Reviews of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) and related work

Fullmetal Alchemist (2003Moving picture, 20 hours)

The early 20th century in a world similar to our own, but where alchemy provides superhero powers and automail prosthetics are available to compensate for the costs of failures in forbidden alchemy. Two young brothers who’ve lost much of their bodies to their own attempts are questing to find the philosophers’ stone, because it would give them another shot at human transmutation.

Steampunk fantasy shōnen. Year-long TV series. Excessive superpowers, good music and character designs, and quite an effective combination of moods. The humour is good, some of it probably unintentional (one enemy is destroyed through evaporation after she’s been transmuted into ethanol). I saw the initial airing of episode 36 in Japan.

References here: Violet Evergarden (2018).

moving picture animation Japanese production fiction series

Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa (2005Moving picture, 105 minutes)

The brothers are still stuck in separate worlds after two years, but things begin to stir in Edward’s parallel reality. Fortunately, the director of Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924) makes an excellent sidekick.

Cinematic feature. Nice film-historical jokes. The budget doesn’t go all the way, the music is dull, there is not much closure and the villain is simply evil, but much of the spirit remains. The original title, Shanbara wo iku mono, can be misread as meaning “The Tax Collectors of Shamballa”.

References here: “Don’t mention the war!”.

moving picture sequel animation Japanese production fiction