Project Arms Vol. #06 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 202
  • ISBN: 1-59116-488-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Project Arms Vol. #06

By Jarred Pine     May 16, 2005
Release Date: September 01, 2004


Project Arms Vol.#06
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Ryoji Minagawa and Kyoichi Nanatsuki
Translated by:Katy Bridges
Adapted by:

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. As they attempt to uncover the mysteries of their past, the latest group of superagents to come after them are the chillingly cruel Red Caps with their most deadly strategy - the vicious "snark hunt." Desperate and chased to the brink of death, Hayato Shingu undergoes a transformation of sublime proportions.

The Review
Packaging:
Cover art is from the original Japanese release which features Ryo and Hayato grunting in the midst of action, covered up by what look like silver rip marks across the book. It’s not really a cover that will grab your attention, especially with the distracting claw-artwork. 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. Once again the print job looks really nice, getting across all the tones very clearly.


Art:
Minagawa continues to really impress me with being able to properly convey a scene and make the reader a part of it. There is A LOT of action in this volume, and the great detail and clean artwork really makes it all just hop right off the page. The action is also sequenced perfectly, and when added with the excellent background art, puts me right in the middle of things and experience it all.

I also noticed quite a few full page panels that look fantastic, especially when Takeshi dropkicks a helicopter. The character designs aren’t the most pleasant, but the facial expressions do a great job at getting across the intense emotions and agony in a scene.


Text/SFX:
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. There is also great care in matching the dialogue with the characters. Keith’s speech is haunting, Gauss’s is a ranting genius and lunatic, the personalities are really heightened by the solid translation job.


Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
After their intense battle with the now defunct X-Army, Ryo and company find themselves in the middle of a “snark hunt” (another Lewis Carroll reference for those keeping score) as a new Egrigori unit, called the Red Caps, moves in and takes an entire city hostage. The Red Caps are the production model version, if you will, of the X-Army, as they have most of their traits combined into each soldier: regeneration, strength, telepathy, etc. Aisora City is surrounded by rivers on all sides, with the only way out via the bridges which have been destroyed by Red Caps. By threatening to incinerate all of the citizens in the city with a neutron bomb, they turn these innocent hostages into enraged mercenaries who want to capture the ARMS in order to protect their own lives. This urban warfare becomes a psychological battle and the ARMS crew must split up to work their strategy in cutting of the head of the Red Caps, Radish Tower.

With everyone split into three groups, the story breaks into three different perspectives, alternating between each of them as they approach their objectives. It offers some really dramatic storytelling and the transitions are handled very well in order to keep the interest level high, and at the same time not overloading the reader with too much information. The best group to follow is Takeshi and Ryo’s mother, the infamous Laughing Panther. For those who were impressed, like me, with her performance in volume 4 won’t be disappointed here. She is a machine, acting not out of thought but pure reflex, as she slowly picks off Red Cap after Red Cap. She also offers some great words of advice to Takeshi, helping boost his confidence and realizing his true abilities.

Hayato and his group act as a diversion for the other two groups, but Keith interrupts their plans and Hayato must finally confront his past. However, Hayato realizes that his thirst for vengeance gets others in trouble and he now wants to protect the ones he cares about. It’s a nice change in Hayato’s personality, as he no longer remains that same hot-headed jerk that is hell-bent on getting revenge. More importantly, this change causes Hayato’s true form of ARMS to be unleased, The Knight. His transformation is much like Ryo’s Jabberwock, awoken by the need to protect. It becomes quite clear that the ARMS are more than just genetically altered humans with nano-machine technology.

Comments
The story is really heating up and starting to hit its stride here as the ARMS crew must survive in the face of tragedy and destruction as Aisora City comes under control of the Red Caps. The action is fast and illustrated fantastically, with clean artwork and well sequenced panels. As the group splits, the three storylines alternating with each other create quite a dramatic reading experience that had me completely engaged. During the battle, Hayato and Takeshi go through some moments of development that should change their dynamics in the story to come. The highlight though is most definitely seeing Laughing Panther back in action, kicking ass and taking names. Greatest manga action star ever. Project Arms is still giving me what I want and need with it’s dark, action filled sci-fi storyline, and it’s getting even better. Very much recommended.

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