So it is Sunday and today I plan to go to Roanoke’s Grandin Theater to see a new release this week. But with helping my parents move and with the limited time on the internet, I have decided to tackle something a little more easily to critique in my book and seeing as how I have been wanting to start a new retrospective for a little while now and thought to myself, you know? What better time to start than now and what better place to start then one of my favorite Animes of all time, Full Metal Alchemist. This post will also be a little short today, sorry but I’m struggling to find longer than one hour to sit down and write over the weekend.. The popular Anime from Bones Studio has become one of the most popular main stream animes in recent years and for good reason. Spawning several movies and a second retelling of the series called Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. This show digs into some deep and interesting areas of a world that evolved around alchemy and steampunk like fashion while linear to the world that we see today.
Full Metal Alchemist is the story of Edward and Alphonse Elric (Vic Mignogna and Aaron Dismuke/Maxey Whitehead) who live in the country known as Amestris where the art of alchemy is a treasured trade. After the death of their mother, Trisha Elric (Lydia Mackay), Alphonse and Edward attempt the forbidden alchemy to bring a their mother back to life. This fails horrifically and leaves Edward without his arm or leg and Alphonse without a body, his soul now fused with a suit of armor. The story of Full Metal Alchemist then follows the boys as they search for a mystical object known as the Philosopher’s Stone in order to have their body parts and missing limbs returned to them while along the way getting caught up in political intrigue as well as a conspiracy that shakes to the very core of Amestris.
This show will make you fall in love with just about every character on-screen. Not only are Alphonse and Edward two fantastic leads. You also have typical anime hard ass in Roy Mustang (Travis Willingham) and friendly best fictitious father Maes Hughes (Sonny Strait). But you also have characters such as Roy’s entire squard of soldiers lead by the strong-willed Riza Hawkeye (Colleen Clinkenbeard) and the enemies homonculi are some of the ‘love to hate characters that I have seen in recent history. There is a character within this series for everyone, all of which well fleshed out and enjoyable characters that you will either love or love to hate.
Spoilers ahead in the next sentence… The scene where Maes Hughes is killed by Envy is to this day one of the most emotional and well created scenes that I have ever seen in the history of film, animated or live action. I still tear up when I watch the scene to this day and that is just one of many very emotionally driven scenes that are frequent among this series. There are a few more in Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but we will get to that when we talk about that series. The deaths in this movie have meaning and have substance behind them. Even the more villainous of the characters have sympathetic backstories. The series is thick with emotional connections and heartbreak, more than many anime series that I have seen in recent history.
I don’t know if this is an anime thing or if this holds more true to Full Metal Alchemist but the long-winded pretentious monologues in the middle of combat drive me absolutely insane. When Edward takes out two to three minutes of his time takes me out of the mood the scene is building and feels not only pretentious but unnecessary and unrealistic. The over use of monologue is enough that it would make Dragonball Z tell them to tone it down.
Full Metal Alchemist is a fantastic series. It has a strong story with very likable and interesting characters. You will become lost in the world of Amestris and its surrounding countries as you find yourself begging to know more about this rich and interesting setting as well as the characters within it. As far as it is concerned, it is a great start to the series.
Final Score 4.5/5
Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this review then please like and subscribe for more. You can look forward to a new released movie this Tuesday as well as a new podcast from me on Thursday and of course more on the Full Metal Alchemist retrospective in the future.