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Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 Omnibus Vol. 6: Volumes 16-18 by Hiromu Arakawa (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

fullmetalalchemist-omn-v6

Featuring an exciting sixth volume of “Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 Omnibus” that features new characters, background stories on Hohenheim and Risa Hawkeye and more!  Definitely recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2002 Hiromu Arakawa/SQUARE ENIX. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1: Volumes 16-18

STORY AND ART BY: Hiromu Arakawa

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: November 12, 2013

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “”auto-mail”” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his and his brother’s bodies…the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Contains Volumes 16, 17 and 18! The Elric brothers head north to Fort Briggs in search of May Chang, whose Xing alchemy may contain the answers they seek. But as Ed and Al soon discover, the only thing less forgiving than Briggs’s weather is the regiment of hardened soldiers assigned to defend it. Matters grow even more complicated when Ed and Al get thrown in lockdown and the sadistic Kimblee arrives from Central with Winry as his hostage. But even Kimblee’s cruelty pales in comparison to the evil of the new homunculi watching from the shadows…

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.

With the popularity of this franchise and its current Blu-ray and DVD release in the U.S., its no surprise that fans are wanting to read the manga version and what best way than to do it now with the release of Viz Media’s omnibus, “Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1″ with the sixth volume to be released in Nov. 2013 featuring volumes 16-18.

“Fullmetal Alchemist” is a manga 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 his 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: Brotherhood” is a series about two young alchemist brothers named Edward and his younger brother Alphonse Eric (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.

Meanwhile, a military figure named Roy Mustang has come and is shocked to see that Edward was able to survive a human transmutation and also anchoring his brother’s soul and thus gives Edward a chance to join the military to fight with them but at the same time, gaining access that may give Edward a chance to bring his brother back to life and also his own body as well.

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 his every move and willing to kill in order to get to Edward.

So far, we have learned that Bradley is a homunculus and that the homunculus may have infiltrated the State Military.

Ed and Al continue their search of how to get their bodies back but meanwhile, Scar tries to find out the truth of why the Ishvalans were massacred.  Meanwhile, Ed and Al find themselves in the North needing Olivier’s help but can they divulge the information about Bradley, the Fuhrer is a homunculus?  Meanwhile, Ed and Al find themselves teaming up with the people they have been against.

In vol. 6 of “Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 Omnibus” which features vol. 16-18, Ed and Al plan to head up North in order to find May and on their way, they meet Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong.

Meanwhile, as Scar and Marcoh try to leave town, they are being pursued by Solf J. Kimblee, the Red Lotus Alchemist and a battle ensues.

The next volume (17), Sloth finds a way to Briggs and Olivier and her men try to stop the homunculus.  Meanwhile, Hohenheim reminisces on the day he left his family and why he did it.

And in vol. 18, Winree goes to repair Ed’s arm in Briggs, back at home, Riza finds out that Bradley’s son Selim is the first homunculus known as Pride.  Scar vs. two chimeras named Jerso and Zampano.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” features the following characters:

  • Edward Elric – The oldest of the Elric brothers who manage to survive a transmutation and managed to bond his brother to a suit of armor just in time. In the process, he lost his legs and his right arm in which his childhood friend Winry has created metal prosthetics known as “automail”. He is also quite short but also very destructive as he is skillful with alchemy and the fact he survived a transmutation shocks the military. Working as a State Alchemist in order to find a way to bring his brother’s body back and possibly getting his own body back.
  • Alphonse Elric – Al is the youngest brother of Edward who was bonded to a suit of armor. Almost invulnerable and very strong. Often mistaken as the eldest because of his size.
  • Roy Mustang – The Lt. Colonel of the State Military who wants to become the next Fuhrer of Amestris. He is the one who discovered Edward and Alphonse.
  • Winry Rockbell - A childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse. She is also very gifted in technical and mechanical things. Often is the person who repairs Edward’s automail (metal prosthetic limbs). And always arguing with Edward, but its quite obvious that she cares about him.
  • Alex Louis Armstrong – A strong arm alchemist who is extremely strong and hulking in size but also very sensitive.
  • Izumi Curtis - The teacher of Ed and Alphonse Eric who helped them hone their alchemy right after their mother died.
  • Maes Hughes – An old friend of Roy Mustang’s who tries to help him with his goal to become a Fuhrer. He works in military intelligence and has a loving wife and young daughter. A family man, he lets Winry stay with them when she is in town.
  • King Bradley – The head of the State Military and King of Amestris who has a major secret.
  • Riza Hawkeye – Roy Mustang’s most trusted subordinate. The voice of reason and excellent in using firearms.
  • Jean Havoc - One of Roy Mustang’s subordinates who is exceptionally trained in firearms.
  • Lin Yao – A prince of Xing who is trying to find ways of immortality in order to prepare for his goal as Xing’s future emperor. An excellent swordsman.
  • Lan Fan – Lin Yao’s bodyguard and a skilled fighter willing to protect her boss at all costs.
  • May Chang – A young princess of Xing who goes to Amestris with her panda Xiao Mei. She has the power to heal and also manipulate energy.
  • Olivier Mira Armstrong – The older sister of Alex Louis Armstrong who leads the Brigs Fortress and protects the country from Drachma.  She is cold, distrusts people and inpatient.  She believes in “Survival of the fittest”.
  • Miles - A man who is quarter Ishvalan and wants to change the country’s perception towards Ishval.
  • Buccaneer – A  huge man who has two different pieces of automail (the latest type of automail which makes Winry so excited when she is around him).

The Homunculi

The main antagonists which consist of artificial humans who are trying to create the philosopher’s stone and has become a major thorn in the military’s side. They are hard to defeat as they can regenerate.

  • Father – The main antagonist who is the creator of all homunculi.  For some reason, he looks like Hohenheim and has interest in Ed and Al.
  • Lust – A homunculi who is a sexy woman who can use her fingers to become weapons and grow to larger lengths and cut through anything.
  • Gluttony – A homunculi who likes to eat people or anything. He has powerful jaws with acidic saliva.
  • Envy – A homunculi who can assume any appearance and makes him infiltrate the military HQ quite easily and is known to create and instigate major problems.
  • Greed – A homunculi that craves money, women and worldy possessions.  After being killed by Wrath, Lin Yao who is searching for immortality wants to become the new Greed.
  • Sloth – A large muscular man who has great speed and strength for his size.  He has been digging beneath Amestris and ends up inside the Briggs Fortress.
  • Pride – A homunculus using the body of Selim Bradley, the adoptive son of King Bradley, He uses his shadows to kill.

“Fullmetal Alchemist” is no doubt a popular manga series and because so many people were introduced to anime and manga because of “Fullmetal Alchemist”, with the release of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, many fans are wanting to know how the original manga series were.

And fortunately, Viz Media has done a great service to fans of popular series “Naruto”, “Bleach” and “Fullmetal Alchemist” by releasing these omnibus featuring three volumes per graphic novel for a low price!

And as the suspense continues with Roy Mustang trying to uncover more details of the homunculus infiltration into the military, one character that we are introduced to, that was an interesting addition to the series is Olivier Mira Armstrong, older sister of Alex Louis Armstrong and if you thought Alex was tough,  his sister Olivier is not just tough, she’s a no-nonsense, impatient, cold, kick-ass character!

