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Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga - Fullmetal Alchemist


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ABCBTom



Joined: 10 Sep 2009
Posts: 183
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:32 am Reply with quote
I've never really been able to get into Fullmetal Alchemist due to some bad fan experiences, and I've never been a fan of the art. I hope I'll be able to give it a fair chance someday.

I'm hardly unbiased, but I do think you're selling One Piece a bit short. There's genocide there, too spoiler[with Ohara], and torture and all of the dicey political content. I will admit Oda kills very rarely and his enemies can be one note moustache-twirlers, but more recently some characters have shown a fair bit of moral ambiguity, especially among the marines spoiler[Aokiji for certain, Sengoku, and Fisher Tiger.]
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Ambimunch



Joined: 30 Aug 2012
Posts: 2004
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:38 am Reply with quote
Quote:
If you haven't read this one yet, I envy you. You'll enjoy it.


Dunno if that was done on purpose, but clever nonetheless
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jojothepunisher



Joined: 04 Sep 2007
Posts: 799
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:41 am Reply with quote
I think the manga should have pushed on that "dead-[expletive]-serious" tone rather than the light-hearted jokes inherent in Shounen mangas. Because of this, the manga became a manga for little kids, rather than a manga for everybody.
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EireformContinent



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Łódź/Poland (The Promised Land)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:50 am Reply with quote
My mother told that the style of graphic is quite consistent and some people might find pleasure in it.
That's one of the two praises that she has ever told about manga. The second was that Ikeda's characters actually resemble real people.

That column brought me memories of summer in Alps some time ago when I just go back to manga after several years of abstinence and just happened to share bedroom with experienced fan- she taught me everything she knew from great places to buy comics that are told to be out of print, ways to import, fansubs and what to watch, introduced me to ANN. If you read this M, I still have the socks you left Smile

Somehow she convinced me that FMA is hardcore yaoi. Fortunately some time later I've read one volume and sunk without chance. I didn't like the first anime- it felt a bit rushed and I saw clearly that the plot after some point was invented as needed. The second- I promised to watch it after my exams to university. Now I'm going to graduate and it still wait. But manga holds a special piece in my heart- my sister arranged her violin classes so she were in the city on the first day of the new volume and read ti on way back, so I could read it the same day. For me FMA was Dragon Ball of manga Smile
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ptolemy18
Manga Reviewer/Creator/Taster


Joined: 07 May 2005
Posts: 357
Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:34 pm Reply with quote
ABCBTom wrote:
I've never really been able to get into Fullmetal Alchemist due to some bad fan experiences, and I've never been a fan of the art. I hope I'll be able to give it a fair chance someday.

I'm hardly unbiased, but I do think you're selling One Piece a bit short. There's genocide there, too spoiler[with Ohara], and torture and all of the dicey political content. I will admit Oda kills very rarely and his enemies can be one note moustache-twirlers, but more recently some characters have shown a fair bit of moral ambiguity, especially among the marines spoiler[Aokiji for certain, Sengoku, and Fisher Tiger.]


You're right. I was selling One Piece short; it *is* pretty harsh at times, like with the racism against the Fishmen and all, and general evil-badguy-ness. I don't think it's as grim as FMA, because of things like the "people only die in flashbacks" rule, and it doesn't have the moral ambiguity of FMA, but it is also one of my favorite manga.
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Merida
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Joined: 21 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:49 pm Reply with quote
FMA is my favourite shounen battle manga of all times, i don't think anything will ever top it. It has an intriguing plot, awesome characters and exciting fights which aren't dragged out forever and ever like in so many other series of the same genre.

I started reading after having watched (and enjoyed) the first anime because i was curious why so many fans of the manga were complaining about the adaption and i instantly got sucked in. Brotherhood was great and i'm happy it was made (even though i still don't think the first anime was bad) - but ultimately it was the manga which made me a 'true fan', so it will always have a special place in my heart.
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Charred Knight



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
Posts: 3068
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:55 pm Reply with quote
Amestris was named after the wife of Xerxes so the intention was to show a connection to the nation of Xerxes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amestris

As for the Iraq War itself, the Ishval civil war showed up in the manga a year before America invaded Iraq, and the manga predates 9/11. Arakawa has stated that she based the Ishvalans on the Ainu, and in the manga itself she stated that she interviewed Japanese veterans of World War II while the experimentation of the Ishvalans by the Amestrian government is taken from Unit 731 which a group of doctors who were drafted into preforming human experimentation on the Chinese. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Yuasa
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R. Kasahara
Collector ExtraordinaireCollector Extraordinaire


Joined: 19 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:05 pm Reply with quote
This is a fantastic essay. FMA is one of the best shounen manga I've ever read, and this piece captures so much of why that is. I must admit that it took me a moment to remember which shocking scene involving Scar was being referred to. It's been awhile ^^;

jojothepunisher wrote:
I think the manga should have pushed on that "dead-[expletive]-serious" tone rather than the light-hearted jokes inherent in Shounen mangas. Because of this, the manga became a manga for little kids, rather than a manga for everybody.

