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Fullmetal Alchemist Exhibition Casts a Spell in Osaka

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins

Note: The following article contains spoilers for the end of Hiromu Arakawa's Fullmetal Alchemist manga.


With the upcoming live-action film only a few days away now, it was perfect timing for Square Enix to host an exhibition for Fullmetal Alchemist. The exhibition was held first in Tokyo from September 16 through October 29, and then moved to Osaka from November 3-30.

The exhibition itself was mostly focused on Hiromu Arakawa's original manga, but what first greeted fans at the entrance area in Osaka was the costumes for the live-action film, for Ed, Winry, Lust, and Mustang.

Arakawa drew a new visual for the exhibition, and a framed version of the visual with signatures from Arakawa and other actors also greeted fans at the entrance to the exhibition.

As did this life-size statue of Alphonse.

The exhibition also featured cool signage to explain rules and mark the bathrooms.

After the entrance area and one room with posters of the main characters, most of the exhibition itself didn't allow pictures.

At the start of the main exhibits, fans were ushered into a small, closed-off room that featured chalk drawings on a wall and a table in the center. The room then used lights, projections, and voice acting from Ed and Al's child voice actors to reenact the moment where Ed and Al fail to perform human transmutation on their mother. It was a pretty emotional way to start off the exhibition, although visitors could hear the same clip being played over and over throughout the next few areas of the exhibition, so it lost its emotional punch after a while.

The next part of the exhibition featured Arakawa's colored images. These images include volume covers, magazine covers, color spreads, and other color inserts from the manga itself. Seeing the originals for these images was definitely a real treat!

Visitors could then take a look at replicas of weapons used in the manga, from knives used by May Chang, to swords used by Lin Yao and his companions, to different types of guns used by Hawkeye.

The exhibit then shifted to focus on characters, with areas dedicated to the Homunculus, Van Hohenheim, and the Chimera. This area featured the original drawings from the pages of the manga. One area of this part of the exhibit allowed photos. The pages featuring the deaths of each of the Homunculi were some of the highlights of this area.

The exhibit then focused on the final battle in the manga, featuring many of the double spread pages from the climactic scenes in the manga, including the death of Bradley and the fight with The Dwarf in the Flask's final form. This area also featured another video experience with voice acting, which highlighted the scene where Ed gives up his Alchemy to save Al. The original manga's final pages were then on display.

A new area featured images Arakawa drew for merchandise, video games, collaboration events, and other events such as Christmas. The area also had a statue of Arakawa's signature cow persona, and a video of her drawing and coloring the exhibit's visual.

At the very end of the exhibition was a small area focused on the various anime adaptations. There were video screens scattered across the room playing the openings and endings for the two anime series (it was a shock remembering the first anime was in 4x3!) and the two anime films. Along the walls were line art drawings for key scenes, and fans could even flip through a book of rough storyboards for some of the episodes.

After the exhibition fans exited through the gift shop, which featured a large variety of goods and prints. Some of the goods available included hoodies, snacks, towels, pencil cases, plush toys, masking tape, tote bags, an artbook for the exhibition, phone cases, pin badges, calendars, replicas of Mustang's gloves, umbrellas, coasters, an automail pewter ring, key holders, stickers, mugs, and postcards.

One of the cutest pieces of merch at the exhibit was a milk bottle full of snacks that said "Edward Elric I Hate Milk" on the front of it.

The exhibit definitely was a giant nostalgia bomb for fans of the original manga and the anime adaptations, and served its purpose well of hyping up the upcoming film. The film opens in Japan on Friday, and will have IMAX and 4DX screenings.

The film will also open in over 190 countries around the world, including in the United States and Europe. According to the website, it will be the widest international opening for any Japanese film — live-action or animated.


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