Project Arms Vol. #08 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, June 03, 2005
Release Date: Friday, April 15, 2005
Writer/Artist:Ryoji Minagawa and Kyoichi Nanatsuki
Translated by:Katy Bridges
What They Say
Ryo, Hayato, Takeshi, and Kei are Arms-kids implanted with nanotech limb enhancements that cause them to transform into grotesquely deformed and out of control superweapons. Their desperate quest to uncover the secrets of their pasts takes them to a tiny desert town in Arizona called Gallows Bell. The horrifying reality that awaits them there could be more shocking than they can handle!
Cover art is from the original Japanese release, which features all four Arms kids in a scene where you can actually make out who is who. The problem is, it is pretty damn ugly and the characters don’t quite look like their manga designs. The colors however are crisp and look very nice. The English logo is presented at the top of the page with the Japanese katakana translation above in smaller font and the English volume subtitle underneath. A small black bar with the Viz action logo streaks the top while another black bar streaks the bottom with the creators' names and volume number.
Inside there is a summary of the story so far and no extras. The print job is nicely done, very clean with the tones crisp and sharp.
Minagawa’s artwork continues to be very consistent. Many may balk at his character designs, which are not the prettiest by any stretch, but his action sequences and background art are stellar. The action just explodes right of the page with very clean and stylish illustrations. The backgrounds are rich and finely detailed, giving the reader a very nice perspective and feel for what is going on. The scenery changes from Japan to desert Arizona, and the new artwork is a nice change and looks fantastic.
SFX are left untouched with a glossary in the back of the book. The dialogue is clear and concise without any spelling or grammar errors. This title features a lot of science jargon and grand conspiracies, and both come across quite clearly without any confusion.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
After defeating the Redcaps in Aisora City, the Arms kids head to the U. S. of A. in order to stop Egrigori from harming more innocent people and find out more about themselves. Their first stop is Gallows Bell, a strange town situated within a large crater in the middle of desert in Arizona. This town is the birthplace of Egrigori, holding the key to the creation of the Arms technology, but now it has been placed under the control of the Chapel Children. Al’s loyalty to the Arms kids is tested as he reunites with his fellow lab rats who are trying to fight against Egrigori themselves with their new breed of soldiers, the Hounds. Once again the Arms kids must battle their way through specialized super-humans with primal hunting instincts, all while realizing the truths about their pasts and futures.
At this point I am starting to feel that the story is getting a bit too formulaic. The Arms kids again find themselves in another mysterious town with a dark past and having to fight through super-human Egrigori experiments. The story has a very strong tournament fighting feel to it, with each new opponent stronger than the previous. However, even with the recycled formula, there are plenty of interesting moments and revelations here that kept me intrigued.
My favorite scene is when Ryo and Hayato are visited by one of the Keiths, the single woman named Violet, who teases them and basically lets them know that Egrigori aren’t involved with what is going on in this town. After this scene it started to become clear what strings Egrigori, or at least the Keiths, have been pulling. Are the Arms kids purposefully being pitted against outdated Egrigori experiments in order to exterminate them all? This extra level of mystery is what is keeping the tournament based storyline fresh and enjoyable.
There is also some good development with Kei, who is learning the hard way about how to be an effective leader. We learn a bit more about her dark past, and possibly the reason why she has a hard time getting attached to others and finding friends. While searching the desert for answers she is rescued by a mysterious man in a suit and top hat, who teaches her how to be a leader and lets her in on some of the secrets surrounding Gallows Bell. Now, the identity of this character is kept a mystery, but one key line lets us all know who he is, and I can’t wait for him to reenter the picture again.
With this volume, the Arms kids enter new territory but the tournament based formula remains the same. They come across a bigger and badder opponent who they must fight against, all while new revelations are being thrown around and progressing the story. Thankfully, the interesting twists and character development keep the story fresh and enjoyable. As with previous volumes, the actions scenes just explode off the page and are really exciting. A lot of new info brought to the table with the different layers now becoming clearer. I am still very much enjoying this series and eagerly anticipating the next volume.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left