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2012 Anime Movies: Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos and The Secret World of Arrietty

Updated on March 11, 2012

It's a very pleasant rare treat for me to get to see an anime film in theaters in my neck of the woods; it only usually happens when a new Ghibli movie comes out as those are dubbed, produced and distributed in the United States by Disney. So I was delighted to have the opportunity to see two whole anime movies in a relatively short period of time. And I was not disappointed by either of them.

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos

The main thing I disliked about this film is that many of the characters that were so important in the series, such as Winry, Armstrong, and the various homunculi, have little or no role in this film. The homunculi are entirely nonexistent here, but I suppose that in a film format some characters have to be axed in order for the writers to introduce new ones. And the new characters they replace old ones with in this movie proved to be such fascinating and deeply moving people that the old baddies and comedic side characters were hardly missed.

This movie seemed more similar to Brotherhood than the original series, for instance, in this movie the geography and cultural diversity of the alchemical world is explored more than in the original series. Unlike the previous movie, which takes place in two separate but simultaneously occurring timelines in parallel worlds, this one explores a new city within "the alchemy world", creating much less confusion and unneeded plot complication than the previous FMA movie, Conqueror of Shamballa, which I felt was an improvement.

One amazing thing about this movie is the way that I felt that you don't have to be a Fullmetal Alchemist fan, or even an anime fan, to enjoy this. It was similar to District 9 in that it was a story of imagined oppression that eerily reflected the horrors of similar hatred and bigotry that exist and have existed in our own world. Fullmetal Alchemist has done that well in the past, especially with Shamballa's portrayal of Nazis and their oppression of ethnic groups like the Roma. Although it had a masculine/shounen feel overall, making it perfect for a fan of action movies, I felt like this movie offers a lot to those looking for emotional depth or profound truth. Furthermore, for the fan of occult horror, this movie out blood-magics any previous Fullmetal Alchemist storyline, which is saying a lot. As such, this movie is one I feel would resonate with a broad audience and potentially reach people outside of the current anime fandom.

The Secret World of Arrietty

This movie was absolutely no less than what I've come to expect from Studio Ghibli; adorable and heartwarming family entertainment with absolutely breathtaking visuals. They are like Japan's answer to Disney, but with more reliance on creating strong, memorable and interesting characters with true emotional range and character development than princess rescues and elaborate musical numbers. On one hand, I think this take on the story of The Borrowers is much better than the 1998 live-action version, I felt like I was moved much more by the characters in this one and it had a lot more charm. On the other hand, this isn't that great of a film by Ghibli standards, and I still think nothing they make will ever be as good as Spirited Away. However, it was a cute, funny, heartwarming, and entertaining theater experience and, like Fullmetal Alchemist : The Sacred Star of Milos, might just end up converting a non-anime fan or two. :)

Which one did you like more?

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    • Bmm209 profile image

      Bmm209 5 years ago from California,U.S.A

      I didn't know that FMA came out with a movie, but I've never watched or read it either. I really enjoyed The Secret World of Arietty! I just wish theaters played foreign movies -.-

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 5 years ago from Illinois

      I do too! I watched this film called 9 Nation Animation at my local art theater and it was simply stunning! It was a series of beyond beautiful animated shorts from many different countries, and I liked every one of them!

    • Safaa Gul Taher profile image

      Safaanur Taher 4 years ago from Bahrain

      I love FMA so much , I am still affected by it .. but how many seasons are there ? are there really two ? about its films , i watched one and I regret watching it !! it was awful !!

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 4 years ago from Illinois

      There's 51 episodes in the first series. Brotherhood is best understood as a retelling of the same show in a different way, closer to the manga, and it's kind of an expansion also (adding more characters and locations). Brotherhood has 64 episodes. Then there are the two movies and I think 5 OVA episodes for regular FMA and 6 for Brotherhood. I'm not sure how it breaks down into seasons, but if FMA original has two seasons that would make each season either 25 or 26 episodes. So I think it does have two seasons.

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