Monday, August 13, 2012

Thoughts as I Re-watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

After at least a year of saying I'd do it, I've finally restarted Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I think I watched about thirty episodes of it two years ago (maybe more) before stalling it and watching Fullmetal Alchemist instead. I can't remember why exactly I stalled it. Maybe the dark and bloody parts had gotten to me (the last scene I remember watching from that bout of Brotherhood was a scene in Gluttony's stomach). Maybe I just wanted a cleaner, more straightforward storyline. I don't know. Now that I've restarted it, I find the plot in Brotherhood quite understandable.

I re-watched Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: The Conqueror of Shamballa a week or so ago and decided, "Hey, I still haven't finished Brotherhood. I should do that now. I want to see more of Ed and Mustang and all of those cool people."

I've re-watched the first twenty three episodes of Brotherhood now. Since I haven't blogged about anime in a while, here are a few thoughts:

1. I forgot how bloody and serious parts of this anime are.
The setting and plot are deeper than most anime I've watched. This show deals with racism, government corruption, genocide, human experimentation, grief, and revenge, along with other topics. It's interesting, thought-provoking, and at times hard to watch. Poor Nina...

2. There are some religion pieces in this series.
As a Christian, I take special note of the episodes near the beginning of this series (episodes two and three, I believe). How can I not? There's a corrupt priest misleading the people and betraying their trust. And the main character, whom I happen to really enjoy, denies the existence of God.

On the first point, I can relate the corrupt priest to several charlatans and corrupt churches throughout history. The fictional evildoer frustrates me almost as much as the real ones. I get quite annoyed when people try to use God's name for their own gain, particularly when they hurt thousands of others in the process.

On the second, I can't do anything about a fictional character's perspective on the universe. And I probably can't convert a mangaka who I won't ever meet. I can pray for her, but that's about it. So I enjoy Fullmetal Alchemist, atheist characters and all.

3. The humor and sketchy/diminutive art provides a nice contrast to all the serious and dark parts of the show.
Ed's prickliness about his height never grows old. Nor does Winry's reaction when he bangs up his automail. ^_^

4. Al had a particularly epic scene in episode 19. I had to take a screenshot for my background.

Well, that's about it for now. I thought it was about time for me to blog about anime again, so here it is. A few unrelated notes: I start college really soon. I'm refreshed after my year off and ready for school! I wonder how it will effect my various hobbies. I already have a hard time juggling anime, blogging, At His Whim, other writing, other TV, reading...


  1. Well. I can say that the ending of this anime will fully surprise you! I can't wait until you finish it so I can talk about it!

    As for being busy, I definitely know what you're talking about. I just graduated with my BA in English (so useful, right?) and didn't get a job lined up since I was overseas for all summer =.= Trying to balance my blogging with the job search is.... Woof. Especially since I just signed on for an unpaid stint as Publicity Manager for my local library!

    1. Now I really look forward to finishing Brotherhood! I've heard it's different from the other series, so I've been guessing a little bit. It should be interesting! :)

    2. It will be. And now that I've had a few years to think on the subject, I think I'd like to go to this point:
      "On the second, I can't do anything about a fictional character's perspective on the universe. And I probably can't convert a mangaka who I won't ever meet."

      (prepare for long, thought-out reflection on this)

      While her character may be aetheist, you've made a jump that assumes that the mangaka is. Just because a writer creates a certin character or writes from that POV doesn't mean that she holds that same view. I write from the POV of characters that are mentally and emotionally broken. That doesn't mean I am.

      And honestly, after what Ed goes through, it would be absolutely ridiculous if he had kept a strong faith in God. He goes through heck as a *child* - they're abandoned by their dad, he sees his mom die, and for all intents and purposes nearly kills his brother. Heck, if Ed hadn't thought fast enough, Al would have died.

      Now, children really see things in a black-and-white world. They don't have the ability to tackle complex theological questions, and the question of how God can let such terrible things happen is somthing that brings down *adults*. For him, a kid that barely has an idea that the world isn't all good or bad, the idea that if God can have such terrible things happen then he's either bad or doesn't exist is a perfectly logical, rational conclusion.

      So when people talk about it and say it's too bad, they're coming from a priveledged outlook on life. Not only are you an adult and able to really think about these things, but you probably had a solid religious support system as you grew up. With Ed's situation, neither of those things were happening or could happen.

    3. I actually didn't assume that the mangaka was atheist - just that she wasn't a Christian. But you're right; that's a jump I shouldn't have made, and I thought about that later.

      I don't necessarily blame Ed for his believes. In addition to all your points, he's a fictional character in a fictional world. There doesn't appear to be a God in the world Arakawa Hiromu has woven, unless the Ishvalites (do I have that right?) have the right idea. I'm not counting that Truth guy form the Gate. Of course, I have yet to finish watching Brotherhood, let alone read the original manga. If there is no God in Arakawa's world, then how can Ed believe in Him?

      However, I can still say "it's too bad" when Ed, or anyone else for that matter, is an atheist. I've tried to imagine life without acknowledging God, and it's a pretty dismal thing to imagine. Not to mention all the facts that point to the God of the Bible (points which, of course, would not be fitting to discuss in such an inadequate venue as comments).

  2. There's a great post about FMA here which I think you may be interested to read. Assuming you haven't already!

  3. FMAB is my favorite anime of all'll really enjoy it, especially the ending!

    Interesting note: I met Vic Mignogna (VA for Ed) at an anime convention, and he used to work as the music director at his church in Texas (he's very religious. And very awesome). But because he voiced Ed, especially in those first few episodes, he was actually fired from his job at the church. Always thought that was really interesting.

    1. I don't know why I still haven't finished FMAB. I do enjoy it immensely. Oh well. I'll get to it.

      That is very interesting! Thank you for sharing. :) I'm used to the Japanese voices, but that bit of information makes me want to watch an episode or two in English.


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