Project Arms: Second Chapter Vol. #7 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Project Arms

Project Arms: Second Chapter Vol. #7

By Luis Cruz     November 21, 2005
Release Date: November 15, 2005


Project Arms: Second Chapter Vol. #7
© Viz Media


What They Say
Deep within the recesses of the Karion Fortress, a battle for humanity is raging out of control and the “Arms” pool all their power together to take down the Egrigori before Jabberwock runs amok!
It’s time for heroes to make a stand and the truth to come out in this final volume of Project Arms!

The Review!
One of the more under appreciated series of late, Project ARMS draws to a satisfying and entertaining close.

Audio:
My primary viewing session consisted of the Japanese audio track. The series continues to have a solid stereo track that utilizes the front soundstage very well during action sequences. Dialogue, music, and sound effects were balanced with one not overshadowing the other. There were no discernible dropouts, distortions, or other problems.

Video:
Viz maintains the high standard of video quality for the series; there were no noticeable original print defects or defects caused by the digital transfer process. From the bright blue sky and sea to the surreal colors of Alice's world, the colors are vibrant and capture the essence of the scene. The original Japanese credits and title cards have been replaced with English equivalents placed directly onto the print. Songs remain untranslated having no subtitles during playback.

Packaging:
All four members of ARMs pose for one last time on the front cover. Placement of logos, volume title, and other text remains consistent with previous volumes. The back cover features the usual layout of screenshots, plot synopsis, and disc specifications. Inside is a one-page insert with the chapter listings on one side and an advertisement for the graphics novels on the reverse.

Menu:
A brief animation featuring a snippet of dialogue from the English dub runs before the main menu loads. A piece of the opening theme loops in the background, and clips from the episodes play in the upper left of the screen with a still image of the Jabberwock in the bottom left.

Extras:
The extras are storyboard galleries for each episode and a gallery of character designs. For the final volume, Viz has also included a gallery that compares the storyboards to what actually appears on the screen.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When I took on the task of reviewing Project ARMS, the initial packaging filled me with some trepidation; from the marketing text, it appeared to be another tale of powerful teens saving the world that would rely on violence and outrageous action to carry it. Thankfully, Project ARMS proved to be the opposite of my expectations and was an entertaining and unique series from its first volume to this final volume.

For the ARMS children and their friends, the final battle takes place in the surreal world Alice has built within Ryo's very mind. Together, they struggle to finally lay to rest the demons within Ryo's and Alice's soul. A second battle between the remaining Keiths also rages in reality; both battles end with the Egrigori's dreams shattered but not without some sacrifices.

It would have been easy for the series to finish the action with some outrageous sequences or with a bizarre philosophical twist, but it remains true to the world it built and kept the focus squarely on the characters and how they have grown to depend on each other.

The one small disappointment was the final episode; the episode was primarily a recap of the final battle and some of the more recent events leading up to it. There is a pay-off at the end of the episode that does tie-in to the recap, but the scene could have been inserted more effectively in the previous episode. The battle does end with some sense of completion for the character's journey, but I had grown to love the character and wanted a stronger close for them.

Overall, Project ARMS managed to be one of the better yet under appreciated series in recent memory. At its core, the story is about a large scale conspiracy to use alien material to accelerate mankind's evolution. However, it is the characters that give the story its heart and help direct the plot.

Rather than focusing on the action and conspiracy, the writers chose to focus more on the individuals on how they cope with finding themselves as someone's guinea pigs. The story was well-paced allowing both the mystery of the conspiracy to unfold and the characters to grow from each situation. Balancing action with solid plot and character development, Project ARMS was a great series from beginning to end.

In Summary:
The finale for Project ARMS stayed true to the formula the series had built; the focus of the story's end remained fixed on the characters and what they needed to do to overcome the forces against them. While the ending and the series tended to be predictable at times, Project ARMS proved time and again that a group of well-defined, well-written characters can be the motivating force behind the plot. An overlooked gem, Project ARMS took a large science fiction based conspiracy and turned it into an engaging, human story. If box sets ever come out, this series will hopefully and finally receive the attention it deserves.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Storyboard Galleries

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable

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