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Episode 4: An Alchemist's Anguish - Content Discussion Thread, Warning! Possible Spoilers for the first 4 episodes!
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Haineko
post Apr 26 2009, 10:25 PM
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QUOTE (amestris_star @ Apr 26 2009, 10:19 PM) *
I'm really happy that this episode has brought a positive feel around the series. Like I said elsewhere, if the series continues with this episode's rendition of the manga, I seriously am of the opinion that the epicness of it all will be immense, particularly when the new manga material will be animated.

And someone's comment on Alexander (EPIC DOG) just made my day: that canine made me laugh like crazy XDD


Agreed, I also think this series can only get better. I can understand why so many people were dissatisfied with the first three episodes, but I also do think a lot of it was overreacting. Hopefully people will give FMA:B a chance, I'm confident it'll be epic like you said by the end biggrin.gif
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amestris_star
post Apr 26 2009, 10:34 PM
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QUOTE (Haineko @ Apr 27 2009, 07:25 AM) *
QUOTE (amestris_star @ Apr 26 2009, 10:19 PM) *
I'm really happy that this episode has brought a positive feel around the series. Like I said elsewhere, if the series continues with this episode's rendition of the manga, I seriously am of the opinion that the epicness of it all will be immense, particularly when the new manga material will be animated.

And someone's comment on Alexander (EPIC DOG) just made my day: that canine made me laugh like crazy XDD


Agreed, I also think this series can only get better. I can understand why so many people were dissatisfied with the first three episodes, but I also do think a lot of it was overreacting. Hopefully people will give FMA:B a chance, I'm confident it'll be epic like you said by the end biggrin.gif


Exactly. And you have to remember that this comes after another series (that has been a mass success, not with me however, but that's another story...) so starting-up for FMA2 has been tougher for sure. Considering that they're animating events that have been already shown is difficult.

However, this episode I think has made the difference now... or at least has started. If this has shown how it shall be continuing, like I said, I'm definitely going to be more than pleased wink.gif


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Alzea
post Apr 27 2009, 12:23 AM
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Yeah, epic loldog is epic biggrin.gif I luv him~
Yesterday night I finally watched this with proper subs, as I said earlier - amazing~! Can't wait till next ep. It is going to be better and better soon it'll be "epic FMA:B is epic" and nobody will disagree with this^^


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Imbris
post Apr 27 2009, 02:31 AM
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Great episode. Perfect pacing and just unbelievable animation. I still can't believe how polished this series has been. The music fit perfectly with each scene and some scenes were rightfully heart-wrenching.

We got our answer about Youswell, which wasn't too shocking. That story was amusing, but not necessary (aside from Yoki).

I think this series is about to "take off."
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Hagaren_4ever
post Apr 27 2009, 04:30 AM
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QUOTE (Vagrant @ Apr 26 2009, 11:21 PM) *
By the way, my memory is really fuzzy on the early manga chapters...Did Scar kill Basque Grand or whatever in the manga?


http://www.onemanga.com/Full_Metal_Alchemist/6/21/

There was a brief mention in the last panel. Easily forgettable. happy.gif


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Vagrant
post Apr 27 2009, 05:59 AM
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Ah, so it was never seen. That would account for it then. Thanks for the info.

I also just wanted to mention that I really liked the choral music towards the end. (with Ed beating Tucker and the scene afterwards)
Quelled my worries about the lack of "Brothers" and that sad piano song "rakuyou" from the original series.


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Jen_Elric
post Apr 27 2009, 07:59 AM
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QUOTE (Sword Alchemist @ Apr 27 2009, 12:15 AM) *
QUOTE (Jen_Elric @ Apr 26 2009, 10:52 PM) *
I loved seeing Maria! But, I"m gonna have to keep my eye's open when I watch the episode again, cuz I don't remember seeing Denny.><


Denny was in the scene where Bradley shows up during the investagation of Basque Gran's death.

