dragonimp: (Default)
Now that I've had some space from 108 and stepped back for some breathing room, I realized a few things. Foremost, while there were some elements in the ending that left me with a sour taste, it doesn't change everything leading up to it. It's still an amazing series. It's been a long time since I've felt such a strong connection with a set of characters, and I don't think I've ever flailed so much month after month. It has a few tarnished edges and a cheap brass cap, but it's still mostly gold.

The anime - the first anime - falls apart in several places with plot and character, especially in the second half. But it is masterful at telling a story. Even when you're sitting there wondering how in the hell that plot point makes sense and who handed Al the idiot ball, you're still anxious for the next episode. And it kept that up all the way through to the end. The movie had a lot of problems and some cardboard characterization, but it's thrilling and compelling and damn fun to watch. AND it puts an appropriate finishing touch on the saga. Ironically, I didn't like the end of the movie because I found it too depressing, but by damn it fit the story. Happily Ever After is what fanfic is for. Canon needs to be true to itself.

Which brings me back to the manga. In contrast, the manga is expertly plotted and (forced romance aside) has excellent characterization throughout. We see the characters grow and change, but they always stay true to themselves. The storytelling is top-quality as well. It does drag in a few places, but it keeps you coming back and keeps you wanting more.

The ending, on the other hand, slips sideways and stumbles. It forgets what it is. Not completely, but enough to leave that sour taste. An ending shouldn't make you want to write fix-it!fic that makes things less perfect, but that's what it gives me.

But. Up until then, up until canon forgot itself, it's still an amazing piece of storytelling. Arakawa is still one of my idols - I can only wish I could plot that well. The manga is still as dear to me as the anime, and the sub-par ending doesn't change that.

(You might've noticed I didn't mention Brotherhood. It has some good moments, but is overall mediocre and disappointing. But mostly I left it out because it doesn't stand well on its own. It's supplementary material to the manga.)
dragonimp: (Ed's up to something)
Okay, that was well worth watching. On the whole, I thought Al's fight and Roy's fight came off better in the manga, but they were still amazing. But the end part of Roy's, in 54, was incredible. And the subtext - it doesn't even seem right to call it "subtext" anymore, more like all but spelling in out in BIG NEON LETTERS. And I thought it got strong in the manga, geez, that was nothing compared to Roy/Maes flashback central here.

And I'll be damned if I don't have a fem-crush on Olivia now. I mean, she's awesome in the manga, but that voice did me in. Apparently all it takes to make me question my sexuality is an amazing badass voice *coughPakuRomicough*
dragonimp: (Roy/Hughes het shield)
Finally got torrents to work (yay for Miro!) and watched ep. 10 in the dub - gawd Travis and Sonny were breaking my heart all over again. They certainly seem to be playing it from a certain *cough* subtext.

I noticed quite a few places where the translation took liberties when compared to the subtitles, but most didn't change the meaning or feel of a scene. One that jumped out at me was during the at the beginning. I'm probably not remembering the exact lines, but Roy talks about protecting the people under him, and they in turn protect the people under them, etc. In the dub, he says something like "protect the people I care about." It doesn't fit as nicely with Hughes comment about needing to be at the top. It's minor, and the rest of the scene comes off beautifully, but it was jarring little hiccup and there was no reason for it.

The discrepancy that really bugged me, though, was that they cut Hughes' line of "the military is in danger." Doesn't that line get referred back to later, or is that just in the manga? How are they going to refer to it if it's not there?

There's also a subtle change between the manga and Brotherhood that I didn't notice the first time around. Both the subtitles and the dub imply the same thing, but the dub seemed to state it a bit more clearly. After Roy questions Armstrong, he makes a comment in the manga that I took to mean that Armstrong was giving them all the information he could without violating his orders. In Brotherhood, what Roy says is more along the lines of Armstrong telling them more than he realized - implying that he slipped up, not that he was deliberately getting around his orders. It's a slightly different nuance of character, and I don't think I like the Brotherhood take.
dragonimp: (Default)
Wait, wait - did they just cut out that whole scene between Lust and Marcoh? What? That scene was rather important for several reasons. When it wasn't in ep. 6 I was hoping they'd moved it to ep. 7, but it barely got a mention.

I'm really disappointed with their storytelling decisions. It seems that if it isn't an action sequence, then they rush to get through it. Um, hello? It's the characters and the story that make FMA so great. But even aside from that, they're condensing it to the point where key elements of the plot and story no longer make sense.

So far we've had one good episode, a handful of decent ones, and a few that I'd rather pretend didn't exist. Why are people squeeing over this? FMA deserves better.
dragonimp: (Default)


Could Ed get any more adorable? Between that, Ed stumbling around on the spare leg, and all the shots of chibified-Ed with his hair down, this episode was really going for broke ♥

The story was a bit compacted, but it held together. Kinda disappointed they didn't keep the scene of the office staff ganging up on Ed, but eh, that's minor.

(I'm still considering moving all the fandom posts to DW alone, but for now I'll continue to cross-post)
dragonimp: (Default)
Finally - finally - FMA: Brotherhood is starting to get good. The pace has mellowed out and they're starting to actually tell the story, not shove it at the viewer in fast-forward. There are little things I could nitpick, but overall, I'm finally starting to feel like I'm watching something that could live up to the Fullmetal Alchemist name. Scar was freaky dangerous, the scene of him chasing Ed and Al through the city actually felt like their lives were in danger. The "stop being an idiot!" confrontation between Ed and Al was perfect, that's the Al I love from the manga.

