Wild Arms Complete Collection (Thinpak) - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 39.98
  • Running time: 550
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Wild Arms

Wild Arms Complete Collection (Thinpak)

By Chris Beveridge     March 28, 2008
Release Date: October 11, 2005


Wild Arms Complete Collection (Thinpak)
© ADV Films


What They Say
Contains all 5 DVDs of Wild Arms in a easily-managed Thinpak Box Set!

ARMS: mysterious, ultra-rare weapons of almost unbelievable power. So how did Sheyenne Rainstorm come into possession of one? More importantly, how did the twenty-five year old gunslinger end up in the body of a five-year-old boy? These are questions Dr. Kiel Aronnax would like to see answered. Sheyenne just wants to find his original body.

On the other hand, fortune hunters Loretta Oratorio and Crimson Noble Mirabelle are only interested in treasure. So why, with the whole wide, wild west to travel, do they keep bumping into each other? They'll dodge gunfighters, con-artists, dragons, and crazed librarians in search of clues to solve the riddle of the ARMS. Don't miss the action packed series of Wild Arms!


The Review!
When Sheyenne Rainstorm finds himself in a body of a ten year old kid he sets off on a journey across a futuristic Old West to find his real body.

Audio:
Wild Arms was one of the few outsourced shows that ADV Films did and Bang Zoom provided the work for. The bilingual release gets a pretty standard stereo mix on both sides of the equation with both of them encoded at a slightly better than normal 224kbps. The stereo mix for it is rather run of the mill in a lot of ways but it comes across clear enough and the English language adaptation conveys the feel of the original in a similar fashion. The show has a good mix of quiet moments and big action moments and they're done in a way that doesn't stand out but fits in with the time frame of its original release and the nature of the show. Nothing is bad here but nothing really jumps out at you either. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 1999, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Wild Arms came out at the cusp the transition to more digitally designed shows and it retains that warmth that I find with a lot of traditionally animated shows, particularly at this time. The series has a warm color palette to it as it deals with the Old West style with lots of earth tones and they're presented well here. The original release was done on five volumes but this one is brought out on four volumes in a 5/5/6/6 format. In general, there's little to really complain about here but there are moments where you can see some noise in the backgrounds and some of the darker scenes with a lot of black has a bit of blocking to it. Aliasing is typical for hand drawn animation during pans and zooms but cross coloration is pretty much non-existent. While this won't blow anyone away visually, it's a solid enough release with the video.

Packaging:
Wild Arms gets done in a thinpak collection with a nice heavy chipboard box and all is good. Wild Arms has a good theme design working for it with the borders of the box done in Old West style with burnt paper and other symbols like wagon wheels. One main panel features Sheyenne in both young and old form along side Loretta in an action pose that shows off some nice cleavage. The other main panel is given over to the young Sheyenne in an action pse with his gun out while Kiel is in the background. I'm sad about the lack of Mirabelle action or any inclusion of Jerusha, Isaac or Laila. The spine is nicely done as it features the logo sideways as well as a small shot of Sheyenne in young form. The top of the box has the logo and does provide us some Jerusha and Isaac cuteness at least. Within the box we get four black thinpak cases each with some good clean artwork outside of the logo and volume naming. Several parts of these covers are used for the main box artwork as well though it's all sort of a hodgepodge that worked surprisingly well. The reverse side of the covers is done in a full form which is a big plus as it provides a summary for the volume, a rundown of the episode numbers and titles and a look at production and technical information in a clean and easy to read format.

Menu:
The menu designs for the series are pretty simple which is par for the course when it comes to the thinpak collections from ADV Films. Each disc has a piece of static artwork on it that's taken from part of the cover for that particular volume. The artwork takes up the right two thirds of the menu while the left side features the series logo and then a list of episodes you can select from. The first volume provides a selection for some trailers while all volumes have the language selection option. Thankfully each disc read our players' language presets so we could pop in a disc and hit start without an issue.

Extras:
None. Which is a real shame considering that the individual releases had some nice things like Interviews with the Japanese voice actors across multiple volumes, model sheets on all of the releases, the original Japanese previews and trailer, lots of dub outtakes and even a music video in addition to the standard clean opening and closing. There's a solid loss of good content here unfortunately.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Back when this show first came out on DVD in the US, I was very uncertain about it since it was a series that was based on a manga that was then converted into a game for the PlayStation 2. The anime was based off of both properties to some extent which just made me leery about how it would all come together, especially considering how many bad game to anime shows there were at the time. To my surprise back then, Wild Arms proved to be a lot of fun and kept me pretty happy for the twenty two episodes that it run.

