This is my review thread of the original Fullmetal Alchemist thread I made on the old forum. I'm just copying it over here.
Anyone who hasn't seen my reviews, feel free to comment if you like.
This is my review thread of the original Fullmetal Alchemist thread I made on the old forum. I'm just copying it over here.
Anyone who hasn't seen my reviews, feel free to comment if you like.
Episode 1: Those Who Challenge the Sun, and Episode 2: Body of the Sanctioned.
So--the Liore arc. Not one of my favorites, but I have to admit that it's done much better here than in Brotherhood (though I did like a lot of the humor in Brotherhood's version). While nothing comes of it since the prophet is evil, I have to wonder--is Arakawa an atheist? Because Ed definitely is.
Anyway, the anime does a lot of changes. Some are good; the parrot chimera scene is nightmarishly wonderful and gives more character development to Rose. With that one added scene, I find Cornello much more loathsome than he ever was in Brotherhood. One scene, though, causes a bit of a plot hole--it seems the anime writers forgot that Homunculi can't use alchemy. Nothing too egregious, but it is kind of dumb.
While I prefer Brotherhood's soundtrack on the whole, one piece of music (which sounds like a choir of German children), is REALLY good.
Romi Park sounds quite different in this first anime--her Ed is much less deep than it is in Brotherhood. While I think the deeper voice is better for Ed, I also think she does better at doing a different voice for Ed as a kid than in Brotherhood.
As for the dub, while everyone proclaims it to be the best ever, I think it's aged a little. The script wanders quite far from the original at times, particularly with Ed's speech about how he doesn't believe in God. Don't get me wrong though--it's still awesome, and easily the best dub Funimation's done up to that point.
Vic Mignonga's Ed is a little different too. Some posters said that his Brotherhood Ed sounds a lot more like Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club--and I have to agree, though, like Ms. Park, I do prefer his Brotherhood voice. His Ed is good from what I've heard, though I still prefer Ms. Park (though that might be bias, as she's one of my absolute favorite Japanese voice actors ). I do, however, like Cornello's English voice better than his Japanese voice.
This marks my first experience with Aaron Dismuke's Al--and I really like it. His acting is a little stiff compared to the others (still great, considering he was twelve), but as his voice makes me think of Linus from Peanuts, such a thing actually adds to his charm.
Episode 3: Mother
Best episode yet.
This is truly a marvelous episode. Brotherhood's version doesn't even compare with the scenes involving Trisha--one minute she's there, and the next, she's dead. Not this one--we see Ed and Al's love for her, we see their reactions to the death of Winry's parents, and we feel a deep sense of loss when Trisha dies.
I do, however, like Brotherhood's version of Roy's visit better, with Pinnako's confrontation with Roy, and Winry talking to Riza about wars. And the scene with Truth was awesome--but as we actually saw that later in the manga, I can't fault this show for not showing it.
Speaking of Roy, this marks my first experience with Toru Ohkawa's take on the character. I can't judge based on the little I've heard (at the moment, I prefer Shinchiro Miki, simply because that's who I'm used to), but from the roles I've heard him in (Kariya from Bleach and Spirit in Soul Eater), I don't doubt he'll be good.
The dub of this episode is fortunately just as good. Vic may not have the best little kid voice, but it didn't really bother me. All the others were good too, especially Julia Erickson's Pinnako. I really like her--she perfectly conveys both the grouchy old lady and the warm grandmother that make up Pinnako's character. Also, while I usually don't like big sweeping changes, one line Funimation added, where Ed proclaimed a soul to be basically nothing but blood, was EXCELLENT. It shows Ed's cynical, unbelieving nature, and at the same time, it shows how little he understands the soul at that point. Kudos, Funimation.
Like some of the others, Travis Willingham's Roy is not as deep as it is in Brotherhood. Not a complaint, just a comment.
Episode 4: A Forger's Love
Compared to the last episode, this filler episode (at least, I'm assuming it's filler) was sort of...meh. I mean, it wasn't bad, but the basic premise is essentially copying the storyline with Tucker (nice and friendly character is doing something horrific), only it's not done nearly as well. I thought Claus was a rather boring character too.
Also, something that's bugging me, particularly in this episode, is Al's eyes. His eyes are white with red light, but most of the time in this episode, they're just red...and I don't really like that look. I assume it was done to save costs on a low budget, but I think it just looks tacky.
The dub doesn't make the episode any better, but it's still good. I instantly recognized Kent Williams as Majhal, which was a good choice--he's very adept at playing villains.
Episode 5: The Man with the Mechanical Arm
Nice to see a story that didn't get adapted into Brotherhood. While this episode didn't do much for the overall story except introducing Hughes, I still enjoyed it, thanks to the humor scenes. I just love how Hughes uses military lines to brag and gush about his family. I'm also glad Keiji Fujiwara voices him in both shows--there's no other Japanese voice I can imagine for him.
My favorite scene, though, is Al's confrontation with the gunners. A gunner hurt by his own bullet as Al warns him not to fire? Amusing. Another goon coming in and doing the exact same thing, with the exact same warning and result? Priceless.
I also had to laugh at how ludicrously petty Bald's motive for going against the military was. I couldn't help but imagine Dr. Doofenschmirtz from Phineas and Ferb.
"For rejecting me and my weapon, I will destroy EVERY military weapon in the ENTIRE TRI-STATE-AREA!"
Not much to report on for other Japanese voices, except that I'm amazed at how similar Hawkeye's different voices for the two shows are. I'm also starting to like Ohkawa's Roy--thought that might be because he first shows off how awesome he is in this episode.
As for the dub, I love Sonny Strait's Hughes (not surprising, since I love the guy's work), and Travis Willingham's Roy is good too.
...Wish I could say more.
Episode 6: The Alchemy Exam
With the slower pace this anime has, it's only natural they'd dedicate an episode to the exam. I have to say that this show does it better (though I did like Bradley's humorously awesome scene in Brotherhood). The way it's handled--revealing Ed's new ability, Al's sadness that comes with the thought of mothers, his inability to take the test, and the heartwarming scene at the end of the episode--it's all really good. I'd daresay this is thus far my second favorite episode.
My favorite scene is the dinner at Hughes' house. It's smart to add in all this extra screen time for him--we get to see how he becomes close to the Elrics, which, I assume, makes his eventual fate all the more heartbreaking. I also LOVE the pregnancy scene. While he didn't really have a choice, leaving two near-teenagers and a little girl in charge of your wife's pregnancy is not the smartest thing to do, Hughes.
