Posted by psgels on 8 September 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Wild Arms: one of Bee-Train’s lesser known series. Of course, anyone who even remotely knows this site probably knows that I’m a huge fan of said production-company, even though it’s after Gonzo the most hated producer out there. The same goes for Wild Arms: it seems that most of the reactions to this series were rather negative (shown by very low overall ratings on sites as AniDB, MyAnimeList and ANN), and yet I absolutely loved it.

Wild Arms is typical Bee-Train: it’s a travelling series, where the first half is spent on random unrelated stories, with a plot and character-development in the second half. It’s a solid set-up, and Bee-Trian has proven over and over that it works, despite the obvious disadvantages. If you hate fillers with the burning intensity of 1000 suns, then don’t even think about watching series, because there’s no overall plot whatsoever in that first half.

Still, both halves have their own advantages. The first half may not get anywhere in terms of plot progression, but the creators make the individual stories so much fun to watch, that this doesn’t really matter. You often see series struggle when they need a standalone story to fill one episode (with often a rather cheesy result), but the creators know exactly how to make such a thing work. The stories often centre on characters, whose actions are completely against any logical reasoning, and the fun is to see what drove them to these actions. Especially as the series goes on, the creators become bolder, and start to experiment with a number of hilarious plot-twists, with as my favourite an episode that can only vaguely be described as “Baccano: The Abridged Episode”.

The different main characters are all fun and original, from the strange creatures called “Popepi Pipepo” (who for once don’t try to be overly cute) to the big tough scientist to the 25-year-old main character who got stuck in the body of a 10 year old kid. All the characters have many sides and traits to them, making them a delight to watch and they set themselves apart from any stereotypes immediately.

As the series hits its second half, the fun adventures unfortunately mostly disappear, and instead a serious storyline appears. I feared that this would be the point where this series would fall flat on its face, but it actually gets away with its storyline pretty decently as the storyline evolves into an interesting post-apocalyptic mystery setting. Again, the characters can be blamed for making it turn out so well, because they’re all neatly fleshed out and stay far away from stereotypes.

Of course, this series does have some major flaws. It takes a lot of artistic liberties, resulting into a lot of plot-holes. Especially the plot-hole that plagues 95% of all other anime (characters who coincidentally just “run” into each other) gets rather taken into the extremes here when the main characters just keep meeting each other over and over. It’s like the creators were saying: “don’t mind this, we just want to tell our story”. The ending of the series also fails to answer a few burning questions. So yeah, this isn’t really the most solid series.

If you’re wondering whether you’ll enjoy Wild Arms or not, I think you need to ask yourself this question: did you enjoy El Cazador? If you did, then you’ll probably like Wild Arms. There are no lesbians or stalking psychopaths, but the basic set-up is the same, although Wild Arms is more geared to its storyline. Overall, Wild Arms was for me a very enjoyable series to watch with an excellent cast of characters. Oh, and let’s not forget the awesome soundtrack. ;)

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 9/10

One Response

  1. zaeris says:

    well I won’t judge someone else review solely on points alone but I remember watching it long ago since I was a big Wild arms fan at the time..

    Its similar to the slayer series where the it spents 2/3 on filler 1/3 on plot. I enojy the filler’s funny as hell and some had interesting plot twist. The fake wedding episode was my favourite its like a fanfic come true.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:42 PM)
    @Bam: There was this bizzaro Joan of arc slide show arthouse erotica anime from the 70s that recently got a re-release, its somewhat tied to Tezuka, really trippy shit, Kanashimi no belladonna.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:35 PM)
    As a book I could see it flowing better. Oshii or Kamiyama could more effectively adapt such density of material to screen.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:32 PM)
    Ultimately I think it got too ambitious and had too much on its plate.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:31 PM)
    I have yet to see genocidal organ, although yes Harmony was pretty below average and that was putting it mildly. I will consider re-evaluating it if it gets dubbed/when the dub comes out.
    Admittedly its a film of big ideas, my problem with it that the movie itself is just so plodding and I found it too overstuffed to properly focus on/fully develop its themes and the exposition was particularly heavy handed.
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 05:15 PM)
    @Bam: yeah, heard about the Project Itoh, from what I heard they’re not that good thou, with only Empire of Corpses has a slightly favorable reviews. I believe Kaiser watched Harmony alrready and he gave a very negative rating.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:55 PM)
    For those who have somehow managed to miss the hype for Harmony:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC-6U8HCF8c
    The visuals are intriguing, the palette very sharp, and the CGI relatively well integrated. The early reviews been scathing tho, and given my experience with Empire of Corpses I can guess why.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:49 PM)
    Each piece of the trilogy is handled by a different cast and company. Empire of Corpses was done by Wit Studio, Harmony by Studio 4°C, and Genocidal Organ by Manglobe (or Geno Studio as they are called now).
  • Bam
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 03:43 PM)
    Anybody seen Empie of Corpses? I watched it to get primed for that Harmony feature film anime, which is part of Project Itoh trilogy. Studio Wit went all out here. The animation is great, and the premise has potential, but the delivery was just botched.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 01:07 PM)
    @Mario, you were worried that you would be covering too much slice of life style anime this season, at least with this I will likely be taking one off your hands. I don’t want to cover it but hey if the public says so…guess I will have to suffer.
  • SuperMario
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 07:15 AM)
    Also it’s nice to see there was heated arguments on EVA even before I start to do any post review. The way I see it thou certain films/ series are classic/ influential for a reason, if they are brilliant I certainly can still see its sparks. Like I can still amazed of Potemkin Battleship on its montahe editing, or It Happens one night fot its influential on romantic comedy. So I really look forward to see how I feel about EVA hahaa

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