14 September 2010

The Super Elric Brothers!

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Vol 1 – Yasuhiro Irie

A new anime series to match the likes of Studio Ghibli likeability with the addictive nature of Death Note, called Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, directed by Yasuhiro Irie, which is rare for an anime show, where only one director is used. The series follows the adventure of The Elric Brothers, Edward and Alphonse, who are alchemist, people that can use the science of alchemy to transform and move objects. After a serious event where the Brothers try to bring someone back from the dead, the young brothers end up being half metal and being placed into an armour suit. Ed has an arm and leg made of metal after the limbs are taken from the accident and Al’s soul is placed inside the armour after his whole body was taken. It’s very far-fetching to begin with, but you soon grasp the whole story. They both join the State Alchemist’s where they help the army of the world, and they soon begin the journey of trying to find the Philosopher’s Stone which can bring people back from the dead because of its power. Yes, it’s kinda complicated. The animation is a mix of Studio Ghibli, mixed with cartoonish expressions seen in manga and the violence and action of Ghost in the Shell and Akira. It’s used to create an original fast paced, great action packed series where every episode leads into the overall direction the series has. It may seem to drag in certain parts, but the action comes quickly and the twists and turns appear nearly every episode.

Each character feels fleshed out, having little side stories about them and the main two Edward and Al, the audience can relate to them on a strange level and can understand the pain they are going through and how difficult it is, even though they lost their mother to science and that they are both made of metal, well either a metal armour or a metal arm and leg. The music is fantastic throughout and never seems to dip in quality. Every scene, the right music is used to emit the right energy, where a sad scene is accompanied with sad violins and soft music and fight sequences have added “umph” where you constantly in the scene, and following the fighting. The series gets progressively weirder as it goes on, with episodes past 13 becoming strange and involving different, more interesting and varied subject matters plus bringing in new characters. The twists and turns of the series soon begin and the mix of action, adventure along with the subject matter of death, science, religion and the afterlife, it’s a children TV show but with much stronger and deeper meanings which might fly over the child’s head but the colour and the vivid art style will reel them in.

The first volume contains 17 episodes, with the next volume containing a further 17 too and a third one being released next year, with the fourth also being released later next year. There are 64 episodes overall, and with them only just being released in Japan, it will take a little while before the whole series is released in the US/UK with English dub. Normally i wouldn’t watch an anime with English dub, only certain films I’ve watched have better dub, like Spirited Away and Akira, but i found that i enjoy this with dub than subtitles as the voice acting is excellent.


Simon Childs

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