Monday, June 4, 2007

Fullmetal Alchemist

Last week I finished watching the 51 episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA) and it was awesome:
• Great voice acting (Japanese)
• Good quality animation for a series - not a lot of reused frames or overuse of stills at all.
• Good soundtrack
• Great characters with nice character development and motivations across most of the board
• Awesome storyline - no loose threads, every plot element comes full circle over the course of the entire series.

Synopsis for those who don't know
FMA takes place in an alternate version of an early 20th century Europe and follows two teen brothers, Edward and Alphonse, who are talented alchemists in search of knowledge (and the fabled philosopher's stone) that could help them gain their original bodies/limbs lost in a horrible alchemy attempt at bringing their mother back from the dead. Their journeys lead them to uncovering all sorts of mysteries that twine into the brothers' own pasts.

I was really impressed at how solid the storyline was. With some of the longer series I've seen (most under 38 episodes) there are places where the story lags a bit. The most common pattern I've seen is that the first 6 or so episodes are a little slow and don't play as strong a part in the story as a whole as do later episodes. Not with FMA - the story starts off strong right away and I'd say all but maybe two episodes were integral to the series as a complete storyline. It didn't feel like I watched 51 episodes - it was just such a solid story it flew right by. Also nice is that they didn't run out of funding toward the end like with Neon Genesis Evangelion, which ruined that series for me. So the quality remained high throughout.

FMA would make a good anime for folks who don't normally watch anime. It takes place in more of a European culture so doesn't require knowledge of Japanese culture, which is sadly a put-off for some non-anime fans. FMA also blends humour in nicely, though it does use stylized faces for overly cute/silly bits, which I know some folks also don't like but is totally normal for most anime fans. I thought it helped keep the series from being overly heavy and brooding.

My only regret is that there isn't more, other than the movie "The Conqueror of Shambala" and apparently some OVAs (need to confirm this). I just bought it on and hopefully the universe doesn't continue to prevent me from watching it by keeping the DVD from arriving. ;)

9 out of 10 stars, highly reccomended.

No comments: