Earlier this year I made it my goal to brush up on as much anime as possible what with all I’ve been missing since life got a little busier in the past decade. Recent viewings have fortunately included a great deal of series and films, including both animated serial versions adapting Arakawa Hiromu’s 2001-2010 manga publication, Fullmetal Alchemist, which, as of March, has officially been in development with director Sori Fumihiko at the helm.
The second series in 2009, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is a terrific revival of its 2003 predecessor, Fullmetal Alchemist; Both share similar parts of the story with Brotherhood moving forward and closely to the source material with way less filler, and otherwise showcases an epic fantasy tale full of intrigue, action and suspense with emphasis on family, friendship, redemption, and spiritual awakening, as well as the lingering consequences of war and genocide.
The series is set in an alternate version of Europe and presents our protagonists in the form of Edward Elric and his younger brother, Alphonse, who set out into the world to advance their efforts in the highly regulated science and practice of alchemy, eager to prove themselves following the death of their mother, and the grave cost they are paid in a failed attempt to revive her. Formatted with a metallic left leg and a weaponized right arm, Edward, an avowed State Alchemist for the military, is joined by Alphonse – now spiritually entombed in a knight’s armor through a crest drawn in Edward’s own blood, as they encounter swarms of otherworldly enemies who dare to use alchemy for nefarious purposes, one which now arises with the rumored existence of the Philosopher’s Stone – a powerful gem that could amplify the alchemical power of its wearer almost infintiely.
The series isn’t all gloom and doom though as it shares some more colorful moments of Alphonse who is consistenly mistaken as his slightly more famous, and incidentally shorter brother. Indeed, I’ve thought about just how it is that Sori would be able to craft this epic series into a feature film. I can only imagine a trilogy would do this effort justice, but thankfully, the project is now moving full-steam ahead this June when filming begins in Italy under Warner Bros.’s banner according to news forwarded by Anime News Network. As reported almost two months ago, Assassination Classroom cast member, Hey! Say! JUMP!’s own Yamada Ryosuke will star as Edward Elric, and as of this week, with a cast that includes a list of actors could otherwise highlight exactly how the film’s plot would move.
Actress Honda Tsubasa will star as the Elrics’ childhood friend and Edward’s loyal auto-mail engineer, Winry Rockbell, while Fujioka Dean will play Roy Mustang, a commanding officer of the military whose specialty is in Fire Alchemy, allowing him to manipulate open flames with a handy lighter. Playing Mustang’s comrades are Sato Ryuta as Maes Hughes, and actresses Renbutsu Misako as markswoman Riza Hawkeye, and Natsuna as Maria Ross with actor Kohinata Fumiyo starring as the General Hakuro, and actress Harada Natsuki playing Gracia Hughes, wife to Maes. Actor Oizumi Yo will play belagured alchemist Shou Tucker with Kunimura Jun as Doctor Marco, the man with the potential key to the Elrics’ answers regarding the Philosopher’s Stone, while some of the series’ interdimensional villains to be featured – the Homunculi – currently include actress Matsuyuki Yasuko as insatiable Lust, the agile Envy played by Hongou Kanata Hongou, Uchiyama Shinji as the all-consuming Gluttony, and Ishimaru Kenjiro as the duplicitious Father Cornello.
Further updates remain pending on who will play Edward’s brother, Alphonse, and while Sori is playing the details close to the chest, earlier reports indicate the character will be erected on screen through CG and motion capture. The film is releasing in Winter of next year, and so that leaves plenty of time for the fans to consider just what it is that awaits them for this exciting feature-length endeavor. Stay tuned!