The Briggs storyline was actually fun to watch, despite Ed and Al being limited as Olivier and the others don’t quite trust them (as the two have to hold back information from Olivier). Another storyline which I found very cool in this latest volume of “Fullmetal Alchemist” is more character development for Hohenheim, Riza Hawkeye, and others.

One thing that those who are new to the series can expect from “Fullmetal Alchemist” is that the storyline delivers in action and drama but also, it features plenty of characters and also adventure, so you pretty much get a little bit of everything with this series.

Hiromu Arakawa’s artwork and writing are quite solid and its a testament that a series that is not long-running compared to “Naruto” or “Bleach” has achieved so much success in the USA but also has been released on Blu-ray, DVD, video games as well in America. Not bad for a manga series that is 27 volumes long! In fact, that’s fantastic!

But if you have been wanting to jump in and read the manga series, it’s a great time to do that now, especially through the release of the 3-in-1 series. For its price and value, there is nothing to complain about. This is great deal for new and old “Fullmetal Alchemist” fans who have not read the manga series.

“Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 Omnibus Vol. 6″ features a good balance of humor and action and if you are a fan of the anime series, you definitely will want to read the manga version!  Highly recommended!

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Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1: Volumes 1-3 by Hiromu Arakawa (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

July 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Are you new to “Fullmetal Alchemist” and want to know how it all began? Look no further as Viz Media is releasing “Fullmetal Alchemist” as part of their 3-in-1 series. Featuring the first three volumes of the manga series, read the action, adventure and drama of Hiromu Arakawa’s popular hit series! Definitely recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2002 Hiromu Arakawa/SQUARE ENIX. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1: Volumes 1-3

STORY AND ART BY: Hiromu Arakawa

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media

RATED: T for Older Teen

PAGES: 576

RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2011

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “”auto-mail”” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his and his brother’s bodies…the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world, somewhere between magic art, and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in these powers to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and leg…and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living iron. Now they are agents of the government, slaves of the military -alchemical complex, using their unique powers to obey their orders…even to kill. But their powers aren’t unique. The world crawls with evil alchemists. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philsopher’s Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are…

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.

With the popularity of this franchise and its current Blu-ray and DVD release in the U.S., its no surprise that fans are wanting to read the manga version and what best way than to do it now with the release of Viz Media’s omnibus, “Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1″ with the first volume feature manga volumes 1-3.

“Fullmetal Alchemist” is a manga 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 his 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.

In the first volume, a woman named Rose trusts a charlatan (who has a Philospher’s Stone) who promises to bring her dead husband back, but the Elric Brothers knows that there is no such way.   Meanwhile, as the Elric Brothers head back to headquarters, the train is hijacked.

In the second volume, the Elric Brothers come in contact with a mad scientist named Dr. Tucker who is learning transmutation and learn of the crazy and tragic things he has done.  Meanwhile, a mysterious man with a scar has arrived.  Who is this man known as Scar?  And what happens when the military try to apprehend him?

Meanwhile, the Elric Brothers try to look for a scientist known for creating the Philosopher’s Stone.

In the third volume, Edward’s automail is damaged and the only person he knows that can repair it is his childhood friend Winry Rockbell.  So, Edward and Al head back home along with Armstrong to get the repairs done.  Meanwhile, the Homunculus go after Scar and the military work hard in to decrypting the code of how a Philosopher’s Stone is created and leading Edward and Al to confront their true enemy.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” features the following characters:

  • Edward Elric – The oldest of the Elric brothers who manage to survive a transmutation and managed to bond his brother to a suit of armor just in time.   In the process, he lost his legs and his right arm in which his childhood friend Winry has created metal prosthetics known as “automail”.  He is also quite short but also very destructive as he is skillful with alchemy and the fact he survived a transmutation shocks the military.  Working as a State Alchemist in order to find a way to bring his brother’s body back and possibly getting his own body back.
  • Alphonse Elric – Al is the youngest brother of Edward who was bonded to a suit of armor.   Almost invulnerable and very strong.  Often mistaken as the eldest because of his size.
  • Roy Mustang – The Lt. Colonel of the State Military who wants to become the next Fuhrer of Amestris.  He is the one who discovered Edward and Alphonse.
  • Winry Rockbell - A childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse.  She is also very gifted in technical and mechanical things.   Often is the person who repairs Edward’s automail (metal prosthetic limbs).  And always arguing with Edward, but its quite obvious that she cares about him.
  • Alex Louis Armstrong – A strong arm alchemist who is extremely strong and hulking in size but also very sensitive.
  • Riza Hawkeye – Roy Mustang’s most trusted subordinate.  The voice of reason and excellent in using firearms.

The Homunculi

The main antagonists which consist of artificial humans who are trying to create the philosopher’s stone and has become a major thorn in the military’s side.  They are hard to defeat as they can regenerate.

  • Lust – A homunculi who is a sexy woman who can use her fingers to become weapons and grow to larger lengths and cut through anything.
  • Gluttony – A homunculi who likes to eat people or anything.  He has powerful jaws with acidic saliva.
  • Envy – A homunculi who can assume any appearance and makes him infiltrate the military HQ quite easily and is known to create and instigate major problems.

“Fullmetal Alchemist” is no doubt a popular manga series and because so many people were introduced to anime and manga because of “Fullmetal Alchemist”, with the release of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, many fans are wanting to know how the original manga series were.

And fortunately, Viz Media has done a great service to fans of popular series “Naruto”, “Bleach” and “Fullmetal Alchemist” by releasing these omnibus featuring three volumes per graphic novel for a low price!

One thing that those who are new to the series can expect from “Fullmetal Alchemist” is that the storyline delivers in action and drama but also, it features plenty of characters and also adventure, so you pretty much get a little bit of everything with this series.

Hiromu Arakawa’s artwork and writing are quite solid and its a testament that a series that is not long-running compared to “Naruto” or “Bleach” has achieved so much success in the USA but also has been released on Blu-ray, DVD, video games as well in America.  Not bad for a manga series that is 27 volumes long!  In fact, that’s fantastic!

But if you have been wanting to jump in and read the manga series, it’s a great time to do that now, especially through the release of the 3-in-1 series.  For its price and value, there is nothing to complain about.  This is  great deal for new and old “Fullmetal Alchemist” fans who have not read the manga series.

Highly recommended!

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VIZ Media: Get Ready for Summer Reading Fun w/ All New 3-in-1 Manga Editions!

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

New Omnibus Releases Announced For BLEACH, FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, KEKKAISHI And NARUTO


San Francisco, CA, April 21, 2011 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, kicks off the summer reading season with the release of new 3-in-1 omnibus editions for several best-loved manga (graphic novels) series. NARUTO and KEKKAISHI both launch on May 3rd, and BLEACH and FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST go on sale June 7th. Each of the new omnibus releases bundles 3 complete manga volumes into a handy summertime reading companion.

