HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
full metal alchemist
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Episode 2: The First Day - Content Discussion Thread, Universal conversation regarding the second installment of FMA: B
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His Name is Unkn...
post Apr 15 2009, 10:35 AM
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Another thing to consider - although this goes against some of my earlier, more critical posts - is the name and theme of this new series: Brotherhood. I think part of my difficulty with this new series is the removal of specific scenes out of a very established storytelling flow and their use in a completely different manner.

Alright, that last sentence sounded really vague, so let me give some specific examples:

First and foremost, we have the human transmutation sequence. In both the manga and the first anime, this scene was not presented in its entirety until much further into the series and was used to build intrigue throughout the show. When it did appear, the viewers were already aware of of what had occurred, and because of this fact, the transmutation was a dramatic reinforcement of the show's themes of sacrifice and brotherly love.

The use of the transmutation in the new series is completely different than its use in the other show or even the manga. As dramatic as it is, the transmutation is still a part of the show's expositional episodes. I think this fact is contributing to why some, including myself, have considered the emotions elicited by episode two to be 'plastic.' However, when viewed in light of the fact that this scene is being used solely to establish the brotherly connection between Ed and Alphonse, it's early inclusion makes more sense (although I still consider it to be waste of dramatic material "too much, too soon") and serves to establish the theme of Brotherhood (which may also explain why episode two focuses more on the brothers and less on Trisha).

An alternate view which compatible with the analysis just mentioned is that this new show doesn't really get going until the episode featuring Liore. As much as I favored the original approaches to the transmutation sequence, I am willing to concede, as Kyelinn and others have posted, that these introductory episodes were 'rushed for a reason.' This doesn't excuse what I consider to be subpar directing, but I do have hopes that the series will dramatically improve over time. Liore is a sandbox event, where all the themes of the show, including the brother's affection, the search for the philosopher's stone, and the religious overtones of sin and redemption are featured. If the new show is able to handle this material in a competent fashion, it will go a long way towards making FMA: Brotherhood feel like a show in its own right rather than a collage of manga images set to music.

Now, moving on to a second example of this new director's re-appropriation of story devices: in the manga, the transmutation circle was explained early on during the Liore incident in a very linear fashion. Radio breaks, this is a transmutation circle, this is what it does. Simple, intriguing and informative. The new show starts with the shot of a circle and then proceeds to demonstrate the Ice Alchemist's abilities without ever explaining exactly why the circle is necessary. Episode one of Brotherhood then introduces other alchemists, circle first, in a very shonen-esque "this is the hero and his symbol, this is the villain and his symbol, these are their powers" manner. A slightly less intriguing scenario, but still a valid one and an interesting use of the transmutation circle, culminating in one of the nicer directorial touches of FMA thus far: Ed's 'second reveal' as the Fullmetal Alchemist.

When first introduced, Ed is shown to transmute by the clapping of his hands alone. Isaac is shocked, exclaiming: "Without even a circle?!" to which Ed replies: "You can't afford to be so intrigued!" This is a great verbal set-up of both Ed's personality AND the fact that a reveal of this mysterious talent is soon to follow; sure enough, Ed and Al's final confrontation sheds new light on this mystery. Ed's transmutation circle, and the ironic meaning of the Fullmetal Alchemist, are bound up in the circle in Al's armor. The dramatic music cues as a response to the ''complete' revelation that Fullmetal has more to do with Ed's brotherly love than his automail limbs, and presents one of my favorite moments in the new show. I thought the director struck a great balance between an intriguing introduction for newcomers and a "he's back!" scene for the more established fans.

A third example of the new show's style would be the seemingly excessive amount of short jokes present in episode one. While some have expressed an issue with this, I never really had a problem with the jokes, as they were asking a fundamental and important question (especially for new viewers) - namely, why in the world is the younger brother twice the height of the older brother AND wearing a huge suit of armor (with the voice of a child, nonetheless!). I thought these jokes, along with the dinner scene with the Hughes' family nicely built up the mystery around Al and his armor before the big reveal during the confrontation with Isaac. Even these jokes helped to further the theme of Brotherhood, demonstrating that perhaps some of us, myself included, are being too quick to dismiss the competence of this new director.