Really? I enjoyed the humor, and in series like this, such funny bits help to make the serious stuff that happens later on more impactful (since it helps endear you to the characters, etc.).
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amarielah



Joined: 11 Apr 2009
Posts: 178
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:37 pm Reply with quote
For me, it wasn't so much the humor that was a problem (in the manga, where it wasn't too jarring; Brotherhood's translation of that humor was...less easy to ignore) as the application of Shounen-style idealism to situations that mirror real-world events.

The moral ambiguity was explored, but in a rather ham-fisted and naive way. The nature of racism in society was, I think, completely misunderstood. (No, racism doesn't magically go away once you defeat the Big Bad Monster.) And as a person with a family history of being victims of racism and genocide, I did not appreciate how the story handled the fallout of genocide, or its two main Ishvalan characters.

It's a solid story, but I just don't think Arakawa was qualified to make some of the moral statements that she did. And since the manga was also rather...preachy, it really detracted from what might've otherwise been a real treat for me. Once I've been jarred out of a story by that little voice in my head going, "You did NOT just imply what I think you implied," it's difficult to get back into it.
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brammerhammer23



Joined: 06 Jun 2013
Posts: 56
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:06 pm Reply with quote
I'm kind of surprised that so many people have negative comments to say about FMA. I thought it was extraordinary.
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Charred Knight



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
Posts: 3068
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:08 pm Reply with quote
amarielah wrote:
For me, it wasn't so much the humor that was a problem (in the manga, where it wasn't too jarring; Brotherhood's translation of that humor was...less easy to ignore) as the application of Shounen-style idealism to situations that mirror real-world events.

The moral ambiguity was explored, but in a rather ham-fisted and naive way. The nature of racism in society was, I think, completely misunderstood. (No, racism doesn't magically go away once you defeat the Big Bad Monster.) And as a person with a family history of being victims of racism and genocide, I did not appreciate how the story handled the fallout of genocide, or its two main Ishvalan characters.

It's a solid story, but I just don't think Arakawa was qualified to make some of the moral statements that she did. And since the manga was also rather...preachy, it really detracted from what might've otherwise been a real treat for me. Once I've been jarred out of a story by that little voice in my head going, "You did NOT just imply what I think you implied," it's difficult to get back into it.


As opposed to what? Simply having the Ishvalans get barely mentioned and having the entire subplot wrapped up by having some guy mention that the Ishvalans can now return to their land? The Ishvalans don't even appear after episode 42. The actual wrapup was basically a rehash of the Black Knight scene from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Not only do I find episode 42 to be unintentionally hilarious I also couldn't stop laughing at Scar's past it was just so goofy. Did we really need the nude scenes of Scar's Brother or to see his spoiler[bloody crotch]

Also I don't think the answer to genocide is spoiler[ to kill thousands of people in return]. Yes Fullmetal Alchemist is idealistic, but when has idealism become a bad thing.

At the end of the day the first anime says almost nothing about the Isvhalan people because in the long run the Ishvalan people were simply not important in the first anime.


Last edited by Charred Knight on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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xchampion



Joined: 21 Jan 2009
Posts: 369
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:18 pm Reply with quote
I agree that FMA was awesome.
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TsukasaElkKite



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:47 pm Reply with quote
FMA will always be one of my favorites.
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amarielah



Joined: 11 Apr 2009
Posts: 178
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:22 pm Reply with quote
Charred Knight wrote:
amarielah wrote:
For me, it wasn't so much the humor that was a problem (in the manga, where it wasn't too jarring; Brotherhood's translation of that humor was...less easy to ignore) as the application of Shounen-style idealism to situations that mirror real-world events.

The moral ambiguity was explored, but in a rather ham-fisted and naive way. The nature of racism in society was, I think, completely misunderstood. (No, racism doesn't magically go away once you defeat the Big Bad Monster.) And as a person with a family history of being victims of racism and genocide, I did not appreciate how the story handled the fallout of genocide, or its two main Ishvalan characters.