NARUTO 3-in-1 Edition Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN • Available May 3rd
Naruto is a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He’s got a wild sense of humor, but Naruto is completely serious about his mission to be the world’s greatest ninja! It’s training day and no one takes Naruto seriously at Ninja Academy. Especially not the other students, who all are competing to be the best ninja ever and some day lead Konoha, the Village Hidden in the Leaves. Naruto and his classmates are about to embark on an adventure that takes them far beyond Ninja Academy, beyond Konoha, beyond anything they ever imagined. What is Naruto’s true destiny? The epic story that has sold millions worldwide begins now! For more information, please visit the official NARUTO website at www.Naruto.com.

KEKKAISHI 3-in-1 Edition Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN • Available May 3rd
By night, teenager Yoshimori Sumimura is a “kekkaishi”–a demon-hunter who specializes in creating magical barriers around his prey. By day, Yoshimori’s got other demons to battle: an addiction to sweets and a seriously crotchety grandfather! Yoshimori’s pretty neighbor and childhood friend, Tokine Yukimura, is also a kekkaishi, but their families are feuding over who is the true practitioner of the art. Now the two rival kekkaishi must do battle with amphibious demons, the ghost of a pastry chef, charming demon-charmer Yomi and her pet demon Yoki, embittered demon-dog Koya – and more! More information on KEKKAISHI is available at: www.viz.com/kekkaishi.

BLEACH 3-in-1 Edition Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN • Available June 7th
Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability doesn’t change his life nearly as much as his close encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. While fighting a Hollow, an evil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family; but much to her surprise, Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits, and along with Rukia – who is slowly regaining her powers – it’s Ichigo’s job to protect the innocent from Hollows and help the spirits themselves find peace. The paranormal action-adventure begins now! More information on BLEACH is available at Bleach.viz.com.

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST 3-in-1 Edition Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN • Available June 7th
Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world, somewhere between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in these powers to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg…and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living iron. Now they are agents of the government, slaves of the military-alchemical complex, using their unique powers to obey their orders…even to kill. But their powers aren’t unique. The world crawls with evil alchemists. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher’s Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are! More information on FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST is available at: www.viz.com/fullmetal-alchemist.

L’Arc-en-Ciel once again providing theme song for FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST!

April 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Starting from July 2nd, “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST the Movie: The Sacred Star of Milos” will have its nationwide release in Japan, announcing that the theme song for the movie will be provided by L’Arc-en-Ciel.

For L’Arc-en-Ciel, this will be their third time to contribute a theme song for FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST. Their song “READY STEADY GO” had been the opening theme song for the smash-hit TV animation series “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST”  in 2004, and “Link” was the theme song for the “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa” in 2005.
*Both “READY STEADY GO” and “Link” are available on iTunes

Check out the trailer including preview of L’Arc-en-Ciel’s new song from the official website of “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST the Movie: The Sacred Star of Milos”
http://www.hagaren-movie.net/


More details for the theme song are soon to be announced.

http://www.larc-en-ciel.com <http://www.larc-en-ciel.com/>

 

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Two (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” part two is another fantastic volume featuring more action, more humor and also its fair share of heartbreaking moments.  This is definitely an addicting series that continues to get better and better and I can’t wait for part 3.  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of ©Hiromu Arakawa/FA Project, MBS. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part Two

DURATION: Episodes 14-26 (320 Minutes)

 

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 16×9 HD Native, Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

 

RATED: TV 14

 

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

 

RELEASE DATE: August 24, 2010

 

Originally Created by Hiromu Arakawa

Directed by Yasuhiro Irie

Series Composition by Hiroshi Ohnogi

Music by Akira Senju

Character Design by Hiroki Kanno

Art Director: Takeshi Satou

Art Design: Kazushige Kanehira

Anime Production by BONES

 

 

Featuring the voices of:

Rie Kugimiya/Maxey Whitehead as Alphonse Elric

Romi Paku/Vic Mignogna as Edward Elric

Iemasa Kayumi/Kent Williams as Father

Megumi Takamoto/Caitlin Glass as Winry Rockbell

Shinichiro Miki/Travis Willingham as Roy Mustang

Unshou Ishizuka/Aaron Dismuke as Van Hohenheim

Ai Satou/Brittney Karbowski as Mrs. Bradley

Akemi Okamura/Cynthia Cranz as Paninya

Anri Katsu/John Burgmeier as Dolcetto

Atsuki Tani as Berthold Hawkeye

Chika Fujimura/Gwendolyn Lau as Sheska

J. Michael Tatum as Scar

Fumihiko Tachiki as Sloth

Fumiko Orikasa/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Risa (Riza) Hawkeye

Go Shinomiya as Storch

Kikuko Inoue/Laura Bailey as Lust

Wendy Powell as Envy

The path to the Philosopher’s Stone now enters unfamiliar territory, as the Elrics face exotic strangers who use alkahestry, a version of alchemy native to the distant kingdom of Xing. As insight is gained into the secret world of the Homunculi and their enigmatic creator, Lust feels the fires of Mustang’s rage in battle – and the outcome of the clash will shock you. Winry endures the trial of her life when new horrors of the Ishvalan massacre are revealed.

 

In Japan, “Fullmetal Alchemist” (Hagane no Renkinjutushi) has been 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 and was followed by a film to conclude the series.

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.

Despite it’s popularity, the series could have gone on longer but because the anime series was created when the manga was only several years old, the anime series only lasted 51-episodes and there were differences between what the director featured on the anime series and what Arakawa had in the manga.

So, in 2009, a new series titled “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Furumetaru Arukemisuto) was created by BONES and this time around, the series would follow the manga much more closely. Currently there are over 60 episodes that have aired in Japan and the series is still ongoing. Also, unlike the previous anime series, this series would be created in HD (540p). The first 13 episodes of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” would feature its first 13-episodes covering the first 26-episodes from the original anime series but from that point on, the series becomes a whole new storyline which features more characters and for the most part, something new and different for the viewers, especially fans of the original series.

To make sure that there is a difference between this series aside from the storyline differences compared to the original, the staff is different this time around as well as the character designs. The director for “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” would be Yasuhiro Irie (who worked on RahXephon”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “Macross Plus”, “Gunparade March”), series composition by Hiroshi Ohnogi (“Eureka Seven”, “Area 88, “Aquarion”, “RahXephon”, “RIN”, “Skullman”), music by Akira Senju (“Red Garden”, “Mobile Suit Victory Gundam”, “Silent Service”), character designs by Hiroki Kanno (“Angelic Layer”, “Eureka Seven”, “Ninja Scroll”, “RahXephon”) and art design by Takeshi Satou (“Mobile Suit Gundam 00″, “Ghost Slayers Ayashi”, “Please Twins!”).

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is a series about two young alchemist brothers named Edward and his younger brother Alphonse Eric (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.

Meanwhile, a military figure named Roy Mustang has come and is shocked to see that Edward was able to survive a human transmutation and also anchoring his brother’s soul and thus gives Edward a chance to join the military to fight with them but at the same time, gaining access that may give Edward a chance to bring his brother back to life and also his own body as well.

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 his every move and willing to kill in order to get to Edward.

