Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)
April 8, 2012 by Dennis Amith
“Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture” is a wonderful film with a captivating storyline, cool new characters, plenty of action and more. The Blu-ray also looks and sounds great and you get a good amount of special features as well. If you want an awesome anime film on Blu-ray, “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture” is highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture
ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2011
DURATION: 110 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment
RATED: Not Rated
Release Date: April 25, 2012
Original Created by Hiromu Arakawa
Original Character Design by Kenichi Konishi
Directed by Kazuya Murata
Screenplay by Yuichi Shinbo
Storyboard by Kazuya Murata
Unit Director: Shingo Natsume
Music by Taro Iwashiro
Art Director: Kazuo Ogura, Tomoaki Okada
Chief Animation Director: Kenichi Konishi
Mechanical Design by Shinji Aramaki
3D Director: Koki Ota
Anime Production: BONES
Featuring the following voice talent:
Rie Kugimiya/Maxey Whitehead as Alphonse Elric
Romi Park/Vic Mignona as Edward Elric
Toshiyuki Morikawa/Matthew Mercer as Melvin Voyager
Fumiko Orikasa/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Riza Hawkeye
Kenji Utsumi/Christopher R. Sabat as Alex Louis Armstrong
Maaya Sakamoto/Alexis Tipton as Julia Crichton
Megumi Takamoto/Caitlin Glass as Winry Rockbell
Sakiko Tamagawa/Shelley Calene-Black as Miranda
Shinichiro Miki/Travis Willingham as Roy Mustang
A fugitive alchemist with mysterious abilities leads the Elric brothers to a distant valley of slums inhabited by the Milos, a proud people struggling against bureaucratic exploitation. Ed and Al quickly find themselves in the middle of a rising rebellion as the exiled Milos lash out against their oppressors. At the heart of the conflict is Julia, a young alchemist befriended by Alphonse. She’ll stop at nothing to restore the Milos to their former glory – even if that means harnessing the awful power of the mythical Philosopher’s Stone.
When the hit anime TV series “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” was coming to a close, BONES wanted to make sure the adventures of the Elrich brothers, despite their adventure ending in the series, would still continue in the movies.
Set during a time when both brothers were still looking for the Philosopher stone, this is where director Kazuya Murata (“Eureka Seven”, “Figure 17”, “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”) and screenwriter Yuichi Shinbo (“Doraemon” films) would base the story for “Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Mirosu no Sei-naru Hoshi” (“Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos”). The film would also feature music from rock band L’Arc~en~Ciel and the artist Miwa.
The film was announced during the final episode of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and premiered in Japan in July 2011 and screened in U.S. theaters in 2012.
For those not familiar with “Fullmetal Alchemist”, in Japan, “Fullmetal Alchemist” (Hagane no Renkinjutushi) is a popular long running anime and manga series created by mangaka Hiromu Arakawa. The original manga series was serialized in Square Enix’s “Shonen Gangan” since 2001, while the 51-episode TV series created by BONES was shown on television in 2004 followed by a manga faithful anime adaptation with “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” airing in 2009-2010.
The popularity of “Fullmetal Alchemist” has led to many novels, OVA’s, drama CD’s, soundtracks and video games and a lot of these releases have been distributed in various countries and its popularity is a testament of how people have come to love the series which has won many awards in Japan including being voted for the #1 most popular anime series of all time.
What is “Fullmetal Alchemist” about?
“Fullmetal Alchemist” is a series about two young alchemist brothers named Edward and his younger brother Alphonse Elric (aka “Al”). Their father left them and several months after their father left, an epidemic hit their village and killed their mother. Grieving and alone without their mother, the two quickly tried to hone their alchemist skills and hope to bring their mother back alive by using a human transmutation (this is illegal and considered taboo by alchemist).
