Picture this, if you will: A magical world set in an old timey setting, where "modern" conveniences are shoved aside in favor of a more mystical alternative. People tie their soul to an object, jump between our world and a "spirit world", there's a government regulating use of this fantastical hornswoggle, and all around mythical things happen.
If you thought I was describing the world of Fullmetal Alchemist, the anime I'm reviewing, you are wrong.
That is the world of Harry Potter. The first book was published in 1997.
The first chapter of Fullmetal Alchemist was published in 2001.
Hmm, notice anything?
Now, I'm not one to just scream plagiarism, I fully recognize the benefit of the doubt. Sadly, there is just no doubt here. The facts are laid out in front of us. Now, if they improved upon their stolen formula, I'd be more than forgiving. But no, sadly they dragged down an interesting, stolen, concept, and turned it into a boring cliche series.
Let's start with the characters: Whiny brat and hugboxed-aspie. I get it, they're children, and as such would be immature and inexperienced. But give us a training montage, or just write them better, anything to avoid the pitfalls of dealing with kids. Ever be around children? It is literally the worst thing.
So here, a whole series full of it!
Now, for their voices, one of them sounds like a child. This is accurate, but as previously stated, annoying.
The weird thing is with the other brother, Ed. He, being voiced by the same man who does every voice in every Adult Swim anime, sounds like an adult. This is just odd. I realize this sound contradictory to my complaint of the child-like voice actor for Al, but you must realize there is a middle-ground. If the company can not find it, I will fault them on it.
Every other character is exaggerated to an annoying effect. Straight laced general or overly macho lieutenant, take your pick. Both are incredibly boring.
Then we have the least original concept, the villains. I don't know what literary dunce thought basing things around the seven deadly sins was a good idea, but it wasn't. It never is, and that holds true here. Fat guy eats, hermaphrodite is odd, and slut is slutty. Oh wow.
The art on all these characters, however, is quite nice, as is the animation. Every character, when fighting (Hurr durr fighting err' day!) has their own unique style and ways of moving. They aren't just interchangeable combatants, and that is very nice to see. Outside of battles, not much goes on, so one can't be too harsh on the animation. But inside those battles? Blows every other Japanese production out of the water!
Now, overall, I can't ultimately support this show. It rips off a much better production, and drags its name through the dirt.
My pal, who's watched through this all, tells me the story arc improves in the sequel, and parts outside of the battles are actually entertaining, so I can't wait to get to it! After the end of this run, I can't wait to see where they take the show, I can't see them having anywhere else to go.
I guess this excitement speaks to my enthusiasm. I want this show to be good, I want to enjoy it! It just isn't, and I can't.