As a final, more general observation, I can also see a trend in this new show to reveal things early on without clarification and to slowly fit the pieces of the puzzle together over time. The best example so far of this would be the philosopher's stone. Episode one gave us a red glow, and Ed's amazed face exclaiming: "A philosopher's stone!?" While we saw Isaac's masterplan unfold, it was not until episode II that we learned the philosopher's stone was a catalyst for alchemical reactions. While I see what the director is doing, I enjoyed FMA1's more streamlined storytelling where when a revelation was made, it came with an explanation - it made the first season more like a movie and less like a tv show, a quality that I appreciated greatly.

This post is getting rather long (seems to be a bad habit of mine laugh.gif ), so I'll end it here. My purpose in this post was to agree with Kyelinn to a degree that there may be a method to this madness. Clearly, Bones and all those involved in this project would not slop a new FMA together haphazardly, and while I enjoy the directing style of the original show more at this point, I do concede the possibility that my dislikes may arise, in part, because of my difficulty of allowing the established story to be told in a different manner.

Here's hoping that episode three will begin laying my doubts to rest!
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Fallen Gemini
post Apr 15 2009, 11:06 AM
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The problem with the series feeling "rushed" is probably because of the previous series. I think the people behind Brotherhood doesn't want to make the show seem repetitive when compared to the 2003 series, hence why the first episode is a new story that featured a lot of the important characters. As for the flashback ep, I thought the pacin' is not as dramatic as the one seen in the other series, but l am sure it as done differently so as not to be a copy of the previous series

Personally, I love the first episode and thought the flashback episode was okay. The series did felt rush in how they explained Izuma but I believe they did that to make it different from the previous version.

Even though this series is not realted to the original series, it is apparent that this one is made is also developed or those who were fans of the original, hence why some of the spoiler elements in the first anime are shown in this series (Bradley can get serious and kill, the reveal of the elric siblings' father, etc...)

I also think that those who have loved the original 2k3 FMA initially do not like this series simply because it is a new anime series. In time, I think ppl will start to like this series
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Kyelinn
post Apr 15 2009, 01:46 PM
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QUOTE (Fallen Gemini @ Apr 15 2009, 01:06 PM) *
The problem with the series feeling "rushed" is probably because of the previous series. I think the people behind Brotherhood doesn't want to make the show seem repetitive when compared to the 2003 series, hence why the first episode is a new story that featured a lot of the important characters. As for the flashback ep, I thought the pacin' is not as dramatic as the one seen in the other series, but l am sure it as done differently so as not to be a copy of the previous series

Personally, I love the first episode and thought the flashback episode was okay. The series did felt rush in how they explained Izuma but I believe they did that to make it different from the previous version.

Even though this series is not realted to the original series, it is apparent that this one is made is also developed or those who were fans of the original, hence why some of the spoiler elements in the first anime are shown in this series (Bradley can get serious and kill, the reveal of the elric siblings' father, etc...)

I also think that those who have loved the original 2k3 FMA initially do not like this series simply because it is a new anime series. In time, I think ppl will start to like this series


See I totally agree with this. This what I was thinking too, I just couldn't think of the word! LOL But yes, repetitive. I'm certain they don't want things to seem repetitive which may bore the audience since this is something new and fresh for those who haven't read the manga yet.

Also with the Izumi arc, certainly things are going to be a lot different because for one, Winry isn't with them in the manga as she was in the first anime, for two the homunculus Wrath...he's not Izumi's child. Truthfully, what we saw in this anime, I feel we're probably going to see a lot more of it in detail come the Izumi arc because the brothers are going to tell her the whole story (which is what...two/three chapters worth of their flashback? I can't remember for certain...) Anyway, point I'm trying to make is that I strongly feel that there is a justified reason why these episodes have been rushed. They're just an introduction, a prologue to the series if you will. I think there is much more to come. I can't see Bones purposely leaving out important things like that. Especially if this anime is based off of the original story (the manga) to begin with. That just wouldn't make sense if you ask me.