Thank you, Sword Alchemist!! Now I know where to look when I watch the Funi subs! wink.gif


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lunneth
post Apr 27 2009, 08:45 AM
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okay. lets evaluate. ep 4 was still as good as the others but what this series has done so far is reject the same sense of awe and angst we had last series. scar's destruction alchemy was a dissapointment. not that i'm a gore fanatic but i think it hasn't bee as graphically violent as the last series, one of the things of which made it what it was. i also found how they rushed most of the small details that the last series had in eps 5 and 6 to be an annoyance. it wasn't all bad though. suprisingly, the after effects of scars alchemy was more fullfilling and tasteful. it was an unusually large amount of blood for two bodies though. any way the story was good enough but i think they could have put more emphasis on how angry ed was at shou. last series he was extremly beaten, this series he was less and plus ed didn't seem right. the red coat added something to his position which i found more likely for him to act in such a way in, in the last series. plus nina could have been more child like. she was meant to be younger in this series cause when ed goes to get his automail fixed in series one he was 15 but in this he was the same age. it just felt wierd. any way. rant over. not all bad but needs alot of improvment.


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mira mirth
post Apr 27 2009, 08:52 AM
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QUOTE (Lunneth elric @ Apr 27 2009, 06:45 PM) *
what this series has done so far is reject the same sense of awe and angst we had last series.


See, I don't want awe and angst. I agree that there is less of both and it makes me very happy, because lack of awe, angst and emo is what makes it more similar to the manga.

That said, I felt this episode had a huge amount of angst, especially if you knew what was coming. Poor Nina =( It never gets easier for me.
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lunneth
post Apr 27 2009, 09:44 AM
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well i think it just makes fma what it is. besides emo's being depressed is just a steryotype. emo is a style of music and fashion, not a describing word. besides it gives the series more tragedy which is what does make fma what it is.


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thankyou Arakawa sensei for the 9 years of awsome story lines, characters and plot twists that became Fullmetal Alchemist. it's been one hell of a ride :3
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Hagane no Baka
post Apr 27 2009, 09:48 AM
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QUOTE (Lunneth elric @ Apr 27 2009, 09:45 AM) *
okay. lets evaluate. ep 4 was still as good as the others but what this series has done so far is reject the same sense of awe and angst we had last series. scar's destruction alchemy was a dissapointment. not that i'm a gore fanatic but i think it hasn't bee as graphically violent as the last series, one of the things of which made it what it was.


That's why I actually prefer it this time around. You don't have to be overly dramatic with introducing dark and mysterious characters. I like how they tuned it down a bit with Scar. His rough and destructive nature will show itself soon enough, let it creep out slowly wink.gif

QUOTE (Lunneth elric @ Apr 27 2009, 09:45 AM) *
...i think they could have put more emphasis on how angry ed was at shou. last series he was extremly beaten, this series he was less and plus ed didn't seem right. the red coat added something to his position which i found more likely for him to act in such a way in, in the last series.


Well when he was beating the hell out of Shou, he didn't seem like the calmest guy in the universe. It was rather the opposite. But if you're reffering to his reaction at the end of the ep, when he was sitting on the stairs, then I guess I understand, where you're coming from. Ed cried after the Nina incindent in the 1st series, which in the manga (if my memory is correct), he didn't do. That's why I prefer the 2nd series' version coz it matches the manga. Besides I prefer this in general too; even if Ed didn't cry, his depressed, beaten demenour showed he was hurt beyond crying.

QUOTE (Lunneth elric @ Apr 27 2009, 09:45 AM) *
...plus nina could have been more child like. she was meant to be younger in this series cause when ed goes to get his automail fixed in series one he was 15 but in this he was the same age. it just felt wierd. any way. rant over. not all bad but needs alot of improvment.


Well I actually liked how they made her older. That way they avoided using the old 'the younger it is, the more sorry you feel for it' cliché.


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Becca-chan
post Apr 27 2009, 10:01 AM
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QUOTE (Hagane no Baka @ Apr 27 2009, 05:48 PM) *
QUOTE (Lunneth elric @ Apr 27 2009, 09:45 AM) *
...i think they could have put more emphasis on how angry ed was at shou. last series he was extremly beaten, this series he was less and plus ed didn't seem right. the red coat added something to his position which i found more likely for him to act in such a way in, in the last series.


Well when he was beating the hell out of Shou, he didn't seem like the calmest guy in the universe. It was rather the opposite. But if you're reffering to his reaction at the end of the ep, when he was sitting on the stairs, then I guess I understand, where you're coming from. Ed cried after the Nina incindent in the 1st series, which in the manga (if my memory is correct), he didn't do. That's why I prefer the 2nd series' version coz it matches the manga. Besides I prefer this in general too; even if Ed didn't cry, his depressed, beaten demenour showed he was hurt beyond crying.

