Last week, the popular Japanese manga and anime series, Fullmetal Alchemist, was released as a live-action adaptation on Netflix. After sitting through fantastic episodes of the anime, more specifically, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I was slightly intrigued as to how the live-action will compare to the original. Suffice to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
I must admit to going in with no expectations when it came to watching the live-action film. After watching the Japanese live-action Death Note and Attack On Titan films, both of which were a let down compared to the original anime, I was hesitant to have another favourite anime of mine ruined. Therefore, I tried my hardest to approach and enjoy the film as someone who hadn’t seen the anime before. I failed miserably.
As I sat through the live-action, I couldn’t help but make constant comparisons to the anime. Though several comparisons yielded more of a positive response than negative. Firstly, it’s important to remember that the creators of the live-action film had to fit 60+ episodes of content into 2 hours, that’s a challenge to do when almost every episode is filled with important content. It must have been really difficult to decide on what to include and what to cut out.
Considering that much of the original manga and anime’s content was removed, the film managed to actually tell the story of Edward and Alphonse Elrich well. The concept of the Philosopher’s Stone was portrayed in a way that was easy to understand, particularly for those who had seen the anime and/or read the manga. Not only that but the characters were all incredibly well portrayed and remained through to the source material.
Unlike the Attack On Titan live-action film, Fullmetal Alchemist actually made sense, even though some rather important bits and pieces of information that was crucial to the story in the original anime was removed. The film didn’t waste any precious time on unnecessary romance scenes or include bizarre moments. That, in itself, is a win in my book.
The graphics were absolutely stunning and was a cut above other Japanese live-action adaptations. In fact, it was even better than the English live-action Death Note film on Netflix. Each of the Homuncili were so well done and looked so realistic, as if the characters stepped out of the manga and anime into real life. This goes with Alphonse as well, whose armour is almost a real life duplicate of the manga and anime version.
In fact, all of the characters very much looked akin to their manga/anime counterparts. This was definitely a highlight for me as not many films follow the original source material so well.
Now, the downside of the film is, of course, that they removed several aspects of the manga and anime that I felt was really important to the story. While I understand the need to cut down on content to fit the time frame, I did feel that something felt slightly off with the story of how the Homunculi came about and the real villain of the film.
Nevertheless, unlike other live-action adaptations I’ve seen, Fullmetal Alchemist was actually reasonably well done. While not the best film, the fact that the characters were exactly as they are in the source material, the brilliant graphics and the fact that there may be a sequel all made for a fairly enjoyable experience. Now we’ll just have to see how well done the Bleach live-action adaptation is.