While performing the transmutation, a dark shadow comes and literally breaks apart the body of Alphonse and as for Edward, he is shown “the truth” but in return for doing the transmutation, there is a toll and in this case, he loses his legs and feet and his right arm. And the transmutation to bring their mother fails as Edward was only able to revive a disembodied figure. In a short time allowed before the dark shadow leaves, Edward was able to bond Al’s soul to a suit of armor but there are some consequences. And these consequences and guilt have plunged Edward to the lowest he had ever been.
With this opportunity, this gives Edward a chance to repair what he did wrong and help his brother. But as they investigate on how they can get their bodies back and investigating what is known as a “Philosopher’s Stone”, an unknown group is out there, observing the Elric brothers every move and willing to kill in order to get to Edward.
Meanwhile, a military figure named Roy Mustang is assisting the Elric brothers by giving them opportunities to find the Philosopher’s Stone but to do that, the two will be part of the military. For the Elric brothers, working together is a good idea as they hope the stone may give Edward a chance to bring his brother Al back to life and also get back his own body as well.
“Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos”
The film is set during the time Edward and Al are looking for a way to get their human bodies back.
“The Sacred Star of Milos” begins with the Crichton family who were driven away from their home. For a young Julia Chrichton, she saw her own people being gunned down but her brother Ashley trying to prevent her from seeing any of it.
Fast forward and the teenager Ashley is studying his parent’s alchemy books and his sister are together. They hear a scream which Ashley goes to check, when young Julia goes to look for her brother, she notices her parents hanging dead, blood everywhere and then someone attacking her brother Ashley and then she faints.
Fast forwards many years later and a criminal named Melvin Voyager has escaped from an Amestris prison and the Elric brothers (who are always anxious to visit new areas to find more information on the “philosopher stone”) decide to chase after the escaped convict.
While on the bus, a chimera attacks people on the bus and Melvin Voyager goes after it. Unfortunately, that causes problems on the train, so the Elric brothers try to protect the people on the train while Edward tries to go after both the chimera and Melvin Voyager, who Edward finds out is an alchemist.
Meanwhile, back at HQ, Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye wonder why Melvin Voyager would escape from prison when he was weeks away from being released in jail? While searching his belongings, they find part of a newspaper clip cut out and when they look at what was missing, it is a photo of an older Julia Chrichton, who was arrested for entering Table City.
At the same time, a group of people with flying contraptions have shown up and go after Julia Crichton, which Melvin Voyager is also after.
As the Elric brothers are trying to figure out what is going on, their journey leads them to the borders of Amestris and Creta and in between both countries down below is Table City, an area where people who once had their own land and forced out, were sent to live in an area which is essentially a junk yard and area where both countries deposit their waste and the city is essentially a bottomless pit.
As the Elric brothers descend into Table City, what secrets will they find and what is so special about Julia Crichton and Melvin Voyager?
One thing I love about anime films on Blu-ray is the fact that you know that unlike TV series, studios tend to have a higher budget, more staff and more time is dedicated in the look and feel for an anime film. “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture” is a big example of how the film looks fantastic thanks to its beautifully painted art backgrounds, it’s 3D use for vehicles and weaponry and more.
Presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), one of the biggest differences that this film would have versus the TV series and previous film is the character design. The character designs have a bit of a different style when compared to the TV series and I think that was part of the reason of the difference is to show that this is not a film derived from Hiromu Arakawa’s manga but is its own storyline featuring the Elric brothers. The art backgrounds are just heavily detailed and are beautiful too look at. In fact, the Blu-ray really showcases the detail of the CG work and the art.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
Another reason why I love anime films on Blu-ray is that you also tend to get a Japanese soundtrack in the same lossless soundtrack as the English dub. So, both are in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. I did notice that the English version had a bit more of a dynamic range but yet both are wonderful when it came to using the surround channels during the many action sequences during the film. Also, noticed the use of surround for ambiance as well. And for those with a subwoofer, yes, awesome use of LFE during the action sequences as well.
