Armored Trooper Votoms ★★★★★

I couldn't tell you why this is on here, but I'm not going to complain.

My favorite mecha anime, full stop. A hard nosed story of violence, pain, and - most importantly - endurance. Protagonist Chirico Cuvie is soft spoken and downright expressionless; he's a young man who only knows the horrors of war and is broadly defined by the tragedies he has lived through time and time again. In spite of every obstacle in his way, every gun pointed to his head, every explosive set, every invisible wire of fate trying to move him any which way - Chrico continues to live and move forward, whether he wants to or not.

More than any mecha show before or after it - this is very much HARD sci-fi. The mechs in this series are presented as rusting piles of junk not fit for any battlefield. Chirico rotates through mechs the same way the average person rotates through clothes on any given week.

This is not an easy show to go through - especially for those who are not the biggest fans of older animation. There are significant periods of downtime between major plot beats, and it does sometimes feel like the action pads out the episode count - but I find that this series is a lot more than the sum of its parts. This is mecha genre's absolute diamond in the rough.