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kamuinoyume's Fullmetal Alchemist Tv Review

Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist tv Review

"You can't gain something without sacrificing something else of the equal value. This is the principle of the equivalent trade."

The story takes place in an alternate world in the early 1900's. Two brothers, Edward and his younger brother Alphonse Elric, live with their mother, Trisha, in the small village of Resembool. Their father left home when they were still very young, but Ed and Al inherited his passion for alchemy.
In 1909, Trisha dies of an unknown illness, which ten-year-old Ed blames his father for. When Edward finds out about flesh forging in an alchemy book that belonged to his father, he engages in an intense training with Al in order to be able to perform a human transmutation and bring their mother back.

In 1910, the Elric brothers cross the forbidden line during the resurrection. Unfortunately, the endeavor is a complete failure, as Ed loses his left leg and Al - his entire body. In a last desperate attempt, Ed uses alchemy to restore his brother's spirit by putting it in a suit of armor, at the further cost of his right arm.
The two decide to embark on a journey to find the legendary Philosopher's Stone, rumored to create anything from nothing, in hopes of getting their original bodies back.

Story & Characters

This is a review for Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 adaptation (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi or Hagaren for shorts) and its movie The Conqueror of Shamballa.

Depending on what mood I'm in, I might say that my favorite Anime of all time is either X TV or Fullmetal Alchemist (2003 adaptation). But for the most part, it's FMA (because I like the X Manga a hell of a lot more over the Anime).

FMA was an interesting piece of work, and one of the very first Anime I watched while consciously knowing that it was an Anime, and not a Cartoon, and this, alongside Neon Genesis Evangelion and X TV, which I had watched around the same time, were the shows that set certain standards for me, that made me differentiate Anime as the superior genre of the American Cartoon. That was because these shows had the guts to go places a Cartoon wouldn't. They had well developed Characters, they had style, mature themes and a whole lot of heart and soul put into them. Which is partially why I can not stand today's Anime industry, because it's turning more and more like a cheap version of its former glory days.

These three Anime: Hagaren, Eva and X are the ones I reference, the ones that keep popping into my mind when I deem an Anime good or bad by my standards, because they ARE my standards. They are the shows I consider Masterpieces in an imperfect world, and I don't say that because everyone else thinks so too, but because I consider them as such.

Hagaren for me is the all-rounder of the Anime, the one that successfully tackles the most topics, develops the most characters and offers a satisfying conclusion. It's not perfect (what is in today's day and age?) but it certainly comes close to it. In fact, the only thing Hagaren doesn't tackle is romance. There is no main pairing or romance in the show. Sure, there were hints here and there, but there were no glaring evidences of anything really substantial going on, and I found myself appreciating it all the more for it. It's like the window of possibility always stayed open, and frankly, there's nothing wrong with that, since the show isn't a love story, far from it! It's a drama, some might even call it a tragedy, but it's got very little to do with irrational, melodramatic romance. The main theme of the Anime revolves more around the concept of family and camaraderie more then anything, and you see evidence of that all over the show: In the relationship that Pinaco, Winry, Ed and Al have, Mustang's group is almost like a little family onto itself, even the Homunculi have their own little twisted family theme going on.

But that's it for the prays. It's time I got around to discussing the faults of the show, because it does have a few namely:

* The slow pacing and the fillers. Yes, there are some truly spectacular fillers in the show (episode 13 comes to mind), but the rest are a little slow, don't contribute much if at all to the overarching plot and are used for either comic relief (10, 13, 37), to empathies a certain plot point (4, 9, 17, 23, 24, 26, 38), or to down right depress people (8, 16). The episodes I haven't mentioned mostly revolve around the plot, but you should note that there are always tiny little bits of plot at the end of some fillers, even the comic relief episodes (ep 10 is probably the only exception).

