Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Day Two Hundred and Twelve - Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood: Season 1, Pilot, "Same ole, same ole, when it comes to FMA, but it's good to see the Elric Bros. again~"
That's kind of the case with Full Metal Alchemist:Brotherhood.
A super popular manga series in Japan, FMA spawned a very successful series and several movies/OVAs... a decade ago... the problem being that the TV series caught up to the unfinished manga and, not having anywhere else to go, they ended the anime.
(Historical Note: Naruto and Bleach got around this problem by generating entire seasons of original content in the anime that are completely separate from the manga continuities but fit nicely in between "time skip" sections.)
Not wanting to let a good profit center die, long after the television series ended and long into the continuing manga series, another studio decided to take up the challenge of rebooting it and telling the same basic story but with the continuing plot points of the manga and higher quality art.
We're not immune to this sort of thing as IPs get rebooted all the time around Hollywood: Star Trek, Batman, etc.. Still, it's a little hard to swallow in the case of anime since it's often just "same shit, different day."
That said, I still enjoyed the pilot episode for FMA:Brotherhood.
Following the standard anime trope of giving you an action episode before any backstory, episode 1 (entitled "Fullmetal Alchemist") doesn't do any explaining, thrusting the viewer into a random chase sequence where a rogue alchemist on a mission to destroy has to be captured and it's up to Edward and Alphonse Elric to bring him in... or down.
Several major players are introduced, including Col. Roy Mustang and the boisterous and heavily-muscled Major Armstrong, and their powers and personalities are given plenty of screen time, but the majority of the episode is dedicated to quick action and teases at the overall mystery.
If you've read or seen the manga or previous series, then you know the basic setups for the all characters already and there are no real surprises so far other than the choice of intro villains. Even the denouement with Lust and Gluttony, two of several homunculi who form the main antagonists of the series, are filling the roles they've already done previously.
So, no alarms and no surprises, here.
I do like the higher resolution graphics and action, though. The alchemy is much more impressive this go'round and it's all much more flashy and pleasing, I just hope it doesn't fall into a rut of just giving me a slightly altered universe of the same things I've already seen before. I really want them to surprise me at some point in this series. I'm doing my best to avoid spoilers, so I'll have to just wait and see.
Great news on the audio front, though, as this is one of the few titles that has both the English and Japanese dubs. I feel bad for the English voice cast, but they just don't sound right to me... so I'm very happy the Japanese dub is available with full subtitles.
Anyways, onwards and upwards as the series continues next time with the required flashback episode that tells the heroes' origins (a standard followup to the "action episode pilot" trope in anime).
Until tomorrow, Potatoes~