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Full Metal Alchemist Vol 1 (1 - 8)
(Item No Longer Available

Full Metal Alchemist, along with Naruto, helped remind me how much fun anime could be. Mindless with a hint of depth, a sense of total joy and utter fun add up to one of the better series to be churned out in a while. This disc contains the first 8 episodes from the series, and is an excellent start to what should be an excellent overall set.

Single armory case with basic artwork. Nothing special, nothing bad.

Ripped from various sources, the video actually holds up quite well.

The first four episodes are very obviously from some sort of VHS-source as they contain the garbage line at the bottom of the screen (overscanned on TVs, visible on monitors), the other episodes are without this, and while not hugely superior to the first 4 episodes, look excellent (the first four episodes look exceptional for the source). Overall, I can't really complain. They aren't may not be 100% DVD but they aren't shabby at all. (Episodes 5 - 8 have a little flickering to them, but if they aren't from some sort of DVD or (P/H)DTV-style source, I'd be amazed.)

Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround 256Kbps

Sounds good here, didn't notice any actual flaws. No humming or garbage present.

It's actually amazing how much HK subtitles have improved in the last 3 years. Several years back, there were three kinds of releases: directs, fansubs, and HK subs (listed in declining quality). Those still exist today, but the gap between fansub and HK sub is closing quite well. The subs are in relatively decent english, slipping into Engrish often, but never so badly that it's not understandable. Punctuation is also far more prevelant than it ever was before, and they finally learned how to use question marks properly!! The subtitles are yellow and, using a Serif-style font, are easy on the eyes and easy to read.

Overall, being the first HK-original release I've seen in sometime, I'm quite impressed with the progress this company has made. An overall good job.

(Note: the names are off a lot still.. and I do mean a lot :) Also, when I say good, I mean good for HK Original) Chinese subtitles are also available, but yeah, don't know Chinese.

Chapter Breaks:
1 chapter = 1 episode.

This contains the first 8 episodes from the splendid series. The atmosphere reminds me very much of that in Trigun, it's light but serious at the same time. The plot revolves around two brothers - one day, while messing with the 'science' of alchemy, the younger of the two is essentially destroyed and has been taken to the form of a suit of armor. The older brother, the full metal alchemist, is given a hard time over his size, and has also suffered from some misuse of alchemy. The two brothers have an excellent 'chemistry' with one another, and as they begin their adventures, are incredibly entertaining to watch. As these episodes progress, and the plot lines and characters begin to develop, you can't help but feel attached to the people in this universe, and considering the conditions they're in - that's no small task. Religion soon begins to play a large role and thought processes and human behavior is actually questioned. This adds to the already interesting characters and gives the show a good deal more depth than you'd think. This is a very cool and hugely enjoyable show, and I'd recommend anyone to check it out. It's not high art, but it's damn fun.

Full Metal Alchemist really came out of nowhere for me and has quickly become one of the more entertaining modern animes. Having some fun, unique characters and some interesting concepts, the show manages to be hugely entertaining and manages to occasionally get the brain going, it's a nice mix and both this disc and series get a strong recommendation from me.

Publisher: AV
Discs: 1
Episodes: 8
Price: $11.00

Reviewer: Gumai
Reviewed On: 06/15/2004
Click on Image for Full Size

Garbage at bottom of frame from VHS Sourcing.

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