In part two of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, the story begins to focus on the military encounter with the Homunculi, the investigation of Hughes death and Winry coming face-to-face with the murderer who killed her parents.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” features the following characters:

  • Edward Elric – The oldest of the Elric brothers who manage to survive a transmutation and managed to bond his brother to a suit of armor just in time. In the process, he lost his legs and his right arm in which his childhood friend Winry has created metal prosthetics known as “automail”. He is also quite short but also very destructive as he is skillful with alchemy and the fact he survived a transmutation shocks the military. Working as a State Alchemist in order to find a way to bring his brother’s body back and possibly getting his own body back.
  • Alphonse Elric – Al is the youngest brother of Edward who was bonded to a suit of armor. Almost invulnerable and very strong. Often mistaken as the eldest because of his size.
  • Roy Mustang – The Lt. Colonel of the State Military who wants to become the next Fuhrer of Amestris. He is the one who discovered Edward and Alphonse.
  • Winry Rockbell - A childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse. She is also very gifted in technical and mechanical things. Often is the person who repairs Edward’s automail (metal prosthetic limbs). And always arguing with Edward, but its quite obvious that she cares about him.
  • Alex Louis Armstrong – A strong arm alchemist who is extremely strong and hulking in size but also very sensitive.
  • Izumi Curtis - The teacher of Ed and Alphonse Eric who helped them hone their alchemy right after their mother died.
  • Maes Hughes – An old friend of Roy Mustang’s who tries to help him with his goal to become a Fuhrer. He works in military intelligence and has a loving wife and young daughter. A family man, he lets Winry stay with them when she is in town.
  • King Bradley – The head of the State Military and King of Amestris who has a major secret.
  • Riza Hawkeye – Roy Mustang’s most trusted subordinate.  The voice of reason and excellent in using firearms.
  • Jean Havoc - One of Roy Mustang’s subordinates who is exceptionally trained in firearms.
  • Lin Yao – A prince of Xing who is trying to find ways of immortality in order to prepare for his goal as Xing’s future emperor.  An excellent swordsman.
  • Lan Fan – Lin Yao’s bodyguard and a skilled fighter willing to protect her boss at all costs.
  • May Chang – A young princess of Xing who goes to Amestris with her panda Xiao Mei.  She has the power to heal and also manipulate energy.

The Homunculi

The main antagonists which consist of artificial humans who are trying to create the philosopher’s stone and has become a major thorn in the military’s side.  They are hard to defeat as they can regenerate.

  • Lust – A homunculi who is a sexy woman who can use her fingers to become weapons and grow to larger lengths and cut through anything.
  • Gluttony – A homunculi who likes to eat people or anything.  He has powerful jaws with acidic saliva.
  • Envy – A homunculi who can assume any appearance and makes him infiltrate the military HQ quite easily and is known to create and instigate major problems.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Two” features episodes 14-26 on two Blu-ray discs. Here is a basic, spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 14 – Those Who Lurk Underground – King Bradley takes on Greed, meanwhile Martel hides inside Al.
  • EPISODE 15 – Envoy from the East - Scar takes on the “Silver Alchemist” and he also meets May Chang.
  • EPISODE 16 – Footsteps of a Comrade-in-Arms – Ed, Al and Winry learn the fate of Hughes.
  • EPISODE 17 – Cold Flame – Ross is being accused of the death of Hughes.
  • EPISODE 18 – The Arrogant Palm of a Small Human – Ed and Armstrong  go to the ruins of Xerxes and learns a major secret.
  • EPISODE 19 – Road of Hope – Hawkeye vs. Gluttony.  Mustang vs. Lust.
  • EPISODE 20 – Death of the Undying – Ed sees his fathr Hohenheim again.  Meanwhile, Ed wants to find out if the thing he transmutated was his mother.
  • EPISODE 21 – Advance of the Fool – Ed talks to Al and tries to find out what happened during the transmutation and if he can remember anything.
  • EPISODE 22 – Father Before the Grave – Winry learns the details of her family’s death and who was responsible for their murders.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 23 – Girl on the Battlefield – Ed and Al vs. Scar and the truth about King Bradley is revealed.
  • EPISODE 24 – Inside the Belly – Ed, Al and Lin try to survive and escape from Gluttony.
  • EPISODE 25 – Doorway of Darkness – Ed and Lin must escape from Gluttony’s stomach.
  • EPISODE 26 – Reunion – Ed and Lin vs. Envy.

VIDEO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Two” is presented in 1080p HD 16×9 via a HD native source. It’s important to note that although the conversion was made to 1080p, I’ve read that the actual Japanese original masters were created in 540p. With that being said, this is a TV series and one can’t expect OVA or film quality but I manage to compare the DVD and Blu-ray version and the Blu-ray looks much more colorful, much more detailed and looked much better and more colorful than its DVD counterpart.

I did notice edge enhancement and I’m sure the conversion of a 540p source to 1080p possibly led to the jaggies that can be seen at times. Granted, I’m a bit picky when it comes to video quality but the fact that this is created by BONES (a busy anime production company) and the fact that this is not an OVA or film, for a TV series, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” looks very good. Granted, it’s not uber-vibrant but there is a good amount of shading, detail, blacks are deep and overall, I felt the Blu-ray looked much better than its DVD counterpart.

AUDIO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Two” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Overall, the 5.1 lossless soundtrack sounds very good and there is a good amount of surround usage and its much more immersive than its Japanese lossless counterpart.  There is quite a bit of action in this second volume, plenty of battles are featured and many episodes that utilize the surround channels.

The Japanese lossless soundtrack is still good, especially if you have a receiver in which you can change the setting to stereo on all channels. I do prefer the Japanese lossless soundtrack in terms of acting especially during the more emotional moments in this second volume (which there are many).  But I’ve watched the series in both Japanese and English and for the most part, both are well done and similar to “Dragon Ball Z” and “One Piece”, the English dub has caught my attention and this time around, I was watching many of the episodes in English.  But both voice acting are well done.

Subtitles are in English.

NOTE: You can not use your audio button to switch from Japanese to English and vice versa while watching the series. You will need to press your guide button to switch to another audio. Also, you can not optionally remove English subtitles unless you choose the English lossless soundtrack. So, for those who want to watch the series in Japanese with no English subtitles may be disappointed by this.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Two” comes with the following special features:

  • EPISODE 14 Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Director and voice of Havoc) and voice talents Chris Patton (Greed) and Vic Mignona (Edward Elric) talking about reprising their role for “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood).
  • EPISODE 23 Commentary – Audio commentary by ADR director and voice talent Mike McFarland (Havoc) and English Dub voice talents Todd Haberkorn (Ling Yao), Monica Rial (May Chang), Trina Nishimura (Lan Fan).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs – The textless opening and ending theme songs.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

Like the first part of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, there is a good amount of episodes that will make you laugh and even make you want to shed some tears as not only does the series feature a good amount of action, fun and upbeat moments but also heartbreaking episodes.  Especially those dealing with Ed and Al’s realization of what happened to their good friend Hughes and when we see Winry confront the man who killed her parents.  Heartbreaking scenes but definitely added to the enjoyment of this series.

