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10 May 2007 @ 04:13 pm
Question  
I have a question connected with FMA the movie: Conqueror of Shamballa:


Why does Al have transmutation circles on his gloves, even though he remembers the Gate?
 
 
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hiryuu on May 10th, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
yep yep, i agree completely. and i also had the issue with that "transmutation" ability of Al's. in the japanese commentary, i think the director said something about this. i can't quite remember exactly what he said, but i remember Romi Paku (Ed's VA) asking about it and the director guy explaining.

but i seem to have that problem with a lot of the transmuting going on in the anime. like, i can understand how the air compressing and the altering oxygen levels and all that is part of alchemy, but... Siren?? Siren was NOT an alchemist, she was like a witch. i mean, she pulled an Anime!Sloth and turned herself into water to break into that room. HOW IS THAT ALCHEMY?? there's no equivalent exchange being made there at all!

argh, i should make a post about this. i'll find all those transmutations that made no sense and post about them. XD
lmd_84lmd_84 on May 10th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
The manga does make more of an effort to explain how alchemy potentially works, but leaving enough out or vague for us to know that, for all intents and purposes, this is a rationalised form of magic. That is a neat way for Arakawa to do it, because she is giving just enough canon detail for the theory and practice of alchemy to seem plausible (within the rules of the FMA 'universe'), without taking the whole thing too seriously.

In the anime, I agree that in some cases it is a different story. It's been a while since I saw the Siren episode (it's one I feel free to skip over when I re-watch, because there's little important info there), but, yes, from what I can remember, Siren's ability was rather fantastical.

I don't recall her actually turning herself into water, but if that's the case, then the writers just broke with one of the important points of the anime's continuity - you can't use alchemy upon yourself like that.

The one that makes the most sense is Roy's alchemy, with him transmuting gases. And it just happens to look awesome. Ed was a fool to think he could take him on in ep.13
hiryuu on May 10th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)
ooh, yes. Arakawa-sensei is a bloody genius like. she really knows how to make a world and tell its story. i read in an FMA fanfic somewhere... Ed yelled something about "magic" just being a term for something that science hadn't figured out yet.
i've heard that a lot of the anime stuff has had to pass through her and get approval... i guess Siren just completely slipped past the defenses. (i only like that episode because there's lots of funny randomness going on... it's like crack FMA XD)

hey hey hey, Ed could take the colonel if he had the right training for it. XP Roy's got the one up 'cause his alchemy covers some major distance and is easily manipulated. i think if Ed clapped his hands and then snapped the fingers of his auto-mail, he could get a similar reaction. i wonder why he hasn't tried that yet... but yeah, he really got quite pwned in that episode. poor guy. XD
lmd_84lmd_84 on May 10th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, if Ed had the training, he'd be a better challenge to Mustang. The funny thing for me was that he seriously thought he could get away with punching the guy. And Roy, to put it crudely, pwned him, because Ed got to cocky and it quite literally blew up in his face. Mustang's disadvantage is that his ability works so well in combat only within a certain distance, so that it appears to be his only trick. Ed is far more versatile with his alchemy, and has his martial arts too.

I think Ed would need to learn a whole different method of alchemy to transmute gases the way Mustang does, because its about a lot more then creating a spark and knowing the right array. I think it is something which takes a lot of practice, as Ed would be dealing with a state of matter we haven't seen him use up until this point. He's definitely used earth and water, but I can't recall him transmuting either fire or air. (Oh, neat elemental parallels, yay.)

I'd disagree with that fic comment of Ed's. It's very in-character for Ed (who has trouble seeing beyond the neat little box of science), but I really don't think 'magic' works like that. (Cue for my alchemy/magic rambling. Feel free to ignore, I'm just bashing out some ideas because your mention of magic intrigues me....)

Things that were once thought supernatural have since been explained with science (look at how people used to explain lightening, or the seasons), but from a fantasy point of view, I think magic is about something far more metaphysical , something which is by definition beyond the natural, material world.

The distinction, I think, is that what is magical is not what has the potential to be explained by rational science (which would likely be Ed's argument for...pretty much everything, despite the fact he's seen the Gate and should know better), but what cannot be explained by it and its ideas of empirical evidence.

This would include the Gate (not termed 'magical', but definitely not scientific) as a concept and a reality - the fact it cannot as a whole be grasped by human intellect is what shifts the nature of alchemy from the purely and concrete physical (as the Elrics once thought 'equivalent exchange' to be) to some quasi-scientific/magical borderline. Some people might say that in doing this Arakawa has made something a bit pithy, a bit of a sloppy premise. But I think that ambiguity about her notion of 'alchemy' is what makes the concept so great. In a series which is basically fantasy action/adventure, I just adore it.

I have had for months this crack-fanfiction idea for FMA, exploring what sort of magic and supernatural things would exist in a world with an 'ultimate science' like alchemy.
- End rambling.
c_b_syndromec_b_syndrome on May 11th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
I have had for months this crack-fanfiction idea for FMA, exploring what sort of magic and supernatural things would exist in a world with an 'ultimate science' like alchemy.

Do it! I'd LOVE to read it!
lmd_84lmd_84 on May 11th, 2007 01:21 pm (UTC)
It's very much in the planning stages, but I'm very glad to hear you'd be interested. I was thinking the whole premise would be too 'crack' to be worth taking too far, but I've just fallen for the idea regardless. To my mind, the possibility just seems so right, if undeniably odd.
c_b_syndromec_b_syndrome on May 11th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
Another continuity error that gets me:

At the practicals, when Ed discovers he can do alchemy without an array, there is one man who is endangered because he used too much energy to build the tower...

Yet... later on, in The Other Brother's Elric, Pt 2, the Tringham brothers use alchemy on a whole forest with no ill effects. What's wrong with that picture? Something of that scale had to take an enormous amount of energy, and while it would be logical that different people have differing amounts of energy to spare, there STILL should have been -something-.

I can, sorta-kinda, understand the lack of energy loss with Ed and Al for obvious reasons, but that hardly made sense.
lmd_84lmd_84 on May 11th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
The only sort-of reason I can think of is that *both* of the Tringhams perform the transmutation on the trees. Fletcher starts off when he causes the trees to absorb the red water, but Russell then pitches in to help.

But I think the only real example of a transmutation tiring the alchemist - which makes sense for the 'exchange' - is in the alchemy exam. When really, if they were taking the time to emphasise that the guy in the exam was tired out, you'd have thought they'd show some consistency later on. Though it did give Ed someone to really outshine with his little display, which was sheer luck anyway....