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The acting on the English dub is a big reason why FMA is so wonderful.
51 Episode TV series
Running Time: 105 minutes (4 episodes)
Rated: PG-13 (Adult situations, language, gore)
Alchemy is the science of transmuting things from one form to another. By the year 1910, the science had grown so popular, the state started to license alchemists to serve as members of the special forces. One such "State Alchemist" is Edward Elrich, who is accompanied by his younger brother Alphonse. When they were younger, they attempted to bring back their dead mother through the science of alchemy. Instead of bringing her back, Edward lost one of his arms and a legs. Alphonse suffered a much worse fate, his soul was transferred to a suit of armor.
Their actions have attracted the attention of State Alchemist Lt Col. Roy Mustang. He invites the two boys to take the Alchemy exam at the city of Central. As they journey toward their destiny, Edward and Alphonse learn that there is more to Alchemy than just science. It can be a force for good, a force for evil, and worst of all, the means to commit murder!
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: The quality is excellent. There are no pixels or errors noted. The colors are solid, and the motion, fluid.
AUDIO: The English 5.1 is a good mix, with plenty of surround sound effects during the action segments. The music is blended quite well, and does not over power the dialogue.
The English and Japanese 2.0 is pretty evenly matched. It too has a decent surround sound mix. It will depend on your system which is better.
EDITS: The best of both worlds. Thanks to the use of multiple angels, you can watch the open and close with English titles, or the original Japanese versions. All the edits from the Adult Swim broadcast have been restored.
EXTRAS: There are three montage art galleries: once of line artwork, one for backgrounds, and one that consists of full color character models. There is also the clean open and close animations, Japanese television commercials and character profiles. On the non-disc side, we have an 18 page Alchemy booklet with information about the series and a mini poster on the back of the cover.
STORY: On the surface, Fullmetal Alchemist appears to be just another "buddy hero" anime. If you pay attention, you will see that the writing staff also looks at current subjects like familial relationships, the horrors of war, the power of faith, and the debate on science vs. religion. This series has a little something for everyone, and plenty of action to boot.
ACTING: The cast is sublime, on both tracks. On the English dub, we have the amazing Vic Mignogna as Edward. Vic is really good at expressing the passion and the anger that his character holds inside. He also has a great sense of comedic timing, able to bring out tons of laughs in even during the most dire situations.
Aaron Dismuke is also a joy to listen too. The sorrow and sadness in his voice fits the character perfectly. He really knows how to tug at the ole heart strings, and he plays off Vic Mignogna very well.
I totally dig the work of Travis Willingham as Roy Mustang. His voice commands authority, yet he has a wry sense of humor. Sonny Straight is a stitch as Major Huges. The way he can switch from super silly to ultra serious is a joy to hear. Give a round of applause to ADR Directors Colleen Clinkenbeard and Mike McFarland on a fantastic job.
The Japanese cast is also wonderful. Romi Pak and Rie Kugimiya's readings are very intense and extremely powerful. You experience their joy when they do the right thing, and feel their pain when they suffer a great loss. There are many moments where Romi and Rie will leave you weeping.
FAN SERVICE: I'm sure there are plenty of references to the source material, but I could not point them out to you. There is nothing in the "panty" category.
Unless you have been living in the desert, I'm sure many of you have already experienced the joy that is "Fullmetal Alchemist", thanks to Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" block. With this second volume "Scarred Man of the East", we get to see more of Ed and Al's journey to become State Alchemists. Like the first volume, it's full of action, intrigue, and heart wrenching emotion.
In the first volume, "Fullmetal Alchemist" started in the middle of the story, and then bounced us back to the beginning. Picking up where things left off, we see Ed and Al hurriedly board a train bound for Central, on the orders of Lt. Col Mustang. It seems that there the possibility of terrorism occurring on the train exists, and what better line of defense for the hapless passengers than a young hothead alchemist and a walking hunk of armor. Between the two of them, and with some help by the military, the two brothers complete their first mission.
From there, Ed and Al are taking to the home of State Alchemist Shou Tucker and his daughter Nina. Tucker is the only man to have made a talking Chimera, an animal fused together by the art of Alchemy. While it is forbidden to do such a thing, its creation did give Tucker some prestige and power. While he is teaching Ed and Al, he also has an exam of his own coming up. If he passes, he will be recertified, and he can keep his home and the ability to continue his research. Fail, and he looses everything.
The test to become an alchemist is very rigorous. There is the written test, the verbal, and a practical demonstration. While I'm sure the outcome is obvious, what happens after Ed passes the test, and what happens to Tucker and his family because of it, will have you cheering with glee, and crying when Ed learns a fundamental truth about being in the military, life isn't always fair. In fact, it can be down right soul crushing.
Oh, and let's not forget about the mysterious man with a wicked tattoo. By wicked, I mean evil!
While FMA is supposed to be set in the early "1900's", many of the story lines have a very modern feel about them. The horrors of war, the distrust of the government and the military, genetic manipulation, and religious fanaticism all are addressed in some fashion.
Like most members of the military, they are viewed with suspicion or thinly veiled disgust by the populace. Many feel that state alchemists are nothing more that government dogs, bullies with awesome powers. It also doesn't help that there is a civil war going on. Yet, they have the money, the resources, and a library of knowledge that few have seen. Yet not everything is accessible, even to the enforcers of the law, as Edward quickly learns. He and Al also discover that too much knowledge can get you killed, failure is not an option, and crossing the line can end in death.
In this volume, we see that Lt. Col Mustang isn't just your typical military idiot. He is politically savvy, manipulative, and tactically brilliant. While these kind of men usually don't inspire trust and loyalty, Mustang does. Ever single man and woman under his command trust him with their lives. He isn't afraid to make the hard decisions, and sometimes, choices indented to piss someone off. You get the feeling that Mustang's role in the future is going to be very important.
The acting on the English dub is a big reason why FMA is so wonderful. Vic Mignogna and Aaron Dismuke are perfect for our two leads. You can really feel the sibling rivalry and utter devotion the two of them share. In episode 6, when Ed and Al are talking about life before the accident, Aaron ripped my hear out with his subtle sobs. During the scenes in episode 7, where Ed and Al discover a horrific secret, Vic once again brought tears to my eyes with his total helplessness and cries of sadness. Aaron was again awesome when in his attempts to calm Ed down, he has to become the strong one. Thanks to the work of this wonderful cast, along with ADR Directors Colleen Clinkenbeard and Mike McFarland, FMA is one of the best dubs ever.
After watching "Fullmetal Alchemist: Scarred Man of the East", I am totally addicted to this series. The intelligent writing, sublime acting, and deep emotion contained in each episode will have you cheering and crying at the same time. If you have not seen this series, then you are missing out on a modern anime classic!
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