The long awaited FMA movie finally reaches the digital shores of non-Japanese anime viewers like me who didn’t get to watch it’s North American premier. With FMA arguably being one of the best anime of all time with it’s impressive story direction, it’s reasonable to expect the movie to be just as good. But expectations can only go so far. FMA is no exception.
Genre/s: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Shounen
Hagane no Renkinjutsushi Movie 2 Milos no Seinaru no Hoshi had it’s initial theater premier last July 2, 2011 at Japan. It also had a special screening last November in some parts of North America (Burbank, Hawaii, Vancouver, Toronto, and San Francisco) as part of their film festival activities.
The first FMA movie, The Conqueror of Shamballa, premiered six years ago. It served as a follow-up/epilogue for the original FMA series, and, well, suffice to say, Conqueror was loads better than Milos.
Chronologically, Milos could’ve taken place any time between Al’s memory-regain and the Central crisis (if it’s canon) so more or less you could treat it as a side story (like how the Elric brothers are always looking for leads about how they can regain their bodies). All bashing aside, it starts out very nice, with the introduction of the co-main cast, the Crichtons, followed by some sinister scenes involving their family. A few minutes in and we get a time skip to “present” day Central, with our good old friends Ed and Al.
Commotion follows as a one-man prison break occurs and causes some damage to the neighboring houses. The man in question appears to be an alchemist, and a capable one at that, by using both ice and lightning alchemy. He manages to go head-to-head with the Elric brothers before pulling of a stalemate by electrocuting, and subsequently disabling Ed’s automail.
The main conflict has Julia Crichton, the supposed last surviving member of the Crichton family, on a do-or-die mission to restore Milos, the once glorious city which had then been reduced to a city resting at the bottom of a deep valley that doubled as the neighboring city Creta’s dump site. The former residents of Milos believe in a sacred power that flowed beneath Milos in the form of magma. They also believed in certain red stones (sound familiar) called “Stars of Blood” capable of immense power. Power enough to restore Milos.
Julia wishes to harness both. In a sense, Julia’s side of the story has a “liberating the oppressed” kind of feel, and coupling it with alchemy makes it a nice story. We see Julia as a character, develop and gain strength in a manner similar to the way FMA had done things. She’d probably make a nice main lead had the idea for her character been used for another series. For the other characters however, I can’t share the same sentiments.
Our dual-element alchemist’s “true identity” is nothing short of random that it narrowly avoided to trip the line between a well-thought out plot twist, and a “what the hell?”. The Elric brothers don’t get a pass here either. Ed, instead of being his usual short, hot-headed, and calculating self, becomes your more-than-ordinary hero that has just enough clutch ability to save our other main. Al is just there, voicing out his concerns at times, but in the end is just there. The ones that got it the worst though were Mustang, Hawkeye, and Winry. It’s like they were put in there for the sake of being there.
Take away Ed and Al, and the movie would have probably progressed the same way. If taking the spotlight away from the brothers was intentional, then they went a little overboard by leaving them with little to no light at all. In spite of that, I’d like to give the movie some credit for it’s plot twists. Bordering the “wth?” line or not, they were very unpredictable in my opinion, and it really helped increase the entertainment a bit.
I’ve never really been a fan of the art style of FMA, but the animation quality in this movie was pretty good (save for them purple lightning bolts, lol) The fight scenes had some nice style transitions and character movement was very fluid and realistic, in a sense. The music was okay for the most part as it did a nice job setting the mood during the whole “Three Dimensional Transmutation” thing. L’Arc and miwa also gave us some pretty catchy stuff.
All in all, the movie didn’t really give a lasting impression on me, as supposed to Conqueror. I guess generally it was because it didn’t really feel like FMA to me.