• Titles: EX-ARM
  • Genre: Action, Science-Fiction
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: Visual Flight


In 2014, a high school student named Akira Natsume endures a phobia of electrical devices while also being very good at diagnosing them. He leads an average, unfulfilling life, and resolves to change himself for the better and get a girlfriend after being motivated by his older brother. Soon after, he suddenly dies in an accident. 16 years later, a young policewoman named Minami Uenozono and her android partner Alma retrieve and activate a highly advanced AI superweapon known as an “EX-ARM” and put it into full control of their ship as a last resort. The AI turns out to be Akira’s brain, now in a digital form. The series revolves around the police force’s attempts to suppress and defeat adversaries using EX-ARMs for their own purposes.

Sometimes there’s an anime series that’s just before it’s time. The world is not ready to truly appreciate its greatness but history looks back on these shows with a kind eye. EX-ARM might just end up being such a series. Based on the popular manga by the same name, by successful ecchi author HiRock, EX-ARM flew under the radar in 2021 but what will people be saying in 2051?

This is only one version of the tactical swimsuit

Production

One of the immediate ways to tell that EX-ARM is the anime of the future is by simply looking at it. The entire series is unashamedly CG. Granted, some of the older otakus out there might grumble at new technology. But we live in a world where Vtubers and streamers are rapidly outstripping real people n popularity. Fact is, entertainment will likely be largely computer-generated sooner rather than later, and shows like EX-Arm are the vanguard of this new era.

It’s not like technology doesn’t have its advantages after all. It would be cynical to believe that this was simply a budgetary decision. The character models in EX-Arms stay rigidly consistent from start to end in a way that is almost never seen in classical animation. Abd a lot of whimsy can be seen in the way these characters move.

I also couldn’t help but be impressed by Alma’s array of tactical bathing suits!

here’s another!

Story & Characters

But a masterpiece in the making needs more than great production. It needs a timeless story that will resonate with generations to come and characters we can both admire and relate to. I know this sounds like a tall order, but there’s a reason we’re not churning out these types of anime triumphs every other week.

Some of you may be familiar with GITS or Ghost in the Shell. It’s an older series that had some success in its day. I only mention it here because you could consider it as a prototype for EX-ARM. There are some similar ideas and settings in both series but of course, EX-ARM having the benefit of hindsight could only pick the very best that GITS had to offer and further develop it into a deep thought-provoking tour de force that seamlessly blends modern philosophical quandaries with shattering displays of raw emotionality.

It’s fitting that EX-ARM was released in 2021 as it does a fantastic job of dissecting the theme of isolation. However, I believe the impact will not be lessened in the future as the show manages to frame its existential anxiety by contrasting it to our increasingly digital world and what existence will mean once the physical starts losing importance in reality.

It’s an interesting and very ambitious question that few shows have had the mettle to tackle and certainly not in such an agile way as EX-ARM. For those who enjoy pouring over life’s mysteries and quandaries, the show will offer ample food for thought.

brilliant!

However, some of us just want to watch anime to distract ourselves after a long day. It is entertainment after all and sometimes, you just don’t have the energy for lofty epics. Fortunately, EX-ARM has got you covered. It somehow manages to convey a dizzying amount of narrative depth through immersive breath-taking action that is entertaining to watch regardless of the rest.

Basically, even if you don’t actively invest yourself in EX-ARM, you’ll still be able to get a lot out of it and find yourself engrossed in the show before you know it.

Of course, no show is going to be for absolutely everyone. Or at least that’s what I thought before EX-ARM. Despite early caution because of the ecchi tag, there is simply something for everyone in this series. I guess I’m just throwing another glowing review into the seas of praise it has already received. Still, I feel like I should shout out my fellow reviewers and give those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of discovering EX-ARM a better idea of what you’re in for by just pointing to a couple of completely random reviews on AniList that represents well the general view of the anime watching public:

You might like this anime if:

You have either a brain or a heart. You’ll love it if you have both!

My favourite character:

For the first time, it might be impossible to choose. If I really must I guess I’ll go for Akira. A perfect hero is so rare to come by these days!

Suggested drink:

I don’t have a drinking game for EX-ARM because you should really take this in with a clear mind. I would hate for you to miss out on any of the finer details as that would truly be a shame.

does this look a bit like Sibyl to anyone else?

I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.

there’s even some romance, something for everyone, I tell you!

14 thoughts

  1. I dropped out of this series after about half a dozen episodes because, although the premise was interesting. And my reason for doing so was that the animation was simply too clunky o watch. Like “Blade Runner: Black Lotus” (which is much better visually) Ex-Arm revealed that full 3DCGI still has a long way to go before it is convincing. I suspect in the future it will be considered an interesting prototype of what I am sure will eventually become a vibrant artistic form – but only in the same way that “Gigantor” is now considered an interesting prototype of the mecha genre…

  2. Truly underrated series. I’m glad I jumped onto the EX-ARM hype train before everyone else could spoil it by making it mainstream. Still, more people should definitely watch it!

  3. Oh man, one of those reviews has a picture of a scene that looks like the Lady and the Tramp Spaghetti scene, but with toast, to evoke Evangelion. To think, that I had to drop this show because of my cursed motion sickness. How will I sleep tonight, knowing I have missed a show this genre savvy. Suffering the ill effects of swift camera movement might be a small price to pay. A small price.

  4. Hello hello! As hard as it is to believe I have a heart and a brain and they both agree that this is the best anime has to offer. It’s my favorite in the franchise and if it’s already a 10/10 I can’t wait for Ex-Arm: Sisterhood that more closely follows the manga ending

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