A really sad thing happened this week: the first manga series I ever read ended. *Sniff*
In my first year of animation I was a total newbie to anime and manga. I was the comic book, sci-fi, Disney girl. One of the first things my new friends did was hook me up with some anime and manga. Its sound like they were my “dealers” and I was doing “drugs”, but in a way reading comic books and watching anime, or TV series you love and are obsessed about, is very addictive. I always joke that when I go get my latest shipment of comics it’s like my “fix”.
So the first manga I ever read was Full Metal Alchemist. A friend lent me what he had of the series, and I started following it online once I had finished what he had. It’s an awesome series.
Bear with me my thoughts are going to bounce around on this one.
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST MINI SUMMARY WITHOUT GIVING AWAY THE WHOLE PLOT!!!!!!
Is set in a world styled after the European Industrial Revolution. This series qualifies as ‘steampunk’ (one day I’ll figure out what the hell that actually involves). It is written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa, the series started in 2001 and ended this month *sniff* * hiccup* 2010. It consist of 25 volumes and has two anime series chronicling it.
A DEAD MOTHER………
Very messy and tragic consequences.
Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric learn alchemy in order to raise their mother from the dead. Unfortunately things don’t go quite how they expected and Ed ends up losing his leg and Alphonse loses his body! Ed sacrifices his rights arm to fix Al’s soul in a suit of armour! Thus the series follows the trials of the two brothers as they try to figure out how to regain their original bodies.
The story is far bigger than this, with discoveries made with far reaching implications and consequences. That’s the beauty of this series is that its equal blends or horror, intrigue, tragedy and humour. Actually I find the manga extremely hysterical sometimes considering some of the situations the brothers get themselves into. There’s human experimentation, murder, massacres, innocence, broken hearts, determination, iron will, and awesome displays of alchemy. Actually Full Metal Alchemist is one of the most popular anime/ manga’s out there.
There’s this huge gaping hole between comics (or more so X-men) and manga and it is this:
Comics can’t be serious and funny, the mix doesn’t work for them because of the style of art they employ.
(manga you read left to right – perfect for those who are dyslexic *ahem*)
Certain comic series (ahem X-men, Avengers, Superman, Batman and comic series still running that was created in the late 30’s) have had so many writers on them that there seems to be no clear direction anymore. What one person writes, get changed or altered by the next because the new writer didn’t like what the old writer wrote! For example the whole weird thing with magneto a couple of years ago, first he was dead, then he was pretending to be someone else in the X-men, who then turned out to be using drugs to amp up his powers so he could destroy New York and then kill Jean Grey (YAY about the only thing they didn’t change from that story run) and then being killed by Wolverine while Proff. X declares him as obsolete. Then suddenly it turns out that THIS Magneto wasn’t the real Magneto! And that Magneto was still alive and would never dream of killing Jean Grey! Phew exhausting right?
In manga, if they kill a character gets killed off, its extremely heroic, heartbreaking, unexpected (most of the time), and when their dead, their dead. Unless they come back from the dead and then its totally unexpected and epic.
Basically manga series end! Yes some series like Naruto and Bleach have been running forever, but there still being written by the same author, there is a main goal that all these series work towards. True they spin it out a bit, but look at American comic series, Superman and Batman have been running since 1939! The X-men franchise has been running since 1963, and it will never end because they still have stories to tell BUT as each new writer gets his or her hands on the series (and now I’m talking about all long running series) and make changes and rewrites, and sometimes their ‘changes’ damage the series more than help.
So back to FMA. I love it, its a really good read, with wonderfully fleshed out main cast and a wide variety of supporting characters all of them individuals. But the best part of the series is the dynamic of the main characters Ed and Al. In my mind they are like the main version of my relationship with my sister, right down to the older sibling being the shorter of the two (and the height complex that goes along with it!)
Don’t mess with someone who has a hight complex!