It's also interesting to note how different Tucker is from the manga and Brotherhood. Whereas in the latter he's rather creepy and morose even before the big reveal, here he's friendly and a borderline father figure for Ed. It makes sense to do it that way, seeing as how the anime spends more time with the story. I'm not criticizing Brotherhood's version though--in the latter, they only know him and Nina for a few days, so while it's horrifying, it's not as personal. So Brotherhood's version is right for that way.
As for the dub, I'll start with Chuck Huber and Brina Palencia. While penguintruth is right on how the two handle their characters, I don't think it detracts from their performance. Brina's baby-talk is a little annoying at parts, but her voice for Nina is really cute and makes me smile in spite of that. Plus, I can't fault her for doing it that way, because Satomi Kuroogi's Nina is just as over the top in her cuteness. Chuck Huber is quite good at Tucker, but I'll reserve judgement for the big scene in the next episode (though I did really like his performance in Brotherhood's version of the scene).
I also really like Dismuke in this episode--while I still prefer Ms. Whitehead for "sad Al," he still makes you feel for the poor boy, especially when he starts crying. And one more comment--this marks the debut of Bradley. For starters, Ed Blaylock uses a different kind of voice from Hidekatsu Shiba--it's more curt and to-the-point, rather than the warm, grandfatherly voice of the latter. Judging from his work in Yu Yu Hakusho and later in Brotherhood (where Bradley shows his true colors), I'd say he's better at playing mean characters, so I can't fault him for doing things differently. His performance, however, is uneven--there are moments where I really like it, and others (whenever he's announcing), where he sounds really forced. Hopefully, I'll warm up to him.
Episode 7: Night of the Chimera's Cry
There are certain points in a work of fiction that you get to, and the point just leaves you going "Whoa." This is that episode.
It contains one of the darkest, most horrific stories I've ever experienced. Honestly, describing it is probably beyond my abilities. So, I'll focus on the differences between this episode and Brotherhood's version.
There's a bit of mystery subplot going on here, which is nice, as it lets Ed slowly inch to the truth--by the time the deed is done, he's already pretty much aware of what's happened. I do, however, really like the moment in Brotherhood where he's fascinated by the chimera--and when it calls him "Big Brother," his fascination instantly turns to horror.
As for the actual scene itself, I honestly think both versions have their merits. I really like the animation in Brotherhood, where Tucker's face becomes more distorted and monstrous the more he talks, and the insane screaming that both Makoto Nagai and Chuck Huber expertly perform better showcase what a psychotic monster he is. I guess I can't blame this show's way of doing it though, since it makes Tucker a shade more sympathetic up until he does it. One scene in this show that's poignant enough to make me tear up, however, is when the chimera grabs Ed's arm to make him stop clobbering Tucker. Something about that is just...gut-wrenching.
That's the big thing I guess--this show goes for sadness and poignancy, while Brotherhood's version goes for sheer horror and tragedy. In short, I guess I like both versions for different reasons. I can't say I like the show making Basque Grand a big conspiring jerk (when his only moment of significance besides being killed was an awesome dealing with a corrupt superior during Ishval), but that's a minor quibble.
Anyway, Chuck Huber does fine in the big scene, but really, I think Vic is one of the big stand-outs in this and the next episode. He really makes you feel Ed's sadness and grief. Also, both Scar's Japanese and English voices sound younger than Brotherhood's, which I guess fits with his appearance in this show. I like both of them so far, but I'll wait until big moments to judge them.
Episode 8: The Philosopher's Stone
Something I definitely like better than Brotherhood is the manga events in this episode--the one where Roy basically tells Ed to get over his grief, and the scene at the end, with Ed's "not gods, but human beings" speech (mostly because Ed isn't screaming it in this version, which I thought was a little cheesy).
So--this episode played with my expectations. I honestly thought that Scar was the serial killer (that he somehow didn't have control over his arm and was accidentally killing) for half the episode. I also thought for sure that the delivery woman was Envy (shape-shifters are big sources of paranoia). But as soon as I saw the name on the meat-wagon, everything clicked.
And regarding that--dang, Barry's a completely different character in this show, it seems. The whole scene where he describes his and humanity's love of killing, his chasing Ed, his laughing at his own blood--dang, that was creepy. While it was very well done on the whole, I have to say that I much prefer the lovably psychotic goofball of Brotherhood.
While I'm not sure if it was necessary to dedicate a whole episode of new material to Ed getting over Nina's death (since that was what the first encounter with Scar was for), I do like the episode on the whole. Ed's frustration, and his tantrums at everyone is rather childish, which is nice--it's kind of how you'd expect a real teenager who hasn't matured yet, to react.
As for the dub, kudos to Jerry Jewell for his very creepy Barry--and for a very impressive impersonation of a woman. I've also started to like Ed Blaylock's Bradley in this episode.
Episode 9: Be Thou for the People
First thought that enters my mind when watching this episode: "Dang, Winry's a lot more hyperactive in this show than in Brotherhood." To be honest, I find her Japanese voice rather annoying. Catlin Glass does a little better, though.
As for the episode, while I like it, I don't like its placement in the story. The show does a decent job of tying it to its events (like Winry's oil can and Roy orchestrating Yoki's downfall), but it just feels awkward coming right after the events of Nina, especially when dealing with Ed--his angst in the beginning of the episode disappears once the story proper gets started. Plus, it feels like a weird and abrupt ending to the big flashback--I think that ending it after the previous episode's events would have been smoother. While I can't say I prefer Brotherhood cutting the story out entirely (though Yoki's hilarious flashback almost makes up for it), I would have much preferred this episode coming right after Liore, like it did in the manga.
But as I say, I did like the episode itself, even if the Youswell miners are a little flat. Ed's scheme was great though--my favorite scene is when he's going on about how expensive the deed was, and then trades it for a night at the inn. That's such an "Ed" thing to do.
I have to say that Yoki is one of the few anime characters I can think of whose Japanese and English voices are both absolutely perfect. Both Kazuki Yao and Barry Yandell (who, coincidentally, both voiced Mr. 2 Bon Clay of One Piece), both do a wonderful job of portraying his slimy, sissy nature.
I didn't much care for Lyra though, mostly because the "fight" at the end seemed out of place. It was as though the writers decided that they needed to put in some action at the last minute.
Also, to those who've read the manga--what are alchemy's rules involving gold? If Ed only made fake gold, why would he be breaking the law? That part confuses me a little.
Anyway--as of the end of this episode, I have watched an anime adaptation of all of Fullmetal Alchemist's manga story. Congratulate me. [8D]
Episode 10: The Phantom Thief
I...I honestly can't decide if I like this episode or not. When I watched the Japanese version, I didn't care much for it, but when I watched it in English, I liked it a little better. Whether that'd be due to the dub making it better or me just warming up to it, I can't say.
