Fullmetal Analysis: Comprehension, Deconstruction, & Reconstruction (Series End)

Farewell FMA, until the movie

And so goes the fan­dom I’ve been fol­low­ing for god knows how long. First ani­me was a mixed bag, month­ly waits for the man­ga chap­ters were a tor­ture, and the sec­ond ani­me brought me into an adren­a­line rush that was cer­tain­ly not good for my health. But let me say this: it was worth the ride and I’m very hap­py that I got to see this series devel­op dur­ing these past sev­er­al years.

(My thoughts on the man­ga ver­sion here.)

Welcome home, you idiots!

Hagane no Renk­in­jut­sushi: Full­met­al Alchemist 64: A very nice clos­ing episode for an awe­some series. They cut some fun­ny parts from the man­ga and changed some stuff up a bit (prob­a­bly because they were only giv­en a script, as I assume), but all in all, I found the ani­me’s ren­di­tion of the scenes and use of music brought up the emo­tion to an appro­pri­ate lev­el. You don’t know how much I smiled when I heard “Holo­gram” play­ing dur­ing the epi­logue. Out of all the open­ings of the series, that one was, hands down, my favorite open­ing of this series and a very appro­pri­ate song to use to end the show with (just lis­ten to the lyrics!).

I'm going to satisfy my lolicon interests now that I have my body back.

Target acquired

On to fan­wank~: I guess the ani­me solid­i­fies the Al/May rela­tion­ship. I was a lit­tle iffy about it at first in the man­ga, but I guess a loli is fine too.

Lan Fan is moe

Apolo­gies for the lack of good Lan Fan screen­shots… because there weren’t any to take!

I was pret­ty dis­ap­point­ed by the lack of Lan Fan (hey, I like badass Asian… I mean, Xingese girls). Her last words to Fu in the man­ga pulled on my heart­strings, and the absence of this scene is real­ly the only dis­ap­point­ment I had with the episode, aside from…

Roy Mustache

Roy’s mus­tache. What. The. Hell. BONES? I knew some­thing was off with this… so I looked at the man­ga again.

There was no mus­tache.

I think BONES is a lit­tle to obsessed with ref­er­enc­ing real life Ger­many. Mus­tang’s gonna become the Fuhrer, after all! 8D

Oh, I think I get it now. Roy Mus­tang = Roy Mus­tache. Who­ev­er came up with this joke mus­ta had a pret­ty good sense of humor. Hurhurhur. Even Riza looks pissed. D:

And the shippers rejoiced

Putting that aside, I loved Ed’s con­fes­sion to Win­ry. My thoughts are basi­cal­ly the same as when I read the man­ga.

I love it how BONES did­n’t put in some corny shit like an out-of-char­ac­ter kiss­ing scene, leav­ing it how Arakawa intend­ed to be. =D

The New Elric Family

Begin the Final Thoughts! (manga/FMA/HnR:FMA): I’m com­plete­ly sat­is­fied with the way the man­ga and sec­ond ani­me end­ed, and the series as a whole.

Let me begin by say­ing that I start­ed off as a FMA fan by watch­ing the first FMA ani­me, and I’m not going to rag on it just because it was unfaith­ful to the man­ga. To be hon­est, with­out it, I would have had a hard­er time dis­cov­er­ing the man­ga. Still, my attach­ment to the man­ga is greater than the first ani­me, so I love the man­ga more. How­ev­er, I’ll try not to be bias.

Over­all Sto­ry: The first ani­me, on its own, is a very good sto­ry and I think the lev­el of emo­tion the series had was one of its main appeals. The ani­me had its fair share of sad scenes that are very mem­o­rable… but some­times, I felt as if the pro­duc­ers insert­ed those scenes in there to inten­tion­al­ly grab tears from us. Don’t get me wrong. It worked per­fect­ly.

Even with its more light­heart­ed tone, though, the man­ga (and there­fore, sec­ond ani­me) has its fair share of emo­tion­al appeal. But it grabs the read­er in a dif­fer­ent way. It uses its sad scenes for the oppo­site effect: to give the read­er the feel­ing of hope by mov­ing for­ward and lets the read­er know that, even through these hard­ships, these char­ac­ters that they’ve grown to love will grow stronger as they over­come their painful trou­bles. Things aren’t always fair, but the char­ac­ters don’t remain pes­simistic either.