Aside from the more emotional scenes, the battle between the military and the homunculi is starting to ramp up and we get to see a number of awesome battles between the military and the Homunculi and also an introduction to Lin Yao, Lan Fan, May Chang and also a confrontation with the murderer Scar.

If anything, while the first series was more or less trying to jam pack a lot of story (that people saw in the first series) in its first 13 episodes, this time around the storyline becomes much more focused on what took place on the manga series.  More character development was needed on the military characters and the writers have done a wonderful job in including more scenes with Roy Mustang, Jean Havoc, Riza Hawkeye and also on the newer characters Ling Yao, Lan Fan and May Chang.  As well as showcasing the homunculi and what they are capable of.

I really enjoyed part two of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and how well-paced, how action-packed and how much deeper the episodes were.  This latest volume was quite addicting and I definitely enjoy how the series has continued to grow and improve with each episode.

As for the Blu-ray release, as explained with my review for the first volume, some people may have issues that this series is not true 1080p but created in 540p and then upscaled to 1080p.   As many Japanese companies are going through cost-cutting situations due to their economy, we are going to see some anime released in 4:3 instead of widescreen and we are going to see Japanese companies not taking advantage of true 1080p and focusing on creating anime series in 540p.  It’s the nature of the industry right now and if we want to support anime, we’ll need to support them even during these tough times.

But with that being said, I was able to compare the DVD and the Blu-ray release of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and the artistic backgrounds and its details are much better looking on Blu, the colors are more cleaner, sharper and more colorful on Blu and for the most part, for a TV series, I’m quite content with the PQ. I felt the black levels were good and again, for a TV Series released in 2009, the picture quality is good not great (it’s not 1080p) and there is a hint of edge enhancement but it’s still pretty good.

Overall, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” may not please the diehards who have loved the original anime TV series but the fact is, we are getting a series that is now closer to the manga series and also more episodes than the original release. Not to say one should forget the original series but in a way, the “Fullmetal Alchemist” brand has moved on to bigger and better and the FMA: Brotherhood series is much more consistent to what the creator, Hiromu Arakawa intended.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” has the making of a great anime series and part two is fantastic!

It will make you laugh, cry and you’ll notice how things continue to get better and better with this series and you are left with wanting more! If you are looking for an anime TV series on Blu-ray that has a great balance of cool characters, an addictive storyline and for the most part, looks good and sounds wonderful in HD. Definitely put this series high on top of your anime on Blu-ray list!

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part One (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” has the making of a great anime series!  It will make you laugh, cry and by the end of the first volume, you are left with wanting more!  If you are looking for an anime TV series on Blu-ray that has a great balance of cool characters, an addictive storyline and for the most part, looks good and sounds wonderful in HD.  Definitely put this series high on top of your anime on Blu-ray list!

Images courtesy of ©Hiromu Arakawa/FA Project, MBS. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part One

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 16×9 HD Native, Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV 14

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: November 17, 2009

Originally Created by Hiromu Arakawa

Directed by Yasuhiro Irie

Series Composition by Hiroshi Ohnogi

Music by Akira Senju

Opening and Ending Theme by L’Arc~en~Ciel

Character Deisgn by Hiroki Kanno

Art Director: Takeshi Satou

Art Design: Kazushige Kanehira

Anime Production by BONES

Featuring the voices of:

Rie Kugimiya/Maxey Whitehead as Alphonse Elric

Romi Paku/Vic Mignogna as Edward Elric

Iemasa Kayumi/Kent Williams as Father

Megumi Takamoto/Caitlin Glass as Winry Rockbell

Shinichiro Miki/Travis Willingham as Roy Mustang

Unshou Ishizuka/Aaron Dismuke as Van Hohenheim

Ai Satou/Brittney Karbowski as Mrs. Bradley

Akemi Okamura/Cynthia Cranz as Paninya

Anri Katsu/John Burgmeier as Dolcetto

Atsuki Tani as Berthold Hawkeye

Chika Fujimura/Gwendolyn Lau as Sheska

J. Michael Tatum as Scar

Fumihiko Tachiki as Sloth

Fumiko Orikasa/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Risa (Riza) Hawkeye

Go Shinomiya as Storch

Kikuko Inoue/Laura Bailey as Lust

Wendy Powell as Envy

Edward and Alphonse Elric’s reckless disregard for alchemy’s fundamental laws ripped half of Ed’s limbs from his body and left Al’s soul clinging to a cold suit of armor. To restore what was lost, the brothers scour a war-torn land for the Philosopher’s Stone, a fabled relic which grants the ability to perform alchemy in impossible ways.

The Elrics are not alone in their search; the corrupt State Military is also eager to harness the artifact’s power. So too are the strange Homunculi and their shadowy creator. The mythical gem lures exotic alchemists from distant kingdoms, scarring some deeply enough to inspire murder. As the Elrics find their course altered by these enemies and allies, their purpose remains unchanged – and their bond unbreakable.

In Japan, “Fullmetal Alchemist” (Hagane no Renkinjutushi) has been 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 and was followed by a film to conclude the series.

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.

Despite it’s popularity, the series could have gone on longer but because the anime series was created when the manga was only several years old, the anime series only lasted 51-episodes and there were differences between what the director featured on the anime series and what Arakawa had in the manga.

So, in 2009, a new series titled “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Furumetaru Arukemisuto) was created by BONES and this time around, the series would follow the manga much more closely.  Currently there are over 60 episodes that have aired in Japan and the series is still ongoing.  Also, unlike the previous anime series, this series would be created in HD (540p).  The first 13 episodes of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” would feature its first 13-episodes covering the first 26-episodes from the original anime series but from that point on, the series becomes a whole new storyline which features more characters and for the most part, something new and different for the viewers, especially fans of the original series.

To make sure that there is a difference between this series aside from the storyline differences compared to the original, the staff is different this time around as well as the character designs.  The director for “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” would be Yasuhiro Irie (who worked on RahXephon”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “Macross Plus”, “Gunparade March”), series composition by Hiroshi Ohnogi (“Eureka Seven”, “Area 88, “Aquarion”, “RahXephon”, “RIN”, “Skullman”), music by Akira Senju (“Red Garden”, “Mobile Suit Victory Gundam”, “Silent Service”), character designs by Hiroki Kanno (“Angelic Layer”, “Eureka Seven”, “Ninja Scroll”, “RahXephon”) and art design by Takeshi Satou (“Mobile Suit Gundam 00″, “Ghost Slayers Ayashi”, “Please Twins!”).

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is a series about two young alchemist brothers named Edward and his younger brother Alphonse Eric (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.

Meanwhile, a military figure named Roy Mustang has come and is shocked to see that Edward was able to survive a human transmutation and also anchoring his brother’s soul and thus gives Edward a chance to join the military to fight with them but at the same time, gaining access that may give Edward a chance to bring his brother back to life and also his own body as well.

