Ketita (ketita) wrote in fm_alchemist,

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Well. So I just finished rewatching FMA with a friend of mine- her first time, my second-and-a-half time (for the anime).  It was definitely interesting rethinking some of the points, so I'll just go ahead and post the thoughts we came up with.

+  I would like to start off by saying that when a media product reaches your hands, or in fact anything in life, you should watch it, and then question it.  If after the questioning you come to the conclusion that the thing is good and worthy or your time, then go for it.  If you have reached the conclusion that some things are not good, then you should question them and speak out against them.  Otherwise, if we don't separate the good from the chaff, what reflects our world view and what doesn't, we'll end up with a brain full of trash and we won't be intelligent media consumers.  Meaning, questioning makes you a smart media customer and not necessarily a person out to cause conflicts.  
And that's why we felt that we must, despite the fact that we heartily support the potential of the plotline of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime, point out several examples of not-so-good plotting in our opinion.

Concerning Kimblee.  Kimblee likes to blow things up, and Kimblee believes that people, because of them being human beings, are not worthy of life.  If that's what he truly believes, then he should commit suicide, being human himself.  If the reason he doesn't commit suicide is because he likes killing so much, then he's not true to himself.
But our great question concerning Kimblee is; taking into account that the two meaningful things that Kimblee does in the series are (A) causing Scar's scar and killing his brother, thus becoming a major cause for Scar's later hatred of State Alchemists and (B) turning Al into a bomb so that Scar will turn him into the Philosopher's Stone, couldn't his character have been completely eliminated, or significantly minimized, and other people given these tasks to promote the plotline?
Other than those things, most of what Kimblee does is randomly blow things up.  Our answer to this question is that Kimblee is not completely necessary as a major character.  

Concerning Rose.  Throughout the series, we have noticed that Rose is an extremely dependent, and not terribly bright, person.  First she follows Cornello.  The first person she encounters who tells her to think differently is Ed- whom she immediately tries to follow and ask for guidance.  Ed refuses, telling her to stand on her own.  This only lasts until the next person who crosses her path, this time Dante.  Even when she was the 'Holy Mother', she did no talking herself- even the scriptwriter chose to make the point that in the eyes of the major players, Rose is just a pawn.  Even as the 'leader of the rebellion' she took no active part. 
If the only meaningful thing she did in the series was to save Ed's life when he first encountered Sloth, couldn't the scene have been simply cut out, and her character minimized?
She even tells Ed that she loves him only because Dante told her to do it.  
Her character was important in the first two episodes, but after that she could have been allotted much less screentime.  We both felt that the tragedy of Dante trying to take over somebody's body would have been much more felt if it had been somebody with a stronger personality, who actually resisted.

Concerning Al.  Al, of course, is a completely central character to the series.  However, we both felt that he was rather woefully out of character during the fight with Sloth.  His brother, who  sacrificed his arm and leg for him was fighting for his life; Al should not have had any doubts whatsoever as to whom he should be supporting.  Standing on the sidelines saying "What should I do?" is just not it.  
Another thing that bothered us is that some of Al's comments during the series were a bit insensitive, and only served to deepen Ed's guilt complex.  Phrases like "I want to feel again" and about how he really doesn't like the body he's in are very understandable given his current situation, but then he shouldn't wonder why Ed's guilt complex is as bad as it is. 

About the general message the series is trying to convey.  The scriptwriter/director portrayed a world in which no matter what you do, you suffer in the end.  Despite all of Ed's efforts, he died in the end (several times...).  We felt that there was a certain agenda: killing Ed.  In terms of the development of the plot and Ed's character and abilities, he should have succeeded.  In fact, he did succeed, but he ended up in a parallel universe.  At this point, it feels like outright cruelty.  
Even when he succeeded, he still loses.  It couldn't possibly end up good.  So what should be understood?  That dreams aren't worth fighting for?  That people are doomed to failure, no matter what? There's no point in thinking out of the box, people must always surrender to the inevitable?  Should we swallow this, without voicing some sort of criticism?

Concerning Ed and Winry.  Every genius has his eccentricities, which are an integral part of his genius.  Every genius needs a partner with an extremely high level of emotional intelligence, so they can understand him, know when to speak out and when to be silent and forgive, and understand what aspects of their personality cannot be changed.
Despite the fact that Winry is a wonderful, sweet, and kind person, we feel that she lacks the height of emotional intelligence we are talking about.  We felt that the episode with Paninya demonstrated an example of how she doesn't quite follow Ed's thought processes.  The fact that Ed cheated in the competition in no way insinuates that he doesn't appreciate her automail, and having Paninya steal his watch certainly wasn't the best way to get him to appreciate it (possibly a good way to get him hurt, but that's beside the point).  
That might be a reason why we think that Liza and Roy are a very successful pair - Liza has a very high level of emotional intelligence.  She does know when to stop and be silent, when to support, and when to go against him.  Possibly their success only emphasizes Winry's lower level of understanding. 

+  An argument that arose was whether or not it was immoral of Roy to even offer Ed the option of joining the military.  On one hand, he had his own choice.  But on the other hand, he was a child, and you can hardly expect him to make the proper choice.  You could argue about the choice itself one way or another, but that doesn't change whether or not that choice should have been offered in the first place.

+  Roy is very, very smart.  He's an excellent strategist.  But Ed is a genius, and that's the difference between them.  Roy may be able to, with perseverance and hard work, do great things (and he's a good leader, and has good persuasive abilities).  But Ed has the flair, the ability to jump right off a cliff and somehow fly.  Because, when you get right down to it, Ed did succeed in what pretty much everybody else failed at.  On the other hand, the price Ed paid was a lot higher.  So being the genius is definitely not the easier way to live. 
    Ed could never be like Roy,  and Roy could never be like Ed.  If they cooperated fully with each other, they could probably be unstoppable.  
But Roy ruined his chances with Ed - by the time the series is over, I think that Ed truly doesn't trust Roy.  Roy spent all the years when Ed was young pushing him away, and it finally came back to bite him when the whole thing with Archer happened. 
    Ed knew that Roy wouldn't let him do it, so he went to someone who would.  He didn't have a deep loyalty to Roy - when it conflicted with his goal, he just left him for somebody else.  And then Roy was surprised when the trust he failed to cultivate with Ed didn't miraculously materialize. 

And Dante.  There was something slightly disappointing about the fact that Dante's enormous grudge against all of mankind stemmed from a broken heart.  It could be that if this woman knew how to cope, a lot of this wouldn't have happened. 

In conclusion, we would like to say that overall we enjoyed the series very much.  Perhaps it is because we liked it so much that these issues bothered us.  We believe that a good system is to internalize the good points, and be skeptical about the not-so-good ones, some of which we raised here.
We feel that isolating some of these points has actually helped us to enjoy the series more - we're not sweeping them under the rug, we're identifying them, thinking about them, and so we can enjoy all the wonderful points so much more.
And besides.  Who knows if the scriptwriter/director/whoever didn't make it controversial on purpose, in order to create discourse. 
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