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28 June 2005 @ 05:38 pm
Full Metal Alchemist, redux. tridux?  
Humph! I wrote this up a couple of days ago, but it didn't post.

I have now passed DVDs of the rest of the series to marith, so that she can babble about it with me. I should have just labeled them "teh Crack" instead of FMA.

episode 34

Greed is definitely likeable in comparison to the other homunculi, which is less about him being nice than the fact that the other homunculi are psychopathic. I wonder if it has to do with him being weakened? Wrath was relatively human until Envy fed him the red stones. Greed also went down awfuly easy, plotwise -- I'm wondering if the manga took longer about this arc? There just seemed to be a lot of depth of characterization put into his team, for characters that basically lasted a couple of episodes.

Once again, Al bonds with the bad guy. I'm severely reminded of someone's very funny rant about how uke Alphonse is, what with his fondness for following domineering male figures around like a puppy.

So who the hell is Lita? I'm not buying that the second-rate alchemist from a little mining town can suddenly take out Dante, who is Izumi's *master*, and then have the knowledge and skills to take out Greed too. I'd think Envy, exept that there was alchemy done.

episode 35
More references to "he" being in charge of the homunculi. Is this Elric-daddy?

So definitively, the homunculus have some memories and emotions. Or at least, Lust does; she's always seemed the most human and the least bound by her "sin" of the homunculi seen so far. She doesn't seem to use sex/desire as a weapon all that much, nothing like Gluttony or Wrath's temper tantrums or Envy's constant anger.

You know, if I lived in a village where people turned to stone on a regular basis, I think I'd move.

episode 36
Somehow, I think the bit with the ethnic minority being shipped to camps in barred train cars, with the middle class passengers carefully drawing the curtains and pretending not to notice? Not going to end well. The chief knows it too, thus the attempt to get at least two of the children to safety.

And the conversation between Hawkeye and Winry is wonderful, both the conversation they actually have and the second conversation they have beneath that one.

episode 37
Again, so much of the brilliance in FMA is the contrasts. They give us the fun lighthearted episode with Mustang's crew... right after we've seen them loading Ishbalans on cattle cars the episode before. This series does not let you forget that most of the people you are watching are complicit in genocide.

Also, I have learned the sweeter and funnier the setup, the more shit is coming, which means... hell is on the way.

episode 38
Ed's afro. Ahahaha!

One of the things I like about Winry is that she doesn't appear too much, and when she does, she has her own purpose and it's not to get kidnapped or menaced so Ed can angst (that's what Al is for!) Having her go back to Central and meet with Sheska is great, and I love how that the two of them get far closer to the heart of the conspiracy than Ed has done in the last four years. Granted, it's not Ed's main goal, and it is Sheska's. But Winry recognizes Ed and Al's mom instantly, even though she's half water, and doesn't apparently dismiss it the way Ed does. Ed's preternatural focus also can be blinders. I still, however, hate the Winry closing credits, mainly because she's portrayed as all floating vaguely magical girl.

I'm curious; Al says they should go talk to their dad; when did this become an option? Did I miss something? Because the last I knew, no one knew where Hohenheim Elric was.

I do love Ed, but over and over again, it's Al that breaks my heart. Sitting by the river, making children's toys (and it's typical of FMA's fabulous detail that one of them is the same iconic horse from their childhood alchemy... done with Al's current finer skill.) Trying so hard to keep everyone, even people who have done him ill, from destroying themselves.

From the preview for next episode, I see everyone is going to meet up in Lior. I'm cringing in pre-reaction of Ed finding out what has happened.
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Take these broken wings and learn to flyliete on June 29th, 2005 05:00 am (UTC)
Concerning the one controlling the homonculi and Lita...well, you'll see. =)

I really liked Greed, he really was much more likable than the other homunculi, though you'll really feel for all of them towards the end.

AlxEveryone, seriously. If I wasn't so into Elricest, I'd pair Al up with everyone, heh.

Episode 37 is hilarious, I love watching that after all the intense episodes that precede it. I especially like the Armstrong's sister scene. Poor Havoc!
Laura: FMA: Pay for Lovetavella on June 29th, 2005 05:58 am (UTC)
If I wasn't so into Elricest, I'd pair Al up with everyone, heh.

So Al is the FMA slut, not Ed?

