This is going to be rather brief. While I have completed the series, I admittedly haven’t been giving the show all that much thought (at least, compared to the other anime I’ve been watching). It’s been entertaining and it has been a good way to make a twice-a-day, 40 minute commute more enjoyable, though I’ve also been watching it both subtitled, and without audio. I’m also not all that invested in the Wild Arms series as I’ve never been too deep into the games (I’ve played a few, and 3 in particular has always interested me, but I have never actually completed any of the games).
Since I haven’t been too invested in watching the show, I feel like a mere overview of my thoughts on the show would be more appropriate than a full-blown review. So let’s get started.
+The show can be fairly entertaining even with its formulaic structure
+There are some well animated bits, though it’s not consistently amazing or
anything quite like that
+Loretta is a great character (this could be personal bias speaking though)
-The show is really formulaic in its structure. Sheyenne usually has the same
motivation for doing something in an episode, and Loretta and Mariabelle always end
up meeting with the other characters in contrived ways.
-Characters can be really one-note in most episodes
-There is barely any plot progression for a good chunk of the show
-The show does get very confusing towards the end (though the story does get
cleared up and it ends on a satisfying enough note)
-The ending theme is terrible
Most of the show isn’t all that remarkable; that’s not to say it’s terrible, but it is just competent with only a few real gems scattered throughout.
Personally, I felt like Loretta was the character the most interesting character. Sheyenne does get a lot of development (and that should be expected as he is the de-facto protagonist) but save for a scarce few episodes throughout (as well as the last few episodes of the entire show), he can feel incredibly one-note. Kiel and Mirabelle by comparison are incredibly bland. They have their moments (Kiel actually gets his time towards the end) but due to the way the show plays out, it feels that they’re always stuck playing the straight-man to their outlandish partners (that is Sheyenne and Loretta respectively). Jerusha and Isaac are a bit more interesting and despite their appearance, they’re not annoying mascot characters (which I appreciated). Loretta, however, is always fun in whatever episode she’s in and without being as repetitive as Sheyenne’s shtick of always wanting his body back, or Sheyenne being a real looker in his original body, or people treating him like a kid and so on.
As for the story, I won’t spoil the twist but I thought it was very well done, if a little confusing. If there is any sort of problem with the story, it’s that it doesn’t give enough focus to the rest of the side characters. In particular, plot points like Mirabelle and Loretta being from traditional races considered as Evil, did not end up being particularly important to the end of the show. Despite the group of six, Sheyenne is very much the star and it’s a bit of a shame as it would have been possible to give the remaining five characters development or sub plots over the 22 episodes in the show (as opposed to 3 of the main cast, and almost all of it in the last four / five episodes of the show).
There are a lot of references to the games. Mariabelle/Marivel Armitage is noted as an important figure for the Crimson Nobles, and there are many, many characters with names similar to the games. Notably there’s a Valeria Irving in the anime who is a different character but is still more explicit than other references like the characters named Judecca and Canon.
The show seems very self aware. It’s not surprising, with the show itself giving focus to the abbreviation “Wild Arms TV” at the beginning of an episode as well as having a 4th wall moment with the main characters at the end of the each episode. That said, it was a bit weird to see, for example, Loretta, Mirabelle and Jerusha poke fun at the fact that they’ve never been successful at treasure hunting on-screen.
In all, the show is a fairly entertaining romp. I don’t know how a proper Wild Arms fan would react though I think the show is decent enough.