After unsuccessfully trying to convince others on the review team to check out this set for a few years, I decided it was time to sit down with it again to see how it holds up in a marathon form instead of the schedule that the singles had. Thankfully, Wild Arms manages to hold up pretty well but it seems to have lost a little bit of its charm during the first half simply because you see it all so quickly. As a whole work however, it comes together a bit better in that you're able to see how the ties are done very early on since it's still fresh in your memory.

Wild Arms takes place in some unknown future where it's now ten thousand years after a cataclysmic event known as the Jihad happened. During that time, a fight between the great Goddess and the King of the Evil Race named Kianu caused widespread destruction and left plenty of chaos afterwards for the survivors to deal with. The result now is that we have a world that has some minor technology to it but mostly an Old West kind of feel. There are some strange creatures milling about and some stranger technology at times that some seem to have managed to keep alive. One of the more interesting devices are called ARMS, weapons that only a particular user can use as it drains part of their life force in order to shoot. One such weapon has been in the hands of a twenty five year old man named Sheyenne Rainstorm.

Three years prior to the start of the story however, Sheyenne was shot in the street by someone and his mind was transplanted into the body of a ten year old and stashed away in a prison. His revival comes in thanks to the arrival of a trio of thieves named Loretta, Mirabelle and Jerusha. These three are amusing and interesting enough on their own to carry a series as Loretta is a Crest Sorceress who uses cards as charged power devices, Mirabelle is a Crimson Noble which is one of many variants of a vampire while Jerusha is a little pink fluffy creature of which there are only a few left in the world. Their arrival in the prison coincides with the break out by a massive man named Kiel who is actually a doctor and is aware of Sheyenne when they find his suspended state of animation. Events conspire to have them working together to get out and it's from there that the show transitions to something of a road trip.

Sheyenne as a young kid is the glue that keeps things together as he's intent on getting his real body back after he convinces everyone that he is who he says he is. While he and Kiel along with another little furry creature named Isaac start off on the journey, the three women go off on their own treasure hunting journeys. Journeys which invariably have them crossing paths with Sheyenne and the others, sometimes at odds with each other and sometimes in a helpful manner. It does stretch credibility by a significant margin but it works in that sort of fated way that brings such episodic stories together in the first ten or so episodes. Through these smaller self contained stories we see more of the world and how it works after the Twilight Venom accident three years prior that sank an entire populated city.

While the banter and interplay between the characters makes up a lot of the fun of the first half, it's the second half where it all really solidifies. With four less episodes than most series that run like this, Wild Arms steps away from the filler-ish pieces for the second half of the show and gets right into things as Sheyenne gets ever closer to finding his body. The meeting with someone who looks like the Goddess from the past and a love of Sheyenne's from the past sets things into motion. A large organization called ROOF is involved in manipulating the government to its own ends as well as wanting to utilize the ARMS for their gain. Add in what seems to be multiple versions of the woman that Sheyenne knows and some politics in the land where ROOF is based and it gets around a lot. The past comes back to haunt almost all the characters at one time or another, but its focus is squarely on that of Sheyenne along with a healthy dose of Kiel towards the end. Though nobody is truly fully realized because of the shortness of the series and the way it plays out, they all come together in a way that is quite enjoyable in an almost surface way. Mirabelle's past gets touched on nicely when some time is spent in a Crimson Noble homeland while Loretta has some fun moments when we meet her sister. But in the end it's really all about Sheyenne and his love Laila and the series pays off in spades during the last few episodes as everything is revealed.

With its basis in the manga and then the game, Wild Arms has a certain style that it wants to adhere to and it does a good job of it. Though you have the usual problem of characters who wear the same thing constantly, the designs are appealing and they have that traditional animation warmth that I find so appealing. Sheyenne in both forms works well and they have a lot of fun with him as a child. The Old West design of the show has a nice balance with other aspects that get brought in such as the ruined cities or the city in the last few episodes which almost has a Romanesque feeling to it. Character designs are consistent throughout and there didn't feel like any sort of significant drop off to it. Having not played the games, I don't know how closely they mirror it there but what we do get here is clean and is a lot of fun to watch.

In Summary:
In some ways, Wild Arms TV didn't hold up as well as I had hoped during the first half of the series. The episodic nature was more visible and it felt like it was taking longer to get to the good stuff, especially since it's a show I've seen before. When the second half kicks in though, it reminds you why the first half is important as it is. Back when this came out I had recommended it quite a lot and I do still stand by that, especially since they printed up that recommendation for this box set. The characters are fun, the story is cute and has a good build up to it and the end provides for a lot of payoff with some really nice twists that just make me very happy. This isn't an end all be all kind of show but it's one that struck a chord with me when I saw it originally and still resonates five years later.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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