Project Arms Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Project Arms

Project Arms Vol. #6

By Luis Cruz     October 07, 2003
Release Date: August 12, 2003


Project Arms Vol. #6
© Viz Media


What They Say
Everyone loves an amusement park – but not when it’s full of superhuman psychos out to kill you!

Ryo survived his encounter with Volf... barely. Now Kyklops is up at bat, and things are looking grim. Has Ryo really figured out a way to defeat Kyklops’ laser vision, or is he two seconds away from resembling a funnel cake – fried to a crisp?

Even if Ryo does manage to get the better of Kyklops, Twister Carol is eager to show him how she got her nickname. Topping the bill is the leader of Ex Armis, Cliff Gilbert – a.k.a. The Devil Cliff. His ruthless tactics, combined with awesome powers, make this one battle you won’t want to miss!

Includes episodes:
Satan (The Devil Cliff)
Heaven (Advent)
Gehenna

The Review!
Volume six has Ryo finishing his fight with the Ex Armis group while the fight for his mind and body continues. While this batch of episodes is predictable, they bring back the character-driven elements that have made this an enjoyable series.

Audio:
For my primary viewing session, I listened to the Japanese audio track. The show continues to have a solid audio track providing a great mix between action, dialogue, and music. Both audio tracks will not disappoint their intended audiences.

Video:
The video for the volume continues the series history of providing a solid transfer. The colors are rich, and one would be hard pressed to find a flaw during playback. There were a few spots where the subtitles experienced the "line of dots" syndrome seen on previous volumes. The lines are not frequent but are noticeable enough to be distracting.

Like previous volumes, this volume replaces the original credits and title cards with English equivalents placed directly onto the video transfer. There are no credits present on the disc for the Japanese voice actors.

While this practice does not bother most, my preference is to have the original video intact from start to finish. As other company’s releases have borne out, DVD technology allows the original Japanese credits and English translated credits to coexist on the same disc. Viz is not utilizing this technology, and my video review grade reflects that.

Packaging:
For this volume’s front cover, Keith Red is in the foreground while a large purple beast covers the entire background. The placement of the text and logos remains consistent with previous volumes. Viz continues to provide no immediately visible indication on the front cover of what volume you are holding.

The back cover provides this information as it contains the standard "numbered episode titles, synopsis, screenshots" format that has been used for the previous volumes. Inside the case is a one-sheet insert that contains the chapter listings on one side but nothing on the reverse.

Menu:
As with other Viz series, the menu style does not change from volume to volume. The menus fit they style of the series while being quick and functional. Transitions between menus are minimal allowing one to get setup and into the episodes quickly.

Extras:
Textless versions of the opening and ending songs, character design sheets, and episode storyboards are once again the extras provided. The new opening and ending songs are finally present as Viz skipped putting them on the previous volume despite two out of three episodes in volume five using the new sequences.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ryo continues his fight with the Ex Armis group in Satan (The Devil Cliff). His first opponent is a little girl named "Twister Carol". She earned that particular appellation by being able to twist any item she wants – metal, stone, and even human flesh. One can imagine what is in store for Ryo.

As Carol begins to turn Ryo into a human pretzel, Cliff Gilbert, the leader of Ex Armis, provides some exposition on their plans. With every injury Ryo sustains, the ARMS nanomachines rush in to repair the damage; this also has the side effect of making their will more dominant than their host’s will. Cliff wants Carol to injure Ryo enough to subdue his own will and make the Jabberwock appear.

Carol nearly succeeds, but Ryo proves that his will and destiny are his to control. Cliff begins his personal assault in Heaven (Advent); his ploy is to use Kei to induce the sense of grief Ryo felt when he lost Katsumi. When his grief overwhelms him, Ryo will be lost, and the Jabberwock will be freed.

This plan also fails as Ryo manages to save Kei and continue the battle on his own. This episode also features some insight into Kei’s childhood and how it has affected her personality and attitude towards life. As the episode draws to a close, Cliff uses Yugo’s power of telepathy to drive Ryo over the edge and finally unleash the Jabberwock.

Gehenna (defined as "a place or state of torment or suffering") ends this volume with Ryo facing his true enemy, the Jabberwock personality within him. Cliff quickly learns that his power is no match for the Jabberwock. Having been freed by Misa, Al, and Grandpa Shingu while Cliff was busy with Ryo, the rest of the ARMS crew convinces Yugo to place them in Ryo’s mind. They attempt to free Ryo’s will from the power of the Jabberwock and succeed. The Jabberwock is once again subdued as Ryo’s will becomes the dominant one, but for how long?

The style of the show from the animation to the way the episode previews are done has kept me entertained, but it has been difficult to describe why I am enjoying the content so much. It did not hit me until one of the last scenes of this volume; Ryo has changed back from the Jabberwock and is clad only in his torn jeans. A light went on; Ryo is the Incredible Hulk.

For myself, what has kept the Hulk an interesting and enjoyable character over the years was the premise. An ordinary man has had enormous, destructive power thrust upon him. He did not seek this power out, and if it is unleashed, it is done at the expense of his humanity. It is a constant struggle to keep that power in check while facing the cruel world around him. Ryo and to a lesser extent the rest of the ARMS crew are in the same predicament.

They have been given great power and must struggle to cope with keeping it in check. Ryo has drawn the shortest straw, as he must also fight another personality within him that seeks to destroy everything that makes Ryo human. Add in a dose of X-Files like conspiracy, and this show keeps me coming back for more.

The plots have been predictable, the dialogue and situations a bit maudlin, and this volume is no exception. The final content grade waffled between B+ and B while writing this review. In the end, the scales tipped towards B+ as I really enjoyed the development of Kei’s character as well as the aspects of the mental struggle Ryo continues to go through. With only eight episodes remaining in this initial series, I am looking forward to see where they take our heroes from here.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable.


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