unsure about Fullmetal Alchemist

I watched disc one of Fullmetal Alchemist tonight (episodes 1-4). I got kind of interested in it via Shamus’ early review, so added the series to my netflix q. I have to admit that the premise is engaging and original and the characters thus far are appealing. It’s fun to watch a mahou shoujo where the magical girl is actually a boy for a change.

That said, I’m not sure if I want to commit ot a 51-episode series based on what I’ve seen. Thanks to the OSE, I found Shamus’ review of the ending, which would be spoilerific if I had seen more than 4 eps but on the whole the details were largely meaningless (though I do gather that we meet Rose again).

Sometimes it is hard to judge how a series will wear on you. Shingu and Dennou Coil started out very slow, and I was actively repelled by Ranma’s first couple of eps. But in the end, all of these series became strong favorites that I am glad I stuck with (though I’ve stalled a bit on Ranma in season 7). There are other series, like Samurai Champloo, that grabbed me right from the start and were gripping right to the end (in fact, Champloo might be one of my top ten of all time, surprisingly.) And then there are those series that I do make the time investment in, but ultimately didn’t really impact me upon completion (I am thinking of Samurai 7 and Escaflowne specifically).

There’s no algorithm to help you assess how a series is going to go based on the first few eps. But I wonder what others have to say about FMA. Any opinions anyone has on eth matter would be helpful; there’s a lot of other stuff I want to watch, after all, so this isn’t a critical series.

10 thoughts on “unsure about Fullmetal Alchemist”

  1. The first few episodes of FMA are probably its weakest – the two episode random fighting start, and the fourth episode, maybe the only filler episode in the whole show.

    Watch up to episode 7 before making a decision. You only get a real idea what the series is about then.

  2. If i’m not mistaken, they are re-making it. They started the anime before the manga was done. The new version might please you more.

  3. chris: I would not be so sure, really. The manga is a hell of a lot longer than the anime plotline, and what I really respected about the original was that from the start, they planned to diverge from the manga after a certain point and pursue its own plot. (that in the end was pretty well done)

    For a more straightforward adaptation, they are going to have lots of trouble cramming stuff in. The original, despite being a 50-episode epic was very compact, with very little time wasted, and I’m suspicious that they can cover any more ground in the more sprawling manga storyline, without pulling an Inyusha.

  4. Heck, in fact, the manga is *still* ongoing, isn’t it?

    But anyways, in case I didn’t make it clear, FMA is fantastic and you definitely should give it a bit of time for the core plot to establish itself. It’s one of my favourite series, since though it appears to be the typical monster of the week/hunt the macguffin sort of thing, it isn’t that at all.

  5. I’ve watched the entire series a while back and I felt the same. Rather… blah about it all. Yeah, the production values of the series was excellent, the storyline was well planned out, but the time commitment and lack of good stopping points throughout the series did wear on me. Hell, I couldn’t bring myself to rewatch the entire series so I could follow the movie that ends it, since it’s been years.

    But I think Shamus hit the nail on the head about my main problem with FMA: The secrets within secrets within secrets… ad nausem just bore down on me until I just watched it for the fighting and to just get it over with. Maybe if I had alot more time to marathon or was in high school with other friends who were watching and hooked on it and talked about it non-stop to figure out what will happen next as we watch it on TV on a weekly basis, I might have enjoyed it more. I don’t know.

    I ended up never writing a review for it on AnimeNfo because I just couldn’t re-watch it (I usually rewatch a show before reviewing it). Thinking back, I’m not sure if I even actually enjoyed it…

  6. I think I’ll give the second disc a shot, will take me to ep 8. by then i shoudl be in a position to know. The secrets within secrets thing sounds either appealing or horrible based on implementation; I remember finding it utterly riveting in Death Note, so it can be done well (but whether FMA is on eth same level of writing as DN is another matter).

    Death Note – another excellent series that grabbed me immediately and didnt let go. also a non-shojou mahou shoujo series.

  7. Thumbs down on Full Metal Alchemist. I watched until about episode 27 before deciding that I didn’t enjoy it enough to finish it.

    I disliked both main characters. Although Al was too childish and meek, Edward irritated me to no end with his very outspoken childish attitudes and behavior. To me, it was essentially like having the main character from Pokemon inside of a serious anime like Death Note. Note that it’s been several years since I tried watching it, so I can’t really elaborate much more beyond that.

    Another thing that constantly annoyed me was the pretense of a “science” behind the alchemy in the series. Clapping your hands is not “equivalent exchange” for turning the ground into a wall. Given how much of a big deal is made out of equivalent exchange, how alchemy is a science, etc, it is a big failing that the rules it operates under are nothing more than whatever’s convenient at the time. It really degrades the entire concept into little more than catchphrases to pepper the magic plot powers with stylization.

  8. I have to say that I really enjoyed it…it had a few kidney punches, a lot of subtle beauty, and an interesting world…it got me hooked more and more as time went on

  9. actually Dustin belay that order in the other thread. Get gwen hooked on my blog instead 🙂

  10. I must say this is one title that now confuses me…

    I really really enjoyed it. So much so, that as it stands FMA is on my top 10 list of rewatchable animes. There are however rebooting the series in Japan this summer. So there will be a FMA (v2) coming. The reboot is going to redo the series to mirror the manga. When the first FMA came out, the manga was less than half way done so the anime diverged at some point.

    That aside… what is good about FMA? The art and dub are among the best. I also liked that the story was about flawed characters. For some reason, I tend to gravitate to stories about characters that are not perfect examples of humanity.

    The only warning I have is if you do get drawn into the story, be prepared to follow up with the move. The ending of the series is complete and a valid stopping point, but you will be wanting a little more. The movie does a (little) better job of closing the story.

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