This weekend heralds the return of the BFI’s biennial anime weekend, where they pull together the best from the genre both old and new. From unmissable classics such as Akira to the latest offering from Goro Miyazaki, this year’s showcase is sure to animate any true anime fan and Sci-Fi Bulletin’s Alice Wybrew was there last night for the UK premiere of Full Metal Alchemist 2 – The Sacred Star of Milos.
The latest addition to the stunningly popular anime franchise, the film sees Full Metal Alchemist director Kazuya Murata take the helm for the first time in a tale that continues the famous Elric brothers’ adventures beyond the original manga.
This instalment sees alchemist brothers Edward and Alphonse join forces to track down Melvin Voyage, a dangerous criminal alchemist who has broken out of prison. The chase leads them to ‘Table City’ where wolf chimeras and lethal bat creatures join the hunt, revealing that there’s more to the city and its people than the brothers originally thought.
The film’s primary location (the city of Milos) first appeared in Hiromu Arakawa’s original manga in volume 11 – less than half way through the series – and both producers Bones and Murata thought it would be the perfect setting for a new adventure. In an interview following the screening, Murata spoke of how Hiromu gave them complete freedom with the story and where they took the characters; they just had to be conscious of the characters themselves and the world they live in. However Hiromu was responsible for some of the new additions to the story in the form of the villain Melvin and the courageous Juliet, both of whom are exciting characters and who threaten to steal the limelight for the series’ protagonists many a time.
Thanks to this freedom of storyline, The Sacred Star of Milos is extremely self-contained and newcomers to the series will have no trouble understanding the world or the events that unfold, making it a great introduction to the anime for those less familiar with Hiromu’s works while still pleasing die-hard Full Metal Alchemist fans.
The animation in The Sacred Star of Milos is one of the film’s strongest features, with the vast majority of it being hand-drawn. Murata wanted to focus on the beauty of original animation and so used CG only sparingly for some of the more complex visual sequences. This focus really pays off, with some stunning, creative imagery exhibited that demonstrates the longevity and quality of original animation in a field where computer generated imagery is becoming ever more popular.
So is there a Full Metal Alchemist 3 on the horizon? Bones aren’t ruling it out. Though they have no plans at present, producer Masahiko Minami spoke of how he’d like to see more from the characters and wouldn’t say no if something was bought to the table. Watch this space!
Are you a Full Metal Alchemist fan? We’ve got some Full Metal Alchemist – The Sacred Star of Milos postcards to give away! If you fancy getting your hands on one, simply head over to Twitter and follow @scifibulletin then tell us why you love FMA, being sure to #FMA in your tweets. We’ll DM the winners after the closing date this Friday 15th June.
See what’s on at the BFI’s anime weekend by heading over to their website here: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/Online/default.asp