I watched the film in both Japanese and English dub and fans should feel great that both are done very well. In fact, as much as I enjoy watching “Fullmetal Alchemist” in Japanese, I will have to say that FUNimation Entertainment has always done a marvelous job when it came to the voice acting of this series. Vic Mignogna and Maxey Whitehead have literally nailed the voice of the Elric brothers and from the TV series to the film (as well as the other voice talents), I have always been impressed by the English dubwork, as well as the Japanese voice acting, so I had to watch the film in both soundtracks. Both are fantastic!
English subtitles were also easy to read.
“Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture” comes with the following special features:
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Making of Sacred Star of Milos – (1:04:25) Featuring the making of “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture” hosted by Romi Park (voice of Edward) and Rie Kugimiya (voice of Alphonse) and featuring interviews with the crew. In Japanese with English subtitles.
- U.S. Cast Commentary – Awesome FUNimation Entertainment audio commentary featuring Mike McFarland (ADR Director), Maxey Whithead (voice of Alfonse), Vic Mignogna (voice of Edward) Colleen Clinkenbeard (voice of Riza), Christopher R. Sabat (voice of Armstrong) . English dub fans will want to listen to this audio commentary!
- U.S. Trailer – (1:03) FUNimation Entertainment trailer for “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture”.
- Web Promo – (19:13) Super-deformed version of the Elric Brothers being interviewed.
- Theatrical Trailers – (4:07) The Japanese theatrical trailers for “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture”.
- TV Spot – (:48) The Japanese TV spots.
- FUNimation Entertainment trailers
“Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture” comes with both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film and special features.
When it was announced that “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture” was being made, I was quite happy. Mainly because it gave fans a chance to enjoy the Elric Brothers and the characters once again.
With the manga series completed and the TV series also finished, despite the characters and the series being so immensely popular, it was not a long running storyline like “Dragon Ball Z”, “Bleach” or “Naruto”, nor was there a film being created every summer.
And that is probably a good thing as non-canon films that are derived from anime series are usually not that good, but in the case of “Fullmetal Alchemist”, the last film “Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa” was enjoyable but after watching “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture”, I had a smile on my face at the very end because in my eye, I felt that this film was excellent.
While it did focus more on the Elric brothers and we didn’t see much action coming from Roy or Riza, they do make an appearance as with other popular characters such as Winry and Armstrong but the newer characters and the storyline created was so enjoyable and fascinating, and also a bit violent and kind of dark.
I loved how the film showcased both Amestris and Creta and seeing the people in Table City living in conflict and fear. This really made the viewer enjoy these newer characters such as Julia Crichton and her friends. And there are quite a bit of twist and turns, especially when transmutation starts to come into play…you know things are going to get crazy and by the end of the film, you’re left satisfied with how the story ends and how things end up for these characters.
As a film, it was enjoyable but I don’t know if I can see “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture” as a final film, because just from this film alone, it does show that there are always potential to further explore adventures of the Elric Brothers. But with that being said, I’m sure fans would even love it even more if a future film featured the involvement of creator Hiromu Arakawa.
But whether or not this film will be the last for “Fullmetal Alchemist”, based on the film alone, I enjoyed it more than the first and I really the storytelling and the characters, especially the beautifully painted art backgrounds. Especially the stylistic choice for the film’s character design which is slightly different from the TV series.
As for the Blu-ray release, video and audio quality were great, but the making of was wonderful and for English dub fans, they will really enjoy listening to the audio commentary, especially coming from Vic Micnogna. But you do get a good amount of special features with this release.
For those wondering if they can enjoy this film without knowing a thing about “Fullmetal Alchemist”, I think they can enjoy the film as things are explained for viewers. But I can only hope that if one watches the film, I hope they enjoyed it enough to watch the TV series in order for things to make more sense.
For parents, this is not for young children. There are some major sacrificing done (ie. blood sacrifice), so there is quite a bit of violence and blood, so definitely not to be watched with younger children in the room.
Overall, “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture” is a wonderful film with a captivating storyline, cool new characters, plenty of action and more. The Blu-ray also looks and sounds great and you get a good amount of special features as well. If you want an awesome anime film on Blu-ray, “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos – The Motion Picture” is highly recommended!
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