Armor Hunter Mellowlink, being a man vs mecha show, depicts frequent instances of Armored Troopers (ATs) being taken out in a myriad of ways. Only in this show can you see a mech blow up after losing its footing while skidding along the ground at high speed, or get defeated by a truck.
I wonder if this is Ryousuke Takahashi’s way of reminding us of his no-nonsense “real robot”-ism. ATs are closer to tanks than standard anime mechs, the former infinitely more prone to being blown up. I haven’t seen past episode 3 of VOTOMS, but if Mellowlink’s representation of these roundheads are taken for consistency, then kaboom, there you go.
But don’t get the idea that these mechs are merely jobbing to our muscled, BFG-toting hero. ATs massacre people by all rights, but Mellowlink Arity wins against them–not by mere virtue of being the good guy, but because he plans a couple of steps ahead, improvises with whatever resources he has at hand, uses the terrain to his advantage, and creates his own luck.
With all these advantages, those overconfident pilots are soundly pwned, so to speak. However, in one climactic fight (possibly the best in the show), Mellowlink is pitted against the equally-skilled (if not better) Major Boil, who is a real ace on and off ATs. Mellowlink manages to struggle, yet ultimately make Boil’s movements look lumbering and clumsy, given that they’re fighting inside a castle. Takahashi showcases us the tricks of an AT in moving on difficult terrain (foot hooks for moving along steep slopes, and the standard grappling hook), but they can never cancel out Mellowlink’s innate size and maneuverability.
All in all, a fun watch. If there’s anything Mellowlink teaches us, it’s that bipedal mechs are still beatable, provided you have wits, Polymer Ringer Solution wine, and a keen understanding of your enemy. We’ll never get a sidestory of Master Asia kicking the Devil Army around, but Armor Hunter Mellowlink is the next best thing.