* The plot isn't exactly structured. As much as I hate Brotherhood, I will admit that it had a better outline of it's plot, and everything flowed with a certain order to it, while Hagaren is kind of chaotic and all over the place with it's main plot. Sometimes you get things that might be relevant later on, and hints are laid out in pretty inventive and neat ways, but there isn't really a structure to it. Which might seam like a disadvantage to some, but for me personally, it was one of the things that I enjoyed the most, partly because I couldn't split it up in arcs or sequences of events. It was a dynamic story, which was constantly unraveling itself, while keeping the audiences entertained with different characters and stories that you could relate to. What I'm trying to say is: it didn't beat the subject into the ground up until you were sick of it. Which does not mean it did a good job at it, but it did a better one then anything I've ever seen before an after it's time.

* The main antagonist and Ed and Al's father don't get much development. Their back story is scarcely skimmed through in about five minutes or so for each of them, and their motive while generic, is not really expanded upon.

* Some of the characters get annoying developments, and this is a pretty brutal show, dealing with mature themes, like the consequences of war, racism, corruption, manipulation, murder and a lot of other dark themes that might be a bit too much for some people to stomach, but for me, it was what made the show feel all the more real and engaging.

And I honestly can't think of any more bad things to say about the show, I tried, but that's all I can come up with.

The things that I love most about the show are: The well developed characters, the believable drama, the ending, and the hilarious side-stories. I'm going to give the show a 10 for Story and Characters.

For any newcomers, I'd have to say: there are tones of things you may like about the show, but don't make the mistake of going into it expecting it to be the grates thing ever create, because it might not turn out to be what you expected (I've learned the hard way that setting anything at too high standards is bound to disappoint you in one way or the other). Let yourself be surprised is my advice.

Rating: 10

Art

You'll find few Anime today and in past years which have better animation than FMA. The lighting effects, the fluid movements, the constant facial expressions, the bright color pallet, the cute character design, that show has it all, because the animation is part of what made the series so enjoyable.

This show was all about finding the perfect angle in order to best display the characters emotions; and when they were sad, you could see it clearly on their faces, reflected in their eyes, through the changes of the lighting effects, the darkening of their features, the blurring of the image on the screen. This show was all about expressing the characters' feeling visually, so that you'd feel connected, so that you'd understand and sympathize with the characters (they even mange to display Alphonse's emotions despite being stuck in a suit of armor). And the background scenes were truly amazing! They bothered detailing every building; every scrap of rumble left on the ground after an attack, and when it rained the characters actually looked like they were drenched in water not like today's animation where characters look like they might as well have been Photoshoped in the scene just to fill it up with something.

It most definitely is not flawless, and some people aren't particularly fond of the dark tone the show has, but it's still nothing less then amazing. I'm easily giving this a 10 for animation.

Rating: 10

Sound

The show has an amazing soundtrack which it uses to its full advantage to emphasize sad or dramatic scenes. And the voices are a perfect match for each character.

I've seen both the English Dub and the Japanese Original, and I have to say I like the Original better, and that mostly has to do with Ed's voice actor. The English dub one wasn't bad, but he came of as bland and unemotional to me, which really begged me and subtracted from my enjoyment of the show, but aside from that, the English Dub has some pretty strong performances for a dub.

Op and Ed:

The series had some great openings and endings, which matched the theme of the story. The openings that particularly stood out for me were: "Rewrite" and "Ready Steady Go", I loved both the songs and the visuals. As for the endings: "Kesenai Tsumi" and "Tobira No Mukou E".

Rating: 10

Presentation

What more can I say except: I love the show. I love the story, the characters, the ending, everything about it. So, it should come as no surprise to people that I'm giving this show a 10. It had its problems, but for me, it's one of the few shows out here I actually consider a masterpiece, and I highly recommend it to everyone out there.

Rating: 10

Final Verdict

10.00 (excellent)

Reviewed by kamuinoyume, Mar 02, 2012

Comments

  1. angelxxuan Mar 02, 2012

    nothing personal, but since not everyone has seen other animes why list animes in the review? why, thus further, list them if they are no reference at all? if you didn't like it at that much why give it such high ratings? I also noticed a few slight spoilers in the review. should have broken this down, reviewing too much seems a bit confusing to me, nothing personal. you could have added more to the sound, like which version you watched and the voices?