QUOTE (Lunneth elric @ Apr 27 2009, 09:45 AM) *
...plus nina could have been more child like. she was meant to be younger in this series cause when ed goes to get his automail fixed in series one he was 15 but in this he was the same age. it just felt wierd. any way. rant over. not all bad but needs alot of improvment.


Well I actually liked how they made her older. That way they avoided using the old 'the younger it is, the more sorry you feel for it' cliché.


To be honest, I didn't even realise that Nina was older than what she was in the original anime. O.o
She still seemed like the same little girl that she's always been, at least to me she did anyway.


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FailToImpress
post Apr 27 2009, 10:07 AM
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^I thought Nina looked about 4 or 5...how old actually was she?

Anyhow, I really liked this episode...something about the way it was done made it seem a whole lot creepier. On the other side, I liked the humour with Ed and Alexander. tongue.gif
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Kyelinn
post Apr 27 2009, 10:16 AM
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QUOTE (Lunneth elric @ Apr 27 2009, 09:45 AM) *
...i think they could have put more emphasis on how angry ed was at shou. last series he was extremly beaten, this series he was less and plus ed didn't seem right. the red coat added something to his position which i found more likely for him to act in such a way in, in the last series.


QUOTE (Becca-chan)
Well when he was beating the hell out of Shou, he didn't seem like the calmest guy in the universe. It was rather the opposite. But if you're reffering to his reaction at the end of the ep, when he was sitting on the stairs, then I guess I understand, where you're coming from. Ed cried after the Nina incindent in the 1st series, which in the manga (if my memory is correct), he didn't do. That's why I prefer the 2nd series' version coz it matches the manga. Besides I prefer this in general too; even if Ed didn't cry, his depressed, beaten demenour showed he was hurt beyond crying.


If you remember Ed didn't cry, and hasn't cried yet, in the manga. I think there's a reason behind that, because delving later on into the manga, Al says something about all he and his brother needed was a good cry, but that he couldn't cry with his body even if he wanted to. Then later, Winry says something about Ed having a body that CAN cry, but won't. If Arakawa has something planned for Ed like that later in the manga, then I'd expect them (meaning the anime creators) not to make Ed cry in circumstances such as that. Also, in the first anime series, Ed was only 12 years old when Nina was killed, where as now he's 15, a bit older and little more mature. Also, Ed was really REALLY angsty in the FMA1 compared to the manga...just my opinion and analysis on the whole 'crying' thing.

TBH Lunneth, I think you need to put FMA1 out of your mind when watching this, because the circumstances with Nina, Scar and Ed going back to Resembool to get his automail fixed are WAY different than this. In FMA1 Ed was only 12, then later the Barry the Chopper incident happened, and then the series jumped ahead to Ed being 15 and later on meeting Scar and THEN getting his automail busted. In FMA1 Scar was going around killing State Alchemists for 3 years until he finally found Edward. FMA1 holds no relevance to the manga or this new anime in regards to that.


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His Name is Unkn...
post Apr 27 2009, 10:37 AM
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Disclaimer: This is going to be a long post, so please consider this my apology in advance biggrin.gif

Geeze - this episode took me forever to find in high quality with subtitles; however, I have to say it was well worth the wait.

As I have stated on other threads, I had harbored an overall feeling of disappointment toward the direction of the initial episodes and considered the Nina arc to be a 'make or break' moment for my continued enjoyment of the show. In light of this past trend of disappointment, I'm happy to see that they really nailed the feel of FMA with this episode. The pacing was perfect; definitely faster than FMA1, but right in line with the manga. Self reference was kept to a minimum, and contrary to what have some on this thread have said, I did not think Tucker's sinister nature was over-emphasized; if anything, this criticism is more an example of prior plot knowledge shaping expectations of episode content. Nothing in the script or the images of Brotherhood episode four suggested that Tucker was a negative character; on the contrary, his portrayal was neutral, bordering on sympathetic. It wasn't until the growing sense of unease generated by Tucker's eyeglasses silhouetted against the darkened laboratory was confirmed by that roll of thunder that the depths of his desensitization came to light. In contrast, FMA1 had far more hints about Tucker's behavior than Brotherhood (cf. the burning of the letter, the discovery that Tucker had been lying about his wife's past, the shot of 'monster Tucker' opening the door to his labs).