There's good stuff, like the Lupin III inspiration throughout, particularly the detective who bears a blatant resemblance to Inspector Zenigata (and Funimation, in an odd case of appropriate casting in the future, gives him the same English voice). I liked the comedy scenes--the Elrics' reactions to Clara's places being demolished, and to her new disguises, are hilarious.
But I'm not sure about the serious stuff. I can enjoy a good Catwoman-esque character, but for some reason, I don't really care for Clara.
Gahhh...I can't put my finger on what it is I don't like about this episode. Oh well. The dub noticeably makes some improvements, including Ed's comment about Clara at the end, and the scene at the church where Clara resolves to "save it." Lucci Christian's hilarious overacting made me laugh during that scene, whereas there was no such reaction in the Japanese version.
Episodes 11 and 12: The Fake Brothers Elric
Well, the imposter story is unoriginal, but I liked these two episodes regardless, even if it felt like they were trying to emulate elements from earlier stories (the gold mine, the greedy villain on orders from the Homunculi--you know the drift). It's odd, though--I really don't have to much to say about the episodes themselves. I did, however, like Marcoh's brief cameo, which will hopefully link to the events involving him.
This is probably the first time I really noticed a difference between Lust's two Japanese voices (to be honest, from what I've seen, she doesn't have as much of a personality as the other Homunculi), but it's rather slight. Regarding that--I wonder at what point the writers decided to split off from the manga story? Because the Homunculi making Philosophers' Stones may have connection to their plot here, but it wouldn't for the manga--and if they planned to go through with adapting the manga, their involvement here wouldn't make much sense.
There's some stuff to report on, dub-wise. I easily recognized Justin Cook as Russell, and he's quite good--but Fletcher sounded like he was being voiced by a little kid who was far more stiff than Dismuke, and rather annoying.
Episode 13: Fullmetal vs Flame
I LOVE this episode.
This show has far less humor than Brotherhood, so it's long overdue for some brevity--and man, this episode delivers in spades. Practically the whole episode is hilarious, but here are some of my favorites:
--Al's over the top sadness at abandoning the kitten. "I hate you, Brother! You're not human!"
--Both of Roy's legendary lines. The dog scene is hilarious because we see this ultra serious character ridiculously goofy for the first time ("Loyal canine, how we salute thee!"), and, by contrast the "tiny miniskirts" line is delivered super seriously. Then you have Havoc worshipping Roy, and Hawkeye walking by with an expression that clearly says "You're both idiots."
--"No, Elicia! DON"T FALL ON DADDY!" Sonny Strait MAKES that line.
--Hawkeye's method of dog training. Poor Black Hayate...
Some of the serious stuff seems out of place in such a goofy episode, but we do get to learn more about Roy's character (particularly how Ishbal affected him), so I guess I can't be too hard on it.
Episode 14: Destruction's Right Hand
New opening and ending! I'd say I like the old ones better, but we'll see how well these ones grow on me.
So, this show continues to play around with manga storylines, putting together the encounters with Scar and Marcoh. And I guess we're splitting the first encounter with Scar into two separate battles. Interesting.
And a big "YEAH!" for finally introducing Armstrong. It seems Kenji Utsumi isn't as ridiculously gravelly as he is in Brotherhood. Can't wait to see more of him.
I guess they decided to make Basque Grand more evil to make his death at Scar's hand more fitting. Still don't really like that, but whatever.
Okay, not so much to say about the episode, but there's a LOT to say about voice actors. I'll start with the three main Homunculi, since this is the first time we see and hear them together.
Lust: There's really not much to say about her, because as I say, I thus far find Lust a little boring compared to the others. I like Laura Bailey best, but it's more a case of uniqueness, as Yuuko Satou and Kikuko Inoue sound rather similar to each other.
Gluttony: More to say on him than I thought. While I really like Chris Cason's work in Brotherhood--I'm not sure I like his Gluttony in this show so far. It's like he's trying too hard to sound like a monster--Gluttony should have an element of childishness to him. I think, thus far, Yasuhiro Takato (his Japanese voice in this show), is the creepiest.
Envy: My first experience with Mayumi Yamaguchi's Envy--and it's interesting. It's a very gender neutral voice, and it's definitely calmer than Minami Takayama's rendition-- her Envy seemed to be trying to hold back wicked laughter with practically everything he said. I think that's why they cast Wendy Powell, who, by the way, I really like so far, even with Envy's few lines--it's much smoother than her rendition in Brotherhood. I'll wait until Envy does more to judge between the voices.
Marcoh: I REALLY like Brice Armstrong's Marcoh. He has a great voice, and you can hear the character's anguish within his lines. Definitely my favorite voice for him so far.
Scar: So--Ryotaro Okiayu and Dameon Clarke definitely make Scar sound younger here than in Brotherhood. Both of them work well for his appearance.
After a somewhat lackluster string of episodes, the show seems to be getting on track--I'm REALLY getting excited to watch more.
Episode 15: The Ishbal Massacre
Well, we get our first look at Ishbal--and dang, it's brutal. Poor Roy--it seems that the war's gonna affect him a lot more in this show.
Also, Kimblee's first appearance, and while I've only heard a little, I can make an opinion on voices. Yuuji Ueda is okay, but I much prefer Hiroyuki Yohsino, who gives the character a kind of oily refinement. I suppose that's due to Brotherhood coming out when the character's full personality had been revealed though (from what I read, the anime split off when Kimblee's only trait thus far shown was psychotic sadism), so I can't be too harsh on Ueda. Like some of the other English voices, Eric Vale's performance is radically different from his take in Brotherhood. I liked what I heard from him there, so we'll see how he does in this show.
I can say without hesitation that the action in this episode is much better in Brotherhood. I do like Rie Kugimiya's performance better here though (when Al is screaming at Ed to run)--as good as he is, Dismuke can't quite match that. I did like his "This is a terrible day!" line, though.
Another advantage Brotherhood has over this version is the placement of events. This comes right after the events with Nina in the manga, so it makes a little more sense for Ed to offer his life, and for Al to encourage him to live.
But despite my griping, I did like this episode, and I'm intrigued on how the show will handle its different plot elements (what the Philosopher's Stone did to Scar, how the effects of the death of Winry's parents will be handled), so it's still good.
Episode 16: That Which is Lost
I like this episode. What could have been another pointless filler adventure is instead a very poignant (and truthful) mention of war and its psychological effects, and the "equivalent exchange" issue is effective too--I'm sure many of us wonder what we did to deserve any suffering we have in our lives. It was also nice to see the Elrics start to from a friendship with Armstrong.
Speaking of which, I can't describe enough how much I love Christopher Sabat's performances as Armstrong. It's simply glorious--hands down one of the best voices in the dub.
