^ interesting review, actually. Rule of cool definitely sounds a bit of an issue (speaking of tropes I always liked the 'cursed with awesome' one, this often happens in anime too x).Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)
Alright! Very good for the part, especially considering it follows its own plot for the second half, so I think that they did pretty well the material. And I even like the spoilers.
Wrath having Ed's arm and leg was really cool, I even liked the whole world being a different version of Earth that followed some new path at some point. The implications of Alchemy were really, really cool --- although the ambitions of its villains a little less so. I also like that "the magic" wasn't limitless and all-powerful but often came with great consequences, following its principle of "equivalent exchange" as much as it can.
The action is strong, the emotional bits pack a great punch, and I think it's an effectively told story that is pretty mature about itself. There's a few pacing issues, or rather, some things could have used 'an episode' more than others (indeed there's a few episodes in the middle where very little happens), and the final bit with the Fuhrer felt disjointed and solved in a super-clean-cut manner.
Nevertheless, no regrets, and I enjoyed it a lot, I can see why it's claim to fame is still around. The story is clearly about these two brothers and does a great job at keeping them in the centre of matters and their main goal to help each other and have each other's back (indeed, the show demonstrating numerous siblings throughout its run, as well as a great examination on the importance of family to people...for better or worse).
Special kudos to the series for featuring a large cast where most characters are over their twenties. They exist amongst the plethora of teen high school dramas...! And when it worked it really worked. The stuff with Izumi, the Dad, Lust, Scar, and especially the army peeps who were a great balance of both comedy and drama when occasions called for it (the specific 'for fun' episode dedicated to their antics was pretty great).
By comparison, I did start
watching FMA: Brotherhood
as well. Hmm
+ Better animation, HD screen, and I also love that Ed's hair is outlined in 'gold
' than black! I also the rough texturing
used for the backgrounds as well, it gives them a much nicer feel.
+ Way better openings and ending already (the only ones I *really* liked in FMA'03 were the first two endings). I love Yui's "Again" as well as the hand-drawn-looking ending.
+ The original story (which, unfortunately, retroactively makes me look at the '03 series in a different light --- even though I don't want it to because I DO think it was enjoyable)
= It definitely has a more 'shounen-y' vibe.
- An obvious issue HAS to be stated is that it's hard to watch the first batch of episodes, mainly of course, because it's just a retread of the old series before they split apart. What's worse is I feel the '09 version is *conscious* of this and rushed certain parts assuming its audience was in the know so it can look weird to maybe even new people entering the series at this point. This was really a no-win scenario though.
- I prefer the overall tone of the old series. I feel like anime exaggerations are like the Japanese version of a US laugh track
, in that they're meant to emphasize something that just isn't that funny to make it at least LOOK funnier, and they do it a lot (used sparingly I find it way better anyways). Ed is especially made fun a lot more for his height more and tends to 'flip out' over things.
Ed gets slapped
for acting selfishly and putting people in danger
... what's the best reaction?