Been a little while since I posted a journal to this site. Or a long while. This will be something of a therapeutic rant for me. No one actually reads any of my journal posts, but there is still the random possibility it will happen. Let the healing begin...with rage...
My topic today is simple. I love the fullmetal alchemist series. I hate the fullmetal alchemist brotherhood series. I have tried. No seriously, 3 separate attempts through the third episode each time. Brotherhood sucks. Maybe if it was the first of the two I watched, then I could be more forgiving. But from the animation to the pacing to the story to the dialogue. Just awful.
Starting with the animation, piss poor is the best way to describe it. I know not all anime series get the level of funding or attention they deserve, but this is an absolute travesty. Using a more basic style or cartoonish look for comic relief is one thing. Many great anime series do it. But that transition needs to be noticeable. The regular animation such so low quality, the comic elements have a very subdued impact. The background doesn't need to be a masterpiece of animation, but they could try to put some effort into it. Honestly, they could put a white void as the background and it might be better. Maybe it looks so bad because the foreground animation is "meh" at best. Even the action scenes.
So, before I have a Michael Jones style stroke, lets move on to pacing. Brotherhood took some story elements from the original and decided to subject it to the M. Night Shamylan (not sure if that is the spelling and really don't give a shit) treatment. The Last Airbender had story "elements" but was like sitting in a theater having all the cool parts of the story told to me, rather than shown. The creators of brotherhood probably said "hey, remember that complex anime with philosophical elements? I bet we can do it justice by cutting out that stupid draggy/thinky bits and just tell people the story. Otherwise they might not get it. People are too busy or stupid to try to think for themselves." This really fucks the pacing. In the first episode, the bad guy and the Elric brothers face off in an epic battle only to have the brothers get distracted and for the bad guy to...wander away. What the actual fuck? I can't wrap my head around why this was even a thing.
What now? Ah right, the story. I haven't been able to get through enough to know if the story is similar to the original. But I am not encouraged by the start. I go to audible to listen to narration. This is the visual and shitty equivalent, but if the narrator was mute and probably drunk. Maybe I could give the series a pass on this one if it diverged into a new an unique direction, but I see absolutely no evidence of that. Also, the impact of some of the most emotional and powerful moments of the original series were redone. That is perfectly fine, but not if you do it poorly. The original series gave me nightmares because of the horrific buildup and visuals of the attempted resurrection of Elric's mother and then the human chimera transformation with the scientist's daughter. They were deeply disturbing philosophical explorations of the human psyche which pull no punches. The new series: we tried to bring mommy back and failed. No piecemeal reveal, just a monster that might have been mom plastered on the screen. All the horror elements removed to make it more "kid friendly" maybe? They reveal the gateway immediately too, which would be fine, except for the cartoonish talking exposition monster. Exposition can be done well, the original wasn't perfect in this regard, but to take and combine several episodes worth of exposition and give it to a "demonic" character for no other purpose but spout dialogue to make the story easier to digest?
That brings me to the most heinous sin of Brotherhood. The dialogue. It is so on the nose that I feel absolutely nothing for the characters. They are lines that invoke no emotional attachment between anyone. Even the Elric brothers. That is the core of the story. Alphonse and Edward don't talk like brothers. They sound like actors in a poorly written play that have no emotional connection. Edward's relationship to the military is so forced and fake that it is absurd. The motivation for him to join is completely lost based on his interactions with Mustang. He talks like he is a badass dummy who likes being a dog of the military. That was a key point of conflict in the original with significant consequences. In Brotherhood, they fail in every sense to convey that idea.
I realize that I need to give equal time to both series to properly draw a comparison. But I can't. Brotherhood is a steaming pile of badly written and animated shit.
Overall this series has left me with the smell of toast and...JUMS
Sorry about that. Hey Gavin, you probably had a stroke. Might want to get that checked out.