starlady: roy in the sunset at graveside (no rest for the wicked)
Hagane no renkinjutsushi: Mirosu no seinaru hoshi | Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos. Dir. Murata Kasuya, 2011.

I was, to be quite frank, not expecting very much of of this movie. The last FMA movie, Conqueror of Shangri-La, was a solid B effort with an absolutely infuriating denouement. This movie, however, is set in the midst of the manga storyline (the booklet we were handed when we entered the theater is volume 11.5 of the series) and was pretty kick-ass from beginning to end. It doesn't quite measure up to Arakawa's own storylines, of course, but I was satisfied with the movie all the same. Also, there are werewolves.

Yet another train trip )
All this being said, I still prefer the voice cast of the first anime, particularly for Roy. *ducks rocks and cabbages* I also found it a little odd that he's the one who wound up dispensing the movie's moral lesson, though I suppose he got that role at the end of the first anime too, I can live with it.
starlady: roy in the sunset at graveside (no rest for the wicked)
I'm trying (futilely) to clean out my 'posts' folder. A surprising amount of things in there are not actual posts. But here, have some AMV recs with a side of recs for AMVs of the first FMA anime, in honor of the fact that I am going to see the FMA movie on Wednesday. Both of these posts were written in…May.

Better late than effing never! 13 AMV recs for various anime )

FMA AMV recs for [personal profile] stultiloquentia

This is the "spaghetti at the wall" approach to AMV recs: basically I raided my download history on the org for everything FMA and 4 or 5 stars. Yes, there is a lot of Nightwish, because that's the flavor I wanted out of most FMA AMVs at the time. Also, most of these are for the first anime. I may be in the minority of thinking that the first FMA anime was a stellar example of how to adapt an in-progress manga and do it well, but I stand by that opinion, as much as the actual Arakawa ending was much better. And unlike FMA:B, the first anime wasn't lead-footed in the beginning.

Contains my questionable college taste, but I did rewatch all of these and still find them acceptable.

10 FMA AMV recs )

Actually, a lot of my highest-rated FMA AMVs aren't available any longer. Part of that is because of the Evanescence Affair, which makes me feel old. Of course, now I want to make FMA AMVs.
starlady: Roy from FMA: "you say you want a revolution" (roy)
Arakawa Hiromu. Hagane no Renkinjutsushi | Fullmetal Alchemist. 27 vols. Tokyo: Square Enix, 2002-10.

This is, I think, the best manga I've read yet. If you're going to read one manga in your life, you could do much, much worse than this one. If you don't like manga, I urge you to give this manga a try; it's amazing, as a story and as manga. Arakawa is a master of what the medium can do, and she does it.

Alchemy follows the law of equivalent exchange. )

The manga is also, just as a manga, stunning: it's funny and amazingly powerfully drawn and action-packed. I remain absolutely amazed that virtually the only thing Arakawa created before this manga was a 40-page one-shot that won her the 21st Century Shonen Gangan Award, because the pacing of the series has been pitch-perfect from the very first panel, and that doesn't relent here at the end. Deservedly, she won the Tezuka Prize in the New Artist category this year.
starlady: Roy from FMA: "you say you want a revolution" (roy)
For those of you who love Fullmetal Alchemist (which should be all of you, it's so good, you guys!), I have to recommend [personal profile] kaigou's post on arakawa's reversal of the usual:

That is: Arakawa does not do the fuck-for-virginity war-for-peace routine of so many others in the animanga world. She does ask, seems to me, whether a science (such as that of war) can be neutral in and of itself, and evil or good dependent on intentions, but she doesn't play the game of having some power-hungry madman claim god's light and altruism blah blah blah with the goal of achieving peace. No, her madmen are most definitely using the people's sacrifice as tools, and nothing more.

You will see me in the comments. I really ought to find and post those notes I took on historical echoes in FMA the year that I lived in Japan and read every volume published until that point (19 or 20 by the time I left, I think)--I don't want to reduce FMA to just an allegory or whatever, because Arakawa explicitly disavows that and because Tom Lamarre points out that reading manga only for what it says rather than how it does its thing is its own kind of reductionism, but you do get a richer reading out of it if you bring some awareness of historical context to the reading.

