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‘Fullmetal Alchemist’: Hunting Philosopher’s Stones

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So, here’s the deal. The movie is basically like watching a two-hour-long live-action version of the original anime series, it really is. The problem is those parts where the movie is not like the original beloved cartoon, and some of them are formidable.

Before we say what’s not so great about the film, let’s talk about what really is awesomesauce, where ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ shines like a philosopher’s stone among the rubble.

Despite magic being used very often in the movie, it is called ‘Fullmtal Alchemist’ after all, the CGI used to show the magical effects is sparing and only to enhance the scene, rather than take the whole thing over. Lust and her claws, Mustang and his conflagration blazes, even Ed and Al and their clap-stone-mosaic-explosion alchemy, it’s all to my eyes actually believable-looking. The one instance where loving CGI enhancement falters a little teensy bit is the reveal of the Tucker chimera, but that’s a major spoiler I won’t go into.

The main storyline is exactly the same as the original show, as I said, and this can only be a good thing. In this world of alchemy as commonplace, brothers Ed (Ryosuke Yamada) and Al (Atomu Mizuishi) Elric, after losing their mother, decide to take fate into literally their own hands and bring her back to life with magic.

Sadly the Law of Equivalent Exchange quite literally costs Ed and arm and a leg, and Al his entire body, to be replaced by a suit of armor Ed managed to scavenge at the last second. This act cements both Elric brothers as alchemical anomalies, and some time later they are recruited by Colonel Roy Mustang (Dean Fujioka) into the army as State Alchemists. Here is where the movie begins, with Ed and Al going off in search of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, which could in theory get Al his entire body back.

The introductory story of the bogus Father Cornello (Kenjiro Ishimaru), the utter tragedy of what happens to Major Maes Hughes (Ryuta Sato) and his family, the outrageous blasphemy of Shou Tucker (Yo Oizumi), the evil Major General Hakuro (Fumiyo Kohinata), even the introduction of misbegotten Dr. Tim Marcoh (Jun Kunimura), all these important characters are played to their fullest in the live action movie, though with time management issues, it’s hard to give evry last character the emotional reaction they deserve. Especially Major Hughes, but then what happens to him is still considered to be one of the worst betrayals in long-running anime history.

Taking also into account everyone’s favorite automail mechanic Winry Rockwell (Tsubasa Honda), Colonel Mustang’s one-liners and his best aide Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye (Misako Renbutsu), the Elric brothers don’t lack for friends to combat the many enemies beginning to pile up. The Fuhrer King Bradley and his family are mentioned, but not in this beginning film, which can lead us to the hopeful assumption that there will be a live action sequel.

The homunculi are of course introduced in the film, the major ones being the manipulative Lust (Yasuko Matsuyuki), the face-changing Envy (Kanata Hongo), and of course the bottomless pit of Gluttony (Shinji Uchiyama). The extreme cost of making Philosopher’s Stones and Homunculi at all are way too high for the now-moral-minded Elric brothers, and indeed, as the cases the State Alchemists are investigating begin to coalesce, their collective mistaken past may be the one thing that leads the Elric brothers and their allies to saving everyone!

And now for the unmentioned elephant in the room, or live action movie. Much as I enjoyed this new live action movie and all the actors who threw themselves into these much-beloved roles, there is one thing that stands out – the voices. Specifically, the voices of both Ed and Al Elric.

In the anime, which really you probably should’ve seen before watching the live action movie, the Elric brothers are much younger and their voices clearly demonstrate this. Al is at least a few years younger than his brother and it was always so incongruous to hear a youngling voice come out of that empty suit of armor. But both Ed and Al in the film have the voices of teenagers, and seriously, it’s hard to get over.

The costuming is excellent and made with a keen, clear eye to the anime, right down to the summery yellow dress Winry wears and the State Alchemist uniforms of the military. As stated before, it may help to foster fan relations if you see at least an episode or two of the anime before watching the live action film, but all in all, the live action movie is a 2-hour romp through the world of the Elric brothers, made by and for fans that have loved ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ for decades!

Join the hunt for Philosopher’s Stones in ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ the movie, on Netflix now!

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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