@fullmoon
LOL! I just read the capsummary and it made me giggle so much. xD Even my husband, who is also a huge FMA fan, got a good laugh out of them. I agree with the above poster; they weren't as long as last time, but nonetheless they were still hilarious! xD


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Fallen Gemini
post Apr 15 2009, 05:38 PM
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QUOTE (Kyelinn @ Apr 15 2009, 01:46 PM) *
See I totally agree with this. This what I was thinking too, I just couldn't think of the word! LOL But yes, repetitive. I'm certain they don't want things to seem repetitive which may bore the audience since this is something new and fresh for those who haven't read the manga yet.

Also with the Izumi arc, certainly things are going to be a lot different because for one, Winry isn't with them in the manga as she was in the first anime, for two the homunculus Wrath...he's not Izumi's child. Truthfully, what we saw in this anime, I feel we're probably going to see a lot more of it in detail come the Izumi arc because the brothers are going to tell her the whole story (which is what...two/three chapters worth of their flashback? I can't remember for certain...) Anyway, point I'm trying to make is that I strongly feel that there is a justified reason why these episodes have been rushed. They're just an introduction, a prologue to the series if you will. I think there is much more to come. I can't see Bones purposely leaving out important things like that. Especially if this anime is based off of the original story (the manga) to begin with. That just wouldn't make sense if you ask me.


l concur because l too believe the two episodes there were shown are made to introduce the characters to both new and old viewers. For the new viewers, they get to see guys like Izumi and the other Achemist at an earilar episode and for those who seen the previous series, are treated with comeo appearances of their favorite characters.
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Full Metal Elf
post Apr 15 2009, 07:16 PM
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@Fallen Gemini and Kyelinn - I agree with you guys too! Which is why I'm not complaining too much about the pace. I'll wait and piece it together at the end biggrin.gif.


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Trizo
post Apr 15 2009, 07:29 PM
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I understand all of your ideas to like, sticking with it till the end, I mean, I'm doing that too. My only fears lie with the fact that if the start continues to be well, crappier in comparison they'll lose the principal mainstream audience they once had, fall into obscurity, and therefore be axed. I mean, sure other anime series have had very long runs of awful fillers but Brotherhood is almost like an entirely new breakthrough series - I don't know if they'll be so kind.


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Imbris
post Apr 16 2009, 01:32 AM
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QUOTE (Trizo @ Apr 15 2009, 10:29 PM) *
I understand all of your ideas to like, sticking with it till the end, I mean, I'm doing that too. My only fears lie with the fact that if the start continues to be well, crappier in comparison they'll lose the principal mainstream audience they once had, fall into obscurity, and therefore be axed. I mean, sure other anime series have had very long runs of awful fillers but Brotherhood is almost like an entirely new breakthrough series - I don't know if they'll be so kind.


No way this show is getting axed. It could be terrible and tons of people would still watch it. But...it won't be terrible. wink.gif
I think this if off-topic though?
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black~hayate
post Apr 16 2009, 01:47 AM
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Hmm. I noticed something strange. We diddn't see fake Trisha's hair... But it needs to be there.


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Sannom
post Apr 16 2009, 02:30 AM
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QUOTE ("black-hayate")
Hmm. I noticed something strange. We diddn't see fake Trisha's hair... But it needs to be there.


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Trizo
post Apr 16 2009, 05:14 AM
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QUOTE (Imbris @ Apr 16 2009, 06:32 PM) *
No way this show is getting axed. It could be terrible and tons of people would still watch it. But...it won't be terrible. wink.gif
I think this if off-topic though?

Jus' saying. I mean, that's what the second ep sparked for me.


