All pictures in this post come from ARMS Institute, the ARMS wiki and are copyright Nintendo.
I played a little bit of Street Fighter as a kid but for the most part I never really got into fighting games. For the past week, though, I have been absolutely hooked on Nintendo's new fighting game, ARMS. (For the record, this is not a sponsored post or anything like that. I just really like the game. Although if you are a Nintendo employee reading this and in a position to send me free stuff I would definitely appreciate it!)
Aside from the actual fun of playing, I've been fascinated with the world Nintendo created for this game and have delved into the backstory as documented on the ARMS wiki. For those unfamiliar with the game, the fighters use extendable limbs to punch and grab each other but this "gift of ARMS" is one possessed only by a select few in the ARMS world. Most people have normal, non-extendable limbs, but some in what I'm sure must be a terrifying experience awake to discover their arms have mutated into ARMS overnight. This apparently happens around the age of 10 so I imagine child therapy is a lucrative career in this universe. Others find ways to artificially create ARMS-compatible appendages, while a very select few are born with the condition. To paraphrase Shakespeare, some are born with ARMS, some achieve ARMSness, and some have ARMS thrust upon them. (Also, apparently, both non-humanoid animals and plants can develop ARMS so I hope in the future to see a bird with extendable limbs in the game.)
However these people came to possess their ARMS, their career choices seem to be for the most part limited to competing in the ARMS League. It's almost as if their society forces all the freaks with ARMS to fight against each other for the amusement of the normal-armed populace. The strongest of these freaks become their biggest celebrities which, I assume, leads others in search of fame to find ways to imitate their freak condition so that they too can compete. These are my thoughts on each of the members of the ARMS League.
-Spring Man, the Bouncer
I've often thought it was strange how we use the word vanilla to mean bland or boring. Vanilla isn't a particularly bland or boring flavor. Instead of vanilla, I think we should use the term Spring Man because he is extremely boring. Aside from his dumb hair he has almost no personality outside of fighting. His biography is painfully bland, listing his interests as weight lifting and eating pizza. I bet his online dating profile says he loves to laugh and likes travelling. Whenever I see someone playing as him online I wonder if they didn't know you could pick a different fighter.
(Side note: It's weird how Nintendo, a company whose game developers are primarily Japanese, tend to make their games' main characters white. Aside from the dumb blue hair Spring Man is probably white, Mario is Italian, Link is Hylian which is apparently Nordic, and Samus's last name is Aran which is surprisingly close to Aryan.)
-Ribbon Girl, the Airess
Ribbon Girl is a 17-year-old pop singer and is also a champion fighter. I'm trying to picture a young Hilary Duff entering an MMA fight and I just can't do it. Not after I saw Cadet Kelly. I wonder, though, did Ribbon Girl start as a pop singer and become a fighter or was it the other way around? Which would be a harder transition to make? She also has the unexplained ability to make mid-air jumps which no other fighter possesses. Is this gravity-defying stunt connected to her ARMS mutation? Ribbon Girl is an enigma to me.
-Ninjara, the Student of Stealth
Ninjara is a ninja. Well, a ninja-in-training. He's currently a student at ninja college which sounds like something one of my nephews would make up. For his senior project he is competing in the ARMS League Grand Prix. Due to his ninja education he can warp-dash, disappearing from reality entirely for a brief moment and then reappearing a short distance away. This is an amazing ability for dodging punches so why don't all ARMS contestants study and learn how to do it? Ninjara apparently never talks and his hobbies include reading and hiding so I imagine the other fighters view him as pretentious and don't want to be his friend. I also imagine he doesn't really care. I imagine he is doing the Grand Prix to pay for school. I imagine a lot of things about Ninjara but I have definitely not written Ninjara fan fiction. Yet.
-Master Mummy, the Grim Creeper
He's a mummy so at some point he died and was subjected to the process of mummification. Does he remember his past life? Is he from Egypt? Did he have the gift of ARMS before he died? Who knows/cares? Mummies are not that cool and this one is particularly annoying. When I play against him he is really hard to knock over because he apparently weighs 368 pounds. Are mummies made of bricks or something? Or was he really big before he died? His hobbies include searching for his long-lost family because I guess no one told him they're probably all dead. Does he know that he died?
