09 May 2008

Full Metal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa (TVPG)

Like Anime? Then you have to check out the Full Metal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa. This is the full movie that caps off the popular animated series of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, alchemists who journey in search of the Philosopher’s Stone. Having passed through the Gateway into mid-1920s Germany, Edward witnesses the rise of the NAZI party. It’s difficult for Ed to watch his brother’s double help develop weapons of war for the NAZIs, but it is exactly his involvement that helps Ed find the portal and reconnect with the true brother he feared dead.

Full Metal Alchemist weaves two worlds into one, twisting rich subplots that might confuse one unfamiliar with the series. The payoff is worth it, though. As Alphonse makes a great sacrifice and returns to NAZI Germany, Ed asks why. It is what Alphonse says that made the movie for me (and made me think of my own two sons):

“I want to be at your side, brother, no matter what. I want to see the same things and learn what you learn, and keep on journeying together.”

With its prevalent Gypsy music soundtrack and moments of visual verisimilitude, Full Metal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa is destined to go down as the Akira of our time.

Note: This movie is not for the squeamish. As with any mature anime, there are many graphic scenes. Winner for Best Animated Film at the Fantasia International Film Festival

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