Sholio (sholio) wrote,

Meme answers: Full Metal Alchemist

sheron noticed my Fullmetal Alchemist icon and asked:

Can you talk a bit about FMA and your favourites there (characters/moments/themes)?

Why certainly!

I've seen the anime but not the movie, and I'm not past volume 6 or 7 of the manga, so please don't spoil me in comments for the latter two. (It's my understanding that the manga goes a very different direction than the anime, so I'm looking forward to getting a whole new look at the FMA-verse when I get around to picking up more of the manga.)

My first exposure to FMA was actually through the manga -- before it was available in the U.S., I downloaded scanslations from a site called Toriyama World (which was also my first exposure to a bunch of other stuff, including Bleach). I found it amusing but it didn't really hook me until Roy showed up. OMG, total fangirl bait! I also happen to be a total sucker for Wrench Wench characters, so between Roy and Winry, plus my love for unusual variations on steampunk settings, it was inevitable that I was going to be totally gone for this series.

And yet I never made it all that deep into the manga. Toriyama World discontinued it when an American distributor picked it up, and while I've been slowly picking up the legit volumes, I keep getting distracted by other shiny things (such as the anime) and forgetting to buy the rest of it. *makes note*

Anyhow! Since the anime started coming out in Japan right around the time that I discovered the manga, I was looking up screenshots and trailers before it had even aired, and I was completely blown away by the gorgeous look of it. (I still think it's one of the prettiest anime I've seen -- not quite Miyazaki-caliber, but for a made-for-broadcast-TV series, it's very nice!) I watched the first half of the series via fansubs, basically grabbing them as soon as they came out. And then, well -- I moved across the country, I didn't have a computer or fast Internet for several months, and, having the attention span of a mayfly, I pretty much lost interest. This was around the time that I was moving out of anime and manga fandom in general; my interest in it had been tapering off slowly over the previous year or so, and moving (which meant having to give away a bunch of manga, and temporarily losing my access to easily rented or downloadable anime, plus being insanely busy with a new job and buying a house) I just didn't have time or inclination for anime or fandom for quite awhile.

But last year, we rented the whole series and watched it again from the beginning, and I really fell hard for it. There are a number of things that get to me about FMA -- I love the setting, the twisty and unpredictable plots (I really enjoy shows that make me go "OMG!" and "WTF!" and "I can't believe they did that!" and FMA did that just about every other episode), and I really enjoyed nearly all of the characters; I don't think there was anyone I didn't like. (And I'm still sad about Hughes, darn it!) I also really love the shows that mix up humor and tragedy, serious and silly, and FMA did a nice job with that. A lot of things about it reminded me of Trigun, which was the first fandom that I really wrote a lot of fic for.

Anyway, you asked about favorite characters/moments/themes. Favorite characters -- Roy, Winry, and Izumi. I think my favorite thing about the series as a whole was the way that it consistently defied my expectations; it was marvelously creative and inventive, always throwing out something new or making me revise my earlier assumptions as new bits of information were handed out. One of the things that pushed me away from manga/anime was the feeling that so much of it was very repetitive and not really going anywhere (not, I fully admit, that Western shows are any better) and one of the reasons why I loved FMA so thoroughly was that it always felt like it was going somewhere, even though it sometimes took a circuitous path to get there.
Tags: anime-manga
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