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 his every move and willing to kill in order to get to Edward.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” features the following characters:

  • Edward Elric – The oldest of the Elric brothers who manage to survive a transmutation and managed to bond his brother to a suit of armor just in time.   In the process, he lost his legs and his right arm in which his childhood friend Winry has created metal prosthetics known as “automail”.  He is also quite short but also very destructive as he is skillful with alchemy and the fact he survived a transmutation shocks the military.  Working as a State Alchemist in order to find a way to bring his brother’s body back and possibly getting his own body back.
  • Alphonse Elric – Al is the youngest brother of Edward who was bonded to a suit of armor.   Almost invulnerable and very strong.  Often mistaken as the eldest because of his size.
  • Roy Mustang – The Lt. Colonel of the State Military who wants to become the next Fuhrer of Amestris.  He is the one who discovered Edward and Alphonse.
  • Winry Rockbell - A childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse.  She is also very gifted in technical and mechanical things.   Often is the person who repairs Edward’s automail (metal prosthetic limbs).  And always arguing with Edward, but its quite obvious that she cares about him.
  • Alex Louis Armstrong – A strong arm alchemist who is extremely strong and hulking in size but also very sensitive.
  • Izumi Curtis - The teacher of Ed and Alphonse Eric who helped them hone their alchemy right after their mother died.
  • Maes Hughes – An old friend of Roy Mustang’s who tries to help him with his goal to become a Fuhrer.  He works in military intelligence and has a loving wife and young daughter.  A family man, he lets Winry stay with them when she is in town.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part One” features a total of 13-episodes on two Blu-ray discs.  Here is a basic summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – Fullmetal Alchemist – Edward and Al are sent to capture rogue State Alchemist Isaac McDougal.
  • EPISODE 2 – The First Day - We learn how Edward lost his limbs and how Al was bonded to a suit of armor.
  • EPISODE 3 – City of Heresy – Ed and Al arrive at Liore and learn about Father Cornello’s “miracles”. Does he really know alchemy?
  • EPISODE 4 – An Alchemist’s Anguish – Who is the mysterious man who has murdered State Alchemists?
  • EPISODE 5 – Rain of Sorrows – After the battle against the mysterious man, now Edward and Al must take on Scar.
  • EPISODE 6 – Road of Hope – The Elric brothers and Armstrong go to Resembool to find a former State Alchemist.
  • EPISODE 7 – Hidden Truths – Ed and Al arrive back in Central and find out that the library they need to visit has been burned down by someone.
  • EPISODE 8 – The Fifth Laboratory – Al vs. Barry the Chopper while Ed takes on Slicer.
  • EPISODE 9 – Created Feelings – The aftermath of the battle and Al starts to have conflicted feelings.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 10 – Separate Destinations – Both Edward and Al go to visit their old alchemist teacher Izumi Curtis.  Meanwhile, tragedy hits the State Alchemists.
  • EPISODE 11 – Miracle at Rush Valley – The Elric brothers and Winry visit Rush Valley (where the best automail creators live).
  • EPISODE 12 – One is All, All is One – Ed and Al learn the truth about their teacher.
  • EPISODE 13 – Beasts of Dublith – Al is captured by homunculus.  Edward searches for his brother.

VIDEO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is presented in 1080p HD 16×9 via a HD native source.  It’s important to note that although the conversion was made to 1080p, I’ve read that the actual Japanese original masters were created in 540p.  With that being said, this is a TV series and one can’t expect OVA or film quality but I manage to compare the DVD and Blu-ray verson and the Blu-ray looks much more colorful, much more detailed and looked much better and more colorful than its DVD counterpart.

I did notice edge enhancement and I’m sure the conversion of a 540p source to 1080p possibly led to the jaggies that can be seen at times.  Granted, I’m a bit picky when it comes to video quality but the fact that this is created by BONES (a busy anime production company) and the fact that this is not an OVA or film, for a TV series, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” looks very good. Granted, it’s not uber-vibrant but there is a good amount of shading, detail, blacks are deep and overall, I felt the Blu-ray looked much better than its DVD counterpart.

AUDIO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part One” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  Overall, the 5.1 lossless soundtrack sounds very good and there is a good  amount of surround usage and its much more immersive than its Japanese lossless counterpart.

The Japanese lossless soundtrack is still good, especially if you have a receiver in which you can change the setting to stereo on all channels.  I do prefer the Japanese lossless soundtrack in terms of acting.  For example, the scene where Edward is screaming in pain after performing the transmutation is incredibly acted by Romi Paku, Vic Mignona did a good job but I felt Romi was much more emotional and you can hear that pain in his voice.  But the English lossless of course, has a much better sound overall.  So, it all comes down to preference.

Subtitles are in English.

NOTE: You can not use your audio button to switch from Japanese to English and vice versa while watching the series.  You will need to press your guide button to switch to another audio.  Also, you can not optionally remove English subtitles unless you choose the English lossless soundtrack.  So, for those who want to watch the series in Japanese with no English subtitles may be disappointed by this.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood – Part One” comes with the following special features:

  • EPISODE 1 Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Director and voice of Gene) and voice talents Colleen Clinkenbeard (Riza Hawkeye and Rose Thomas), Travis Willingham (Roy Mustang) and Maxey Whitehead (who plays Al).  The talent talk about the differences of playing the character in the original series and playing the characters now.
  • EPISODE 10 Commentary – Audio commentary by American voice talent Caitlyn Glass (ADR Director and voice of Winree Rockbell), Sonny Strait (voice of Hughes) and Laura Bailey (voice of Lust).  The talent talk about the differences of their characters compared to the original “Fullmetal Alchemist” series.
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs – The textless opening and ending theme songs.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

EXTRAS:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” comes with a cardboard slipcase and four postcards (note three of the four postcards are seen via the images on this review).

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” made me laugh, made my cry but for the most part, made realize how much I love this series and how happy I am that we are getting the version based on the manga series.

Not to say that I don’t miss the original anime series but “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is what should have been to begin with but overall, I enjoyed this Blu-ray release.

The first 13-episodes pretty much covers the first 26-episodes of the original series, so certain parts of the storyline that were much more fleshed out in the series will definitely upset the hardcore fans of the original series but I felt that the point is to get over the primary 13-episodes and then afterward, go full force in a different direction from the original anime series.

As that is one major difference between the two series, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” also features a different look for some of the characters and more characters are introduced.  The series is much darker, bloodier but it eventually works itself out.  The storyline of Hughes is not as fleshed out as in the original but still, the impact of what happens to him is still there.

The brotherly bond between Edward and Al is still there and it was great to see Winry so direct in how she gets her emotions across was quite nice.  But of course, these are the first 13-episodes and there are over 60-episodes in Japan (and the series is still ongoing).  But I have no doubt that this will be one of the more exciting ongoing long series to be available on Blu-ray that I have no doubt in my mind is going to be action-packed, hilarious, fun, sad and even more than what we got with the original series.

The only thing that I know where people will have their differences in opinion is the actual picture quality of the series.  As many Japanese companies are going through cost-cutting situations due to their economy, we are going to see some anime released in 4:3 instead of widescreen and we are going to see Japanese companies not taking advantage of 1080p and focusing on 540p.  This is going to be a major contention with videophiles wanting the best for anime in the US (and have been disgruntled by the amount of upscale releases).

