I’m a big manga and anime fan, and I’m talking the sub-titled stuff, I deplore the English dubbing done for American audiences. Everything I watch or read come from Japanese sources. But that is another subject entirely.
Anyway… this last Sunday, the second series of Full Metal Alchemist began airing in Japan, this second series being titled Brotherhood.
The basic premise of the show and manga goes like this: two brothers, the Elrics, attempt to being back their deceased mother using alchemy. Doing this, a human transmutation, is taboo, forbidden. Now here is the catch… with any type of alchemaic process there is equivient exchange, swapping something in exchange for something of about the same value. When the Elric attempted to bring back their mother from the dead, what was their price? One brother lost a leg, the other his entire body. Making matters worse, their mother was not returned to them, not in the form expected. So, amongst the chaos, the remaining Elric brother, Edward, attempts one more bit of alchemy to bring back his brother. He binds his brother’s soul, Alphonse, to a suit of armor. The cost was his arm. From there the series begins a few months later; Edward has metal prosthetic limbs to replace those lost, Alphonse’s soul inside a hulking set of armor, and both boys are out to restore their bodies to whole. How is that done, when doing human transmutation is taboo, you may ask? Well, they seek the philosophers stone, which bypasses the rules and makes any transmutation possible.
That’s the jest of Fullmetal Alchemist. For more, look it up on Wikipedia.
To be honest, I’m not sure what to think of the second series at the moment. The first series ended and left questions as to the future of some of the characters, which was erkson on a deep level, jabbing at my heart. Then a movie was produced, which tied up the loose ends of the first series. Great! Fantastic! The movie removed the knife that had been left in my heart, resolving many issues. Now I can move on.
This was all fine. But now there is a new series, which I assumed would pick up where the movie left off. The two protagonists, the Elric brothers, after being separated by realities, Alphonse with his body back, had met up once more in a new reality and were embarking on new adventures. I was excited by the prospect of the show taking that turn. Then I watched the first episode this last morning…
The Elric’s are not in this second reality. In fact, it’s as if this second series had rewound itself to the beginning of the first series and began a new. Edward was years younger again, and Alphonse’ soul was fixed in the armor once more. Hopefully that makes sense, because right now I am confused as to where in the title’s canon this series takes place. Antagonist are alive once again. The brothers have been de-aged. The corrupt government which had been toppled in the first series shows no sign of fracture. And to top it off, there are hints in this episode which make it seem like the episode took place shortly before the first episode of series one.
Again… I am confused. I am banking on the assumption that the second series is reconning the previous. Maybe…
On the other hand. Animation is top-notch. Its great revisiting much-loved characters for a second time and reliving adventures. There is a possibility this new series will follow the manga more closely, even though some characters that are not introduced till later chapters are showing up a head of their manga appearances.
At this point I am reserving judgment and crossing fingers. I just don’t want another favorite show of mine to be a let down.
Here’s to hoping, I’ll be watching the Elrics.
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