It’s amazing at times when a film evokes emotion, especially in something as constructed as an animation. With Live Action you can, to a degree, depend on an actor’s ‘gravitas’ and the environment to illicit some emotional response. With Animation, everything is constructed from the ground up. Fullmetal Alchemist is one such series that merged intense action sequences with a emotive storyline that would hit you right in the feels.
Fullmetal Alchemist tells the tale of two brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who tried to bring their dead mother back to life using Alchemy and human transmutation, a taboo that is forbidden and a dangerous practice. During the ritual, something goes horribly wrong, causing Edward to lose his arm and leg due to Equivalent Exchange; what one requests from the netherrealm, something of equal value must be given. Al lost his entire body during the failed ‘human transmutation’ of their mother and Edward, in an attempt to save his brother’s soul, anchors Al’s soul to a hollow shell of battle armour by inscribing an insignia in it using his own blood. Now, joining the dogs of the military who specialise in Alchemy, the brothers desperately search for the fabled Philosopher’s Stone in order to get back Alphonse’s body.
It is one of the greatest Animes I have seen in a very long while. Ed’s determination to right his wrong and the onus of this promise is resoundingly felt throughout the series and the feature-length animation FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. And even with Ed’s know-it-all, braggadocio posturing when speaking to others, Edwards vulnerable side shows a young kid who’s not so sure, who is afraid of making the wrong choices, of failure. But this fear is never paralysing to the point of inaction. Edward is just a boy who wants his brother back. Not caring to get back the full use of a human arm or leg to replace his now metal android appendages. And Alphonse tries to be brave for both of them, still a kid who no longer has the need to sleep, enjoy a treat or do what kids do. There journey is one of little joys, and loneliness and pain. But their commitment to each other is testament to a bond and loyalty that transcends all else.
And its only on occasions where you hear people involved in the making of your favourite narrative, do you really begin to appreciate how epic and powerful stories are, including the one surrounding of Brothers Elric. Vic Mignogna, the voice of the English-dubbed Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, spoke candidly to avid fans at MCM London Comic Con in an intimate Q & A. And he lets us know exactly who is his favourite character he has voiced… ever:
It is always refreshing when creatives involved in projects have as rich a passion for the narrative as fans, because they are fans themselves. We tend to forget this at times, given the nature of the film industry. I for one will cherish the lovingly crafted stories of Brothers Elric, and the creatives that propelled them as such.