Christmas Product Placement #4: Full Metal Alchemist

Yesterday, we looked at Futurama. To continue the thread that cartoons are not just for kids anymore, you really ought to take a look at anime. Anime is getting pretty hot in this country, especially among the teenage set. Borders and Barnes and Nobles have a whole section devoted entirely to Japanese comics (In fact, I notice that it takes up more shelves than American comics). It’s especially popular among teenage girls, for Japanese comics isn’t about just robots and swords–it can be also romantic and silly, and well, girly. I don’t think you can find much of that in American Comics (though a title immediately comes to my mind–Strangers in Paradise).

So many Christian parents are clueless of what their kids are watching. They either view anime as harmless or satanic. I’ve wanted to provide some type of that resource here at that cafe. I am considering starting up a new blog that focuses exclusively on anime reviews. What do you all think?

edandalIf I’m to a review an anime, it’s got to, got to, got to start off with Full Metal Alchemist. This is the best anime series, ever, and that’s taking into consideration that when I saw the first episode, I thought it was a satanic, violent story and refused to watch anymore episodes. It wasn’t until I caught another episode by accident that I got fully hooked in.

Full Metal Alchemist tells the story of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse, set in an alternate universe where alchemy is a high science and religion is looked upon with scorn. Due to a mishap in trying to bring back their mother from death, younger brother Al loses his body. Ed puts Al’s soul in a suit of armor, losing his own arm and leg in the process. The series (about 51 episodes) focuses on their search to find the Philosopher Stone and return Al to his own body.

There are so many themes in this anime I love, but I think the theme I like most is watching Ed and Al grow as characters. Ed starts off a smart mouth brat who thinks he knows all there is about alchemy, but as the series continues, he realizes that he’s only human, that he makes mistakes, and that alchemy is not the end-all, be-all power that there is. Al has his share of dark moments too, from trying to keep Ed out of trouble to wondering if he ever was a human boy, and not just a collection of memories.

Izumithmovie26The series have many moments that lightened the mood–one of my favorite episodes involves their alchemist teacher, Izumi Curtis, who has got to be the most baaaaadaaaaass housewife ever. Any woman who can read a book, duck and still beat you up is badass in my book. (And sorry if I use that term, but really, there’s no other way explain her. And just look at those locs. An anime character with actual locs! Look at them! Aren’t they beyootiful!)

What also impressed me about the series is the vocal talent. There are very few anime that has a talented English cast as well as Japanese, but in America, Ed is voiced by Vic Mignogna, a talented voice actor who’s a Christian, and Al is voiced by Aaron Dismuke, who is one of the few child anime voice actors out there. Most anime, when they do voices for kids, either have women or characters talking in high, squeaky voices. However, when Funimation redid the voices, they had the guts to bring in an actual boy, and with some of the emotions Al go through, all you can do is drop your mouth and go “Wowww…”

The Japanese comic for Full Metal Alchemist, I understand, is still going on, but the anime itself is over. So far, one movie has been released. I don’t know if there will be another one, but after watching it, I would assume that another one will be in the works. Again, I have to say. This is not for children. There are some violent images (though thankfully, they’re few and far between). If you want to be very safe, you can watch the series on Cartoon Network, where I believe there are some edits done. I would say it’s suitable for older teens, mayyyyybe down to age fourteen or so. But if you are an adult, I do challenge you to get this series. It’s fun to watch, have a deeply moving storyline, and it kicks butt.

Wait. I’m talking about Full Metal Alchemist here. It kicks ass.