Case;Irvine is a new VOTOMS one-shot, set in the Astragius Galaxy but otherwise unconnected to the rest of the franchise. You can come in cold and it should make sense.
As an action piece, I thought it was nice to watch. Armoured Troopers look like they descended from Zakus and Soltics and possess a smallness and vulnerability rarely seen in mecha anime. Battling—gladiatorial AT fights—reverses that trend, encouraging lots of customisation and the bolting-on of elaborate extras. True, it’s hard to take the most extreme AT modification in Irvine seriously. By that point, though, it’s hard to take much of it seriously so we might as well sit back and enjoy the animation. Which is the animation that ATs deserve, rather than the tolerable but rather toy-like CGI of other recent VOTOMS stories.
But yes, that being hard to take seriously thing. Some elements (the sister! the agent!) are a slap in the face. Irvine‘s more pacifistic take on the haunted veteran has put psgels’s back up, and I can see his point. Mellowlink, the one comparably standalone Astragius story, features a hero similarly controlled by his past. But Mellowlink stays much more positive about violence: yes, the time comes for Mellow to put his rifle down, but until that time comes we’re expected to cheer him on his way as he avenges his unit. Chirico Cuvie, meanwhile, deals with his (presumably) atrocity-tastic history by quietly getting on with whatever the task at hand is.
I don’t know whether to hold that against Irvine or not. It’s from a different time, and probably for a different audience. I’ve never been good at judging quality, so here’s a suitably tepid conclusion: Case;Irvine is okay. If you have fifty spare minutes and want to watch some robots fighting, you could do worse.