I just want to pretend the first three episodes didn't exist. They're kinda similar to the Harry Potter movies, where they illustrate the story all right, but don't stand well on their own.

Edit: Ummm, guys? What Hughes/Roy? Seriously, are men not allowed to have friendships?
dragonimp: (inuyasha)
Okay, I'm still waiting to be impressed. Because that - whatEVER the hell that was - did not impress me.

Since they made such a big deal about using the manga story line, I had hoped they'd stick a little closer to the manga. Not that - that mess they're trying to pass off as storytelling.
dragonimp: (Default)
Finally got a chance to watch the second episode. Better than the first one, that's for sure. It still felt rushed, though, and they were still trying to pack in too much information. We learn about Xing in this episode why? And we didn't see hint's of Roy's ambition - which was in the flashback in the manga - why? It's like hurry let's get though these background eps. so we can get to the real story!! When they could've just, y'know, started with the story in the first place.

One of the things the manga always had over the (first) anime was the neat and tidy way the story flowed. So now we get an anime based on the manga story line - yay! - and - they're chopping and rearranging the story all to hell.

My disappointment. It is palpable. I can only hope this stops after these first two episodes.

But little Ed and Al are so goddam adorable, even if the eyes still bug me. And Paku Romi is simply amazing, gods, I love her portrayal of Ed in Brotherhood.
dragonimp: (portrait)
To give it a fair shot, I felt I had to watch it a second time. It's kinda like when I saw the theatrical Pride and Prejudice movie; the first time though, all I could think was "this is not A&E's Pride and Prejudice...this is not A&E's Pride and Prejudice...this is not A&E's Pride and Prejudice...". I wasn't as conscious of doing that with Brotherhood, but still, I felt I should watch it a second time. Forgetting about the first anime, because I really wasn't expecting it to be the first anime and it shouldn't be judged against it, here's some more thoughts:

• I love the opening and ending. Both do a good job of capturing the series.

• The fight scenes are awesome. Al totally rocks, Ed is amazing. Ed losing his temper - really losing it, not his "you called me short!!" flailing - was a great scene.

• The animation, I think, is just going to take getting used to. I wish I could put my finger on what it is about Ed's character design that bugs me, but he just seems off. All the appeal he has in the manga is only sort of hinted at. Same with Roy. Most of the other characters are fine. Kimblee (what we see of him) looks great. Hohenheim looks good. But Ed and Roy bug me.

• I'm still put off by the rapid-fire reveals. It felt more like a story pitch than a premiere. "Look at all our cool characters! See all the nifty stuff they can do! Aren't you intrigued?"

• If I was coming into this not knowing anything about the story, I think I'd be confused as to who the main character is supposed to be. "It's called Fullmetal Alchemist, and that's what they're calling that little guy, but why did it start with that other guy? And who are these other people? Should I care?"

• In the manga, we meet Ed and Al. We don't see any of the military characters until the fouth chapter, and it doesn't spend any time on them until the fifth. It's very clear who our main protagonists are. We get to know them and get to know what they can do, before the story line gets cluttered by the secondary protagonists. In Brotherhood, it's like everyone is given equal weight.

• Roy's introduction is rather shaky, really. In the manga, as soon as we meet him, we know he's sarcastic, would rather be on a date than doing his job, and is perfectly happy to let someone else (Ed) do the hard work, and it's obvious his staff knows better than to take him too seriously. But when he does take action, he's calm, collected, and casually badass. And arrogant, let's not forget. We don't see that he has a major weak point (water) for some time. In Brotherhood, none of this is really established. His weakness is thrown out right at the beginning. He came off more like a sulky teenager trying to act adult. Especially with his "don't underestimate my flames!" screech. Roy shouldn't be losing his cool that easily. We really didn't get to see any of what makes him such a good character in the manga.

• We shouldn't be suspicious of Bradley this soon.

They probably wanted Brotherhood to be distinct from the first anime right off the bat and, unfortunately for them, the first anime follows the manga pretty closely for the first two episodes. But this really didn't strike me as a good solution. It was too muddled, and revealed too much too quickly. It would have been a good story to do maybe three or five episodes in, but not at the beginning.

Edit: On further reflection, it seems like this anime is assuming viewers have already read the manga, which is a strange thing to do. When a story switches medium like this, it should stand on its own.
dragonimp: (One of those days)
Just finished watching the premiere episode of the new FMA. My reaction was a resounding:

Meh.

It's probably just this episode. It felt too cramped. They were trying to introduce too many characters and too many concepts at once. One of the great things about FMA - both the manga and the original anime - was the gradual way the story played out. This felt rushed. Once the story proper gets going it'll probably be fine, but I really wasn't impressed by the pacing or the storytelling here.

Also, based on the teasers, I was expecting a lot more from the animation. It had its moments, but it also felt awkward.

It's going to take me a while to get used to Roy's new voice, too. It just doesn't have the depth and resonance I'm used to.

Riza wins for one-liners, though: "Please only be useless on rainy days, sir."

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