I also feel that the orig­i­nal sto­ry by Hiro­mu Arakawa treats its char­ac­ters bet­ter. While the first ani­me most­ly focused on Edward Elric, the man­ga tries to give every char­ac­ter (even the minor ones) a chance to shine and feel real. It’s real­ly rare for a shounen man­ga to show this kind of depth: the main char­ac­ters aren’t the only ones feel­ing the reper­cus­sions of the things that are hap­pen­ing right in front of them. This is where the first ani­me and orig­i­nal sto­ry devi­ate: the theme of mov­ing for­ward is obvi­ous when you com­pare the two Ros­es. Rose con­tin­ues to con­tribute to soci­ety with her own pow­er instead of lin­ger­ing on the past, while the Rose in the first ani­me winds up raped and preg­nant.

There is a line between depress­ing and just down­right “try­ing too hard”.

Let’s not for­get that Alphonse, the sec­ond pro­tag­o­nist, got more chances to shine in this series too. Arakawa nev­er for­got we had two main char­ac­ters!

Hagane no Renkinjutsushi Fullmetal Alchemist

Things that the manga/second ani­me did bet­ter: My main gripe with the first ani­me was the sheer amount of plot­holes. Why was Wrath able to per­form alche­my just because he had Ed’s arm and leg? If you need limbs to per­form alche­my, that means Alphonse should­n’t have been able to do alche­my at all because he does­n’t just lack limbs, he lacks a whole body.

The homun­culi, in gen­er­al, nev­er made any sense to me. Why was it that only Wrath and Sloth were the only homun­culi that did­n’t have per­son­al­i­ties that went with their cor­re­spond­ing sin? Why did Dante only cre­ate sev­en homu­culi to coin­cide with the sev­en dead­ly sins when there were prob­a­bly plen­ty of peo­ple that had per­formed human trans­mu­ta­tion in Amestris? C’mon guys, don’t tell me you’ve nev­er thought of the pos­si­bil­i­ty of bring­ing back your loved ones from the dead!

The man­ga and sec­ond ani­me had a much more well-built sto­ry. Not to men­tion, the alter­nate worlds towards the end of the first ani­me blew my mind… with “o_o”.

Let’s not for­get that the man­ga plot became much more grand-scale; you begin to feel more for the minor char­ac­ters, even for the coun­try itself, instead of your main con­cern just being about the Elric broth­ers. Father was a much more dan­ger­ous vil­lain com­pared to Dante. Coun­tries > Cities, just for your infor­ma­tion.

Fullmetal Alchemist

Things that the first ani­me did bet­ter: I admit, the first ani­me had a lot of emo­tion to it. That’s prob­a­bly the only thing I liked more about about it com­pared to the man­ga.

In terms of the sec­ond ani­me, I felt that the first 30 chap­ters the first ani­me adapt­ed were very well-done. Obvi­ous­ly, some plot points in these chap­ters were changed to fit the ani­me’s orig­i­nal plot. The orig­i­nal stuff added in, which I admit would cre­ate a LOT of plot­holes for things that hap­pen lat­er in the man­ga, still made for some pret­ty good pac­ing. I liked these sets of episodes bet­ter than the first 14 episodes of the sec­ond ani­me… up until Greed’s death. Being dropped into a pit of lava while laugh­ing like a badass? Much bet­ter than that stu­pid face he did when he was killed by Ed in the first ani­me.

I like the fact that, even though it was unfaith­ful, this was pret­ty much a “hid­den spoil­er” ani­me for the man­ga. Ling’s cameo as a ran­dom State Alchemist in episode 15, wear­ing Greed’s sun­glass­es, was awe­some fore­shad­ow­ing to what was going to hap­pen in the man­ga before it actu­al­ly hap­pened. Inter­est­ing how his first appear­ance in the sec­ond ani­me was also on episode 15, huh?