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Hagane no Baka
post Apr 16 2009, 05:41 AM
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QUOTE (His Name is Unknown @ Apr 15 2009, 11:35 AM) *
A third example of the new show's style would be the seemingly excessive amount of short jokes present in episode one. While some have expressed an issue with this, I never really had a problem with the jokes, as they were asking a fundamental and important question (especially for new viewers) - namely, why in the world is the younger brother twice the height of the older brother AND wearing a huge suit of armor (with the voice of a child, nonetheless!). I thought these jokes, along with the dinner scene with the Hughes' family nicely built up the mystery around Al and his armor before the big reveal during the confrontation with Isaac. Even these jokes helped to further the theme of Brotherhood, demonstrating that perhaps some of us, myself included, are being too quick to dismiss the competence of this new director.



I find myself again agreeing on most parts of your conclusion but here is where I differ. You're implying that the purpose of those 'short' jokes where to built a mistery around Ed's height (xD) and more importantly around Al's aromour. To me it didn't seem like that. It was just to drag as much various types of audience as possible. Whereas the 1st series was (imo) more oriented to some more demanding wievers, I have a strong feeling this one is more appropriate for lighter wievers. Hence the amount of jokes. Plus I think this way they really want to make an artificial comfortable feeling to people who have already seen the 1st series or/and read the manga. Like saying:˝ Hey this is our Ed. Sure he has a complex personality but let's not forget he has a goofy side too. Aww he's so cute when he gets mad like that..˝


Whereas I agree with when you said that the transmutation part is to introduce people with the crucial event that bound the brothers to the kind of bond they share now, I still think they did a huge mistake (and unforgivable imo too) when they 'let it slide' like that. If they had shown it in a similar manner like the 1st series did, we would be able, I believe, grasp and appreciate more what kind of a brotherly relationship Ed & Al share.


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His Name is Unkn...
post Apr 16 2009, 08:30 AM
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QUOTE (Hagane no Baka @ Apr 16 2009, 08:41 AM) *
QUOTE (His Name is Unknown @ Apr 15 2009, 11:35 AM) *
A third example of the new show's style would be the seemingly excessive amount of short jokes present in episode one. While some have expressed an issue with this, I never really had a problem with the jokes, as they were asking a fundamental and important question (especially for new viewers) - namely, why in the world is the younger brother twice the height of the older brother AND wearing a huge suit of armor (with the voice of a child, nonetheless!). I thought these jokes, along with the dinner scene with the Hughes' family nicely built up the mystery around Al and his armor before the big reveal during the confrontation with Isaac. Even these jokes helped to further the theme of Brotherhood, demonstrating that perhaps some of us, myself included, are being too quick to dismiss the competence of this new director.



I find myself again agreeing on most parts of your conclusion but here is where I differ. You're implying that the purpose of those 'short' jokes where to built a mistery around Ed's height (xD) and more importantly around Al's aromour. To me it didn't seem like that. It was just to drag as much various types of audience as possible. Whereas the 1st series was (imo) more oriented to some more demanding wievers, I have a strong feeling this one is more appropriate for lighter wievers. Hence the amount of jokes. Plus I think this way they really want to make an artificial comfortable feeling to people who have already seen the 1st series or/and read the manga. Like saying:˝ Hey this is our Ed. Sure he has a complex personality but let's not forget he has a goofy side too. Aww he's so cute when he gets mad like that..˝


You're right, that was a bit of a stretch (XD), wasn't it. I think all I was really getting at with that part of my post was the fact that the jokes didn't bother me as much in the first episode as they did in the second because, intended or not, they played into one of the major themes of the episode, that being the answer to the question of just who is the Fullmetal Alchemist and what does that name mean. I'm not even trying to pretend that the episode's directing was balanced or on par with the first; although there were some parts in the first series I took issue with, I actually consider its treatment of the first 25 chapters of the manga to be superior to the manga itself (as far as pacing, not content).


