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28 July 2009 @ 12:26 pm
FMAB 17: the subtle nuances of Roy Mustang  
Okay so you might not have noticed this unless you are as obsessed with Roy's emo faces as I am, but there were some really interesting subtleties in Ep 17 that I thought were worth noting. Thanks so much to moogledaime for the screencaps. Spoilers for FMAB 17, up to manga vol 10 (past this point in the story).

So first thing I have to say is, this part in the manga made me so fucking emo that I actually had to stop reading it for a while. Arakawa seriously had me hook, line, and sinker with this storyline. I was just like, but, but, but, ROY...! *makes gaspy fangirl noises* So I was really interested to see how they would treat this arc in Brotherhood, if they would drop any clues as to Roy's state of mind, etc.

The most upsetting aspect of the whole thing for me was Roy and Edward's interaction yes because I ship RoyxEd but let's not go there. I was honestly more okay with the idea that Roy had actually killed Maria Ross than I was with the way he treated Ed. He was so fucking ice cold, and of course at the time the reader doesn't know that Roy actually had to make that decision on the spur of the moment because Ed interfered in an extremely delicate situation (as he is wont to do). Roy really had no choice but to play it out that way - it wasn't like he could stop and explain the details to Edward in the middle of the alleyway while he was desperately trying to save a woman's life, never mind trying to keep the rest of his mutinous plans a secret. All we see, however, is Roy apparently viciously murdering a female subordinate, then turning against Ed violently when he confronts him. This is the first and only time in the canon in which Roy hits Edward (not counting the Fullmetal/Flame episode in the first anime, which was partially tongue in cheek).

So as I was scanning the screencaps of ep 17 for Roy's emo faces (like I do every week), I was pleasantly surprised to see that in fact, Roy does let his face slip briefly during that scene. Look carefully at the following screencaps:

Ed gets in Roy's face:

Roy clocks him:

A moment of hesitation...! (look closely at the full size image)

"Crap, I really didn't want to hurt him..."

Back to business!

I love how they did that! It's just a split second as you're watching it, but it's enough to show that he actually regrets what he has to do. Of course Ed himself doesn't see it, and Ed's devastated face was so emo I was clutching my Ed Medicom doll the whole time...! (trying not to get chocolate on him because I eat chocolate when I'm emo!) As a whole, I thought the episode was fantastic, and I was really impressed by their use of subtlety and their knowledge of the manga as a whole.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
nochick_fics: FMA Roy Dolce ;_;nochick_fics on July 28th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
Very thorough observation.

That aside, I actually don't hate his face there.
priestess_grrrl: roy_lostpriestess_grrrl on July 28th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
hahaha, yeah, he looks less microwaved there than usual. GAH, if only he could be as gorgeous as in that doujin in your icon all the time. I think I die a little ever time I see it. *fangirl sigh*
Nastassja Riemermanntsukikage85 on July 28th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Microwaved?
The weird thing is, I might actually know what you mean.
nochick_fics: FMA Roy Snapnochick_fics on July 28th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)

When the first pics from Brotherhood came out, he totally looked like someone had nuked him for about a minute or so. It was mildly horrifying.
nochick_fics: FMA Roy We Did What?nochick_fics on July 28th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it kills me every time. But I loves it so much! *glomps*

So, how's Brotherhood on fanservice, in your opinion? (And not the het kind, plzkthx, lol) ;-)
ღ annieazure15 on July 28th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
The het fanservice is overwhelming! I guess it's to make up for the utter lack of it in the first anime..
nochick_fics: FMA RoyxEd *chu*nochick_fics on July 28th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
Oh yay!

/scathing sarcasm.

Thanks. ;-D
ღ annieazure15 on July 28th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)

Don't worry. I know exactly how you feel.
priestess_grrrl: roy_hughes_orlypriestess_grrrl on July 28th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I actually had to look up certain scenes in the manga, like in the last ep where Winry grabs Ed's hand, to make sure they weren't throwing extra stuff in there just to emphasize the het shipping (they weren't; it's legit, I just never noticed it before, likely because EdWin makes me want to gnaw my own arm off).

