Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST [Season 1 Part 1]


Under stormy skies, Edward and Alphonse Elric exploited the clandestine science of Alchemy in attempt of the forbidden - To resurrect their dearly departed mother. But every art form has its taboos and every science its laws not to be broken. The tragic failure of the young brothers unleashed an unholy reaction that ripped their bodies apart and their innocence asunder. Four years later, an evil lurks behind the false face of freedom, its growth unchecked. A lone State Alchemist combs the countryside in search of a mythological stone. If found, the stone could amplify natural talents and harness a power equal to the restoration of things once held precious, now lost. If found, the stone would also allow the State Military to senselessly obliterate countless more in the ongoing struggle. The youngest State Alchemist in history is soon faced with the harsh truth: The power to create is but a breath away from the power to destroy.
[From the backcover of Fullmetal Alchemist: Season 1 Part 1]

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Funimation
Animation: BONES
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Fullmetal Alchemist" by Hiromu Arakawa.
Rating:TV PG

{I, the reviewer, give Fullmetal Alchemist: Season 1 Part 1, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

When this was highly recommended to me, I first picked up volume 1 of the manga and fell in love with it. After that I knew I had to try out the anime. I ended up watching it with one of my online friends Steena-chan. The first 4 episodes were up at Funimation's official site in English, and we both had decided to watch it together. So we set up a time, logged onto Gmail to chat, started the episode at the same time, than discussed it afterward. Sadly, in the middle of ep1, the power decided to go out for a few seconds, but thankfully Funi remembered close to the spot I was kicked off of, so I was only about 11 minutes behind Steena-chan.

Both of us enjoyed the first episode, and I decided to continue and go ahead and watch the other 3 episodes. After that I picked up volume 2 of the manga and fell in love with it even more, because the second volume did better than the first. After that, I finally decided to purchase the first half of season 1 boxset and continue on with the anime (though I still intend to follow the manga).

The anime did an excellent adapting job to the manga so far from what I've seen. They did a good job at expanding on some of the arcs, and the filler episodes were written very well and enjoyable to watch. I also liked how the arc with the Sewing-Life alchemist was expanded, because you got to get more attached to the little girl Nina and more of a relationship is built between her and The Elrics. We are introduced to many characters that it becomes hard to pick a favorite because they're so loveable and well-developed, each with their own unique personalities and ways of interacting with others.

Why not talk a little about what the anime is about, shall we? It starts off on a stormy night, back when the brothers were young boys, using alchemy to bring their mother back from the dead. But as it fails, Edward screams in horror. Not only is his brother gone and left leg taken, but he sees the thing that he and his brother had created and screams in horror again. Then we're in their present time when Ed is 15 and Al is 14, and they find a desert village who follow a prophet named Cornello of the Sun God Leto. He is said to do miracles, even bring the dead back to life! Of course, that says "bad news" to The Elrics and they investigate, and find out Cornello's true intentions. When this arc ends, we rewind back to when The Elrics were kids. You get to see their relationship with their beloved mother, Winry's pain when she loses her parents in the war in Ishbal, and Ed's detest for his father who walked out on them when they were very small. When their mother dies, we see in more detail what happened on that stormy night when they attempted Human Transmutation.

Alphonse wakes up to find himself just a soul trapped in a suit of armour and his brother bleeding where his right arm should be. He has sacrificed it in order to save his brother's soul and trap it in that armour. After that, Ed's on a mission to become a State Alchemist, and despite some obstacles, becomes the youngest State Alchemist in history, being only 12 years old. After the coal-mining arc, we are back to when Ed is 15 and Al is 14. Still seeking the Philosopher's Stone, it would seem they have reached another dead end, until they meet a small-town doctor who might be the one who knows how to make the stone! That's when things really start to get intense. Especially when the killer Scar, who thinks he's doing God's will by killing alchemists who have "strayed from the path" shows up again.

An interesting aspect about the story is how Edward openly admits he's an agnostic (it's only really mentioned in the first arc). You'd think an anime that follow a character who openly proclaims that would make Christian viewers feel a bit uneasy, but you may be surprised how well it is handled. I think it was handled even more well than how it was presented in the manga. There is a scene where Alphonse says "Maybe there is something more out there, something we don't understand". Ed mutters to himself "don't count on it", of course. However, what's interesting is in one of the episodes, Ed says "I gave up believing in that stuff a long time ago" which seems to give the idea that Ed used to believe in something, but probably because of all that pain and suffering he and his brother went through, doesn't anymore. So, I see Edward as someone who is agnostic because of all he's gone through, not just because he's a prodigy scientist. Although what he says in the first arc is a bit bothersome, you never ever hate Edward, in fact, you'll probably find yourself caring and feeling bad for him because of everything that's happened.

