Wild Arms Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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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: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Wild Arms

Wild Arms Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     May 31, 2003
Release Date: June 10, 2003


Wild Arms Vol. #4
© ADV Films


What They Say
Mirabelle has a suitor! After a chance encounter with a picture of Mirabelle, Count Ampire has his heart set on having her for his wife. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, Mirabelle has some strenuous objections. Then Sheyenne and the guys become bodyguards for a beautiful girl named Sybil who promises to tell them where Sheyenne's true body is if they'll take her to Port Crackpot. It's the one thing Sheyenne's been searching for, but is the price too high? Danger lies around every corner as a routine train trip becomes a deadly game of hide-and-seek. Don't miss the action in the penultimate volume of Wild Arms!

The Review!
Wild Arms continues to roll along, providing a few more peeks at the background story, but otherwise providing a bunch of fun action/comedy episodes.

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:
Keeping in tone with past volumes, the moon plays a big role in this cover but instead of just one character, we get the entire crew here posing nicely. 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 Kiel 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:
Music videos make up a good part of the extras here with this volume. The first one is a three minute one for Bird=Rain. The Three Treasure Hunters Daughters Three music video is also included, and runs just under three minutes. Both of them have two subtitle tracks, one for romaji lyrics and the other for the English translated ones. More of the model sheets are provided as well as another round of the Japanese DVD previews. The dub outtakes also get another round, with just over three minutes worth of goofs and other silly line deviations.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While no longer really expecting much in terms of the macrostory from the series, I’m continuing to really enjoy the individual episodes and the goofiness of the various characters and how they all interact together. Much like previous volumes, we get a good mix of comical adventure episodes and some serious material.

It kicks off nicely with the amusingly titled Interview with Ampire. Bringing the Crimson Noble’s back into play, we get the amusing dual tale of both Ampire and Mirabelle’s parents, as Ampire has come across a picture of young Mirabelle and decided that she’s the girl he wants to marry and play with. Finding out that Mirabelle’s parents have failed with keeping the family business profitable, Ampire decides to offer them a huge sum of money for getting their permission to marry their daughter.

When Mirabelle arrives back in town to meet with her parents, she’s told of the news but tries to get out of it by saying that she’s actually engaged to Sheyenne, which naturally causes a whole other set of problems to deal with. This brings in the offer/counteroffer mentality between those trying to get Mirabelle, all while covering up a secret about the parents and their lifestyle that’s amusing. Frankly, seeing the Crimson Noble’s in their mini-bat form is just amusing in and of itself.

Another episode brings the focus more on Loretta and her team of treasure hunters where she’s more focused on acquiring a new card for her collection. In order to get it, she’s trading one of her more valuable crests with an honorable crest collector (as we learn that all crest collectors are honorably). Her attempts to get the card go rather wrong when she arrives only to find that the collector has himself been robbed, which sets her on the path to correct things. With its focus on the girls as opposed to the boys, and with Loretta being promised some rather good rewards for helping out the collector, it’s a good piece overall for her and was rather enjoyable.

One of the better episodes here brings the focus squarely back on Sheyenne, but more on his current core personality. After a flare-up with Kiel, he insists he no longer requires their help and goes off to find his body on his own. His continued griping eventually attracts the attention of Ms. Cannon, a thief and robber who comes across him while he’s relieving himself. Naturally, he stumbles and falls off the cliff and into the river below.

When he washes ashore upstream some ways at a former small country hospital turned children’s home, he’s lost his memory from the fall. Due to this, and the number of kids that live in the home/hospital, Sheyenne thinks of himself solely as that and ends up playing and working with the kids on the self sufficient area. Eventually, Kiel comes across Sheyenne and tries to jog his memory a bit, but instead decides to leave him there to live out a potentially happier life. Sheyenne’s memories start to return a bit when Ms. Cannon and her subplot rear their ugly head, and we get some more hints about his past.

This episode worked nicely in giving Sheyenne some downtime and a chance to see more of his core personality, even if it is a bit childlike. The cast for this series continues to be very enjoyable and plays well off of each other, though I’d like to see a few more episodes where they’re all dealing with each other much earlier than halfway through or later. Wild Arms continues to be a fun series for me and one that brings a smile to my face and a good amount of laughs during it. Very enjoyable.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Japanese actor interviews,Model sheets,An 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.

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