If there is ever a topic in the entertainment industry that can never overlook out of annoyance, it has to be racial diversity. And before anyone writes out what you might be thinking, allow me to specify what I mean. When I watched the live action Attack on Titan movie, I knew there were already massive problems with the script, as well as what I saw right before my eyes. I will admit that the titans did look impressive (for the most part), and I do see it as Japan at their finest with CGI. However, I was bothered at first by giving the movie a Japanese setting instead of a European, German setting as to what the original source material it was based off of. But even if they did stick with that, my mind would never change, as I thought the movie was average. And then you got last years Ghost in the Shell, which was a movie that would never work in any way, shape, or form, and still tried to convince me that Japan is racially diverse. It isn’t. Now, if the movie was based in America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, or any other European country that isn’t either Italy, Portugal, or Spain, then that would of made some sense.
Now, where does Fullmetal Alchemist fall into? Now, when it comes anime, one of the things that you would sometimes see stand out in their fantasy genre is a European setting, such as Berserk, Escaflowne, Claymore, and recently mentioned, Attack on Titan. It’s obvious that the Japanese does love seeing the western culture in their own creation, and how much they used our technology as part of their daily lives, from cars to computers. Fullmetal Alchemist is an interest case. Hiromu Arakawa based most of her work on Fullmetal Alchemist in real life events and historical figures, such as Xerxes being based off of the Persian king Xerxes, and Amestres being Europe, as well as the northern countries resembling Russia. I’m not going to go into more detail about the show’s influences on every culture that it borrows from, I prefer that you do look up Did You Know Anime’s two videos that were made about the show, and their info are a delight to talk about.
The reason for why I’m saying all of this is that the first time I ever heard of any news about this movie was in 2016. I read only the headline for this article from Spinler News, which I have no idea what kind of website this, so I’m not going to bash on it. However, the headline baffled me when it said that not having a single white actor in what I already made clear to be an anime based in a dominately white continent is a beautiful thing.
I have just read the article for the first time, and I do have some problems with it.
- The choices made for the white casting in both Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell was done out of stupidity, and many people agree that they could of found someone Asian to play as the roles. Not only that, but those are only two movies you pointed out that Hollywood made with those moronic decisions.
- Just because it’s a series made from Japan doesn’t necessarily mean it was good not to have anyone caucasian in it either, but I’m not mad that this movie was entirely made in Japan from a Japanese studio either. More on that later.
- It uses the Simpson’s skin color as an example. One, you do know that yellow was picked because Matt Groening didn’t have pink available to work with in a tight schedule, right? Two, the people’s skins in The Simpsons wasn’t just yellow either.
The situation here is that, yes, if you have a confidently good filmmaker from either America or from Europe making this movie with the races that were represented in the show, I wouldn’t have made such a huge statement about it. However, I have seen this been done before in different countries with other films as well.
I will probably talk more about my thoughts about this when I conclude everything I have made about this Japanese-only cast film on the end of the after part, and I believe I have said more than enough already at this point.
Now, as for Fullmetal Alchemist, I have never read the mangas before, so I can only speak for my perspective on both of the series that came out in the past. I did enjoy and love Fullmetal Alchemist when it first came out in the mid 2000s, and I do have some room for respect for the show, even though I will admit that the story hasn’t aged all that much anymore. It’s still a good show, but now that I have seen Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I have to elevate that to a much higher degree. The newer series, to my opinion, just does everything that the series wasn’t able to do, and much better, from the plot development, to the story, and all the way to the characters. If you guys haven’t seen the anime yet, I do recommend Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood with a passion! So, where does the movie land with everything that I said?
It was okay. Not terrible, not insulting, and definitely not bad either. It was okay. Where do I begin with my review of this movie? Let’s start off with the visual effects. I have had issues with the CGI in Japanese films, always harping on how much they suck. But over the past couple of years, I think that they have improved in that field, and this movie proved it! I love how every CGI effect looks in this movie, and if there is a sequel coming out, I’ll be down to watch it just for the visual effects! It’s used right, for the most part. I’ll get to that later on.