Then we have some oth­er spoil­er-ish stuff, such as Roy Mus­tang los­ing one of his eyes (where­as in the man­ga and sec­ond ani­me, he goes blind), Hohen­heim being immor­tal (which is por­trayed dif­fer­ent­ly in both sto­ries), and Al giv­ing up his body to bring back Ed. It’s pret­ty obvi­ous that Arakawa gave BONES the basic idea of what she want­ed to do and made their own inter­pre­ta­tion of those ideas. They did a pret­ty good job of doing it, too! (Side note: I like it how one cer­tain episode fea­tur­ing Yoki and a cer­tain min­ing town could be placed into the sec­ond ani­me with almost no plot holes at all. :P)

One oth­er thing they did bet­ter with the orig­i­nal FMA ani­me… the title. For the dub: Broth­er­hood? I would­n’t have any real prob­lems with it, if it was­n’t for the fact that “Full­met­al Alchemist: Broth­er­hood” makes me think of Ed and Al join­ing some MMORPG guild or form­ing some kind of mafia. And then there’s the Japan­ese title:“Hagane no Renk­in­jut­sushi: FURU METARU ARUKEMISUTO”? lol Gra­tu­itous Eng­lish:  I pre­fer it just because.

FINAL BATTLE

End­ing: In terms of end­ings, I pre­fer the real ver­sion of FMA’s end­ing com­pared to the first ani­me’s end­ing (heh… it’s pret­ty much per­fect if you read the man­ga and watched the sec­ond ani­me). I real­ly pre­fer hap­py end­ings over sad end­ings for char­ac­ters I love, and this series is no excep­tion. I hat­ed it how the first ani­me end­ed with a bit­ter­sweet end­ing and how the movie fin­ished it off, leav­ing Win­ry alone and the broth­ers on the oth­er side of the Gate.

After all they’ve been through, these char­ac­ters real­ly deserved a bet­ter end­ing. And the first ani­me’s end­ing did­n’t real­ly leave any­thing for fans to spec­u­late about… after Ed became the Pros­thet­ic Sci­en­tist in Ger­many. That’s why I love the man­ga’s end­ing — it gives a sol­id con­clu­sion, yet leaves open ends for sev­er­al of the char­ac­ters, to give fans end­less dis­cus­sion.

The End

I guess this is the end… until the new movie, of course.

Favorite FMA OP: For the sec­ond (canon) series

Holo­gram” by Nico Touch­es the Walls

For the orig­i­nal ani­me adap­ta­tion

READY STEAD GO” by L’Arc~en~Ciel.

I like it how my favorite open­ings were the sec­ond ones from both series. xD

Favorite FMA ED: For the sec­ond (canon) series

Shunkan SENTIMENTAL” by SCANDAL (this got me pumped at the end of every episode it was in).

For the orig­i­nal ani­me adap­ta­tion

Kese­nai Tsu­mi” by Nana Kitade.

13 thoughts on “Fullmetal Analysis: Comprehension, Deconstruction, & Reconstruction (Series End)

  1. @Manga Ther­a­py: My thoughts of Pride sur­viv­ing is pret­ty much summed up by you.
    In addi­tion, I think it’s a good ref­er­ence to how Pride is sup­pos­ed­ly the only sin that’s impos­si­ble to defeat.
    As you said, “pride” was one of the things that helped the char­ac­ters move for­ward. Their deter­mi­na­tion in reach­ing their goals and trust in their com­rades is a vari­a­tion of pride.
    Look­ing at Greed’s Heel Face Turn, a pos­i­tive vari­a­tion of greed also helped the pro­tag­o­nist move for­ward in the series as well, in a sense.

  2. I pre­fer Broth­er­hood idk y though.Their were some things that seri­ous­ly ticked me off though.….okay it’s just one thing.The fact that Ed grows taller.You see I’m short.I get pissed when peo­ple call me short etc.So when I start­ed watch­ing FMA I was like,“HOLY Sh—!!!!This guy’s like me!!!” So I instant­ly took a lik­ing into Ed.Then broth­er­hood came out.I was all excit­ed to see my favorite short char­ac­ter on the screen again kick­ing peo­ples ass­es get­ting his kicked here and there.But then sud­dnly as the sto­ry began to progress I saw him develop.HE grew taller,larger jaw,blah,blah,blah.…then I thought,“WTF!!!NO!!!I’m alone again!!!!Stupid Ed why the heck did you have to get taller?ARGHHH!!!!!“And I had a super spaz attack.But oth­er than that super close to the manga.No fillers(from what I can tell) and a sweet end­ing to top it all off.…minus a cer­tain flame relat­ed per­son with a unex­pect­ed mustache.….>_>

  3. @Anon: I felt the same way since I’m not that tall myself. But Ed grow­ing taller gave me hope! lol
    EDIT: I just admit­ted it… ‑despair-
    Yeah… Roy’s sex­tache is ew.

