dragonimp: (Ghost flamel)
I'm in the middle of watching the first Brotherhood DVD with my mom, and it's triggered some thoughts. If you want to read my ranting about Brohood it's all under this tag here, but what I wanted to repost and share here are some thoughts about the way Ed's characterization is done in the early stories in the manga:

I’m so used to the Ed we have later on in the series that I forget what he’s like in these early stories, but mom remarked that he comes off as rather cold in the Liore episode. At first I was thinking that because this was the first story Arakawa wrote she might not have had a good sense of their characters yet, but when I thought about Liore and Youswell together and put them against the rest of the series - I think it’s deliberate.

image heavy behind the cut )
dragonimp: (faceplant)
And it meant a lot to me that the series was written and drawn by a woman. I am sometimes bothered by the fact that so few of my artistic heroes are women, especially comic drawing women. I very much enjoy the work of many female cartoonists, but they all tend to be about my age or younger, so I consider them more peers than artistic heroes. Arakawa was not only older than I am, but damn prolific, and she’d written and drawn a series that had many of the things I craved to put in my own comics: action, adventure, magic, limbs getting lost, brotherly love (I actually really enjoy stories about male relationships, especially brother relationships. Readers of my old webcomic Demonology 101 will recognize that), and KICKASS LADIES. Oh man, the ladies of Fullmetal Alchemist. THE LADIES! Strong and tough and funny and sweet and NEVER VICTIMS and every inch equals to the men in their lives (Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye’s respectful and deeply loving relationship just makes my heart ache), the ladies of Fullmetal Alchemist were my wildest dreams come true. It didn’t matter to me that they weren’t the main characters of the manga, because they never played second fiddle. They were their own characters with their own lives, not written to stand around and “support” the male characters. While I do care about having main female characters in media, I’m perfectly fine with main male characters as long as there are female characters who are CHARACTERS, not props for the male character’s journey.


I don't disagree with most of what she's saying here, but I have to wonder if she missed the huge, massive scene of Riza/Roy codependence. The man I love is dead, so I will SIT HERE and WAIT TO BE KILLED is not "every inch equals to the men in their lives". About any of the other ladies I agree, though.

She's also going on about how great the last chapter is so I'm going to keep my mouth shut. Though I agree that it's very good that it has an ending, unlike stories that get dragged on and on forever until they're so thin it's pathetic.
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.)

Ch. 108

Jun. 10th, 2010 01:01 pm
dragonimp: (. . .)
Well, the scanlation is up.
some thoughts... )

Beyond that, there's always going to be a let-down when something ends, especially something that's been going on as long as this. May we all continue to find solace in fandom!
dragonimp: (Ranma's up to something)
I just noticed something up at the top of the two-page spread (doesn't spoil anything so I'm not going to bother to cut it):

Gee, wonder who's hand that is? Hee! ♥
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.

Ch. 106

Apr. 9th, 2010 10:22 pm
dragonimp: (WTF??)
I totally did not see that coming. Any. Of. It.

It was so very Ed. And so very ... well, everyone, really. But, she's ended on some evil cliffies before but holy fucking hell.
Aaaand I'd better put the rest behind a cut )

Issue 105:

Mar. 14th, 2010 09:37 pm
dragonimp: (WTF??)
HOLY FARKING HELL Hohenheim's badass level just ramped up exponentially!
Aside from that... )

And now I have to get to bed because I have an interview tomorrow morning.

Ch. 103

Jan. 9th, 2010 05:11 pm
dragonimp: (Default)
The scanlation is up!

...and, yeah. Not much else to say about it. Because not much happens. This chapter basically reads like set-up for the next chapter. We got one reveal about Scar, and hints that he's been planning something, and that's about it. It's not a bad chapter or anything - just, uh, not really exciting.
dragonimp: (WTF??)
GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!

More detailed reactions under the cut )

Damn Arakawa and her cliffhangers.
dragonimp: (Default)
Anybody remember what chapter(s) the Ishval flashback was in? I need references for what Roy and Hughes looked like back then.

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