Project Arms Vol. #10 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 216
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0073-6
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Project Arms Vol. #10

By Jarred Pine     October 24, 2005
Release Date: October 04, 2005

Project Arms Vol.#10
© 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.

It's the attack of the Keith clones! In this volume the mysterious organization Egrigori has sent out Keith Silver to hunt down the Arms kids. But will Ryo and the others survive when Silver loses control and goes completely beserk?!

The Review
The Third Revelation comes to a close with this 10th volume, keeping the same battle motif while throwing in some new conspiracies and revelations to continue the digging down the always deepening rabbit hole.

VIZ continues to use the original cover art from the original Japanese tankoubon with the English logo along the top. This is my favorite of the covers, as it doesn’t feature the awkward looking characters and instead is a creepy illustration of the Jabberwock. I still find the claw mark effects to be a bit intrusive. The print reproduction is solid for the most part, although a couple pages were quite faded. There are no extras.

Minagawa-sensei’s artwork impresses the hell out of me despite the ugly character designs. The action art is really dynamic and explodes right off the page, sometimes to the point where I can feel the heat of an explosion or the kick to the head. It’s not just the artwork, but Minagawa-sensei also knows how to set up a sequence and follow it through to perfection.

Backgrounds are very detailed and rendered perfectly to add more depth and perspective. The major weakness for many will undoubtedly be the character designs, which are not a strong point by any stretch of the imagination. But the composition of the panels overall I think outweighs this slight weakness.

SFX are left untouched with translations provided in a glossary in the back of the book. Not my favorite of techniques, but I feel it is the right decision for this particular title. The translation remains quite solid, although I’m not too sure about the “Fubar” reference made by one of the soldiers.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Ryo just cannot catch a break. At each and every turn, the world in front of him just gets bleaker and bleaker as he struggles to protect his Arms comrades as well as the lives of the innocent around him. However, is this all just cruel coincidence, or is the all powerful Egrigori acting behind the scenes to manipulate Ryo’s fate for their own means? To borrow from the many Lewis Carroll references found in this title, the further down the rabbit whole the Arms go, the more twisted their world and the truths of their pasts become.

When we last left off, the Arms crew were doing their best to evacuate Gallows Bell by using a secret underground cavern as Ryo was caught dealing with Keith Silver and his Brionic Spear. In a move to protect Takeshi, Ryo transforms into the Jabberwock and absorbs the Brionic Spear, initiating a transformation of the Jabberwock into an even more powerful weapon of destruction. As the volume progresses, Ryo becomes more and more in-sync with the Jabberwock as he begins to mentally crumble under all the stress from the constant barrages by the Egrigori.

Ryo finally snaps and lets the hate overwhelm him during a brutal sequence after the evacuees finally reach safe ground at Grand Canyon. This light of hope is immediately smashed by another of the Keith series, Keith Green, who launches a full on assault on everyone. This sequence is illustrated in an interesting style with no words, but rather just 15 pages of images as Keith Green listens to some musical piece in his ears as he orchestrates the attack helicopters like he was directing a philharmonic of violence and terror. This is the last straw for Ryo, whose hate finally syncs with the Jabberwock awakening the voice of Alice and engulfing the world in hate. At this point, Program Jabberwock activates with White Rabbit and Knight overtaking the bodies of Takeshi and Hayato in order to fulfill the duties they were designed for – stop the Jabberwock at all costs. As the battlefield heats up, Kei finally finds her resolve as a leader and awakens her Arms, Queen of Hearts. Her power is very different from the others as it is not a power based on combat but rather a power that controls the Arms. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding her power of “light”, as it seems to have only begun to be tapped.

The chaos finally begins to cool down as the always mysterious lone female of the Keith series, Keith Violet, shows up with aid for all the injured and leads the Arms to another nearby, now defunct Egrigori lab. It is here that another great secret in the quest for Katsumi is learned, which flows over into the next story arc along with the still unanswered mysteries surrounding Egrigori, the true purpose of Arms, the meaning of Alice, and the motivations of the Keith series.

As the Third Revelation story arc comes to a close, the proverbial rabbit hole just gets deeper and deeper. For myself, it is wanting to find out what is at the bottom that has me really interested in this title. The characters are pretty flat, as they are merely just pawns in this game orchestrated by Egrigori, leaving much more reliance on the story to hook the reader. It is hard to grasp just how grand the conspiracies and manipulation are, which makes the story that much more intriguing to me. I gotta get to the bottom of that hole and I definitely care to see where it goes.

The storylines can still feel a bit repetitive with each increasingly powerful Keith series showing up and putting the Arms through hell once again. It can feel a bit too “wash, rinse, and repeat”, as many shounen titles do, but with this title it feels as though it fits with the manipulation going on behind the scenes by Egrigori. I do hope that the story moves on as we are only almost at the halfway point and there is risk that this formula get could tiresome.

I am still enamored with the excellent action artwork and panel direction. It is always a good feeling when you can feel the action in your bones when reading a manga. Project Arms is still a favorite title of mine that I think is a bit overlooked by shounen action and sci-fi fans. It is a nice sci-fi twist on the shounen conventions that always keeps my attention. The Third Revelation arc as a whole was solid and consistently enjoyable.


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jnager 3/13/2012 11:58:50 AM

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