon and Sentai Filmworks. Although 86-Eighty-Six might be the big name today, it definitely wouldn't be what it is without Armored Trooper VOTOMS.

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