-Min Min, the Ramen Bomber
Min Min's ARMS are made of ramen and she loves to eat... ramen. When she gets hungry, I imagine, she results to self-cannibalism. Also Min Min will kick punches to deflect them which is frustrating to me because the game is called ARMS, not LEGS.
-Mechanica, the Scrapyard Scrapper
Mechanica is a 15-year-old girl who wanted so much to compete in the ARMS League that she built herself a mech with extendable ARMS and apparently the league committee said, "Sure, we'll let this child compete. And we also have no problem with her using a 1,000-pound mechanical suit of armor in her fights." So remember kids, if you have an extremely advanced intellect and amazing engineering abilities, you too can fight against the weird mutants no matter your age. No one cares about safety in this universe.
-Twintelle, the Silver Screen Queen
I was originally confused as to why Twintelle had human arms when none of the other fighters did but after realizing most people in-universe have human arms I'm even more confused. The 26-year-old movie star is apparently very talented in acting but was unsatisfied with her career so she decided to become a fighter. She has the ability to slow down objects in her immediate vicinity but even more incredible is her retractable set of pigtails. Is this a mutation or an artificial accomplishment? We need more ARMS lore to clarify this point.
-Byte & Barq, the Clockwork Cops
There's no rule that says a dog can't play basketball and apparently there's no rule that a robot dog can't fight in the ARMS League. Byte & Barq are police robots that were created to patrol Buster Beach but I'm guessing at some point gained sentience, grew weary of their programmed function, and decided to fight. I'm not sure what's the biggest potential rule breaker: that they're robots, that one of them is a dog, that the dog's "ARM" comes out of his mouth, or that they are two separate entities that fight together as one. If I were running the ARMS League you could bet that I'd disqualify Skynet and its dog but then again, I wouldn't allow kicking or children in Iron Man suits either.
-Kid Cobra, the Speed Demon
Kid Cobra is garbage. He looks like a shredded tennis shoe and I imagine he's the kind of person you'd run into if you were in a Hot Topic.
-Helix, the "Man" of Mystery
My first thought when I saw Helix was of Jar Jar Binks. He's an absolutely ridiculous character whose movements are goofy and seemingly uncoordinated. But do you remember that fan theory about Jar Jar Binks being a Sith Lord? It's terrible for Star Wars but is completely accurate when it comes to Helix. He's an experiment created by scientists whose sole purpose is to fight. He's engineered to be an ARMS fighter and like in the Zui Quan fighting style his movements are designed to confuse his opponents and also mask what he truly is—a soulless fighting machine.
-Max Brass, the Commish
Max Brass is not currently playable but will be released soon as DLC. Right now you only encounter him as the final fighter of the ARMS League Grand Prix so my experiences are limited to facing against computer-controlled opponents but I don't see how this jabroni is supposed to be in charge of the ARMS League. He's really easy to fight because he will charge up his ARMS by puffing out his chest and increasing the size of his torso making him look like even more of a meathead and becoming an even bigger target. He seems like the bad guy from an 80s sports film which makes him perfect for the final stage of the game but leaves me doubting how I feel about him as a playable character.
-Biff, ARMS League Commentator
This thing is truly something of nightmares. I have been haunted by it for days now. Each night as I sleep I see it open the fist protruding from its head and with a toothless smile wiggle its fingers in a wave. I run, crying, but never am able to get any farther from it. Why did you unleash this monstrosity on me, Nintendo? Why?
Well, that's it for my thoughts on the ARMS cast. I still have a lot of questions like, "Why do they all wear masks?" and "Is Max Brass hiding a head-hand underneath his helmet similar to Biff and will he too start plaguing my dreams?" which hopefully will be answered in the upcoming downloadable content for the game so I don't have to wait around until ARMS 2.