QUOTE
Whereas I agree with when you said that the transmutation part is to introduce people with the crucial event that bound the brothers to the kind of bond they share now, I still think they did a huge mistake (and unforgivable imo too) when they 'let it slide' like that. If they had shown it in a similar manner like the 1st series did, we would be able, I believe, grasp and appreciate more what kind of a brotherly relationship Ed & Al share.


Oh I agree 100%. I was just trying to analyze the various parts of the episode to make sense of WHY they did things the way they did. I always feel better when I feel I've grasped the reasons behind a decision, even if I don't agree with the decision itself. In this case, I agree with you completely, letting a huge element of the story slide like that was a mistake that has ramifications for the rest of the anime - it's like trying to build a beautiful mansion on a bad foundation; no matter how great the house is, it has a shaky grounding. In some ways, this is even more annoying than if the second series was just routinely bad.

Sorry for the pessimism, but it's really going to throw me out of the immersion if I have to start thinking along the lines of: "well, the first show did this part better, so I'll consider that the basis of later episodes in the second show instead of the actual episodes in Brotherhood." I mean, that's just crazy. I said it before and I'll say it again, if you're going to do something, do it right!
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Kale Mustang
post Apr 16 2009, 09:37 AM
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If anyone's wondering, the Funimation stream is much better than it was last week.

Time to go compare subs again...

Edit:

Just finished watching (took 15 min. over a T1 to load for reference) and the subs from Funi were still a bit more formal than the fansubs in places, but I think it was a better translation overall. Overall, Funi's done a great job with this ep and I'm looking forward to the next one.
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His Name is Unkn...
post Apr 16 2009, 11:54 AM
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QUOTE (Kale @ Apr 16 2009, 12:37 PM) *
If anyone's wondering, the Funimation stream is much better than it was last week.

Time to go compare subs again...

Edit:

Just finished watching (took 15 min. over a T1 to load for reference) and the subs from Funi were still a bit more formal than the fansubs in places, but I think it was a better translation overall. Overall, Funi's done a great job with this ep and I'm looking forward to the next one.


Thanks for the heads-up. Just checked out the site and the streaming is indeed much better than last week. The 15 minute mark you noted was about right. For some reason, I enjoyed the chapter more with the official subs; I guess there was just a more coherent stream of equivalent exchange and human transmutation which made the episode feel more 'solid' as a stand-alone piece of the story.

I'm still of the opinion that the first series had better story-telling, but for the moment, this is passable. I'm really interested to see how the new series will handle the Liore episode. For some reason, I've got it in my mind that this will be a make or break episode as far as my opinion of the new show goes. This episode was always one of my favorite parts of the FMA manga and season one; I just love the religion/heresy backdrop and Rose has always been one of my favorite characters (I'm weird, I know).
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Haineko
post Apr 16 2009, 12:05 PM
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I just registered to say that the way Funi translated "rentanjutsu" was pure win. I don't think any of the other subs I watched came even close. "Pharmacy?" "Chinese alchemy?" XD Even Viz translated it in the manga as "rendanshu," which I think is a lame and kinda weird copout-- it's like they were going for the Chinese transliteration, but then kinda stopped halfway.

So at first when I read "alkahestry," I wondered if it was just something the translator made up. But then I looked it up on wiki, and lo and behold--

QUOTE
Alkahest (or alcahest) is a hypothetical universal solvent, having the power to dissolve every other substance, including gold. It was much sought after by alchemists for what they thought would be its invaluable medicinal qualities. The name is believed to have been invented by Paracelsus (1493–1541) from Switzerland, who modelled it on similar words taken from Arabic, such as ‘alkali’. Paracelsus' own recipe was based on caustic lime, alcohol, and carbonate of potash. He believed that this element alkahest was, in fact, the philosopher's stone. A potential problem involving alkahest is that, if it dissolves everything, then it cannot be placed into a container, because it would dissolve the container. However, philosopher Philalethe specifies that Alkahest (that he also calls "double mercury" sometime) dissolves only composed material.


The stuff I bolded makes perfect sense if you've read the manga. So yeah, I completely approve of the translation work for the official subs. They even got "Xerxes" right!
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