  2. kamuinoyume Mar 03, 2012

    I do like the show. If you bothered to read my review, then you should have noticed that most of the "flaws" I listed I don't consider them as such. I only bothered mentioning them because those are the problems that most people mention of the show, and I couldn't dawn right spend all the review praising it to the heavens (better said fangirling over it which I can easily do since I am a huge fan). I tried to be objective and list some of the flaws that people might have with the show. And I can't do a review without ANY spoilers in them. I have to talk about something since that's what a bloody review is!

  3. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Mar 03, 2012

    I do not mean to come across as a jerk, but a great way to get an idea of how to write reviews without spoilers would be to look at other reviews. I've written about shows, somtimes to great lengths, without covering very much of the plot at all. It really depends on how you want to write the review and what you want to include.

    For example. Say you don't like a certain arc, or there's a scene that happens. You can touch upon the scene without going into great detail for it. Practice takes perfect with it, and unfortunately there are a good deal of people who view spoilers in a review as something that completely ruins a series for them. Its a big reason why we established that rule, and considering that since we have extablished the rule we've only ran into that issue a few times, I'd say that it's all about how you approach it.

    I hope this helps, Kamui!

  4. kamuinoyume Mar 03, 2012

    You honestly think I've never read a review?! Seriously....

    And no, it doesn't help!

    If I don't include spoilers, or better said, if I can't specifically address the issue that bothers me, it feels like I'm just rambling off and people won't understand what I'm trying to say and will think that I hate/like a show for no apparent reason, and I honestly don't! I have a legitimate reason for hating Brotherhood but I can't be specific about it cause you won't let me! It's vexing!

  5. WalkingEncyclopedia Mar 04, 2012

    I wrote a review in the past on Kuroshitsuji with too much spoiler in it and it got deleted. Just warning you that though it is very hard to write substantial stuff without mentioning the plot, you really should try not to include too many details on major plot developments or the ending for your own sake.

    For example, it's not really necessary to say it out right that 'Dante is the final boss'. If you aren't impressed by Dante, you can simply say 'The final boss doesn't impress me' and don't give out Dante's name.

    If other people can write good reviews without spoiling shows for others, then you can do it too. In fact, I've read your review on Kuroshitsuji and you did it there. It is very obvious that your writing skills are outstanding and you have a clear head and know how to organise ideas. All you need to learn now, is how to let people know enough about something so that they understand what you're saying while not giving away too much so they'll be curious enough to find out more for themselves! You'll find doing this is easier if you bear in mind that people read your review to see if the show is worth watching or not, not to see what EXACTLY the show is about. If they want to know about the latter, they can simply check it out on Wikipedia and get their own fill of spoilers :)

    Now enough with the evaluation. I personally prefer Brotherhood over season 1. The plot is more complete, all of the characters are more developed (especially Van Hohenheim and the homunculi), the setting is much more sinister, the foreshadowing is more effective... The whole thing is simply GRANDER.

  6. SnickerdoodleNinja Moderator Mar 07, 2012

    WalkingEncyclopedia brings up a lot of good points. Your writing skills are impressive and learning to avoid spoilers seems to be your biggest obstacle, and that's one I'm sure you can overcome, as you've proven with your edits. :) In fact, your review looks quite nice without the spoilers and I actually feel that the way you edited makes it feel even more objective, which can be difficult to achieve when you give really high scores, yet you manage to combine objectivity and personal opinions in a rather interesting way. I personally tend to be hesitant giving 10s, but you defended it well and I look forward to reading your next review! :)

    P.S. I've been curious about FMA for awhile now, so I might just look into it now.

  7. oma-hima May 21, 2012

    the show wasent all that great. the philosiphy and the idea of a world of a dead science is great but it lacks proper research of the subject and no real character development. most people are fans of the english version, which is annoying.

  8. Drakill Jun 14, 2012

    FMA was OK. It was worth a watch but it seemed to drag a bit. And like Oma-Hima says: "most people are fans of the english version, which is annoying." And I agree. I watched, well tried, to watch an English version of it but it's not as good as the Japanese verision.

  9. agasca311 Nov 09, 2012

    If you want to buy Fullmetal Alchemist you can go to this website to buy it for a low price.
    http://arturoga.gps5.com/shop.php?k=Fullmetal+Alchemist&c=all

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