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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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09/25/2005 Archived Entry: "Anime review: Project ARMS, 2nd Chapter, Vol 5"

Project ARMS, The 2nd Chapter, Vol. 5 "Through the Looking Glass"
Distributed by VIZ

Review by Tom Good

"Oh, and Takeshi . . . you're in charge of saving the world if we die. No pressure though, buddy." -- Episode 43: "Turn"

This volume in the Project Arms series starts by exploring some of the backstory of Alice, a girl who was the first child to be implanted with "living metal." She developed a relationship with the powerful machine AI known as Azazel, and taught it emotions. Living as a virtual prisoner within the laboratory that created her, Alice wanted to free the other experimental children and see the outside world. When Alice's plans lead to tragedy, Azazel absorbed her body and took on her anger at mankind.

After these flashbacks to the origin of Alice, the rest of this DVD mainly concerns battles between characters whose nanomachine implants give them incredible powers. For example, Keith Violet, who despite her name is female, has the power to control light and create laser beams and visual illusions. She is nicknamed "March Hare," one of many names in the story to make reference to Alice In Wonderland. It is hard to tell if these allusions have any deeper meaning or whether they are simply a charming naming convention.

This DVD has nice imagery and colors, and some good English voice acting, especially for Alice, Keith Violet, and Dr. Tillenghast. Unfortunately, the voice actors do not have a lot to work with, because the script is rather weak. The characters spend too much time explaining situations to each other -- even to the point of giving out information to their enemies -- and describing things viewers can easily see for themselves ("Look at that! It's like little shards of glass!").

The heroes also use profanity in a way that does not feel necessary or natural. Unlike the gutter-mouthed poetry of Deadwood, here the unimaginative cursing just makes the heroes seem immature. And instead of the clever banter that livens up good action movies, this show is peppered with clunky speeches like this: "Man's greatest gift is his own free will. I'm choosing to fight this battle. Now give me your body. I'll show you how real men fight without fancy computer programs and machines."

Ultimately, though I liked some of the visuals, voices, and ideas, the writing did not draw me in enough to make me want to invest more time in this series. Viewers who are already fans of the series will probably enjoy this DVD and appreciate the chance to learn more about Alice.

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