HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
full metal alchemist
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Your Personal Rating On The Fma (the First) Series, ...because your 2 cents can really add up
Vinyl Zen
post Mar 19 2008, 11:53 PM
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BACKGROUND
I'm pretty much your average joe, I don't watch anime and the last time I did, it was the original Nausicaa my parents recorded from the TV when they aired reruns in Japan. (I'm Japanese, living in the US) As a child, I liked it a lot but never really understood it. After watching it recently as a young adult, it really blew me away. Nostalgic about watching anime again, I asked around for recommendations and whether it be first or last, FMA was always somewhere in that list.

DUB OR SUB?
Man, this is tough. I'm bilingual in Japanese and English and I usually go for the Japanese voicing but for this series, I enjoyed the English dubbing more. For one, it was really refreshing to have male actors voicing boys again, contrary to the Japanese norm of casting female voice actors to play young teenage boys. Vic Mignogna did an excellent job.

However, there are some things I found inconsistent or funky about the English dub. Although the voicing was superb, Alphonse just didn't sound like a year younger than Ed. And Envy was standing on the borderline between a guy and a girl, make up your mind! Envy is a guy, and should therefore sound like one! And what was with Shou Tucker's eerie whispering voice after he became a chimera?

But I think I'm just being picky, because overall, I still enjoyed the English dubbing over the original Japanese - one of the reasons being that the English writers did an extraordinary job of translating and adapting, especially with Japanese cultural references.

STORY

Really well-crafted plot, driven by defined characters. The dynamic between the brothers is phenomenal, speaking in terms of both physical combat and morals. One thing I don't understand is everyone's fantasy of Ed and Winry being together. From what I got from the series, Winry isn't much more than what Nurse Joy is in Pokemon. She is pretty much there only fix Ed up whenever his automail messes up. I guess it can be argued that she represents the home and the hospitable family that Ed lost, but I could hardly call any of their interactions "bonding" unless you count binding human flesh with metal. Especially in the movie, from Winry's perspective - Ed comes back to his world, she fits Ed with new automail and he goes back. Damn.

But anywho, what was also great about the characters was their depth, like how the villains were not inherently evil. Take Lust for example and her paradoxical desire to become human. She goes as far as betraying her peers because she realizes she has a better chance of achieving that goal with the Elrics than Dante.

The plot was solid to say the least and was backed by stellar music scoring - the Russian version of "Brothers" still gets the best of me. I don't think I can name any episodes that were straight up filler. It had enough twists to keep me guessing and I especially enjoyed the military aspect of it involving Fuhrer Bradley - its conspiracy, corruption, and eventual coup d'etat. What was most appealing to me however, was the underlying message of sacrifice and how much Ed and Al would give up to be with one another. In the end, they gave up their whole world (literally), alchemy, and loved ones just to be at eachothers side.


Overall, I have to say that the series had everything I was looking for in an anime, I could even go as far as saying it left me wanting even more. They could've coined the entire series a saga, and called it "The Philosopher's Stone" or something. There's plenty of questions I want answered. Since its like a parallel universe, where is that world's version of Ed's mother, or Winry, or Roy Mustang? What will they do in lieu of alchemy? What are their lives like knowing that that they could never return to their real home? They are with each other, in more or less the bodies they worked so hard to get back, but now what? My personal curiosity aside, FMA lives up to the hype. Anime is falling into two categories, the thought provoking animes like Paranoia agent and the all-out action shows like *cringe* Dragonball Z. FMA finds a niche which is just right

9.5/10
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Ama-ri
post Jul 3 2010, 05:28 AM
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Standalone FMA1 quite good, but never lives up to it's hype. FMA1 is clearly overrated. I've seen way better series. However, I've seen far worse as well.

The Art and Animation is fairly good, since it's BONES after all. I have my issues about the character designs, which you can read here.
The Background art is well done. Not the best I've ever seen, but it works well.
8/10

The Sound: As for the OST, it works. For this series at least. It conveys the atmosphere of the Series well, which is Dramatic, Angsty and Melancholic. Listening to the OST without the Anime made me sleepy though. Every tracks sounds the same. It could have been one track and no one would have noticed. It lacks variety. The only outstanding track on the OST is "Bratja" and the only other track I came to like is "Amestris". (And I'm someone who likes classical music and listens to OST all the time.)
6/10

The voice acting is fairly good. (I'm talking about the japanese, I didn't watch the english dub.) I was a fan of Romi Paku before I've watched FMA, but FMA made me really love her. However, in FMA1 she sounds a bit too girly. In FMA:B she did an outstanding job as Ed, in FMA she was just...good. As for Kugimiya, I'm tired of her. As Alphonse she is convincing and very good. I'd say Alphonse is by far her best role. I didn't recognize her at first. All in all the voice acting is well done. I really like Michiko Neya (Riza Hawkeye) as well. The voice actors were chosen very well.
9/10

Story:
Let's say: the first third (the flashbacks) was...mixed. There were quite good episodes (Barry the Chopper, Nina, The other Elrics) and really bad ones (psyren, alchemy exam, and episode 4) the otheres were...alright.
The second third was well done, my overall favorite episode is episode 27.
The third third was lacking, disappointing and pointless. There were plotholes all over the place, some actions were questionable and irreproducible. Some even laughable. Sometimes I wanted to hit my head. The climax (The 2 last episodes) was a bit better, the final outcome was bittersweet and alright and I had my hopes up for the upcoming movie. I really looked forward to it...
To sum it up: Without the last third the series would have been really good. The last third ruined it. It brought up characters no one needed and some characters acted really OOC. And it has way too much coincidences. Even the first two thirds weren't solid all the time. It was full of ups and downs.

6/10 (Because of the setting and the second third.)

Characters:

FMA definetely suffers from the bad main character syndrome. Ed and Al were the ONLY main characters throughout the series and pushed the others into the background. Some charactes didn't get their chance to develop and wasted their potential.

Eds and Als Character were even butchered beyond recognition. Ed was made into a crybaby, his ideals were thrown away (Ed doesn't kill. Never ever.) and he was far from a likable character. I just couldn't really care about him. Many of his actions were rather half-assed. And his teenage whining was annoying.
As for Al he was made into a dependent whiny boy. He always clings onto ed and couldn't stand up for himself. He didn't have any real resolve.

The side characters were sometimes rather flat, especially Mustangs gang. Other characters were done quite well like Izumi, Scar and Armstrong. Some characters felt pointless like Sheska (really, what was her purpose?), Archer, Rose and, sadly, Winry.
As for the homunculus they were a mixed bag. Lust and Envy were done well, as well as Pride (Bradley) however I absolutely despied Wrath and Sloth. They were a pain to watch. Gluttony was...alright. What I really asked myself was: Who the hell wanted to revive someone as Gluttony? So, out of the Homunculi Lust was altogether my favorite. Her background was handled very well. The goal of the Homunculi, becoming a real human was comprehensible.

Dante as a villain was gruesomely shallow. Her only actions were talking and shooing around the Homunculi. I always thought the only reason why she's there is to have someone behind the scenes. It felt really forced.

4/10


Overall rating:

6/10

I was really disappointed with the series. I expected more.


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