Thoughts from a filmmaker... (my degree has to come in useful somewhere...right?)
Random FMA Movie Thoughts: *spoilers*
So in addition to all the work I've been doing the last few days, I've spent some time tracking down rumors of a second FMA movie (thanks guys!)... of which there seems to be none planned. "Officially" the director of both the anime and movie has said he will not direct anymore FMA anime, so... that doesn't necessarily mean the concept is out, only that if anything ever pops up, it would likely be directed by someone else. Now, maybe they use the manga as inspiration (since midway through the two diverged in story/characters), but, well, while the manga moves on, the anime seems it might very well have ended.
About the movie, more closely...
And to be honest, that leaves a little empty spot in my heart because I enjoyed it SO much, and I'm such an audio/visual person, that while I am enjoying the manga, and am happy it's going to continue for awhile yet, it's still not the same thing, and I sort of feel that now, having read the manga, I can see part of the anime director's emphasis on the story, and.... it fascinates me.
See, I saw the end of the FMA series and I was ... very disheartened. I mean, yes, it was sweet the two of them were alive and human, but I felt so CHEATED. I firmly believed the two of them would have been happier together: even with Alphonse as a suit of armor. And it just ...arg. It felt so unsatisfying.
Then I watched the FMA movie (read: watched the horrible fan subs by various translators a few times before I finally, REALLY understood what was going on, and what people were saying). And you know, from what I can tell about 80% of fans HATE the movie. Like, outright hate. And part of me used to be that way (mainly because the whole London/Munich subplot was so "WTF?" at the end of the series, and in the movie of course), but.... these last few days particularly I've been thinking about it, and while the storyteller in me still wants to see some loose ends ties up (Roy/Riza, The "Uranium Bomb" etc.), I think I have a new appreciation for the ending.
See. For me it felt "GOOD" the boys were together again. Undoubtedly I was MUCH happier with that ending than the series' ending, but I realized the other night that it was not a "perfect" ending. That's what my mind wanted: it wanted the "perfect" ending. The "we are wrapped up in a tiny bow and everything is wonderful now!" ending.... and that's not FMA. Bad people die. Good people die. Everything comes with a price. The world is imperfect.
THAT is why the ending fits. I mean, it sucks where they are, and that Ed still has his auto-mail, but _BUT_ the arc of brotherly love has been completed. And THAT is what the anime was about from the start! No: not Winry, not "mother," not anything like that, but sacrifice, true sacrifice and the amazingly strong bond between two brothers. And that is exactly what the end of the movie showcased. The two of them had to pay a price for all that's happened.
And they did! And THAT is why it can't be wrapped up in a pretty bow! They can no longer go home (at least... assuming the Colonel put the other side of the gate down, and even then... details details...), but even when they had a resemblence of a "home," it's not as if they went there often anyways. No: being around eachother is the key. That is the great, big, lesson in all of this. That all along they were searching to revive their mother, and to help themselves, and in the end all that matters is eachother.
...isn't that just amazing? I mean, after all that, that IS an ending. That is such an amazingly heartening, beautiful thing, that it brings me to tears! (And mind you, I'm glad Alphonse got his body back. Poor boy deserved it, but if they BOTH came out entirely human and back in their home world...doesn't that seem the faintest bit contrived? Doesn't it seem like unequal trade?).
Or, to think of it another way: both brothers sacrifice themselves for the other (see: the last few episodes of the series), so even through that, by all accounts shouldn't one or both be dead? And instead we get to see them both alive, together? Isn't that an amazing journey, and wasn't it worth the cost? Just think of the journey they've gone on, and somehow, not only have they both matured, but they have finally sort of met in the middle with how they think/act (though that is more towards the end of the series than the film, admittedly).
So... it might not have been the way I would have told the story, but... it's a story that needs told, I feel. And that makes it even more powerful. It's tragic, but not at the same time. It's a different sort of "closure" than I'm accustomed to.
And I'm thankful for the journey the director has taken me on, because I feel more "awake" because of it.
The ending is not perfectly happy, since it is imperfect, but I "feel" it more now.
I certainly welcome thoughts from others.