ARMS is a manga series written and illustrated by Ryoji Minagawa, with assistance from Kyoichi Nanatsuki. The story follows a young man named Ryo Takatsuki, who at the beginning of the series believes that he was in an accident causing his right arm to be severed from his body. However, as the story progresses, it is revealed that he was actually a test subject for experiments involving genetics and an "ARMS" nanomachine implant, along with three other youths: Kei Karuma, Takeshi Tomoe, and Hayato Shingu. They all meet under strange circumstances and after many battles they set off on a journey to rescue Ryo's girlfriend Katsumi Akagi, who is kidnapped by the Egrigori. The Egrigori are the creators of the ARMS technology. In 1999, the series received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen manga. It was adapted into a 2001 anime television series by TMS Entertainment titled Project ARMS.
The ARMS weapons are named after characters in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Each of the ARMS is a weapon made of thousands of nanomachines and minerals that have the capability to merge with a biological being, and are capable of mimicking a lost limb (as is the case with Kei, Takeshi, Hayato, and Ryo). Furthermore, each "ARMS" has differing battle modes, which vary in appearance and use. Each ARMS also has several progressions of power, the last of which usually involves the ARMS covering the entire body of the user, making them look more or less like the Wonderland character they are named after. The four original ARMS weapons were Jabberwock, White Knight, White Rabbit, and Queen of Hearts. They each possess an artificial intelligence within them that is similar to the Wonderland character they are named after. The Keith Series ARMS do not have artificial intelligences within them.
The main character of the anime. He seems to be a regular polite and friendly teenager, but he has extraordinary hidden abilities. Ryo's parents, Iwao and Misa Takatsuki, are former mercenaries who knew he would have to combat Egrigori someday, and quietly trained him in survival techniques, martial arts, and strategy. Ryo always calmly analyzes any new situation and figures out the best solution. Ryo also has a high regard for human life and free will, and always fights for these with everything he has. Cool headed most of the time and an excellent leader, strategist, and overall combatant, Ryo nonetheless dislikes killing, but will do so if necessary. Ryo cares a great deal about his childhood friend, Katsumi. As of the epilogue, they are married and have a child who is strongly implied to be the reincarnation of the redeemed Black Alice.
He is an incredibly passionate person. He constantly lives in the moment, and can switch from rage to shock to grief all in an instant. He also has a powerful sense of justice, and will instantly leap in to protect the helpless or punish evildoers. When Hayato was seven he saw Egrigori slaughter everyone in his home village and burn it to the ground. Keith Black killed his parents before his eyes and cut off his left arm, which was later replaced by his ARMS. Hayato then went to live with his grandfather Juzo and learned the Shingu style of martial arts. Haunted by his parents' deaths Hayato only lived for revenge, and he hunted down and destroyed Egrigori agents wherever he found them. After Hayato meets Ryo and his fellow ARMS he gains more self-control, self-awareness, and compassion, which allows him to unlock the 'Heart of Water' technique; a skill that allows him to read his opponents - shortly after, he used it to defeat the superhumanly strong mutant martial artist, Kou Karunagi. Eventually Hayato gives up his revenge and becomes a protector rather than a destroyer, allowing him to access the Knight's ultimate form. Hayato and Kei grow closer over the course of the series, and as of the epilogue, have apparently been in a relationship for some time.
He is the most unlikely hero of all the ARMS subjects. Takeshi is smart, skinny, sensitive, solitary, and timid, the classic target for high school bullies. Takeshi was constantly tormented at school, which caused his ARMS to first activate. Takeshi then became even more isolated, genuinely loathing his own body and his cowardice. After Takeshi meets Ryo and his fellow ARMS he finally realizes he is not alone. He also realizes his family and friends are what he really cares about, and that he must fight to protect them. Takeshi then becomes a brave, loyal, and powerful member of the team. In addition to his ARMS, Takeshi's reflexes are incredibly fast. Since sustaining crippling injuries at the hands of Kou Karunagi, Takeshi and the White Rabbit was in a dormant, cocoon-like state and was communicating with Alice while the rest of the team was fighting in Carillon Tower. However, when Ryo and the Jabberwock merged with Black Alice, White Alice offered Takeshi his choice of one of many weapons, all of which would give him more power than any earthly weapon. Takeshi declined the power however, and instead took White Alice with him out of her isolation in Carillon Tower, and using their combined power they were able to attack and merge with the Jabberwock which allows White Alice to directly confront her evil half.
