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FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: PREMIUM OVA COLLECTION (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 29, 2009 by  



“FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: PREMIUM OVA COLLECTION” is a fun, enjoyable and satisfying collection of shorts plus an interactive story that originally was only seen by those who took part in the Universal Studios Japan ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ ride.  If you are a big fan of the anime series, this DVD deserves to be part of your “Fullmetal Alchemist” collection!”

 

DVD TITLE: FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: PREMIUM OVA COLLECTION

DURATION: 35 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: English 5.1 Surround Sound, Japanese Stereo, English subtitles, 4:3

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: August 4, 2009

Directed by Seiji Mizushima

Character Design: Ito Yoshiyuki

Main Animatior: Sugiura Kouji

Production Design: Aramaki Shinji

Art Design: Narita Hideyasu

Music by Michiru Oshima

Animation by BONES

Produced by ANIPLEX

Featuring the following voice talent:

Rie Kugimiya/Aaron Dismuke as Alphonse Elric

Romi Paku/Vic Mignogna as Edward Elric

Hidekatsu Shibata/Christopher R. Sabat as Fuhrer King Bradrey

Junichi Suwave/Chris Patton as Greed

Kenji Utsumi/Christopher R. Sabat as Alex Louis Armstrong

Mayumi Yamaguchi/Wendy Powell as Envy

Megumi Toyoguchi/Caitlin Glass as Winry Rockbell

Ryotaro Okiayu as Scar

Toru Ohkawa/Travis Willingham as Roy Mustang

Yasuhiro Takato/Chris Cason as Gluttony

Yoshino Takamori as Juliet Douglas/Sloth

Yuuko Satou/Laura Bailey as Lust

Houko Kuwashima/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Rose Thomas

Michiko Neya/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Riza Hawkeye

Nana Mizuki/Luci Christian as Wrath

The Fullmetal Alchemist universe expands with new stories that reunite the original U.S. cast in four eye-opening tales available for the first time outside of Japan.

In the Interactive Experience, you’re on the front line against the Homonculus scourge.  In the Live Action Featurette, the search for truth continues in modern Japan.  Kids offers proof that innocence lost can be found again.  Finally, your invited to the Chibi Wrap Party, but don’t arrive late.  With Gluttony on the guest list, the finger foods-and fingers-probably won’t last long.

As the latest “Fullmetal Alchemist” series (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) is currently airing in Japan and is being streamed online courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment, the company has finally released the long awaited “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: PREMIUM OVA COLLECTION” on DVD.  The DVD would include the Interactive Experience plus one live and two animated shorts.

At Universal Studios Japan, back in 2005, those who took part in the “Fullmetal Alchemist Premiere Tour” ride were treated with an animation (specifically made for the ride) that puts a person on the ride to take on a role as the new member of the State Alchemists.  As a rookie, you are introduced to certain key characters from the anime series but then immediately taking part in a battle between the State Alchemists versus the Homunculus.  These shorts include a Preshow, Zone 1-4 and a Postshow and the duration is about 18 minutes long.

For the short collection (Duration: 16:48), the viewer is treated with the following shorts (spoiler-less summary):

  • Live Action Featurette – This takes place after the television series with Alphonse Eric in his armor form in live/real Japan searching for Ed.
  • Chibi Party – This is a humorous animated short in which the characters are in super deformed mode (chibi-small character mode) and celebrating after the filming of “Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa”.
  • Kids – We watch three children who look so similar to the Elric brothers and Winry Rockbell.  But who are they?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

For the most part, there is of course animation differences with one being used for a Universal Studios Japan ride in Japan, one that is super deformed format and another that actually looks quite cool with its beautiful backgrounds and vibrant colors.  The video is featured in 4:3 standard definition.

The audio is featured in English 5.1 Surround Sound and Japanese Stereo.  The majority of the action sequences can be heard in the interactive story but dialogue and music comes quite clear through your front channel speakers and center channel.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The special features featured on the “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: PREMIUM OVA COLLECTION” DVD include the following:

  • Original Japanese TV commercial (with English subtitles) – (:41) The Japanese TV commercial for “Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa”.
  • Textless ending theme – (4:03) The ending theme for the anime shorts and video clips of Universal Studios Japan.  Also, optional romanized and translated subtitles for the ending theme song.
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation Entertainment releases

When it comes to a popular series such as “Fullmetal Alchemist” and other popular long-running series, these OVA’s are typically for the fans of the animated series and/or the voice talent.  You either get a solid half hour of a storyline (that may or may not relate to the anime series) or an OVA that puts your favorite characters in a unique situation that may be full of humor and all-out fun!  The latter is indeed the case for the “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: PREMIUM OVA COLLECTION”.

For the interactive segment, it may be hard to imagine a ride with video (for those who never experienced it) but with my experience of riding a few in Japan, I can say it’s comparable for those who have attended such ride at Disneyland or Disney World, where you are shifted around through a ride (that is not like a rollercoaster but its constantly moving) while watching a storyline progress.

I could imagine after watching the Interactive Experience of how cool this ride may have been.  For the most part, the interactive experience was quite fun to watch and see everyone together in battle.  Not being part of the ride and watching it on DVD is still fun and enjoyable but I could only imagine how the interactive ride could have been during the action sequences.

For the animated shorts, fans of the anime series and film will definitely find these three shorts quite enjoyable and amusing.  They are short in duration but for the most part, my favorite would have to be “Kids” which has an ending that may surprise fans.

Overall, “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: PREMIUM OVA COLLECTION” is a fun, enjoyable and satisfying collection of shorts.  It’s also much more enjoyable knowing that retail stores are selling this for $10-$14, so it is quite affordable.  If you are a big fan of the anime series, this DVD deserves to be part of your “Fullmetal Alchemist” collection!

 






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