Monday, May 18, 2015

Wild Arms Anime Review

Wild Arms: Twilight Venom
Wairudo Amuzu
ADV Films
Complete Collection - 5 discs
550 mins. - 22 episodes
$39.98 (2005)
$29.98 (2003) Vol. 1-5/ea.
$39.98 (2003) w/Artbox
ISBN 702727131721
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Itsuro Kawasaki/Koichi Mashimo
Studio - Bee Train

Synopsis: Dr. Kiel Aronnax is being tortured in a maximum security prison, but his prospects take a turn for the better when two bumbling thieves show up.  They're Loretta and Mirabelle (along with their pet/partner Jerusha) who are trying to find the treasure rumored to be hidden deep below the prison.  The treasure turns out to be Sheyenne Rainstorm who used to be a strapping 25-year-old gunfighter, but is now trapped in the body of a young boy.  He's none too happy and the group manage a daring escape.
Sheyenne is revived and tries to put the moves on Loretta, but he's just a kid
Sheyenne is able to use special weapons called ARMS which are left over from an ancient 'evil race'.  The weapons possess incredibly destructive power, but use the life force of the wielder and can only be used by very special people.  Sheyenne's original body is missing and he's trapped in a kid's body. He and Kiel end up becoming partners and try to find Sheyenne's body.  The pair also happen upon a small creature similar to Jerusha, but named Issac who joins their party.  The creatures are called Popepi Pipepo, are incredibly long-lived (thousands of years), and highly intelligent.  You wouldn't know that by being around them.
Sheyenne can use the powerful ARMS weapon technology
Loretta is a thief and treasure hunter using her stunning good looks to distract potential rubes.  Her partner Mirabelle is a Crimson Noble or vampire.  She drinks blood and can turn into a cute little bat, but is not destroyed by sunlight (or Christianity).  She ran away from her family and is hiding out with Loretta.  The pair are mildly successful and manage to cross paths with the two boys quite often.
Mirabelle tags along on Loretta's greedy schemes
The ARMS are legendary and highly sought after by power-hungry men.  The 'evil race' caused a catastrophe many years ago which earned them their name.  Sheyenne's original body may hold the key to unlocking the forbidden power of the 'evil race' and dooming the world again.  Will Kiel and Sheyenne ever find his original body?  What is Kiel's secret past and how does it threaten the future?  Will Issac ever get Jerusha to give him the time of day?
Kiel and Sheyenne go on a quest to find his original body
Pros: Interesting premise and some fun episodes, the characters were amusing with Kiel's mysterious past, Sheyenne's outrage at his predicament, Loretta's vain beauty, and Mirabelle's innocent bloodsucking, lots of twists and turns to the plot, decent opening theme, good mix of fantasy/sci-fi/western genres, decent ending
Mirabelle is a vampire from the Crimson Nobles race
Cons: Animation is fairly simple, the vampire clan turn into cute little bats and are really weak, the furry little creatures have annoying voices and aren't very funny, ending theme song was loud and obnoxious, what the heck is that magical wolf-creature?
Is Issac comedy relief or a form of sadistic torture for the viewers?
Mike Tells it Straight: Wild Arms: Twilight Venom spun out of the semi-popular video game series Wild Arms released for the Sony Playstation (a total of five full games released on the Playstation and Playstation 2, plus a PSP title).  It's interesting to note the franchise was never a blockbuster (like Final Fantasy), but was consistently good and garnered a decent following.  I found the anime to be decent, but much like the video games not a blockbuster by any means.  The character designs and animation are pretty mediocre while the stories are fairly straightforward.  Most of them are 1-2 episodes with the search for Sheyenne's original body and the secret of the 'evil race' as recurring themes.
Loretta uses magic cards which explode or create a shield
Wild Arms had some funny comedic moments and the characters worked well together.  Sheyenne constantly complains about being in a kid's body and Kiel is a good straight man.  Loretta's greedy scheming always gets her and Mirabelle into trouble.  The two little creatures are mostly annoying.  There are just enough hints about the 'evil race' and ARMS to keep it interesting.  I liked how the ending revealed all the secrets in a fun science fiction way.  I would recommend this show to beginning anime watchers.  There's nothing explicit and the humor is pretty tame.  The furthest it goes is gun violence and a few people die.
From left: Loretta, Jerusha, Issac, Sheyenne, Mirabelle, and Kiel

TO BUY and Recommendations: