Chu*Review: Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, “Alchemist of Steel”) is an action/adventure/science fiction anime series that first began as a manga in 2001, then appeared as an anime which began airing in 2003. The series is 51 episodes long and is available in Japan, as well as in America via FUNimation Entertainment.

This review will break the series down into several parts, culminating in an overall review and score which readers are encouraged to discuss via comments left to this review.

My Experience

I’ve actually never watched Fullmetal Alchemist until just now, which may surprise a lot of people. I’ve met Vic Mignogna, who does the American voice for the main character Edward Elric, several times and he often talks about how much he loves the show and how much he loved working on it. When I told him I hadn’t seen it, he urged me to do so, and I promised myself that I would one day.

I finally decided to set aside time to watch it when my friend Jon had an Anime Sampler Night, which included the first two episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, a remake of the original series that is supposed to follow the manga storyline more closely. I really enjoyed what I saw, and so I went home and started watching the original series with subtitles. Jon encouraged me to watch the dub instead because he felt it was done very well, which is a rare thing for Jon to say. So he decided to lend me all of his FMA box sets and I got to watching.

Story

The story centers around the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, whom lost their mother to illness when they were young. Their father had taught them some alchemy, and so they attempted to use it to bring their mother back to life, something that is considered very dangerous and taboo in the alchemical world. As alchemists, they are subject to the Law of Equivalency, and as a sort of karmic punishment for performing the ritual Edward loses his left leg and right arm, and Alphonse loses his whole body, forcing Edward to seal his soul into a suit of armor. Faced with the consequences of their actions, both brothers will become dogs of the military, using those connections to try and find the mysterious Philosopher’s Stone, which they believe has the power to return their bodies to normal.

Look and Feel

The art of Fullmetal Alchemist is downright beautiful. The character designs are simple but very effective; you get a good sense of what the characters are like just by looking at them. Each character is also very distinctive, so it’s easy to recall a character by their actions even if you forget their names. The landscapes of all the different places the characters visit are breathtaking, and the effects whenever a character performs alchemy are very well done. Definitely of the most visually appealing anime series I’ve ever watched.

As for the overall feel of the show, I think it’s balanced very well. There is of course a lot of action and drama, but there’s also aptly placed comedy, and you’re never left feeling like the show is too serious or not serious enough.

Sound

I can’t tell you how much I love the music in this series. Not only is the background music beautiful and very atmospheric, but the opening and ending songs are catchy and very enjoyable.

As for the voice acting, both the Japanese and American dubs are wonderful. Whether you prefer your anime dubbed or with its original vocal track, you’ll love what you’ll hear.

Final Thoughts

I loved Fullmetal Alchemist. Besides the story and visuals being very appealing, it’s a beautifully executed show. The characters are rich and given a healthy (but not overwhelming) dose of back story, and we get to see a lot of minor and seemingly episodic characters return, leaving you satisfied in knowing what happened to them. The ending is also very satisfying and leaves little to no questions left unanswered. If I understand correctly, the true ending of the series lies in the FMA movie, Conqueror of Shamballa. I’ll definitely be checking that movie out.

Overall

Fullmetal Alchemist is a beautiful and well-balanced show that anybody would enjoy. If you want a slightly longer than normal anime series  with great characters and a satisfying conclusion, definitely  pick this show up. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

 

SCORE: 9/10

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1 Response so far »

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    […] did an entire blog on Fullmetal Alchemist, so I won’t go too deeply into it here. The story is incredible, the […]


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