Wild Arms Vol. #3 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

0 Comments | Add

 

Rate & Share:

 

Related Links:

 

Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Wild Arms

Wild Arms Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     April 25, 2003
Release Date: April 29, 2003


Wild Arms Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
After Sheyenne and Kiel help an ace safecracker who wants to go straight get out of the business, a mysterious woman out of Sheyenne's past appears to trouble his dreams. Her name is Laila, but she doesn't stay in his dreams for long. Sheyenne finds she's alive and well and living in the next town they reach. But there are sinister forces in motion, their sights are set on Sheyenne and his Wild ARMS, and they aren't above using anything or anyone to get to him. Without his adult body, can Sheyenne protect his long lost love? Find out in the third exciting volume of Wild Arms!

The Review!
The series continues to move along at a brisk pace and we get some more enjoyable episodes here in what I’m thinking is one of the more underrated series running right now.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Throughout the episodes there was a solid if somewhat unexceptional stereo mix. There’s a bit of directionality throughout, but not enough to really raise expectations for much of an immersive track. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout and we noted no dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally airing in late 1999 and early 2000, Wild Arms budget looks fairly average, but they managed to milk it fairly well, resulting in some decent looking animation that comes across quite well in this transfer. Colors are fairly muted for the most part with the backgrounds and the general western feeling, but there’s several areas of much more vibrant colors that shine through nicely. Cross coloration is pretty much non-existent here and we only saw some minor aliasing during some panning sequences. A solid transfer overall.

Packaging:
Everybody’s favorite Crimson Noble gets the cover this time around with her image set against the moon as well, though she tends to block most of it out. It’s a nice cover that’s definitely keeping in style with the previous ones. The back cover provides a couple of small shots from the show and a brief summary of these episodes. The episode numbers and titles are clearly listed as well as the features and extras on the disc and some of the basic production information. The series is also nicely labeled when it comes to the volume number, making it easy to figure out which one you have. The insert has a shot of Sheyenne set next to the episode selection guide while the reverse side has a nice group shot image.

Menu:
Done in a similar layout to the front cover, the menus features different character artwork in each location set against the shaded brown western motif of the series. Setup and features are quick and easy to navigate and access times are nice and fast without any transitional pieces to deal with.

Extras:
If there’s one thing these extras are doing, it’s making me want a second series to get made. Between the 2nd Ignition Music Video for the video game release and the lengthy commercial for that game as well, with all the anime footage in it, it really makes me want to play the game to see it all. We also get some more model sheets and the two Japanese preview commercials for the DVDs that made up this volume. And there’s another round of outtakes, but they continue to be pretty weak – but still a welcome addition.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After being unsure of this series at the start, I now find myself eagerly looking forward to each new volume. The show is just one of those that gets me to laugh at the right moments and to just enjoy the journey. The characters continue to be simple yet fun, providing some light action/adventure that succeeds greatly in entertaining us.

The third volume continues this well, with a pair of standalone bookend episodes and a two-parter in the middle. The opening episode is a simple piece that has Kiel and Sheyenne getting caught up in a gang of robbers who’ve kidnapped a family. The man of the family knows the secret behind the doors of a mysterious underground location. Previous attempts have left many a man dead as they fail to get through the traps, but he’s able to do it, though he’s really nervous with his family held hostage. Sheyenne ends up getting involved when he sees the family being carted off at one point and feels some empathy for the young girl that’s caught up in all of it. So he gets his heroic juices flowing and sets out to free everyone. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but it plays out nicely.

The other bookend episode was an amusing piece that has us visiting a Crimson Noble village and having the problem of one of the newborns having gone missing. While everyone is out looking for her, she’s actually stumbled onto Sheyenne and Kiel and has taken a real liking to Sheyenne. You pretty much see her constantly, in bat-like form, chomping on his arm and sucking quite a lot of his blood. Of course, this becomes an issue when some mysterious martial artist group appears, believing Sheyenne to be some master of the same arts, when it’s mostly just him being woozy from the loss of blood. This was a good spot of fun with all the Crimson Noble stuff going on and the various jokes with Sheyenne getting drained.

The really good stuff comes in the center two episodes, where Sheyenne finds himself having a dream of his past when he was an adult as he and Kiel get closer to his hometown. The visage of a beautiful blonde woman who is, shall we say, attentive to him is the most striking thing that he remembers of his past. With this town being the area where Twilight Venom struck, and very hard at that, there’s precious little that looks like it did in the old days. The one thing that really brings it home for Sheyenne is Sergio’s bar.

Through his interactions with Sergio, we learn of the after events of the Twilight Venom, and that barely a dozen people survived. Sergio does look oddly at Sheyenne at times, especially when he lays out his ARMS weapon and orders a particular drink, but he gets really curious when the beautiful Laila arrives to pick up some items. She ends up getting along well with Sheyenne, but Sheyenne is simply stunned to see the woman of his dreams standing there and stammers out responses. He does manage to secure an invite to her home later on, which leads us into the action of the episodes as a mysterious group comes to kidnap her in order to draw Sheyenne into their lair.

It’s this double set of episodes that really brings out some of the larger plot as we get characters meeting the main villains of the series, or at least the initial group of cronies, and finding some interesting relationships showing up due to it. There’s plenty here that hints at the larger story to come in the final two volumes, which has me even more excited to get them. Even Amethyst rated this as a very good show as she anxiously waited to see if Sheyenne would rescue Laila.

With the slightly shorter running time per episode, this disc just goes by very fast, especially when combined with the solid pacing and quick enjoyable dialogue. Wild Arms has definitely been one of the best surprises I’ve gotten so far in 2003 and I’m looking forward to more. Definitely recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Japanese actor interviews,Model sheets,Original Japanese preview,Outtakes

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES



Be the first to add a comment to this article!


ADD A COMMENT

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.

POPULAR TOPICS