Fullmetal Bringing Back the Brothers
If you haven't already heard of the classic anime, Fullmetal Alchemist, you will be in for quite a treat. The original series, written by Hiromu Arakawa, covers the heroics of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, in an alternate universe, which is not controlled by typical science, but by alchemy. The story creates its own version of alchemy as a strange sort of magic that allows certain humans to control materials and change them at will, and in some cases, also change other humans.
The two brothers, nearly destroy themselves in an attempt to save their mother's life through alchemy, causing Alphonse to lose his entire body, and Edward to lose one arm and one leg. Alphonse is kept alive by being transmuted into a suit of armor by Edward, which he needs to live.
After the original series ended, Arakawa continued the story in its first ever movie, called . It begins right where the series had ended, with Alphonse returning to his human form on their homeworld, and Edward getting his arm and leg back, but being stuck on the Earth you and I are currently residing, in the year 1923. Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conquerer of Shamballa
The story of Fullmetal is a complicated one, and if you don't know much about the series, jumping right to the movie can be a sizable leap. There are a great many things to understand, like the sacrifices that are required any time alchemy is used, or the homunculi, and also the Philosopher's Stone. There are a great may rules that the alchemy of Fullmetal relies upon, and a plethora of characters. But the truth is, it isn't completely necessary to understand the details to appreciate the story line.
Arakawa, the writer of Fullmetal, grew up on a farm, and understood that to obtain anything in life, sacrifices were needed to be made. She had knowledge of the social problems in our society, and she integrated them cleverly into the story. The dominant race of the world are the Amestris, and through a civil war, they nearly annihilated the Ishbalan race. This is one of the great commentaries of the series of Fullmetal.
In the first Fullmetal movie, The Conquerer of Shamballa, Arakawa compares two distinct worlds, one created solely through science, the other with a combination of science and alchemy, and she examines which of the two have failed in more ways. The one world, has a dominant culture lead by Adolf Hitler, who, if he can find the ultimate weapon can take control of his world, and possibly another. Now, I can crack open any History book, and it'll tell me this would be the worst possible situation. However, Arakawa supposes, what if there were an even worse possibility coming from the other world?
I'm not going to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say, it might be much worse.
The Conquerer of Shamballa, is a beautiful anime, and it's obviously one of the best. However, there are a number of down sides. If you've never seen the series, it could be hard to jump in here. It's complicated, the story is rapid, and there isn't much back-story given for the characters, even though they each have a great deal of baggage.
One thing The Conquerer of Shamballa does offer is, what if things could have been worse? If you can cut through some of the confusion, there's an underlying message of, "You can't appreciate the sunshine, without a little rain." And the Fullmetal universe offers plenty of rain.
Background Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons Photo by siu2007
Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the best anime series of all time, and season one kicks it all off.
Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the best anime series of all time, and season two continues the saga.
Brotherhood continues the saga of the Elric brothers, and there adventures against the homunculi.