Also, While I'm dealing with the issue of pace and direction, let me add that I took some time to start re-reading the manga and realized just how little Trisha is mentioned in the initial chapters and how quickly the fundamental story points are laid bare. I still hold that episode two could have been done better, but at the same time I can't really say it's being unfaithful to the source material. I'm beginning to see a trend with the direction of Brotherhood in that the military/taboo/state alchemist elements of the story are being granted precedence over the emotional/relational aspects in the initial scope of the narrative focus. In past posts, I had identified this trend as a negative one, citing the new director's reliance on 'abstract plot movers' over human drama as the basis for progressing the Elric's story. However, with the contextual aid provided by the continuing narrative, it is becoming apparent that the directorial intent is concerned first and foremost with grounding the audience in the abstract tenants of Arakawa's universe before using the forces of the FMA world as a contrast to the human element of the brother's commitment and perseverance. Such a tactic makes perfect sense in light of the director's repeated comments that what he found most endearing about the characters was their perseverance. I'm now confident that part of the negative reception of the initial episodes is due to a clash of worldview: namely, the overriding sense of 'hope' present in Arakawa's work versus the more tragic, 'realistic' approach of Seiji Mizushima which pervaded the original anime (even as I edit this, I see a discussion is developing over this very issue between Lunneth Elric and Winter Chanterelle).

To recap, the message of FMA1 can be summarized by the chapter title of its final episode: Laws and Promises," or to put it another way, 'perservence in spite of the cruel reality that dreams do not always come true' (cf. the lyrics of the fourth opening Rewrite: "Return from the brink and rewrite it; Even meaningless figments of imagination can be the driving force that gives you form"). In stark contrast, the FMA manga has always maintained a positive outlook in spite of controversy. At this point in the manga story, equivalent exchange shows no signs of being proven as a promise rather than a law as it was in season one - rather Arakawa is advocating that hard work and compassion pay off, and that revenge is never a proper motivation.

Although the first four episodes ARE a highly condensed version of the themes of FMA, I felt that the sense of movement which so characterizes the manga was successfully conveyed through both the art direction/animation and the script. The intercutting of Roy/Riza's dialogue to Winry/Ed in episode two was an effective way to establish that the Elrics would move forward in spite of the 'river of mud' that awaited them on their long journey. When considered in light of Ed's declarative 'one year' response to Pinako or Mustang's dialogue with Ed on the stairs in episode four, it is clear that the director of the new season has demonstrated his grasp on the core theme of the FMA manga: namely, optimism and perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable situations. Another benefit of the condensed plot, albeit an accidental one, is the direct contrast of episode three and four, where Ed goes from hubris of proclaiming himself a hero close to the level of a god to an uncertain child, lost in the rain. In the original story, this contrast was obscured by the presence of the Youswell and train incidents; not so in FMA:Brotherhood.

So much for my analysis of the over-arching plot forces at work; now for a discussion of the episode itself:

Loved:

1.) How the music playing when Ed and Al play with Nina/Alexander slowly fades to an echo as the camera switches to show Shou's conflict. Gave me chills the first time I saw it.

2.) The excellent condensing of Youswell's thematic material (alchemist of the people vs. human weapons for the state) through Armstrong's speech about the state alchemists. This episode did a great job portraying the 'hell' mentioned between Mustang and Roy in episode as well as in setting up the complexities behind Scar's actions. Perhaps these alchemists really have strayed from God's path and must perish.

3.) That roll of thunder when Ed realizes what Tucker has done. So sad.

4.) The music during the sequence on the stairs of Eastern HQ. Brilliantly composed sequence, with a nice allusion to the alchemists' descent into hell as Mustang walks down the stairs.

5.) Nina and Alexander were so cute. Great little voice actress as well.

6.) Great use of flashback connecting Ed/Al's childhood with Nina/Alexander

7.) "But still, we're not devils, let alone gods. We're humans...WE'RE HUMANS!!!" (Wow Romi, wow. Good stuff!)

...not so much:

1.) The Shou/watch thing; I understand it was emphasizing the dubious nature of the state alchemists, but I thought it was a bit heavy handed and detracted from the more three dimensional Shou that we got in FMA1

2.) Could have done a little more with Scar's alchemic decomposition. Not bad, but could have been better.

3.) Didn't like that they skipped Youswell
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