FMA. Fullmetal Alchemist. I’m late on the FMA boat but still taking the cruise. My best friend and I have decided to do a little ‘anime club’ where we pick a series we don’t know about and watch five episodes of the series at a time per week.
Episodes 1-5 were our first endeavor in this ‘project’ of sorts and here is my recap, review and several thousand thoughts!
In episode one our heroes Ed and his younger brother Al are introduced at the moment they lost parts of themselves in a transmutation gone awry. We then get thrown into this “Trigun”-esque environment. Small, tight-knit desert town where everyone worships this ‘sun god’ and miracle man who resides over the town as the priest of sorts (who turns out to be just an alchemist with a ring that gives him powers to transmute without a circle). Ed and Al think it’s the Philosopher’s Stone and spend the entire episode convincing this cute young girl, Rose, who lost the last person she really had in the world (her boyfriend) and was sure that he could be brought back from the dead by a “miracle” or in this case, alchemy and we learn right off the bat that bringing people back to life is dangerous, forbidden, and never has it worked.
I was a little stressed out watching this episode. I mean it’s a cartoon and all but I get emotional watching Hook for God’s sake, so all of the action and tension that built to the very long lasting set of climax’s (because I would say it climaxes at least twice – once when Rose sees her ‘boyfriend’ and once when they have the final showdown) concluding in Al amplifying the truth over the town through a transmuted speaker.
I came into the show knowing that everyone and their mother drool(ed)s all over it and critic websites agree that FMA is one of the top 10 best animes, EVER so when watching part of me had that hipster mentality ‘ulch this is like so not impressive’ mixed with ‘this is alright and I think I should maybe like it more, I hope I do at least’ and ‘for God’s sake I wish I didn’t know this was supposed to be the bee’s knees so I could just enjoy it without any bias.’ As of right now, five episodes in, I think it’s a pretty okay series, Ed is a little annoying and Al is the sweetest thing. It broke my heart that Al was the one who wanted to become a state alchemist so that he could return his brother to his original state as he feels as though he’s indebted to him for saving his soul. I personally think if I were Al I’d feel like it was my fault too that mom’s resurrection went wrong because he did stick around to support it, but ultimately from an outsiders standpoint I’m between blaming Ed for the whole thing and then just feeling bad for them because after all they did just lose their mommy and though I’d be too scared to attempt what they did, I’d still be devastated enough with my whole world turned upside down to do something extremely emotional too.
I think Ed’s voice actor sounds too old, like a 17 year old kid and Al sounds like he’s 10, but then again they’re ‘just kids’ and we don’t know exactly at this moment in time in the episodes how old they are.
In episode 2 we finish the ‘here and now’ plot that we’re thrown into and we see all the townspeople get highly offended and then tricked again by the same fatty con man. I figured we’d be thrown right into another episode but instead we get a full episode telling us the roots of our heroes, the full story of their mom passing away from illness which TOTALLY reminds me of Ni No Kuni and how the protagonist in that video game’s mom passed away with a weak heart and how he was left by himself, and then, magic! But in this case, alchemy!
I really enjoyed the background story episode and it brought me closer to the characters on an emotional level. I like that we didn’t have to wait forty or so more episodes to get the full story, and that we didn’t have to jolt back to ‘reality’ and then to ‘the past’ again and again (sharing an episode).
Their dad I do not hate nor like, I’m more curious about him, but already don’t think he’s as powerful as his kids, so I’m not particularly IMPRESSED by him.
Episode 4 gave me a Mushi-Shi vibe where they arrive in this little town where there’s a ghost, but it’s not really a ghost of course and they find that out. The man who knew their father turns out to be a lovesick psychopath who can’t accept the truth at the end of the episode and that was a little different from how I expected it to go, and also kind of pulled a sad heart-string as he was just stuck in his own stubborn madness. Not really much of a “true love” huh? I was also surprised in this episode that someone DIED! I was feeling that this show was incredibly PG until the sword came out and the impaling happened. It gave a little more spice so to speak to the show. No happy ending for that one.
Episode 5 I liked equally as much as episode 4 but in a different way. The stories were just very different but good in their own ways. While episode 3 was still my favorite, I was glad to see that we were moving forward in the plot still so we can meet back up in that desert town (I assume) in ‘the present’ eventually. I like how they’ve transitioned from present to past and crawling back to present. I like this ‘fire alchemist’ and how he sort of tested them, and how they passed the test! It was a fast paced enough episode that nothing really dragged nor did it go in circles. I liked that about it.
Overall I’d give the series a 7/10 so far. I can’t really make any big judgments as I’m five of fifty some episodes in, but I am interested in what comes next which is always a good thing when you’re watching a show.