And I have the opposite preference for Al this time--I liked Dismuke's performance when Al is scaring the kid who steals his armor, a little better than Kugimiya's take.
Episode 17: House of the Waiting Family
Of all the parts of the story that have been extended thus far, I think this one benefits the least. I mean, it's nice to see Ed and Al come home, and this episode has some great moments--some nice foreshadowing towards Al's identity dilemma, the moving scene near the end where Winry flashes the lights--but I think I prefer Brotherhood's version, which retains the emotion and story at half the length of an episode.
Also, if they're moving the scene where Winry opens Ed's watch to this part of the story, I wonder what they're going to do with Rush Valley? It was probably my least favorite part of the story, but it'll still be interesting to see what the show does.
I'm starting to warm up to Megumi Toyoguchi, particularly with Winry's humorous gushing about machinery, though I still prefer the Brotherhood voice as of now. I also want to remark on Aaron Dismuke, and how good he's gotten--the stiffness he had at the beginning of the show is all but gone at this point. He's becoming one of my absolute favorite voices, and it's amazing to think he does so well at so young an age.
Episode 18: Marcoh's Notes
Holy crud--Maria Ross's Japanese voice actress is the most masculine sounding female seiyu I've ever heard. I honestly thought she was being voiced by a man the instant she spoke.
Anyway, the opposite opinion this time--I like this show's version of the story more than Brotherhood's. I like the conflict between Ed and Maria, particularly the latter's clear disapproval of the former and his disregard for rules and safety. It'll make the scene where she hits him more meaningful, I think. I also liked the gags in this episode--the scene where all the books Ed's about to restore fly away in the wind, and Sciezka's romanticized flashback of how she got trapped under her books, in particular.
So--a woman whom Scar remembers and who resembles Lust, huh? I've accidentally spoiled myself on some of this show's plot, so I have an idea of how that'll work--but we'll see how this show does it. Speaking of which, I also have to prefer Brotherhood's version of Scar's brief stay with the other Ishbalans--the old man's message of "forgiving, but never forgetting," was really meaningful.
Dub wise, I have to say, Vic is absolutely outstanding in the scene at the end, when the Elrics realize what they need to make a Philosopher's Stone. He sounds truly anguished and frustrated--I think I actually have a scene where I prefer him over Romi Paku.
I'm still not liking Chris Cason's portrayal of Gluttony in this show. It's not a bad voice, but it doesn't fit the character--Gluttony should sound like a creepy man-child (and Cason does a very good job doing that in Brotherhood), not a growling monster. Hopefully he'll get better, but for now, I'd have to say it's the worst performance of the dub.
Episode 19: The Truth Behind Truths
Awesome that we're getting to Lab 5--it's one of my favorite parts of the story.
I like Ed's extended grief upon the realization of last episode, and I like Ross snapping him out of it. Brotherhood's version was a little less realistic in that regard--after such a bombshell being dropped, you wouldn't expect someone to snap out of depression so easily. I do miss Armstrong storming in on the Elrics, though.
We're doing something with Scar during this arc, huh? Wonder what that will lead up to. And while I'm on questions--I wonder what was up with that super quick shot of Greed.
I have to say that Jerry Jewell's Barry sounds a little...weird in this episode. It's like he's trying a little too hard to sound crazy. While I'm on the dub, while I like Vic Mignonga, I thin he could have been a little louder in this episode--it was hard to hear him.
Episode 20: Soul of the Guardian
Okay, I definitely like Brotherhood's version of Lab 5 better so far. Not that this episode is bad, but like Episode 17, it feels like Brotherhood's version gets the same story and emotions across with less time and length. That, and this episode spends less time on Barry, and more time on Ed's fight with the Slicer Brothers, who I find less interesting characters.
I'll admit, however, that the Slicer fight is definitely the better one, and the way this show does it is really cool, especially the brief flash of Scar Ed has that inspires him to use his deconstruction skill. I also like this little exchange:
Barry: If I destroy the bloodseal within that armor someplace, you will die. Brace yourself!
Al: The same goes for you too, right?
Barry (taken aback): Yeah, but you don't know where my bloodseal is, do you?!
Al: And you don't know where mine is, do you?
(Cue Barry's angry outburst)
I'm also getting fond of this show's music. Not only does this episode have "Brothers," but there's one track that skillfully uses the oboe.
Thankfully, Jerry's back on track in this episode--heck, in general, I like Barry better now that he has his more goofy kind of insanity. Aaron Dismuke is really good too--his Al genuinely sounds exasperated, as though Barry's nothing but a comedic nuisance. Bill Jenkins and Duncan Brenan do a good job with the Slicers too. Speaking of which, something occurred to me when I watched the dub--the Slicers only ever refer to each other as "younger brother" and "elder brother." Now that makes sense in Japanese where there are titles words for those, but in English, it'd make one wonder why these brothers never refer to each other by name.
Episode 21: The Red Glow and Episode 22: Created Human
So, it seems I've gotten to the part of the story where everything starts changing. It promises to be exciting, especially if these two episodes are any indication.
Even though they aren't the most interesting characters, I like how this show gave more time to the Slicer Brothers--it made them feel a little less like generic evil minions. I don't quite like how they handled the elder brother's death, though. The younger one gets a sad, pitiful suicide scene--but the elder is casually killed off just so Lust can perform a demonstration? Kind of a waste.
I didn't expect to see Tucker again, and I seriously jumped when the chimera revealed itself. The goal of trying to revive Nina doesn't necessarily seem like something he'd do, but the way he goes about doing it is so depraved and wrong that it works out.
No doubt I've stumbled across the most ironic change the anime makes from the manga--the Hommunculi's goal of being humans, whereas in the manga they look down on humans as inferior creatures, especially Envy. Speaking of Envy...
I've heard Mayumi Yamaguichi more, and her Envy is...weird. It's an absolutely fabulous attempt of a woman trying to sound like a man, and yet, it somehow doesn't seem to fit for me. Her acting is good--she clearly conveys Envy's mocking, gleefully wicked nature (if not as much as Minami Takayama), but the voice itself is weird. When Envy is calm, it's absolutely perfect, but when he's excited and sadistic, it's somehow distracting. Hopefully I'll warm up to it, but for now, I'll have to put it as my least favorite voice for Envy. Speaking of which, either Chris Cason is getting better, or I'm getting used to it, because his Gluttony sounds better than it was in earlier episodes (when he's frightened in particular).
I absolutely love Jerry Jewell's performance--neither of Barry's Japanese voices can compare to his delightfully wicked and demented rendition. Regarding Barry, I like Brotherhood's version of his fight with Al better, mostly because of one scene in Brotherhood where he casually chucks his knife at an intruding guard before he's finished speaking, and then gives his bone-chilling "I kill, therefore I am," speech. Something about that scene is just...awesome.