  4. I com­plete­ly agree with this, and I was upset with the first end­ing too. I just fin­ished the sec­ond end­ing, and I thought it was Amaz­ing!!! The way every­thing comes down all­to­geth­er in the end was just bril­liant. But do you know when the new movie is com­ing out? And is it like a con­tin­u­ing to Broth­er­hood?

  5. OMG I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO NOTICED THE CAMEO LING YAO. 😀

    i guess the plot­holes and alter­nate uni­verse real­ly, REALLY pissed me off. (i start­ed out as an all-out man­ga fan)

    so the lack of Xing was ter­ri­bleee.

    espe­cial­ly when i cos­played Lan­fan and only half the full­met­al fans knew who i was.
    by the end of the day, me and my best friend (Ling cos­play­er)
    went around scream­ing -
    TEAM XING FOR THA WIIIN!!! IF YOU KNOW US, JOIN US!
    ..along with the hillar­i­ous com­ments of
    “join the Young Mas­ter and serve when he becomes emper­or!!”

    good times.

    NOW FOR FMA MATH

    Mous­tace = ew.

    Al + hair­cut = NOOO JUST CUT IT A LITTLE BIT AND LEAVE THE BANGS HANGING IN YOUR FACE! (my fried wants to see “emo Al” (no offence to emos, she just thought it would be fun­ny)

    Ed + pros­thet­ic sci­en­tist = NOOOO WHAT ABOUT FANSERVICE/ENDLESS DICUSSIONS! ALL WE HAVE FOR THAT IS RANTS!

    End­ing + no dra­mat­ic kiss = THANKYOU ARAKAWA

    end­ing por­trait + idi­ot­ic father-son smile = awwww

    end­ing por­trait + paninya = OMG NO NOSE

    Me + fma = favorite manga/anime + cos­play

  6. I havent seen Broth­er­hood yet, cuz I decid­ed that i would watch the first thing first, y’know? Hey I like the emo Al thing. He could always get a weld­ing torch and melt holes in his armor. And dude,wtf is up with Roy’s stache?

  7. …but Broth­er­hood is the canon sto­ry and tech­ni­cal­ly came first through the man­ga. You don’t need to watch the first one at all (although it’s a good series).

    lol, why did you spoil your­self?

  8. I just hope you are aware that the pic­ture of Lin and Lan Fan is from an 18+ Dou­jin­shi… lol. Don’t go look­ing it up now, you per­verts.

  9. I was caught up to this series while it was orig­i­nal­ly run­ning, up to episode 50-some­thing I think. But then I stopped watch­ing it due to life get­ting in the way, now a cou­ple years lat­er I final­ly got around to re-watch­ing/fin­ish­ing it.

    This is hands down way bet­ter than the 2003 series (which is still good in it’s own way), I have no major com­plaints (except these two minor ones: the pedostache on Mus­tang, and not find­ing out Scar’s true name).
    The end­ing to Broth­er­hood leaves the view­er more ful­filled, has less plot holes, and over­all feels like a prop­er end­ing/new-begin­ning for the char­ac­ters.

    How­ev­er my greed & glut­tony are flar­ing up and now I want to read the man­ga, re-watch the 2003 series, then re-watch this series. But that just goes to show how good of a series FMA is… I try not to play favorites with things, but I think that Full­met­al Alchemist: Broth­er­hood is, so far, my favorite Ani­me. And yes I have seen more than a few oth­er com­plete series’s.

    1. @UWin: Full­met­al Alchemist is def­i­nite­ly an ani­me that proves shounen can be top-in-the-line when it comes to qual­i­ty writ­ing and char­ac­ter­i­za­tion.

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