is easily in the top ten of my favorite anime series.
Probably in the top five. The
series had a lot of action, some real
heart-felt drama, and a unique and creative 'world' that was brought to
over the course of 51 episodes. Even so,
I was a bit hesitant about watching the move that acts as a sequel to
Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of
Shamballa. Could the creative team
capture lightning in a bottle a second time?
Would the movie have all of the fun, humor, and excitement as
or was it just a chance to cash in on a successful show?
Luckily my fears were ungrounded. This
movie is able to bring together all of the
things that made the series so good in a nice tight package.
Warning: If you haven't
seen the TV show, don't watch
this movie. It is a continuation of the
show and if you haven't see that, you won't have any idea of what is
The movie starts up two years after the final events in the
TV series. Edward Elric is trapped
Earth, in Weimar Germany,
where his alchemist powers
will not work and therefore he's unable to get back to his world,
Amestris. Edward is hanging around with
the Earth version of his brother who grew up to be a young man. Alphonse is interested in the new science of
rocketry and has made a good amount of progress in the field. His work comes to the attention of a Nazi
group that calls themselves the Thune Society and they offer to sponsor
After rescuing a psychic gypsy named Noa and encountering
this world's versions of people he knew back on Amestris, Edward goes
expedition to hunt down a dragon. The
creature turns out to be the homunculus Envy, and it gets captured by
Society. They have a plan to use the
dragon in a spell that will open a doorway to Amestris, which they plan
conquer. When the gate is opened, the Thule leader, a
named Dietlinde Eckhart, sends a platoon of armored soldiers through it
When the army arrives on Amestris however, they have to deal
with the 'real' Alphonse Elric who has become quite an alchemist
himself. By merely touching the suits of
armor he can
instill a small part of his soul into the suits and cause them to do
bidding. He makes quick work of the
attack party who are eventually sucked back into a vortex and brought
It's after this failure that Eckhart tricks Edward into
helping her make a more permanent opening through the dimensions, but
man, alchemist powers or not, isn't going to let his world be invaded,
it means never going home again.
Like the series, this movie has a lot going on at all
times. There are several subplots that I
had to gloss over and simplify since the story is actually fairly
complex. It's never confusing though, and
includes all of the aspects that made the series so great.
One of the reasons that the movie succeeds so well is that
they switch the narrative back and forth between the two worlds
keep the plot zipping along. This could
become confounding but it's not because of the visual cues they use to
viewers know just where things are taking place. The
Earth is filled with more earthy tones,
browns, dark greens and grays, while Amestris is filled with bright
reds, oranges and blues. It's a simple
trick, but on that works quite well.
The creators also realized what made the TV series so
powerful: the love between Edward and
Alphonse. I wasn't sure how they were
going to make that same connection since the brothers were in different
dimensions, but they managed to pull it off quite well (through a plot
that I won't reveal).
Like FUNimations other Blu-ray releases, this movie looks
pretty good. The 1.78:1 1080p AVC
encoded image has a lot going for it.
The movie uses a wide range of colors and these are reproduced
well. The lines are tight and sharp and
the black are generally deep and inky.
Digital noise wasn't a problem though there was just a trace of
in a couple of scenes. Aliasing was
largely absent too. Overall it is a very
nice looking disc that should please fans of the show.
This disc offers viewers the choice of the original Japanese
audio in a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix or an English dub, also in Dolby TrueHD
5.1. I flipped between tracks while
watching the movie and then went back and compared specific scenes. I usually have a preference for the Japanese
audio while watching anime, but this time the English won out. The audio levels on the Japanese track are a
bit lower and the sub channel doesn't have the *umph* that the English
does. Don't get me wrong, the original
audio isn't bad; it just lacks some of the impact that the English
has. Both tracks made good use of the
surrounds, though the feeling was a bit more immersive in the English
dub. In both cases the battle scenes were
exciting with crashes and blasts occurring all around the room.
This disc ports over all of the extras that were found on
the previous SE DVD, though they are all presented in 480i/p. The main bonus item is The Making of
Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa a 40 minute docu on
the creation of
the film featuring extensive interviews with the director Seiji
Mizushima. It's a bit technical in places,
but if you're
interested in the nuts-and-bolts of anime production, this is an
piece to watch.
Talk Session with Seiji Mizushima, Romi
Rei Kugimiya, and Toru Okawa is a 50+ minute interview with the
main Japanese voice actors from the series.
They discuss not only the movie, but the TV series as well.
There are also three, count 'em, three audio
commentaries. The first is by the
Japanese voice actors, the second by the Japanese staff, and the third
English actors. Between these three,
you'll know more than you probably want about the series and the film.
Finally there are several different trailers for the film,
an art gallery, and a series of FUNimation trailers.
Just as exciting, creative, and touching as the original
series, Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie:
Conqueror of Shamballa is a great follow up to an excellent series. FUNimation's Blu-ray release is very good
too, boasting a fine picture and good audio.
This is one anime movie that comes Highly