Joined by director Fumihiko Sori and actor Ryosuke Yamada, Anime Expo 2017 was host to the first full live-action trailer for Fullmetal Alchemist. The film adaptation to the beloved manga and popular anime series, this panel comes as the first ever live-action movie panel for Anime Expo. Fans were on their feet to see Yamada in the flesh who stars as the lead character, Edward Elric.
Aside from a few quick instances of Ed and Alphonse, very little from the anticipated film has been seen thus far except for a short teaser that debuted late last year. And with the movie’s release coming later this year, fan’s have been eager to catch a glimpse as to what exactly they can expect to see.
What was seen in the trailer includes moments of a chimera attack, our first look at Winry (without blonde hair for some reason), members of the state military (Mustang, Hawkeye, and Hughes), Nina, alchemy in action, and the homunculi (Lust, Envy, and Gluttony)!
I’ve come to accept/understand that special effects in Japanese movies are not even at the same level of quality as they are in movies made in America. It’s almost as if for once technology is behind in Japan. However, I believe the lack of quality standards for special effects is out of sheer efficiency in order to deliver product faster and within budget. With that said, I actually think Alphonse looks pretty decent and works for the most part in the space we’ve seen him in. But the chimera shown and the effects of the homunculi and battles with alchemy seem really cheap.
Aside from the hairstyle choices and use of wigs, the movie really captures the essence of the characters physically. Performance wise, the acting and character beats seem a little tonally off in real life compared to how animation can be more flexible. According to Yamada during the panel, he performed 100% of the stunts involved as Edward, so kudos to him.
It’s hard to tell whether the movie will be a complete hit based on this first trailer. There are a lot here for fans to pine over until release later this year. It’s hard to say how far into the series the movie will takes us, but the director stated in the panel that a sequel would be ideal if this first film proves to be a hit.
Here’s the plot description for Fullmetal Alchemist, courtesy of Anime Expo:
Two young brothers break a great taboo in an attempt to bring their beloved mother back to life.
“This is it! The theory is sound! We can surely bring our mother back to life!”
Ed, a brilliant young man with a great aptitude for alchemy, shares his formulated theory of human transmutation with his younger brother Al.
Though they wish they could see their mother’s smiling face just one more time, the brothers push forward only to be met with a merciless fate. Their transmutation has failed, and Ed loses his left leg, while Al has paid the price of losing his entire body.
Weak and dying, Ed recklessly makes another attempt at transmutation, sacrificing his right arm in order to transmute Al’s soul and give it a home in a suit of armor. Though Ed has lost much, he refused to give up. Now outfitted with steel prosthetic limbs, Ed becomes a State Alchemist and sets out on a journey with his armor-clad brother Al in order to take back everything they have lost. And, he will eventually come to be known as the “Fullmetal Alchemist”.
Directed by Fumihiko Sori, Fullmetal Alchemist will premiere in Japan on December 1, 2017.