She is the only girl of the four protagonists. Unlike the others, Kei has known about her ARMS her entire life. She was raised by the Bluemen, the organization that combats Egrigori and originally implanted ARMS in the four teens. Kei was raised and trained as an elite soldier. But because many of the Bluemen saw her as a weapon and not a person, Kei grew up extremely lonely, bitter, and even a little vicious. This all changes when Kei meets Ryo and the other ARMS subjects, the only people who truly understand Kei. With them she finally learns true friendship and teamwork. Kei and Hayato grow closer over the course of the series, and as of the epilogue, they have apparently been in a relationship for some time.
Ryo's neighbor and classmate, and is very kind and compassionate. She is also extremely strong willed, and has no problems telling people when they are being idiots. Katsumi has been Ryo's closest friend since early childhood, and secretly loves him. Unknown to Katsumi herself, she is also an Egrigori experiment with a vital part to play in Egrigori's master plan. Katsumi was, in fact, one of the original ARMS-compatible embryos which is why she and Kei bear such a close resemblance to one another. However, she was not given an ARMS implant for unknown reasons. After Ryo's ARMS activates, Katsumi is always beside Ryo trying to keep him calm and sane. Katsumi is taken prisoner by Egrigori in episode 11, but despite her long imprisonment she is always certain that Ryo will come for her. As of volume 18, she has seemingly been killed by the actions of Keith White and Ryo. White used Keith Green's time space jump to pull her into the path of one of Ryo's attacks. However, she is resurrected in the aftermath of Alice's death. In the epilogue, she and Ryo are married and have a child who appears to be the reincarnation of the redeemed Black Alice.
The series has been broadcast in Japan in TV Tokyo network, from April 7, 2001, to September 29, 2001. Internationally, it aired in countries such as the Philippines (ABS-CBN, Studio 23 and Hero networks) and Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile and Colombia (in Cityvibe network).
The episode opens with an introduction to the theme of power and the sense of secretly craving for it. The scene then cuts to a boy's right hand against the sky, with his body underneath wreckage. Rescuers then come and pull him out, and is subsequently operated, where he ponders on death before deciding he will not die, mentioning that he underwent a change to survive. The story then cuts to the present day, where the main protagonist Ryo Takatsuki is rappeling down a wall.
As the twins continue their rampage throughout the school, Hayato is stuck fighting Plus, while Minus comes out of the ceiling and engages Ryo. Plus and Minus overwhelm their opponents, but Takeshi appears and turns the tables around.
Keith, the mysterious Egrigori agent, makes his presence felt after knocking out Hayato. Al sends Minus after him, but Keith easily defeats Minus, and kills Jeff. But when he turns to Al, Takeshi saves him with the White Rabbit's speed. Keith leaves, but leaves an invitation to the ARMS users to go to Abumisawa village, site of the deaths of Hayato's parents. To get more advice, they go to Juzu Shingu, master of the Shingu fighting style and Hayato's grandfather, for information on ARMS, Egrigori, and Abumisawa. Al joins the team, on the condition that they cooperate in his experiments to find out what ARMS are made of. After Juzu takes out Takeshi and Hayato, Ryo nearly catches Juzu with Jabberwock. After a few parting words with Juzu, the gang goes to Abumisawa, with Katsumi sneaking off with them. Their trip gets more intriguing when they are held hostage by armed militia bent on preventing them from going to Abumisawa.