I'd say the fanservice is pretty decent. There's a lot of Roy, period. They even throw him in sometimes when he's not there in the manga. Certainly a crapload of RoyxHughes, and we should be getting a nice helping of RoyxJean coming up soon. Not a whole lot of RoyxEd, but it's early in the game. I can't wait to see what they do with the 520 cens promise. And then, of course, following that, the series will take a level in badass for a whole different reason - Olivia, baby!! ARMSTRONG FOR FUHRER!! SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST!! All the new series angst we've had to suffer will be worth it just to see her animated! I'm counting down the days...! ^___^
ღ annieazure15 on July 28th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
I think it seems more prominent in Brotherhood because whilst they're still rushing things, they're keeping the EdWin moments in. Which is kinda annoying, since other characters/scenes are dropped in favour of it. OMG me too! I like both characters, I just can't stand EdWin

I'm so so with the fan service since my favourite character, Al, is getting left out in some areas. Hopefully he'll get some of his key scenes kept in later. That said.. he's not even been in the manga for ages.
priestess_grrrl: ed_al_squirmpriestess_grrrl on July 28th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
But Al is about to seriously take a level in badass! I can't wait for that bit. Plus now that they are separated, they'll have to follow Al alone, so that will give us some Al focus. You're right, though, he often gets short shrift. And I have heard people complaining that they haven't been focusing enough on Ed and Al's relationship, so that new viewers to the series might not get how important Al is to Edward, and vice versa. Though I do like manga!Winry and correspondingly Brotherhood!Winry better than firstAnime!Winry, still, it's kind of annoying that she gets so much screen time, to the detriment of everything else, as you were saying. But the mangaka is against us on that front, so... yeah. *sigh*

But still. Lots of things to look forward to...!
ღ annieazure15 on July 28th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
They've cut a lot of moments between them that shows how much Ed and Al care for one another, the most important being when Ed's getting his automail. They completely cut out Ed basically saying 'my pain isn't anything compared to his' which is just SO important for understanding why Ed's getting such a painful surgery. From watching Brotherhood alone, you'd think Ed cares for Winry more than Al.

I do like Winry (really!) but it isn't really fair that she's getting all of her screen time kept in when others aren't. It should be even across all bases.

Though on that, in one of the manga art books, Arakawa comments a few times on pictures that her editor advised her to put Winry in a picture with Ed instead of Al.

Edit: That is, instead of having Al with Ed, having Winry with Ed, in Al's place. Realised that wasn't clear.

Edited at 2009-07-28 07:19 pm (UTC)
eatenbananasplitallyouhaveisme on July 29th, 2009 09:13 am (UTC)
-pops in randomly-

YEAH I AGREE ON THE EDWIN (and brothers) THING :( In the FMA artbooks there are several times Arakawa-sensei wanted to have Al in a certain way, and her editors would object >:
nochick_fics: FMA Roy No Pantsnochick_fics on July 28th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
OOPS, PG. I totally thought you posted this to your personal journal (my f-list is a blur!) and here I am just yammering away.

priestess_grrrl: ed_who_mepriestess_grrrl on July 28th, 2009 05:42 pm (UTC)
hahaha, I was thinking to myself, "Wow, we're having this conversation in public, that's pretty awesome." I was planning to make a follow up post on my personal LJ. I'll go do that now so we don't frighten anyone. ^_~
flybynight00flybynight00 on July 28th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Poor Roy. He had to backhand a KID that he CARES ABOUT (even if you aren't into Royed). *In love with Roy*

Also, Olivia Armstrong ROX MY SOX.
priestess_grrrl: roy_angstpriestess_grrrl on July 28th, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's it exactly. And it's actually very in character for him - despite the fact that it seemed utterly out of character at first because we didn't know the whole context (hence Arakawa's genius - sure pwned the fuck out of me!). But Roy is a very quick thinker, and he knows that Ed is very volatile and he never fucking gives up, particularly not when he thinks injustice has happened. So he had to do something to shut him up right away. Of course Ed would have come right back up swinging if not for Al, which is just one more reason why Al is totally undervalued. That situation could have gone very quickly from bad to much, much worse.