As for Kimblee, I'm already aware that this show's version of the character is much less interesting than the manga's, so I'm not really disappointed. I must say, however, that both Yuuji Ueda and Eric Vale do a good job of sounding crazy.
And then there's Greed...so he was imprisoned in the lab, huh? Not sure I like how they give his exchange with Al to Lust, but whatever. While he's had only two lines, I can comment that his Japanese voice is much less deep than Brotherhood's, and that Chris Patton's approach is...a little different, like he's trying to sound refined or something. I'll judge after I've heard some more.
I've really enjoyed these two episode, and look forward to more that deal with this show's unique plot.
Episode 23: Fullmetal Heart
I liked the scene at the beginning, where Winry tries to hide her screw-up from Pinnako, and the most she mentions she mentions is a reminder to be more careful. That was quite amusing.
Hughes was quite prominent in this episode, which makes me happy. The show did a good job of his conversation with Winry about the Elrics, even if the scene doesn't have the hilarious "you'd better stay away from my daughter, boys" line, complete with gun-threat (that was hilarious).
That's definitely not Cherami Leigh voicing Elicia in this show--guess she didn't work for Funimation yet. Also, Funimation's subs have an amusing mistake (probably the only one I've ever seen in their subtitles)--they call Gracia "Glacier." Yep, Hughes is married to a block of ice.
It's kind of weird to hear sullen rudeness coming from Aaorn Dismuke's sweet Linus-esque voice, but he did a very good job during the pivotal scene at the end. And...Al's running away? Didn't expect that.
Episode 24: Bonding Memories
As an adaptation of the manga's story, Brotherhood's version of Al's crisis is MUCH better. The stuff last episode was close enough, but...I don't know, maybe I'm biased since I watched Brotherhood first. I just liked the fight they had better (Ed: "Shut up! A win's a win.), and the dialogue this show replaces is really sweet. In particular, when the Elrics brought up what they used to fight over, I was glad something was adapted--and then they left out their fight over who would marry Winry. So...not much of a victory there.
My complaining aside, though, this episode is quite good on its own merits, even if the brothers' reconciliation doesn't feel as natural as the manga's. I did like the plot, though, and the characters (the elder in particular for some reason) were quite endearing to me. And the fights were cool.
So, I'm guessing we've seen the last of Barry? It's a shame, but since this show's version is more evil and less funny, I guess it's to be expected. I already know who the Bradley's secretary is (via spoilers), but she can apparently liquify herself? That's creepy. I wonder what this show's gonna do with Scar?
I recognized Michael Sinterniklaas (man, that's a hard name to spell) as Leo--nice to see actors from another agency in this dub, and he did a fine performance. The others are all up to par too.
Episode 25: Words of Farewell
Man. When I watched this episode in Japanese (the first time I watched it), I couldn't go right on to the next episode like I usually do. It's just so...emotionally devastating.
I was surprised at how abrupt and short Hughes death and funeral were--and yet, unlike Brotherhood's version, this one actually made me tear up. I think it was Elica shouting about how they were "burrying Daddy" that really did it. And then, they have to have one last shot of him as the episode ends...Man.
I have to laud Travis Willingham for his amazing performance at the end. His voice sounds like he's fighting back the trembling that gives way to tears, and it's really well done. You can really feel Roy's loss in this show--we got some scenes in the manga and Brotherhood that showed how close he and Hughes were, but that was after his death. Here, though, we have an added scene of Hughes supporting Roy during utter despair, and it's all so effective.
So, Sloth is the one who started the Ishbalan War in this show? Interesting.
Episode 26: Her Reason
Eh, I have mixed feelings about this episode. On the one hand, we get more characterization for Paninya. In Brotherhood, she was just "there" and didn't do anything remotely important aside from stealing Ed's watch. Here, even if it isn't the best, she gets more development and feels like an actual character.
But on the other hand, I don't much like what this episode did for Winry. It was hilarious seeing some thugs begin to freak out before she beat them up, but her getting Paninya to steal Ed's watch rubbed me the wrong way. It would have been fine if this show had done what them manga did and have her find out what the watch means to him at the end of the episode (which would have been better drama then what this episode gave her), but as she already knew, that really just comes off as a massively out of character jerkish moment for her.
I'd have a bigger problem with it if such a thing happened in a part of the story I liked, though. In either show, the Rush Valley part just isn't that exciting.
As for voice acting, I instantly recognized Daisuke Gouri as Dominic--nice to hear him, even if his character doesn't do much. English dub wise, I have to applaud Cynthia Cranz--her Paninya doesn't sound like any other voice she's used. As for Winry, I'm definitely starting to reverse my earlier preference--I'm starting to like Megumi Toyoguchi, while Caitlin Glass is just sort of bland. Still, it's impressive if this truly is her first role, and she definitely becomes great in later roles.
Episode 27: Teacher
I loved Izumi's entrance. Heck, I love Izumi in general--she's so hilariously awesome.
It seems that everything with Izumi and the training she gave the Elrics is split into several episodes. This episode, though, seems to benefit from expansion. The subplot with the cat dying was surprisingly effective, as was the scene at the end where Izumi just clobbers the brothers for a bit, and then embraces them.
I'm glad that Shoko Tsuda voices Izumi in both shows, even if she doesn't yet sound as awesome as she did in Brotherhood. Christine Auten is a good voice for her too.
Episode 28: All is One, One is All
Okay, this show's version of these events is definitely superior to Brotherhood's. Of all the cuts that show made so far, the exclusion of the masked man during the Elrics' stay on the island is most damaging to the story. With him, there's a definite sense of danger facing Ed and Al (even if he also provides some humor, like Ed's terrified screaming, and that part where he just appears the instant the two are about to eat...that was hilarious), that's lacking in Brotherhood.
Anyway, this episode had lots of great moments. The best comedy moment is Ed and Al's first attempt at trying to kill an animal (and the big sad puppy eyes the rabbit gives them [sm=laugh.gif]). As for drama, I can't even remember how Brotherhood had Ed come to the realization of the riddle (which reminds me a great deal of The Circle of Life, by the way), but this show did that really well.
I have to wonder why exactly Izumi sending someone to keep an eye on the brothers translates to "beat the stuffing out of them until they learn something." Then again...this is Izumi, we're talking about.
And now, it looks like we're about to meet a new character.
Episode 29: The Untainted Child
Episode 30: Assault on South Headquarters
Episode 31: Sin
Episode 32: Dante of the Deep Forest
Man, this show has thrown me a curve. Thanks to spoilers, I was able to guess who Wrath was--I did NOT expect him tohave Ed's limbs. That's creepy.
