Project Arms Vol. #8 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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: 24.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Project Arms

Project Arms Vol. #8

By Luis Cruz     March 29, 2004
Release Date: February 24, 2004

Project Arms Vol. #8
© Viz Media

What They Say
Takeshi finally uncovers the true scope of White Rabbit's powers - and not a moment too soon. A bomb atop Aisora Tower reminds him that time (and explosives) wait for no man.

Ryo's got problems too - after tracking Gauss to the local stadium, Ryo figures he has the Red Caps leader cornered at last. But Gauss still has a few aces in the hole...

Between the Special Forces Unit and a potential secret weapon, both Ryo and Jabberwock are about to be put to the test. Will it turn out to be their final exam?

Hayato, facing off against the Gryphon of Keith Red, learns how lucky he is to have a friend like his own White Knight. It's the mother of all grudge matches in this, the eighth installment of Project Arms. Watch the concrete fly!

The Review!
For this session, only the Japanese audio track was played; no surprises here as Viz lays down another solid stereo track with no discernible problems. Dialogue was sharp, and the action sequences made good use of the front soundstage. The echo effects were particularly impressive. While the English audio was not played, there is little doubt that Viz provided an equally impressive track for the dub fans.

There also were no surprises in the video department. Project ARMS is a dark show in nature and in most of the scenes. The transfer for this volume is on par with its predecessors. There were no noticeable transfer or original print defects; colors remain sharp and vivid providing a considerable amount of detail. The one constant problem this series seems to suffer from is the "dotted underline" that occurs on the subtitles. While there were only a few lines, the series has been continually plagued by this annoyance.

Once again, the original credits and title cards are replaced with English equivalents placed directly onto the print. There are no credits present on the disc for the Japanese voice actors. While not a technical issue, having these alterations degrades my viewing experience, especially when DVD technology allows for multi-language content to exist on one disc. Why this practice persists is a mystery and is my one major complaint about Viz's handling of this series.

Ryo dominates the center of the front cover while four blonde Keith clones surround him. Viz has finally placed a volume indicator on the front cover just above the volume title. All small yellow star contains the marketing text "From Ryoji Minagawa, creator of Spriggan". The back contains the requisite episode list, synopsis, screenshots, and disc details. Inside the case is a one-sheet insert outlining the chapter breaks.

The menus for this series have been consistently good; they 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. The main menu continues to have a loop of animation while an ominous techno beat plays in the background.

The extras also remain consistent with textless versions of the opening and ending songs, character design sheets, and episode storyboards.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
On the surface, Project ARMS could be simply labeled as an action series; however, it has impressed me by continuing to tell a dramatic human story. Each of our heroes have been slowing growing throughout the series as they attempt to cope with their mysterious powers and the forces that surrounding their creation. In this volume, we see two of our heroes take a dramatic turn.

As the snark hunt nears its deadline, both Hayato and Takeshi unleash the ultimate manifestation of their ARMS power. The White Knight and White Rabbit waited in the depths of their host until their courage and self-sacrifice proved them pure and worthy enough for the power. Hayato finally leaves his sense of vengeance behind, as he uses his newfound power to kill Keith Red. He realizes that he wants nothing more than to protect his friends and family.

Takeshi finds himself not wanting to die despite years of wishing he were dead. His friendship with Ryo, Hayato, and the others has taught him that his life has worth. While he wants to live, he realizes that he has found something worth dying for. He cannot disarm the bomb, so his only option is to carry it as far away from the city as possible. This act of self-sacrifice unleashes winged, supersonic power of the White Rabbit; Takeshi manages to deposit the bomb out in the depths of the sea before it detonates.

Meanwhile, Ryo finds Gall's final battleground at Aisora Stadium; Gall creates a diversion and shoots Ryo with "Venom". A nanotech virus is slowly destroying the Jabberwock from within, and Ryo's consciousness must dive into the very "soul" of the Jabberwock to eliminate the virus. What he finds in there confuses and frightens him. While he believes that Katsumi might be alive, the Jabberwock forces him to face the truth that it was Ryo who brought about her death. Stunned, Ryo finds that the Jabberwock's soul is consumed with unadulterated hate.

The series is becoming an interesting set of contrasts. Ryo's and the Jabberwock's personality have always been at odds, but we now have the added wrinkle of the White Knight and White Rabbit. These two were born from a desire to protect, a fact that is likely to bring them into a direct conflict with the Jabberwock at some point. Also, Kei has yet to tap into he ultimate ARMS potential; what will it take to unlock her power, and what form will it take?

A large part of why I enjoy this series are the X-Files qualities it has; our heroes are continually fighting battles in an effort to learn the truth, yet the whole truth is too large for them to grasp and remains out of reach. They can only trust each other as their allies may be helping them only because it is convenient to do so. Through it all the writers keep the character's true to their nature and avoid most of the standard clichés that an action series can fall into. The series has been building to the events in this volume, and I cannot wait to see where it takes our characters from here.

In Summary:
I eagerly await each new volume of Project ARMS to reach my review pile, and this one is no exception. The series continues to blend action, drama, and large scale conspiracy elements. With the emergence of nearly all of the latent ARMS powers, it will be interesting to see how they clash with the Jabberwock's opposite nature. I cannot wait for volume nine to come out.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Textless Ending,Character Designs,Storyboards

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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