Another thing I just thought of, too - when they gave that line to Roy at the end, about always obeying orders... I wonder if that wasn't meant to be a veiled hint, too. Because that's exactly the opposite of Roy's MO, and we know that, even if Ed doesn't yet. I guess we're meant to think that he's regressed, somehow. It hurt to hear him say it. But Arakawa loves that sort of thing - like later on (MANGA SPOILERS!) when Ed lies in front of Kimblee about the Stone and Al gets it right away. Interesting.

And yes, THE ICE QUEEN RULES!! SO psyched to see those episodes! I hope they come before the break, although that might be rushing things a bit...
thatso_rad on July 28th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
Oohh yeah! Didn't notice that, thank you.

You're not alone with the emo faces thing. He has some great expressions. I particularly like his 'date face' which appeared for a split second in the first anime. He looked sooo bored XD. http://www.roy-mustang.net/pyro/media/caps_ep37/roy_caps_ep37_013.jpg

Makes you wonder what his (straight) sex face is like. Maybe Ed could change that. ;)
priestess_grrrl: roy_bitterpriestess_grrrl on July 29th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
Roy does have some great faces! and that "date face" is known in some circles as "the BJ face" FYI Blank can mean many things. and Ed could most definitely change that ^_~

But when he gets really emo, it's like all my fangirl receptors go off at once. It took me FOREVER to get through vol 15, because just glancing through it - all those emo faces! More than all the other volumes put together...! :( But yeah I like how Arakawa does those omake type faces, even though it bugs some people. wet!Roy in the first ep was hilarious...!
This Bison Be Jammin': Kickin' it Prairie Style: Master Crane-Oheyjamminbison on July 28th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
Oh lawdy, I love subtle expressions. Oh thank you animators, for taking the time, fff.

Nice observations~! Would have never noticed it myself.
priestess_grrrlpriestess_grrrl on July 29th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
Thank you! I admit I spend an inordinate amount of time studying Roy's facial expressions. As well as the rest of him! ^_~
Sme: Watch Mefoxie_trot on July 29th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
I just finished watching ep17, and I noticed the tiny milisecond hesitation as well. I was actually kinda sorta looking for it, but still.

That episode was ... oh my gosh. It's been so long since I read the manga that I actually had to stop for a moment. It's so well done!! Anyone who hadn't read the manga is going to be all ZOMGWTFBBQ!!!!!

Gosh, the emo. I don't know if I can handle much more of it! *cries for Hughes*
priestess_grrrlpriestess_grrrl on August 2nd, 2009 01:06 am (UTC)
I know, the emo is killing me, too! This was one of the reasons why I was so afraid about the new series... but they're doing it so well, it's so worth it... and yet, teh emo...! And it's just going to keep coming...! ;_;

I really loved how they did the scene with Gracia, though. I've always loved that scene in the manga and I thought they did a great job with it. Really gave Gracia some character development. And I liked that they threw in a couple of extra scenes with Maria Ross, too, so the audience can get to know her better. She's quite the awesome character.

waaaah, tomorrow more emo comes...! *clings to Ed*
Smefoxie_trot on August 2nd, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
It is! Teh Emo is great but at the same time ... not! I get all weepy just thinking it, never mind having it shown to me on screen!! ;_;

Gracia was really well done, I thought. The funeral and then this episode was so heart-wrenching. I'm afraid mine is going to shrivel up from all the bleeding it does for her. D:

Oh, btw - Maria Ross = HBIC. Oh yes.
(Deleted comment)
priestess_grrrl: roy_don't_fuck_withpriestess_grrrl on August 2nd, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes he is. And you're welcome! ^___^