Somehow I suspect (having now watched up to 42), that 37 was my last break in the tension...
Mari: Ed's God - sky_darkkaitou_marina on June 29th, 2005 06:28 am (UTC)
You suspect correctly.
Marikaitou_marina on June 29th, 2005 05:04 am (UTC)
I added you back because you really interest me and I like the things you have to say about FMA. But, I would like to point one thing out about the translation you're watching.

You said they keep refering to a "he" that's controlling the homunculi? Unfortunately, that's not actually what's being said in Japanese. Whenever that reference comes up, the homunculi are actually using the Japanese term "ano hito" to refer to them. "Ano hito" is a non-gender-specific pronoun that means "That person." Thus, they are refering to a person in the vaguest of terms, with no gender conotations attached. So, they COULD be refering to Elric-papa, or they could be refering to someone completely different. It's very, very vague, and unfortunately, a lot of translators chose to go the gender-specific route rather than the gender-neutral route. Just goes to show how gender biased language can mess up an otherwise good translation XD

And I'm GLAD YOU HAVE SUCH A POSITIVE IMAGE OF WINRY! It's totally, totally refreshing to hear that from a fellow fan. People complain ALL the time that she's only there to "sit at home and wait for Ed and Al," but I have argued time and again that that is bullshit. She accomplishes some of the most important things in the series before Ed and Al even do, and people always forget that. Besides, I don't get what the deal is with it being wrong to have a career at home. I don't see anything wrong with that, not at all.

(But, I must be the only one in the whole universe who likes the third ending. Winry may be kickass, but I don't want to be begruged a moment to objectivy my own gender XD She's sexay!)
Marikaitou_marina on June 29th, 2005 05:06 am (UTC)
Wow there were a lot of spelling errors in that @.@ I'm sorry!
Laura: FMA: Pay for Lovetavella on June 29th, 2005 06:25 am (UTC)
You said they keep refering to a "he" that's controlling the homunculi? Unfortunately, that's not actually what's being said in Japanese. Whenever that reference comes up, the homunculi are actually using the Japanese term "ano hito" to refer to them. "Ano hito" is a non-gender-specific pronoun that means "That person."

Ah! That's very enlightening, thanks. It explains Cryogenia's 7sins name too :)

And yeah, I like Winry. The whole wrench-throwing thing gets a little old, but she's a strong female character without going all the way to the other side and making her totally cold. She's still got very tender and compassionate moments, along with her independence.
mikkeneko: almikkeneko on June 29th, 2005 11:33 am (UTC)
Al is such a heart-breaker.
Laura: FMA: Pay for Lovetavella on June 29th, 2005 09:01 pm (UTC)
He is! I think I need a special Al icon, maybe one with the movie!Al.
Kazkazaera on June 30th, 2005 07:07 am (UTC)
*waves* Hi! We were having such a fun conversation on ishnaru that I decided to check out your journal. Hope you don't mind.
About Lita/Lyra/Ryla/Lyla/Leila/HOWEVER YOU SPELL HER NAME GAAAH... you'll see. There is a reason. And it's a good one. And you're not going to think of it unless you get yourself spoiled like I did. So don't.

Greed also went down awfuly easy, plotwise -- I'm wondering if the manga took longer about this arc?

Can't rightly remember, although I do know that Greed was captured in the manga by manga!Wrath (who is not anime!Wrath but a different anime sin and that's all I'm going to say about that for now) and killed later.

Greed did go down easily. My explanation for this is that he actually wanted Ed to kill him. He says it himself - he doesn't want to be sealed again, he's going to choose how he dies. He also wants his revenge on That Person (as someone said, that's the proper term) and the other homunculi. So he goads Ed into killing him so that Ed, who's never killed before, is capable of killing the other homunculi afterwards ("If you want to beat me, come at me with intent to kill." kind of thing). 34 is actually the ep that made me fall in love with Greed as a character, and I still cry every time I see it - because he knew, he intended to make Ed kill him, manipulated Ed into killing him so that he'd be able to beat the other homunculi.
Waaaaahhhh!
Re: Why is Greed nicer than the others? I suspect - he just is. *g* It's also part of his personality - Greed is greedy, yes, but he puts taking care of what he already has over getting new things in almost all cases. It's pretty much the nicest possible interpretation of an incarnation of greed. *hugs Greed*
Finally, I suspect Wrath's psychoness is due to other issues than just eating the stones. Say rather that the stones were the catalyst as they brought his memory back, and that memory included him taking Ed's arm and leg, the Gate, him in the Gate and Izumi first creating him and then giving him back to the Gate. That last betrayal seems to have made him snap. I'd also say that Greed is older and therefore more well-adjusted, but Gluttony and Envy disprove that theory.

