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Monday, July 26, 2010

Fullmetal Alchemist- 2003

(9.7/10)Fullmetal Alchemist was originally a shonen manga written and drawn by Hiromu Arakawa. It ran in Shonen Gangan magazine from August 2001 to April 2010 and has become one of the most popular manga titles in the business. The plot of the first anime (There has been a second since- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) differs greatly from the manga's plot during the second season of the series, so I'll be covering it separately. :)

Shorthand: FMA

Japanese: Hagaren no Renkinjutsushi

Length: 51 episodes

Summary: Brothers Edward (Ed) and Alphonse (Al) Elric live in the military-controlled country of Amestris in an Eastern farming village called Resembool. Following the death of their beloved mother, Ed and Al attempt to revive her by use of Alchemy, the science of understand the structure of matter, breaking it down, and rebuilding it as something else. The most basic concept of alchemy is the principle of Equivalent Exchange: In order to create, something of equal value must be lost. Because nothing could possibly equal the value of a human soul, their attempt fails, creating a monster that couldn't even pass for a human being. The price of the transmutation (To transmute is to use alchemy on something) was so heavy that Edward's left leg was taken, as well as Alphonse's entire body. Thinking quickly, Ed attached the soul of his younger brother to a suit of armor, paying with his right arm.

Outfitted with Automail, metal prosthetic limbs that function like normal arms and legs, Ed sets of on a quest with his brother to find a way to return themselves to their original bodies. In order to gain access to higher level research materials on alchemy, Edward becomes a State Alchemist bearing the code name Fullmetal. The brothers focus their search on the Philosopher's Stone, a mythical artifact giving the user the ability to bypass the law of Equivalent Exchange. Along the way, the brothers encounter horrors caused by alchemy, corrupt operations within the military, and the frightening truth about the Philosopher's Stone and Human Transmutation.

Review: Fullmetal Alchemist has gained one of the biggest reputations in anime. But can it live up to the hype? Its storyline is powerful yet not so complex that watchers need to view the series several times to fully understand. The plot successfully combines action, adventure, science fiction, and drama with scattered humor, giving viewers a good combination of serious and silly. Some of the 1st season contains filler, however in some cases the fillers are important parts to a character's development or even a turning point in a character's life. I wouldn't go as far as saying that there aren't any episodes that could have been done without, however it isn't like trudging through Naruto trying to find an episode that actually has some sort of point to the overall story.

The main characters are likable, but slightly generic. However the dynamic supporting cast is what makes it what it is. This anime is somewhat limited on the actual number of "bad guys." Characters who you would think to be pure evil turn out to have understandable motives. Some characters appear to have taken a complete 180 by the series' end. Some people that you initially hate you end up loving in the end.

The English Dub of Fullmetal boasts an all-star cast to say the least. Big names in anime such as Vic Mignogna (Edward Elric), Travis Willingham (Roy Mustang), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Riza Hawkeye), Laura Bailey (Lust), Sonny Straight (Maed Hughes), Caitlin Glass (Winry Rockbell) and Dameon Clarke (Scar). The Fullmetal Dub truly shows how far acting in anime has come in past years. We all remember the lovely days of old Yu-Gi-Oh! right? O_O I kinda wish I didn't...

Though the art style of the Fullmetal Alchemist Anime differs greatly from the style used in the manga, the series is well-drawn pretty much all the way through, though I can think of a couple scenes that look somewhat sloppy. (This may just be because I'm something of an art Nazi) With this slight exception, the series is beautifully drawn, written, and acted. All in all, I'd give this anime a 9.7 out of 10. I fell in love with the characters, powerful story, and message. This makes a perfect starting anime for anyone trying to get into the culture.(9.7/10)

Hope this was helpful to you guys! Until next time,
The Silver Strike Alchemist


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