I like this whole plot with Wrath, and his relation to Izumi. We don't get to see a vulnerable side of Izumi very often in the manga, and it's a nice change. And Wrath in general is creepy, even if he starts out sympathetic. I like Nana Mizuki's performance (hard to believe from this role that she specializes in voicing sweet girls, like Colette from Tales of Symphonia and Naruto's Hinata) but Luci Christen's take so far...is mixed. When Wrath is sad and scared, she's great, but when Wrath is evil, she puts on this childish voice that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I suspect it's a performance I'll have to warm up to.
While I'm on the subject (sort of), I definitely like Brotherhood's version of Ed's experience with the Gate better, simply because the latter had Truth. I wonder why this anime doesn't have him...
I think there are elements in this show that either Arakawa put in, or used them for later in the manga. The flex-off between Armstrong and Sig (which is hilarious, by the way), comes to mind, and Wrath somehow controlling Al reminds me of Pride (the manga's Pride, not this show's version).
And Episode 29 introduces a new character--Lt. Col. Frank Archer. Hmm...from Falman's comment about him loving war, his pale skin, and the fact that his Japanese voice actor is easily recognizable as Bleach's Aizen--I do believe this guy is, in fact, a villain.
It's awesome that we're getting to Greed--he's one of my favorite Hommunculi. I think he's a character that has had unanimously great voices--Juunichi Suwabe (the Japanese voice for this show) makes him sound like a likable thug, Chris Patton makes him sound very wickedly refined (it reminds me of a suave and oily voice that I remember Rob Paulsen using once, though I don't remember the role), and I just love Yuuichi Nakamura's super deep voice. While I'm on voice actors, I'm starting to really like Mayumi Yamaguchi's Envy--in particular, she makes him sound very creepy during his confrontation with Wrath.
Didn't expect Yoki to end up like that. Yeesh...the guy's a creep, but he didn't deserve to die like that. The situation with the army and the Ishbalans looks tense--wonder what'll happen. While I'm asking questions, I wonder who that creepy guy is, and how he knew Scar's brother.
I'm really getting excited, since I'm entering the anime only story, and it looks to be really cool. Can't wait.
Episode 33: Al Captured and Episode 34: Theory of Avarice
So we get to Greed's big story, and he's killed off at the end. Shame--I really like him. It seems to say something about how gloomier and more cynical this show is than the manga that the only halfway decent Homunculus is the first to be killed (whereas he was the last to die in the manga. Not complaining, just making a notice. At least he went out helping to screw the others over. Plus, the fight with Ed and Greed is probably my favorite fight in the show thus far, even if it ended just when it was getting to awesome hand to hand combat. I think the animation takes a noticeable bump in quality during this fight, and I think I actually prefer how Greed's true form looks here as opposed to Brotherhood.
Much as I like the voice Chris Patton uses for Greed, I think I have to give Juunichi Suwabe the edge as far as performance goes. Speaking of voice actors, Chris Cason has finally gotten Gluttony right, adding that childishness that was lacking in his earlier work.
I also liked the comedy scenes in this episode, including Al's terror at seeing Izumi come to save him, Armstrong transmuting Law's weapon into a statue of himself ([sm=laugh.gif]), and the decoys Ed makes for escape (especially since the guards remain unaware). Pity the dub removes Izumi's "housewife" line, though--I hope they kept that in Brotherhood's dub. Mind you, I prefer how she says it in the manga and Brotherhood, with a ferocious grin.
I didn't expect to see Dante get killed, especially with some accidental spoilers I read. I wonder how they'll handle it now...
Episode 35: Reunion of the Fallen
Dang, this show is gloomy.
That's the first thing I thought the first time I saw this episode. I think it's the bleakest, most depressing episode of the show yet (yes, worse than the one with Nina). An entire village of people, all doomed to a horrifying death--that's just heavy. While I think both shows are of the same quality so far, if this is a hint of things to come, then I think I'll prefer Brotherhood on the whole just for a more optimistic tone.
I am glad that we got some character for Lust, since I think the manga's version is easily the Homunculus with the least personality. Only time will tell if this show will change that opinion. And from her flashback, I think it's practically confirmed who she is in this show...
Voice actor wise, I instantly recognized Takehito Koyasu and Johnny Yong Bosch as Lujon. Rather odd that two of my favorite voice actors would be playing such a minor character. It's interesting they make him involved with Lust, because in the English version, Bosch and Laura Bailey voiced the main heroes of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (and yes, they were romantically involved [;)]).
Episode 36: The Sinner Within
Glad to get a slightly more cheerful episode. One thing I like, particularly in this episode, is how the show handles Ed's aversion to killing, which is something the manga does occasionally, but not to this extent. And it was nice to hear some history about Ishbal and alchemy. I did think the whole "prejudice" thing was a little heavy-handed (so Leo, you're gonna hate someone who helped save your brother the instant you find out he's an outcast?), but I liked Ed's speech at the end, and I guess it could have been done worse.
I'm glad we're getting to Winry finding out about her parents' death, because--well, to be honest, Winry hasn't really done anything in this show yet. She didn't do much more in Brotherhood, mind, but I think she did take a slightly more active role in the events. Hope the show handles how she handles her parents' deaths as well as Brotherhood did. And I wonder how Scar's story is gonna end up in this show...
Not much to say about voice actors, except I'm really starting to like Coleen Clinkenbeard as Hawkeye.
Episode 37: The Flame Alchemist, the Bachelor Lieutenant, and the Mystery of Warehouse 13
Oh man, this episode was HILARIOUS. It's been more than 20 episodes since we got an episode that was almost completely goofy, and it's absolutely wonderful. My favorite part of the episode was the entire "Bachelor Lieutenant" segment, and Havoc just standing around with a blank look for the rest of the episode was great.
I also like the opening of the "Warehouse 13" segment, where we see Hawkeye at home. Brief though it might have been, it's nice to see some dwelling on her soft side, something this show hasn't done much of. I figured out how Roy's excavation for the dead body was gonna end up when I saw Black Hayate's dish, and my reaction thought was "Oh no..."
Amusing to hear Japanese Fuery saying he's hungry, since Tetsu Shiratori voiced Gluttony in Brotherhood. While I'm on voice actor trivia, Armstrong's entire family are voiced by actors who have already done characters. The father shares Kenji Utsumi (and though the credits didn't list it, I think Christopher Sabat did the same), the mother is voiced by Romi Paku, and Catherine is voiced by Rie Kugimiya.
Episode 38: With the River's Flow
I think I might have been biased earlier about liking Brotherhood's score better, because this show's music is truly spectacular. I guess I'll wait until I watch Brotherhood again for final judgement.
