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.

  10. @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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