Personally, I’m not as critical because this is a TV series (you can’t expect OVA or film quality) and just because it’s from BONES, like any major anime studio, sometimes the staff are working on multiple series and for those familiar with Japanese anime studios, sometimes these series are turned in to the network up-to-the-last minute of being aired on television.

But with that being said, I was able to compare the DVD and the Blu-ray release of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and the artistic backgrounds and its details are much better looking on Blu, the colors are more cleaner, sharper and more colorful on Blu and for the most part, for a TV series, I’m quite content with the PQ.  I felt the black levels were good and again, for a TV Series released in 2009, the picture quality is good not great (it’s not 1080p) and there is a hint of edge enhancement but it’s still pretty good.

Overall, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” may not please the diehards who have loved the original anime TV series but the fact is, we are getting a series that is now closer to the manga series and also more episodes than the original release.  Not to say one should forget the original series but in a way, the “Fullmetal Alchemist” brand has moved on to bigger and better and the FMA: Brotherhood series is much more consistent to what the creator, Hiromu Arakawa intended.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” has the making of a great anime series!  It will make you laugh, cry and by the end of the first volume, you are left with wanting more!  If you are looking for an anime TV series on Blu-ray that has a great balance of cool characters, an addictive storyline and for the most part, looks good and sounds wonderful in HD.  Definitely put this series high on top of your anime on Blu-ray list!

“One Piece”, Japanese best selling manga for 2009

January 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Sales figures are in and the manga “One Piece” is the best selling manga for 2009.

Mainichi Daily News reported:

At 14.7 million copies, “One Piece” sold more than twice as many as its nearest competitor, “Naruto”, with 6.8 million copies.

Coming in third was “Bleach” at 6.5 million. Fourth was “Fullmetal Alchemist” — the only title in the top five not to be published in manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump — with 5.8 million copies.

Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 7, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa” receives its High Definition transfer and for the most part, the Blu-ray version features vibrant, colorful animation and an aggressive, immersive lossless audio soundtrack.  Also, includes plenty of special features as well.  Overall, a solid anime on Blu-ray release that is worth having in your collection!

Images courtesy of  © 2005/2009 Hiromu Arakawa – HAGAREN THE MOVIE.  All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa

DURATION: 104 minutes

 

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 16×9, Dolby True HD English 5.1 and Japanese 5.1, Subtitles: English

 

RATED: TV PG

 

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

 

RELEASE DATE: November 17, 2009

 

Originally Created by Hiromu Arakawa

Directed by Seiji Mizushima

Script by Shou Aikawa

Storyboard by Masahiro Ando, Seiji Mizushima, Shingo Kaneko, Shinji Aramaki, Soichi Masui, Yutaka Nakamura

Music by Hirohito Shinohara, Michiru Oshima, Tadahito Kimura

Opening and Ending Theme by L’Arc~en~Ciel

Character Deisgn by Yoshiyuki Ito

Art Director: Kazuo Ogura

Mechanical Design by Jin Fukuchi

3D Director: Hiroaki Matsuura

Sound Director: Masafumi Mima

Director of Photography: Susumu Fukushi

Animation by ANIPLEX

Featuring the voices of:

Rie Kugimiya/Aaron Dismuke as Alphonse Elric

Romi Paku/Vic Mignogna as Edward Elric

Hidekatsu Shibata/Ed Blaylock as Mabuse/Fritz Lang

Kazuko Katou/Kelly Manison as Dietlinde Eckart

Kenji Utsumi/Christopher R. Sabat as Alex Louis Armstrong

Masane Tsukayama/John Swasey as Karl Haushofer

Megumi Toyoguchi/Caitlin Glass as Winry Rockbell

Michiko Neya/Colleen Clinkebeard as Riza Hawkeye

Miyuu Sawai/Leah Clark as Noah

Rikiya Koyama/Jason Douglas as Rudolf Hess

Shun Oguri/Jason Liebrecht as Alphonse Heiderich

Toru Ohkawa/Travis Willingham as Roy Mustang

Houko Kuwashima/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Rose Tomas

Keiji Fujiwara/Sonny Strait as Officer Hughes

Kotono Mitsuishi/Lauren Goode as Gracia

Masao Harada/Jimmy Foronda as Denny Brosh

Masashi Ebara/Scott McNeil as Hoenheim Elric

Mayumi Yamaguchi/Wendy Powell as Envy/Dragon

Mitsuki Saiga/Meredith McCoy as Maria Ross

Miyoko Asou/Juli Erickson as Pinako Rockbell

Nana Mizuki/Luci Christian as Wrath

Naomi Wakabayashi/Gwendolyn Lau as Sheska

Seiji Sasaki/Bob Carter as Sig Curtis

Shoko Tsuda/Christine Auten as Izumi Curtis

Takehiro Murozono/Kyle Herbert as Vato Falman

Tetsu Shiratori/Kevin M. Connolly as Kain Fuery

Tomoyuki Shimura/Josh Berry as Heymans Breda

Unshou Ishizuka/John Gremillion as Huskisson

Yasuhiro Takato/Chris Cason as Gluttony

Yasunori Matsumoto/Mike McFarland as Jean Havoc

It is 1923 in Munich. Two years have passed since Edward Elric’s sacrifice ripped him out of his world and into ours, separating him from his younger brother, Alphonse. In that time, Ed’s continued research into rocketry has allied him with Alphonse Heiderich, a fellow researcher who oddly resembles Ed’s brother.

Back in his own world, Al has been unlocking new secrets of alchemy and gaining incredible powers, all in the hopes of finding Ed.

Battling the occult, ideological extremists, and monstrous Homunculi lurking in the shadows, can the brothers find a way to reunite without causing chaos and bloodshed? What will happen when the world of alchemy and the world of modern science collide?

 

“Fullmetal Alchemist” , the popular manga series by Hiromu Arakawa has been going strong since 2001 and is still ongoing in Japan.  With a 51-episode TV anime series, the final episode which aired on October 2004 ended with a cliffhanger in which the main characters, brothers Ed and Alphonse Elric were separated from each other.  With young Alphonce vowing to be reunited with his older brother.

In the film “Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa”, the film continues years later after the final TV episode.

We learn that Ed was whisked from his homeworld of Amestris and is now living in the planet Earth, in Munich, Germany in 1923.   He doesn’t have his alchemist powers but he lives a life learning about rocketry with Alfonse Heiderich, a young man who resembles Ed’s younger brother.  The reason why Ed wants to learn about rocketry, is that he he hopes a rocket will take him back to his own time and homeworld through the gate.

While living in Germany, he sees many of the people with similar faces of those he knows from Amestris but knows this world is quite different.  During his travels, he and Alfonse ride with a group of gypsies and one named Noa has a sight in regards to Ed as a person with no home.

Through events, Ed befriends Noa and takes her home with him (note: In real world events, especially during this time period,  Germany is shown as the beginning of the introduction of Hitler, the Germans believing they are the superior race and have a hatred towards gypsies and Jews) and we see how people despise Noa because she is a gypsy but Ed defends her no matter what.

Meanwhile, he spots a person in Germany who looks like King Bradley (a deadly homunculus that Ed had to face in his own world).  Fearing that this man may be a homunculus, Ed attacks him.  But Ed quickly learns that this man is not a monster but he is in fact, searching for a dragon that is supposedly in a castle.