As for the episode itself, it was nice, but kind of dull. Ed and Al's fight seemed to come out of nowhere, and even if the scenes between them were nice (and got bonus points for finally mentioning their fight over who'd marry Winry), they didn't really seem to serve any development. I did like seeing Martel again though--one of the things I like most about this show is how characters who had a small role in the manga get to do more here.
Did anyone else get a kind of Scooby-Doo vibe with Winry and Sheska's little adventure? Investigating a mystery, monster shows up, general goofiness--anyone else?
Episode 39: Secret of Ishbal and Episode 40: The Scar
It's interesting how this show does the Ishbalan War differently. I thought Sloth was gonna do what Envy did in Brotherhood, but they completely made that up? The show really does make Ishbal look more like a slaughter than a war.
While I'm on differences, they also completely changed Scar's brother. I like the cool bookworm from the manga, but his death is really moving, so I can't complain.
And so I finally arrive at one of the changes I was most against--Rose being raped and having a baby. It's done more tastefully than I thought it would be, but... I don't know, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Unless it's done really well, something like rape just seems out of place in Shonen.
Edit: Sorry about the censor, but I'm pretty sure you all know what I'm talking about.
I also arrive at Bradley revealing his true colors--I knew that Martel wouldn't live long after learning the truth, but I still hoped she'd survive--hope that was dashed when she went into Al's armor. Her death is much sadder than Brotherhood, as we truly get to know the character in this show.
Unless I'm mistaken, it looks like I'm heading towards this show's climax, and it looks really exciting.
Episode 41: Holy Mother
Episode 42: His Name is Unknown
Episode 43: The Stray Dog
Episode 44: Hohenheim of Light
Another big whammy. Fullmetal Alchemist sure seems fond of them.
First off, I'm glad to finally get a new opening, since the third one is easily my least favorite (just my luck it had to be the one that'd go the longest). Also, when I watched the ending, I noticed a shot of the bad guys that looked familiar--and then I realized that it's very similar to a shot in Soul Eater's third ending. Coincidence or not? You decide.
Well, let's start with Scar. What a way to go--he doesn't fully repent like he does in Brotherhood, but he still goes out with a bang. It's a complicated emotion regarding his final deed, because even though he kills a whole mess of people, he does it to save Al. So it's a final deed that's both good and bad.
It looks like Kimblee's dead, and while he does one last nasty thing before he dies, his death in Brotherhood is much cooler. Of course, he's a much cooler character in Brotherhood, so it's to be expected.
And Archer's gone too--a fitting end, I guess. I knew that if someone would mess up Ed's attempt to stop Scar's plan, it'd be him.
So Al is now a Philosopher's Stone. Definitely didn't see that coming, and I wonder how it'll affect the plot.
Hohenheim's entered, and while his appearance at the end of 42 looks promising, he doesn't seem to be as cool a character as in Brotherhood either. Oh well. While I spoiled myself on Dante being the big bad villain, I didn't know she was Lyra--I thought Lyra was Envy, but I was way off. How are they going to explain her death?
It's interesting that the show humanizes Lust. Maybe the result will make me like her a bit more.
I definitely prefer Brotherhood's version of the Elrics finding out about Hughes' death. This version seems too fast and angry, while Brotherhood's version is much more sorrowful and character-driven.
Dub wise, I'm starting to like Luci Christen as Wrath--she does angry better than childishly evil, I think. Scott McNeil's Hohenheim hasn't made much of an impression on me, but neither has Masashi Ebara, so we'll see. I was quite impressed with Dameon Clarke's performance during Scar's death, though. And it's official--I LOVE Travis Willingham's Roy. I don't know what it is, but his take is much more appealing to me than Toru Ohkawa's.
As for the script, I realized for the first time in a while how liberal the translation is at times. Nothing major was changed, but I remember the subs particularly well in these episodes (particularly the first two), so it's a bit more jarring to me. There's also some stuff related to direction--during the scene where Al's body is being transmuted, the dub didn't have Al's voice get as quiet as the Japanese version did (where it sounds like Al can hardly breathe). On the other hand, they made Rose's voice really soft, which I don't remember the Japanese version doing, and which is nice--after all, the girl's just gotten her voice back.
On the Japanese side of voices, I'm glad Mitsuki Saiga (Ross' VA) has dropped that jarring masculinity she had earlier.
Can't wait to see more!
Episode 45: A Rotted Heart
So the mastermind behind the Homunculi reveals herself. I wish I hadn't spoiled myself on that, but Dante is shaping up to be a good villain--very creepy, especially her theme (heck, that theme has convinced me that this show's score is a masterpiece). Kudos to both Yumi Kakuzu and Monica Rial--from the roles I've heard them in, I didn't think they could do villains, but they proved me wrong. I can only wonder what she did to Rose's baby, and what plans she has in mind for them...
Kind of disappointed that Hohenheim already seems to be dead though. I mean, he didn't get to DO anything, and it's disappointing after how awesome he is in Brotherhood. Ah well.
It's weird that Funimation changed the opening narration to be done by Ed--in the Japanese version, Al does it all the way through. Doesn't affect anything, but it is strange.
It's nice to see nods to the manga storyline with Grumn's little cameo and mention of Drachma.
I loved the humor scenes in this episode, especially Sheska and Winry's argument about cooking, and Ed trying to bottle his rage at the military's blatant insults of his height.
Episode 46: Human Transmutation
Oh Al...why did you trust the villain? Did you honestly think he wouldn't double cross you? [;)]
Joking aside, this show's version of Tucker has fallen so low and pathetic that it's hard to hate him anymore (at least, for me). As Sloth said, he should know that his creation doesn't have a soul--the fact that he's talking to it is proof that he's truly lost any trace of sanity. It's rather pitiable.
I love how the Japanese version put a line about investigating rebels among the Brigs division--imagine how Oliva Armstrong would deal with that inspection. Yeah, I know, she doesn't exist in this show, but it's a nice image. And I didn't expect to see Archer again--I definitely saw him being absorbed by the Stone. I wonder how they'll explain that one?
I saw Lust's betrayal coming since Episode 42 (heck, I'm surprised Dante trusted her with a mission), but it's still interesting, and it starts the question of how "human" a Homuculus is that comes in the later episodes.
And now, regarding voice actors--unless the events of the next episodes change my mind, Envy's scene in this episode has practically cemented my preference of Wendy Powell over Mayumi Yamaguchi (even though neither of them can match Minami Takayama). I'm just not feeling the latter--she's good at sounding oily and sinister, but that's about it. Her voice is weird when Envy is excited and sadistic, and she REALLY can't do angry. With Powell's Envy, you can truly feel his anger and even a bit of pity as he actually sobs a bit in frustration. This may be an unpopular opinion, but it's how I feel.