It's a solid story, but I just don't think Arakawa was qualified to make some of the moral statements that she did. And since the manga was also rather...preachy, it really detracted from what might've otherwise been a real treat for me. Once I've been jarred out of a story by that little voice in my head going, "You did NOT just imply what I think you implied," it's difficult to get back into it.


As opposed to what? Simply having the Ishvalans get barely mentioned and having the entire subplot wrapped up by having some guy mention that the Ishvalans can now return to their land? The Ishvalans don't even appear after episode 42. The actual wrapup was basically a rehash of the Black Knight scene from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Not only do I find episode 42 to be unintentionally hilarious I also couldn't stop laughing at Scar's past it was just so goofy. Did we really need the nude scenes of Scar's Brother or to see his spoiler[bloody crotch]

Also I don't think the answer to genocide is spoiler[ to kill thousands of people in return]. Yes Fullmetal Alchemist is idealistic, but when has idealism become a bad thing.

At the end of the day the first anime says almost nothing about the Isvhalan people because in the long run the Ishvalan people were simply not important in the first anime.


I didn't mention the first anime at all. What the hell?

And excuse me, but what authority do you have to say what is and isn't an answer to genocide? Are you Jewish, Romani, or Armenian? From Darfur, perhaps? If not, on what grounds do you make such claims?

My issues with the manga in this regard are based on my own experiences growing up around Holocaust survivors, and experiencing virulent antisemitism. There's nothing wrong with idealism in and of itself, but there's nothing inherently good about it, either. Many inherently idealistic movements -- like, say, Neo Conservatism -- are problematic as hell. In fact, Fascism and Communism were also based on almost pure idealism. And much like a political ideology is not made magically unproblematic because of its idealism, an idealistic narrative doesn't get a free pass on its problematic elements simply by virtue of being idealistic.

In other words, it's not the idealism itself I have a problem with, but the way that idealism was expressed in certain instaces. It isn't cynical to point out that certain situations are incredibly complicated, and that simplifying them can lead to some...questionable implications.

I won't go into the details here for spoiler reasons, but let's just say that, if the Ishvalans were a real ethnic minority instead of a fictional proxy, I think the Unfortunate Implications would be a lot more obvious to a lot more people. If you don't agree, that's fine -- but undermining my feelings, or dismissing them outright, is a really gross thing for you to do.

Why do you read any criticism of the manga as grounds to launch into a rant about how it's better than the first anime series? If the only response you have to criticism of one thing is to point to another thing and insist it was worse -- especially when said criticism was kept purposefully vague for the sake of avoiding spoilers -- it really makes your position look weak.

Edited to remove the discussion of the FMA1 stuff. It's not relevant, and I shouldn't have indulged that nonsense.


Last edited by amarielah on Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:06 pm; edited 6 times in total
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zawa113
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:31 pm Reply with quote
I'm also in the "FMA was good, but not godly" camp. I probably finished the FMA manga maybe last winter (so early 2012ish)? I really enjoyed the first anime series, but for me, the manga was comparatively black and white, pardon the pun, with morality while I thought the 2003 anime was more grey and gray. I also thought the ending played it way too safe in regards to the main characters and I didn't quite feel that they had earned that ending. Too shonen tropey for me, left a bad taste in my mouth.

Then this past January (early 2013), I read Basara. And to me, FMA suddenly became a lesser Basara. Everything FMA tries to do, Basara does better, from action scenes, intense drama, rich memorable characters, the incredibly flawed people, political intrigue, to mass slaughtering of people (we only have two beheadings of children in the first volume. Though to be fair, I don't think it was quite genocide as everyone appears to be Japanese in this series, but more mass killings to prevent the rise of the Chosen One). It was also all easier to follow and more engrossing for me to boot. And I now realize that Basara is still turning around in my mind over and over because it was so incredible while FMA is stuck somewhere back there as "a decent shonen I read". There's really no comparison for me, and I hope FMA fans check out Basara if they're looking for something to read. Also, Jason mentions romance in FMA, but I honestly can't remember it. Basara's on the other hand, major story component (even if the scenario itself is pretty damn improbably unlikely, but I'm ok with it)

Just for the record, my two favorite shonen manga are Hikaru no Go (which is entirely about the characters) and Firefighter Daigo (which is pretty much all badass action, but it just does it so well!)
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