Saturday, December 16, 2006

Fullmetal Alchemist - Conqueror of Shambala

So I finally got around to watching the FMA movie.

It was okay. It was a pretty good wrap up to the series but I think it lacked direction. It did a good job of concentrating on Edward Elric but it did manage to get some time in for Al and the rest of the supporting cast.

However, it got wrapped up too much in its own gimmick. At the end of the series, Ed ends up in World War I Britain. Somehow or another he ends up in Germany and Ed's story is set during Hitler's failed attempt at overthrowing the Weimar government. As clever as this is thje story gets too caught up in this gimmick. The chief villain is part of a fictional society that is attempting to cross over into a parallel world, Ed's world, which they believe to be a mythical land called Shambala.

While this sounds great, it doesn't work as well as one might think. The villain was fairly stock and it felt like the creative team was just going through motions simply meant to bring their series to a close. Alas, it was rather unfortunate. The series was spectacular. Simply one of the best animated works to ever come out of Japan. I thought the wrap up could have been better. While it does do the job of tying loose threads together, it doesn't do the job in a meaningful and satisfying way. It's like a meal in a way. It's been planned, prepared, cooked, arranged and placed in front of you but after you've eaten you realize the chef lost his enthusiasm after the planning stages, was just going through motions and then forgot to add spice. That's too bad.

Well, it wasn't like horribly bad or anything. It was just...forgettable. The period drama was cool, watching Ed travel through Weimar Germany (which Funimation seems to think was actually called The Weimar Republic). He befriends a young gypsy girl and protects her from a bunch of thugs. People's reactions to her are interesting cause it is in the post War period when Hitler was a rising figure in Germany and people were blaming Germany's ills on Jews, gypsies and other minorities. It's all dropped a bit too soon, but we do get to see some historical figures make appearances. Fritz Lang! Who ever thought to use Fritz Lang in a fantasy anime? That was cool shit.

The movie was a mixed bag overall. It has it's good parts and bad. It does rather successfully tie all the loose ends together without much controversy but I would have like to see more drama coming from the regular cast. All in all, and considering I did get the special edition, it was worth the money spent. It does help much that I got a really good sale price on it too.

As an aside, one bitch. Oh man, I thought my copy was fucked! In chapter five, while Ed and the gypsy girl are talking, the damn thing pixelates and freezes cause of a scratch. I cleaned it a couple of times with no luck. Unfortunately, Rightstuf has a shitty return policy with only a two week window for returns. I was well past the two week window. Well, I evewntually just got pissed off, grabbed a damp towel, and then went apeshit on the thing. I stuck it back in and it played fine after that. I have no idea what happened, the scratch is still there. Maybe there was some else that I missed? I dunno, the scratch I saw was on the outer edge of the disc and they're read from the middle outwards. Maybe I was wiping in the wrong place? Who knows, it works now thankfully. I was gonna get so pissed. But that's one thing you gotta be careful about Funimation, their manufacturing process sucks. It's really not unusual for their discs to be flawed in various ways minor and major.


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