The cinematography, with no questions asked, looks amazing! Everything is crystal clear, bright, and colorful. The director and screenwriter for this film, Fumihiko Sori, was also in charge for the visual effects on Titanic, and he did a great job on making sure that this movie looked great! Even the makeup is impressive!
The main characters are nailed perfectly well. Edward Elrich was adapted very well, and I couldn’t have asked for more. Alphonse Elrich was also adapted very well, and I was pleased with the interaction that both the brothers had in this movie, even though I can see where the actor’s neck is at in the armor.
The Humoculus are great! With little screen time they had on screen, they were used very well, and their makeup is done very well!
Lieutenant Hughes was really good in this film, and he was not wasted.
Now, you have been wondering why I just stopped talking about the characters, and why I haven’t talked about the story, and there’s a reason for it. Most of the characters in this movie was useless or underdeveloped to my opinion. Like Winry, she’s in most of this movie, and what does she do?
And you know what? Mustang, Hawkeye, Marcoh, Ross, and even Nina contributed something to this movie, but even they were underused from beginning to end. Yeah, when you have Colonel Mustang, one of the best, and greatest side characters in anime history, right next to Roronora Zoro and Vegetta, and was not even useful until the very end of the movie.
So, is the story any good? You need to understand that if the movie’s adaptation gets most of the source material right, which this movie tried to do, and almost succeeded, then I’m fine with that. They did get the religious con artist right in the first part of the movie, they got the Philosopher’s Stone right, and they even got the deaths of Nina, Hughes, and Lust right. But as for everything else, it felt kind of all over the place, and for those of you who have seen the movie, you might know what I’m talking about. And to top it off, due to the movie’s removal of Scar, Barry the Chopper, as well as the movie’s direction, there is little to no action to be found. Due to the loss of the action that both anime adaptations of the mangas that made the series entertaining, this movie turned out to be more of a drama. There’s nothing wrong with this movie being a drama, but the drama element’s of this movie outweighs what we all know and love about Fullmetal Alchemist. Some of the changes I was okay with, but there are others that I was irritated with. Example, and before I go any further,
Shou Tucker does get arrested, but the Nina chimera doesn’t die because, remember, Scar is not in the movie. So, how does Tucker die in this movie? Well, Tucker does live up towards the end of the movie, and manages to be released from the military release. Yeah, even I’m not sure if Envy released him when he was Ross. I was kind of lost right there. And then Tucker releases all of the Philosopher’s stones that were in a tank to be placed in his army of those white looking zombies with one big eyeball. I hope you know what I’m talking about, because I can’t remember what they’re called. I don’t like this change because you cut off a great fight scene in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which I must add that this movie desperately needed, with Scar versus Edward, Alphonse, and Alexander Armstrong, who this movie also cut out entirely. I can say that I didn’t like how they killed off Marcoh in this movie, but then I remembered that I didn’t really care for his character from either anime anyway. The other part that I thought was ridiculous to me was how the scene of Ed and Al bringing there mom back to life looked. When they perform the transmutation, it was kind of weird to me. The roof of the house tore off because doing that caused the tornado from The Wizard of Oz to come and suck them up! That was both weird and Crazy!
Overall, this movie was still just okay, and I hope that what I just said explains why. It’s not boring, but it does feel kind of underwhelming when you compare this with the original source material. Do I recommend it? Personally, I was kind of let down the way it turned out, but I have heard some people found some enjoyment out of it, so I think you should give it at least one watch. Just be warned that this movie will not live up to what you wanted as a fan.
As for the full Japanese cast, I was thinking about it, and you know what? It doesn’t feel any different than me being in an Easter play for the kids for Easter service at my church, where not one character is being played by a Jew. It only consist of three white people, and the rest being played by Hispanics. Just don’t try to make a scene about it is what I was trying to say about all of this.