Episode 47: Sealing the Homunculus
What a whirlwind. We've seen the end of Sloth, and it's an intense fight, physically and emotionally. The Homunculi are seriously screwed up in this show--Lust wanted to die, Wrath is a permanently traumatized child, and Sloth managed to convince herself that she needed to kill the Elrics to prove she wasn't their mother.
Speaking of Lust, looks like we've seen the end of her too. I applaud the show's attempts to make her a more interesting character, and giving her some more cool moments, but I still can't say she's among my favorite of the Homunculi.
I think I like Sloth's Japanese voice better. Both voices are good, but Lydia Mackey doesn't seem to bother to differentiate between her normal voice and Trisha's voice like Yoshino Takamori does. It really makes a difference in chills hearing Trisha's warm voice coming out of Sloth.
Episode 48: Goodbye
"This is ALL THE PROOF I NEED!" Oh Armstrong, always there for brevity when we need you.
I personally love Roy's plan in this episode. For some reason, he hasn't been as awesome in this show compared to Brotherhood, so to see him orchestrate plots right under the enemy's nose again is a real treat.
Man, of all characters, they bring back the Tringham Brothers. I wonder what that journal page is about. Also, it's interesting, but Avery Rice-Williams (Fletcher's voice) is much better than I remember him being.
So Archer's some kind of security cyborg now? Freaky. I wouldn't want to be him though--fighting Izumi.
I can't believe I'm only three episodes away from the end--where did the time go? I have a feeling it's gonna be a wild climax.
Episode 49: The Other Side of the Gate
Episode 50: Death
Episode 51: Laws and Promises
The beginning of this show's climax filled me with excitement. A creepy showdown taking place in a giant ballroom in an underground city, with an immortal madwoman whose designs and plans are fully revealed. And as a villain, Dante filled me with a revulsion that I don't ever recall feeling from Father. When she lectured Ed on the lowliness of humans and the falsity of equivalent exchange, while threatening a baby's life to prove her point, I was looking forward to seeing Ed take her down...
But when Ed crossed through the gate, it kind of...fizzled.
The whole connecting to the real world (during WWI, no less) idea and the very cynical idea of using that world's lives for alchemy was just...weird. I don't know, for some reason I found it hard to swallow. And when Envy went through the gate and turned into a dragon, I officially stopped trying to make sense of the whole thing. Do they address that in the movie?
All that weirdness aside, the main thing I didn't like about this climax was its abruptness. First there was Dante's death, which was ridiculously abrupt. It was as though the writers realized "oops, our villain's still alive, we gotta get rid of her" at the last minute, and it's a very unsatisfying end. Then there was Roy and Bradley's fight. The few traces we see of it are cool, but we don't see enough--it should have been one of the best fights in the series. I think this climax really could have benefited from another episode.
And why did they even bother bringing back Archer? All he did was shoot people, scream, and get killed. It would have been a much more fitting end for him to have been absorbed by the Stone.
But while I was disappointed by the climax, I did like the ending. It wasn't as happy as Brotherhood's, but I loved the ending shot of Ed and Al determined to come back to each other. It was really poignant. I also liked the scenes with Roy and Hawkeye, since the latter, as I said, hasn't shown much of her sensitive side in this show. I also liked the show's message--but I'll go into that with a later post, when I review the whole show.
And that's my thoughts on the final episodes.
And now, to end my Fullmetal Alchemist review thread for the forseeable future, I bring you my review of...
To be brief...I really, really liked this movie.
To be not so brief, I know I voiced my complaints about the whole "real-world" thing during the end of the show, but I guess I warmed up to it for this movie. It might have been its setting during events concerning World War II--for some reason, even though they don't have much in common, it reminded me of a really awesome Justice League series of episodes. One of the things I enjoyed most was seeing the parallel versions of the characters from the FMA world. Some of them seem a little odd--I mean, Hughes as a Nazi? Bradley as Fritz Lang? But the movie made the most of it, and it was really cool. I wish we could have seen cameos of more characters, but what we got was good enough.
I've come to the realization that it isn't the fantastic world and settings that make me adore Bones' first take on Fullmetal Alchemist. It's the relationship between Edward and Alphonse that's the real center of my liking it, and their scenes together are enough to make me forgive any of the story changes I don't care for (however few). The same is true of this movie.
I guess one of the drawbacks to seeing Brotherhood first is Hohenheim's role. Seeing how awesome he was in that show makes me disappointed that he doesn't take as much action in this universe. Oh well.
The animation is really good in this movie, definitely above the show. The only thing that bothers me is the use of CGI, which looks very cheap and out of place when it's on a lower budget--and it looked slightly worse when I watched the English dub, having just seen the gorgeous CGI of Tangled. Fortunately, the movie handled it better than most examples, so it's not that distracting. I'm glad that they didn't go that route for animating Gluttony--who by the way, was seriously freaky looking. His manga true form has nothing on that monstrosity.
I'm glad I saw the movie for the conclusion, because I feel the ending provides a bit more closure, and I really like it. It's bittersweet--Ed and Al are trapped in a new world, and their efforts to stop the atomic bomb are destined to fail. But it's still really poignant.
The dub maintains its usual high quality--heck, it actually smooths out some of the tiny kinks from the show, particularly Vic Mignonga's Ed (in this movie, the only thing keeping my preference towards Romi Paku is sheer fanboy bias ). The only voice that bothered me was Al's. Aaorn Dismuke must have been started puberty at the time, because whenever Al screams, his voice cracks considerably. It's not enough to make the performance bad, but it is enough to put my preference towards Rie Kugimiya for this movie. Balancing that, though, is Kelly Maison's Eckhart, which is fantastic towards the end and makes the character sound truly insane. It's a BIG improvement over the rather flat-sounding Japanese voice, and actually made me appreciate the character as a villain.
On the whole, this is a great movie, easily the best series-related anime movie I've yet seen. It effectively uses most of the large cast and sees them through the closure towards their stories, particularly Roy (who gets to be awesome, thank goodness), Wrath, and Winry (though it seems the writers weren't quite sure what to do with Sheska). It even provides several new characters and does a decent job making us appreciate them, particularly Alphonse. It's definitely a worthwhile viewing.
And so, I reach the end of my reviewing thread. I'd like to thank everyone for your comments towards my experience, particularly Gyt_Kaliba and penguintruth. It's been a real joy to write.
Excellent review (even though I just skimmed it). Anyway, it's nice to know that Fullmetal Alchemist is so popular.
Nice reviews. They jogged my memory a little about what happened in the second half of the show. I've been forgetting the details lately, so I guess it's tiime for a rewatch.
Definitely glad that you ported this over here Looney, now I can always go back and read it again.