The dragon ends up being the homunculus known as Envy and when Ed tries to fight it, he is captured by members of the Thule Society (a group which later became known as the Nazi party).  This is where Dietlinde Eckhart learns that Ed is from another world and thus she tries to use Ed to open the gate.

Meanwhile, Dietlinde prepares the Thule Society soldiers to go through the gate in the other world which she tells them is Shamballa (note: another historic connection between Hitler and Nazi Germany, belief in a pure-land known as Shamballa which is said to exist in Tibet).

In Amestris, we see Al who lost his memories as shown in the final episode of the TV series.  Being trained in alchemy by Izumi Curtis, Al wants to reunite with his brother but also get back his memories.  He then sees soldiers that came from Germany through the gate, dead in Amestris.  He merges his soul with the armor which then temporarily brings Al into Germany where he finds his brother Ed.  The two are reunited but temporarily in which Al is brought back to Amestris.

Now, Al is determined to reunite with his brother by opening the gate in order to bring Ed back home.  Meanwhile, Ed learns that the Thule Society wants to go to Amestris to capture the weapons in that world in order to have Hitler start a revolution in Germany and now Ed must try to stop this from happening.

Featuring an exciting, action-packed film about two brothers who have been trying to reunite with each other, we are treated to more battles between the homunculus but also what happens when the Thule Society managed to break through the gate to Amestris.

Will Ed be able to stop the Thule Society?  And will Al trying to open up the gate, end up causing problems for the people of Amestris?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16×9).  The high definition transfer features a good amount of detail especially during the darker areas which were not well seen on the DVD.

You can see the detail of the artistic backgrounds quite clearly and for the most part, animation is very good, colorful and for the most part, BONES did a great job in producing the overall animation and art backgrounds for this film.

But where this film shines is the audio.  If you have a good audio receiver and speaker setup, one thing that I really appreciated is how the action sequences come alive.  I mean front and center channel is crystal clear but you can hear good usage of the subwoofer via LFE, the booms and crashes are well heard.  Great use of surround channels and for teh most part, the audio sounds great Dolby TrueHD 5.1.

But it is important to emphasize that the English lossless soundtrack is much more pronounced, punchier and louder than the Japanese lossless soundtrack.  Similar to the “Origin” film release from FUNimation Entertainment and even the “Burst Angel” Blu-ray release, the English lossless soundtrack is much more pronounced but it’s no surprise as FUNimation Entertainment had every opportunity to improve on the sound and how the audio was distributed through the various channels.  But there is a difference between the two lossless soundtracks especially during the action sequences.

As for the vocal dub work, both English and Japanese voice acting are well done.  If anything, the Japanese counterpart has two talented female voice actresses doing the voice of Ed and Al and the US version has a guy and a younger voice actor doing the voices.  So, it’s all about your preference but FUNimation Entertainment did a great job in selecting the voice talent for the series and that same talent for the film.

As for subtitles, subtitles are in English but they are locked-in and automatically show up when you select the Japanese audio.  You can not use your remote to switch from audio channels unless you select it through your guide button via the menus.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa” comes with the following special features (in 480i Standard Definition, Dolby Digital English 2.0 with English subtitles):

  • The Making of Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie – 40 Minute Documentary with Director Seiji Mizushima and Staff – (40:04) A video diary of director Seiji Mizushima and staff working on the film and seeing the challenges the BONES staff  faced throughout the making of the film and trying to complete the film before deadline.
  • Talk Session with Seiji Mizushima, Romi Park, Rie Kugimiya and Toru Okawa – (54:09) A hilarious, informative but also tearful talk session with director Seiji Mizushima, Romi Park (voice actress of Ed), Rie Kugimiya (voice actress of Al), Toru Okawa (voice actor of Roy).
  • Japanese Theatrical and TV Trailers – (4:41) Japanese and TV trailers for “Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa”.
  • Production Art Image Gallery – (1:10) A short featurette showcasing the production art with a piano melody.
  • Japanese Actor Commentary – Audio commentary by Romi Park (voice of Ed), Rie Kugimiya (voice of Al), director Seiji Mizushima and Toyoguchi Megumi (Voice of Winry Rockbell).  A hilarious commentary in which the four talk about the voice talent taking part in the film and what they wanted to accomplish.  Also, a lot of joking around with the director and the voice talent.
  • Japanese Staff Commentary – Audio commentary by director Seiji Mizushima, technical director Yohei Miyahara and production Yoshihiro Oyabu who talk about the technical aspects of creating the film, the animation, storyboards and more.  Informative and humorous.
  • US Actor Commentary – An enjoyable and insightful commentary with the directors and many of the voice talent of “Fullmetal Alchemist the movie” who talk about their favorite characters, what they thought about working on the series and the film and more.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

For many fans of “Fullmetal Alchemist”, many have waited for the “Conquer of Shamballa” theatrical film to see how the anime series storyline concludes.  The film did well in Japan making the film the seventh best earning film in Japan in 2005 and also becoming the seventh top grossing anime film of all time.

While in the US, the film received a limited theatrical debut but for its DVD release, many fans purchased the regular DVD as well as the limited edition version and was well-received by anime fans.

Personally, when I first watched the film, I absolutely loved it and how serious and how the storyline was complex but still easy to follow as we saw the two worlds collide.  So, the film incorporated solid animation, drama and action all in one.  With that being said, many of you may be wondering if this Blu-ray release of “Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa” is worth the upgrade.

First, if you own the limited edition, definitely keep it because you get that cool 18-page booklet and the cool box.  But truth-be-told, this Blu-ray release is fantastic in terms of picture and audio quality.

As expected, the film features vibrant colors and the colors stand out compared to its DVD counterpart.  But where this Blu-ray shines is the audio.  As mentioned in my review for the audio, the lossless audio soundtrack is awesome.  If you have a  good 5.1 or 7.x surround sound setup, you care definitely going to enjoy how this film sounds.  Granted, it’s the English dub that sounds very good with the Japanese lossless soundtrack not having the same amount of punch or loudness than its English counterpart.

Special features are pretty much the same as what you saw in the limited edition DVD.  But if you bought the single disc version on DVD years ago, you should be happy to see the 40-minute behind-the-scenes of the making of the film, the Japanese discussion, the three commentaries and more.

For those who have never watched the television series, I will say that there are some parts that may go over your head as there is some dialogue that refer to the TV series.  But for the most part, as a viewer, you can figure things out and the film tends to keep things centered on the main storyline of brothers trying to reunite and two worlds that are more or less going to clash.  So, I think that some viewers can get by without watching the TV series but I do recommend that you watch the TV series before watching the film, so you can understand certain characters and also to enjoy the film even more.

Overall, this Blu-ray release is awesome, especially if you have a solid receiver and good speaker setup.  Personally, if you own a Blu-ray player, a good home theater setup and are a “Fullmetal Alchemist” fan, this is a no-brainer, this Blu-ray is definitely worth upgrade.

“Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa” is definitely recommended!

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

July 29, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

“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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