To a point, of course. I would never have thought to connect the Amestran invasion of Ishval to the American invasion of Iraq/Gulf War II, as [personal profile] coffeeandink did in her awesome post on the series, which is a failure of imagination on my part--I'm sure the idea occurred to other readers globally, and those interpretations are another way out of the "manga is Japanese"  feedback loop Lamarre decries. Anyway, go read.
starlady: (hitsugaya smirk)
On Fullmetal Alchemist
Chapter 100 was released today. I feel like the Jeff Goldblum character in Jurassic Park: "Boy do I hate being right all the time." Because I totally called what happened to Riza months, if not years, ago. Not that I'm happy about it at all. In fact, AUGH. I want more.

On Darker Than BLACK: Ryuusei no Gemini
OMG AWESOME. I love that Suou says "boku" and her coat. I love April (also, she switched to hard liquor? O_O For that matter, is a flask standard issue when contractors go to Russia?). I love that snatch of industrial music--it can't be VNV, can it? I am about to flick through my entire VNV library to find out. I love the Ishii Yasushi soundtrack. I love Hei. I like the FSB agent, Golan, and August 7. I like the impeccably researched location shots. I like July's outfit. I like the cliffhanger. In fact, AUGH. I want more.

starlady: Roy from FMA: "you say you want a revolution" (roy)
First, [personal profile] rodo is having a poll on language and fandom participation that is crying out for some participation. Go vote!

As some of you have heard, I started a new job today, as a CS rep at a mumble mumble major company whose local offices are really close to my house. Close enough that I probably will bike to work once I get a better handle on the whole "return to employment" thing. Currently I'm working 6hrs/day, 30hrs/week, but as summer is the busy season, I will be full time starting next month. The money is good for a temp job, the people seem nice, it's not difficult work, yadda yadda yadda... And my first impression is that I want to run screaming for the hills. I am desperately awaiting my financial aid letter from IUC, and probably am going to try to throw together a MEXT scholarship application, and will be applying to graduate school this fall (unless I get said MEXT scholarship for an April 2010 start date). Hey, at least now I can afford the transcripts!

I've been paging through a lot of my old, old posts, and you know, I used to talk about anime a lot. But then, when I started this journal I watched anime a lot. And you'd never know I've received grants to research manga for all that I talk about it on here. So, in the spirit of recharging the manga/anime elements of this journal, I note here my thoughts on the new Fullmetal Alchemist anime, "Brotherhood."
  • I sort of enjoyed, and sort of didn't like, how the first episode is a completely AU way of transparently setting up/foreshadowing the ending. I mean, there's probably people out there who are watching the anime but haven't read the manga (okay: I know some of them), but is the bloody obvious signposting really necessary?
  • Relatedly, while I suppose that ship has sailed in terms of folowing the manga and getting the big reveal of Ed and Al's true condition in Lior, I had mixed feelings about how blithely they gave away the automail/full armor suit in the first episode, and about how they just shoehorned the entire past arcs into the second episode. Well, not the entire past--their training with Izumi was glossed over completely, and I hope they do the flashbacks to that in future. I guess I just think that following Arakawa's own pacing is best, because she's a genius.
  • Voice actors! When Ed first showed up on screen, for the first ten seconds all I could think was "Why is Hitsugaya talking out of Ed's mouth?" but then my mind was able to dissociate them, which was probably good for my sanity. Also, after Ohkawa Tohru, Roy's new voice actor sounded way too high-pitched, but I also got used to that by the end of the episode. He's Urahara's voice actor, I think we're in good hands. My jury is still out on Hawkeye's voice actor though. I still think she sounds a little too...I don't want to say "feminine." I don't know. She's Rukia's voice actress, she's perfectly capable of sounding kick-ass. Maybe I just haven't watched enough. It's a Bleach reunion party!
  • I still can't stand Rose. But I can certainly sympathize with her dilemma more than ever. Relatedly, go Arakawa for foreshadowing chimeras and the army that doesn't fear death so early on. Although, the army does do both of them better.
  • Cutest ending credits ever! I like the opening song too. But the man saying "Fullmetal Alchemist" in the middle is unnerving. Also, embedded sponsor credits: good from the perspective of more time in the show, bad for occluding the view.
  • I'm going to spend a lot of brainpower considering whether FMA could be called steampunk, and what that says about both FMA and steampunk if the answer is yes. If anyone has any suggestions for a good place to starting finding out what steampunk is all about (in a really obvious, newbie sort of way, since I've been dealing with it at a higher level without ever investigating the foundations), I'd welcome them.
I need a fandom tag. I've been marking everything "otw," which is sort of metonymic, and kind of fitting for that reason.

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