Hello fellow bloggers and readers! I’m back! And in an attempt to not work on my dissertation, I bring you this post. Yes, classes have ended, and from now until August 19th, I shall be busy writing a 12,000 word thesis on the game habits between gamers and fan culture. If you are so inclines to help me, and have played the video game Pokemon, then I would ask that you TAKE MY SURVEY. Please and thank you!
Now, on the the main event. So, this weekend, while procrastinating on my work, I decided the re-read Fullmetal Alchemist. Anyone who know my love for anime/manga, knows that this is my favorite series ever. Like ever. Everything about this series is flawless. There is a good plot, great action, the characters are superbly written, and the relationships makes sense. Why, let me make a list!
I’ll try not to be too spoilery.
The story is simple, two brothers (Edward and Alphonse Elric) on a journey to get their original bodies back, after trying to bring their dead mother back from the dead. That is the one sentence summary. But there is so much more. You have a plot-line that involves war, and how it is not black-and-white. You have a plotline of corruption in the government. Sure, this is a fantasy, but at times it seems so real.
To me, at least, what makes a good series or story is not always the main protagonist, it is the ensemble cast. In stories, the main character has to grow right? Our hero isn’t perfect, if they were, then we wouldn’t want to read/listen/watch it. FMA does just that. All of the side characters have helped Ed and Al grow on their journey. What is even cooler is that the side characters grow as well. Ling learns what it takes to be a leader, Winry grows in her skills as a mechanic, Roy figures out the path not to take, and so on. All of them are important to the growth of the main character, and have a use in the manga.
3. Female Characters
This. This so much. It is important to remember that this series was written BY A WOMAN. Hiromu Arakawa is a fabulous woman with a gift for storytelling. Seriously. This is a shounen series, meaning that it is targeted at young boys. However, there are a plethora of strong female characters THAT ARE NOT JUST USED FOR LOVE INTERESTS! This makes me so happy. I am tired of female characters in stories/movies/books that are just there to be a love interest. There are so many strong willed females in this one. Winry, (my fave), who makes the hard choice to go with her parents’ killer in order to not be used as a hostage. Ran Fan, who cuts her own arm off in order to save her master. Olivia Armstrong, who a badass leader. Izumi, who is just a badass. The list goes on, I feel like I am not doing it justice.
I think I mentioned in the plot section, but this series has a lot of emotions going through it. Love, hate, guilt. All of them. I cannot tell you the number of times I have cried while reading this manga. There is so much going on. Take Al for example. Someone once said you could write a whole psychology paper on Al. I mean, he begins to doubt if his own existence is real. And what about all the people involved in the war? The guilt they feel of killing, and knowing that their sins can never be erased. My favorite is Armstrong (the brother), because I think that most people would feel like him. He was trained and hired to be a weapon as a state alchemist, but he could not take the killing and fled. Instead of helping he fled, and it is wrong, and you know it, but that is basic human instinct. I could give yo more examples, but you have to read it for yourself.
There are a lot of good messages in this story. For example, when talking about war and Scar’s anger. He felt hatred towards the Amsterians who killed his family in the war, and in turn that hatred caused him to kill the people who were trying to save him, Winry’s parents. This in turn, caused Winry to hate Scar enough to want to kill him. However, because Ed stopped her, and among other things along the way, Winry moved on. The forgive and the move on are two different things. Winry broke the circle of hatred. I think this is the message that stuck to me the most. It is easy to hate, and not easy to forgive. But, we don’t have to forgive. We just have to rise above it and move on.
You also have the parallels of what makes a good leader. A King is there for his people. Without the people there is no King. It is kind of the philosophy all of us want in a leader to be there for us. Ling is trying to be that leader, to be the person that his people will feel safe, and in turn, you have people who are loyal to you. But without their king, the people will be lost.
That it! this is just a FEW of the reasons why you should read Fullmetal Alchemist. And if reading manga/graphic novels ain’t your thing, then watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood(2009). This version follows the manga more closely than the original anime run in 2003. My post is not doing it justice.
Now off the work on my dissertation (well try to work on it). I’ll try to update soon! Peace, Love, and Pokemon.