As you watch the anime, you will feel the pain and sorrow The Elrics feel when they lose their mother, and the horror of what happens to them in their attempt to bring her back from the dead. With them you will be horrified and disgusted at what some alchemists do, root for them when they engage in fights, and laugh whenever Ed goes on his rants whenever someone calls him short or mistakes Alphonse as the "Full Metal" alchemist. This is a brilliant story that can easily become an anime legend someday. It has an equal balance of serious and hilarious moments, and they can easily switch off almost seemlessly, never cheapening the moment. Whether you're a veteran anime addict or new to the scene, you should totally check this out!

Recommend?
This is a masterpeice, and despite it being grusome at times, it's an amazing experience you should totally see!

I certify this *ANIME NEWCOMER WORTHY* because the plot's easy enough to understand and since they don't have Japanese names you don't have to worry about mispronouncing anything.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The soundtrack is excellent and fits the show perfectly. The first OP and END are good, but the second OP and END sequences are even better!!

[SUB VS. DUB]
I'm gonna have to say dub on this one. The dub is amazing, with perfect voice acting that matches the characters. The sub isn't bad, but I don't feel that Ed's voice really matched (maybe 'cause he was played by a girl in Japanese?).

[MOVIES/MANGA]
1 movie "Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror Of Shamballa". Manga series "Fullmetal Alchemist" by Hiromu Arakawa.

[RELATED TITLES]
"Premium OVA Collection" for the first series, and the remake "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood".

[DVD EXTRAS]
Textless Songs, Production Art, Japanese Commercials, Image Gallery, Character Profiles, L'Arc-en-Ciel music video "READY STEADY GO", Tofu Records Commercial - L'Arc-en-Ciel, and Bonus Anime "Spiral" episode 1. The guidebooks this thing comes with are awesome!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
Lots of "h" and "d" used throughout, but not too overdone. God's name taken in vain about twice. (This is based on the dub translation, I think it's a little worse in the sub).

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
Havoc is always seen with a cigerette in his mouth. In the coal-mining arc episode, the Inn serves alcohol. Roy and Maes sometimes have conversations in a bar.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
Lust usually wears clothes that show her cleavage line. The worst it gets is in the "Phantom Thief" episode when Edward accident grabs one of Psiren's breasts (not on purpose, he's not used to pinning down female enemies). She also unzips her top to reveal her alchemy on her chest (as revealing as a bikini).

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There's quite a bit of violence and blood in this anime. In an attempt to bring back their dead mother, Alphonse body is completely "taken" (not bloody though). Ed loses a leg and you see blood where it used to be. When Alphonse wakes up in an armour body, he sees Ed holding his hand where his right arm used to be with alot of blood (he gave it up to save Al). Scar is a guy who kills State Alchemists by blowing them up from the inside (not really any gore, but there's blood splatter). Twice it is implied Gluttony eats someone alive (it just blanks out and you hear the chewing).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Edward and Alphonse Elric try to bring back their dead mother with the use of alchemy, however, it failed and learn that what they did was wrong, so throughout the series, bringing the dead back to life and human transmutation is looked down upon and ridiculed. Alphonse is just a soul trapped in a suit of armour. "Alchemy" is a scientific art form that has the appearance of magic. You can view it as either magic that uses science or science that looks like magic. They use "transmutation circles" and it looks similiar to hexagrams. In the first arc, there is a false prophet Cornello, so-called prophet of the Sun God Leto, who is said to do miracles. Ed says how he doesn't believe in God, so he's agnostic. However, it appears Alphonse may feel there is something more. There are enemies named after the seven deadly sins (Lust, Gluttony, Envy, and so forth). "Scar" is an Ishbalan killer who kills alchemists who have "strayed from the path of God". The Ishbalans believe in one God; Ishbala. Despite Scar's character, it doesn't seem like they are saying those who believe in a god are psycho killers, he's just a character who "thinks" he is doing God's will, and though he doesn't admit it, seems out for revenge. In the "Phantom Thief" episode, there's one instance when Psiren becomes a nun to save a church (this is for comic relief because she's such a con, and is in no way offensive because she's an obvious fake).

*EPISODE LIST*
1. Those Who Challenge The Sun
2. Body Of The Sanctioned
3. Mother
4. A Forger's Love
5. The Man With The Mechanical Arm
6. The Alchemy Exam
7. Night Of The Chimera's Cry
8. The Phiosopher's Stone
9. Be Thou For The People
10. The Phantom Thief
11. The Other Brothers Elric (Part 1)
12. The Other Brothers Elric (Part 2)
13. Fullmetal vs. Flame
14. Destruction's Right Hand
15. The Ishbal Massacre
16. That Which Is Lost

2 comments:

  1. I LOVE this anime and am so thrilled that you're loving it, too! It's exciting to hear that you think so highly of it, and can't wait to hear what you think of the rest of the season!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, I really love this series, and I am excited to continue on reviewing it! Once I am done with this anime, Brotherhood is next! Woot!

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