(BTW, although I adore the fact that you like my AU, be careful! There are spoilers in there! I can think of one already in chapter II that I really hope you didn't notice/glossed over. And there will be more. >_<)
mikkenekomikkeneko on June 30th, 2005 08:52 am (UTC)
Well, I'd toss into this discussion that I don't think the homunculi are fundamentally evil. The ones we meet have been betrayed or hurt by the good guys, and taken in by the bad guys; they bear fierce malice for the hurts done to them, and loyalty to the ones who have helped them.

Greed, however, has been betrayed pretty solidly by the bad guys and the good guys have never done anything to hurt him, so he's got nothing against them. And if he's got nothing against them, there's no reason why he shouldn't show niceness.
Kazkazaera on July 1st, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC)
I like the fact that there's very little "fundamentally evil"/"fundamentally good" about this series. Although the homunculi aren't human, you can really empathise with them and understand why they're acting the way they are - like you said, the good guys have given them every reason not to trust them. Furthermore, we can really see the flaws and misdeeds of the good guys (Two words: Roy. Ishvar. O_o) Even That Person has their reasons and even Ed has done some pretty awful things.

The only person I absolutely cannot sympathise or empathise with is Kimbley. And I suspect that's supposed to be that way. 'Cause he's, y'know, insane. I also have trouble with Envy, but even there I can sort of understand the reasons for his actions, although he's still rather deranged.
Laura: FMA: Pay for Lovetavella on July 1st, 2005 07:21 pm (UTC)
After watching them so gleefully torment entire city's worths of people, I'd have to disagree with you there, at least for Lust, Gluttony, Envy and (SPOILER). Even granting that they are non-human. If I saw a human treating an ant-hill or a pen full of beef cattle the same way, I'd think they were psychopathic too.
mikkeneko: slothmikkeneko on July 4th, 2005 10:09 pm (UTC)
Ah -- but Gluttony has no awareness of right or wrong, he's too much of an idiot. Envy is a sadistic psychopath, and he's the only one who really showed enjoyment at what they were doing. Lust showed either unemotionality or conflict, and again, she might have been doing very evil things, but she did them out of a loyalty towards the person who helped her and promised her a great reward.

*shrug* People aren't fundamentally evil either, but they can do plenty bad things if they think the reasoning is sound.
Laura: FMA: Pay for Lovetavella on July 1st, 2005 06:50 am (UTC)
Say rather that the stones were the catalyst as they brought his memory back, and that memory included him taking Ed's arm and leg, the Gate, him in the Gate and Izumi first creating him and then giving him back to the Gate. That last betrayal seems to have made him snap. I'd also say that Greed is older and therefore more well-adjusted, but Gluttony and Envy disprove that theory.

Hmm, that's a good point. Nothing like having "Mom" throw you back into the pit of darkness to embitter a non-soul.

(BTW, although I adore the fact that you like my AU, be careful! There are spoilers in there! I can think of one already in chapter II that I really hope you didn't notice/glossed over. And there will be more.

Well, I got pretty throughly spoilered for the end state of the anime early on, but I've generally managed to avoid any details of how it happened. I hope to finish the series this weekend so then no more danger of spoilers.
Kazkazaera on July 1st, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC)
Hmm, that's a good point. Nothing like having "Mom" throw you back into the pit of darkness to embitter a non-soul.

Yes - that must've hurt, especially given how bad the Gate seems to be (Wrath is quite thoroughly traumatised).

It's good to hear you're finishing the series soon! :) I'm probably going to post one more chapter maximum this weekend, and there shouldn't be any spoilers in that. (No Greed either, sad to say - scene switches back to Al, Mustang and the rest. Although I'm still pondering whether I shouldn't make that chapter 5 instead to avoid timeline difficulties and do more Greed, Martel and Ed angsting in part IV. *ponder* Shouldn't be any spoilers past ep 27 or so either way.)