Monday, April 27, 2009

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood eps 1-4


It feels like I've been waiting ages for this....well, more realistically, I’ve been hoping for a remake of the anime the more and more I read the manga. I will admit, I did enjoy the first series, plus it was what got me into FMA afteral. However, when its compared to the manga, it’s pale in comparison. The characters are much more developed, the story makes better sense and is much better in quality, and has the perfect balance of comedy and drama. It is very well crafted and one of the best series I have ever read! So I had been longing for a remake, wanting to see this great series done justice properly. And it looks like I will be getting my wish (along with thousands of other fellow fans). I would have posted my thoughts on this sooner, but I wanted to wait for more eps to be released before I did that.

For starters, the opening theme is kick-ass, and the lyrics fit the series to a T, and its awesomeness is doubled just because YUI sings it. *YUI fan* The ED is pretty decent too, and I liked the style of animation that was used. As for the BGM, they decided to get a new composer for this series. I don’t mind this at all, in fact I kinda like the idea they decided to get someone new. I thought the soundtrack for the first series was quite fitting for FMA, which had a militaristic-feel and other times it sounded just like the kind of music you would find in an old black and white film. The main reason why i’m glad that they changed the composer, was that I felt that much of the soundtrack from the previous series would have been repeated in the remake if they had gotten the same composer, so it’s nice to hear something new. Plus I had high hopes for this guy, afteral, if Hiromu Arakawa herself liked the guy was was thrilled to have him work on the series, so that was a good sign. As for the new composer, I really like it so far from what i’ve heard, the tracks complement the scenes very well. I think i'm starting to like this soundtrack better than the first series, but I won't fully judge it just yet, not until the soundtrack CD is released. It still needs to undergo my “can-this-OST-stand-alone-from-the-animation?” test (being the OST lover that I am).

The well. I really liked the animation style from the first season, more-so than the artwork from the manga. So when I heard they would be designing the characters to look closer to the manga, I wasn’t all that thrilled. I think the idea to change the style was a smart move, that way at a glance you can see its different from the first series. As for the animation in the actual episodes, the widescreen, the effects, and everything where....*blink* WWWWOOOOOOOOW, its *definitely* a step up from the first TV series (I mean this in a good way). However, I still can’t get over the look of the characters at times, even after watching the first 4 episodes. The choice to use a yellow color for the outline of Edward's hair (along with many of the other characters) looks interesting, yet odd. Perhaps i'm still used to seeing his hair with a black outline like the first series? While I’m still on the topic of animation, here's an amusing thought. If you think about it, in the end, the FMA anime will have had 4 different animation styles (not counting OP/EDs). I mean, the first TV series, the movie, the OVAs, and now the 2nd series, had all used very different animation styles. Its odd how it turned out that way.

As for the voices, I’m so happy they got the same VAs for Ed and Al back. I can’t imagine anybody but Paku Romi playing Ed! (screw Vic, she ROCKS!!!) Unfortunately they couldn’t get the whole previous cast back, which I find a shame. Its strange hearing the voice of Urahara (from Bleach) coming out of Roy’s mouth. Then its really weird hearing new voices for many of the characters. Ah well, its still wonderful to hear Paku Romi and Rie Kugimiya provide Ed and Al's voices again. I’m still dying to hear the voices they will pick for the Xing characters and Armstrong’s older sister (these voices I am the most curious on at the moment), unfortunately we won’t be able to find out for long a while....

As for the story (which is the main reason for the remake in the first place) has been following the manga rather well so far. The first episode was invented for the anime, but all is forgiven, something needed to be done to show people that this is a new series. If they started out with Lior (just like in the manga/first FMA series) it would lead many to think "Hey! Its a repeat for the first series!". Even if it was an anime original, it was still a damn good episode (mostly due to the great special effects). Episodes 2-4 there based on the manga. I'm not too pleased with how quickly they went though the manga material presented in episodes 2 and 3 (Ed and Al's flashback and and Ed's confrontation with Cornello in Loir), and I kinda wished they did things differently. Even though I was somewhat disappointed by eps 2 and 3, mostly by the rushed pacing, they did an excellent job with episode 4. I was wondering how they would be handing the Tucker/Nina story, the first series did such a great job with it afteral. Thankfully I found the pacing was perfect in this episode, and they even managed to throw in just enough scenes with Nina and Alexander so that the viewers will feel sympathetic for them for when...*that*....happens. I was very pleased at how the whole episode was executed, and if I dare say, the best manga-to-anime episode yet. I have high hopes now for when they get later into the series and start to cover more material from the manga. Even though this is the best adapted episode so far, its still depressing as ever *sniff/cries* Much to my pleasure, they kept the scene where Scar kills Tucker!!! *throws confetti* God how I always hated Tucker, he's on my list of Top 10 anime characters I hate the most. It has always irked me how they kept him alive in the first series yet he died in the manga. I'm already loving the remake just for this alone.

Anyways, even though they are going though the manga material featured in the first series rather quickly, I bet ya the animators are just as itching to get to the new material not featured in the first series as much as I am. They couldn't just skip the manga material that was in the first series, its needed in the story later on (much of it anyways, some of it can be simply glossed over real quick like Loir and Youswell).

Ah yes, one last thing before I get to mention it: the eye catch, I hate it, its annoying as hell >_< ....why oh, why do we need someone to say "FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST" *head/desk* I hope Funimation will do us a favor and when they release the DVDs here in the states, they will edit out the guy saying that. Speaking of which...i’m glad they gave this remake of Fullmetal Alchemist an actual name. I didn’t like how the Japanese refer to this series as “Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Fullmetal Alchemist” seems kinda repetitive, and then some folks where calling it “Fullmetal Alchemist 2”. I thought the latter title was a bad idea, it was giving people the wrong impression thinking its somekind of sequel to the first series when its not. Thankfully Funimation gave it a better name that won’t confuse people as much “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”. I think the “Brotherhood” part would fit the first series much better, but at least we have a way to differ the two series now. Knowing the international community, I bet they will follow Funimation and use the same title for this series as well in international releases.

On that note *holds up can of Sunkist soda* here's to hoping that this new FMA series will capture the greatness of the manga and that it will blow the first series out of the water.

If you're curious, I plan to compare this FMA series to he manga (first FMA series too) on my website. I started working on it already, I just need to get off my lazy butt and work on it some more....I'll post a link when i finally get it going.