I see I misunderstood the purpose behind Fullmetal Alchemist – Conqueror of Shamballa. I watched it assuming the movie was intended to finish the story begun in the series. It does accomplish this, but it turns out that the primary purpose of the movie is to deliver highly concentrated doses of fanservice.
Not that sort of fan service. I’m talking about in the more general sense of giving fans what they want. The plot isn’t so much a story as it is adhesive used to bind the various situations and images together. They started with a wishlist from the fans, and built their tale around it.
|BEHOLD! Armstrong is still hilarious. I’ve never been able to figure out how he gets his shirt (not to mention his jacket and tie) off in one clean motion like that.|
The result is fun, but the story makes not the slightest bit of sense. There is a gate between parallel worlds: The world in which the main series took place, and our world. In our world the date is sometime in the 1920’s, between the two world wars. The seeds of World War II are being sown around them, and the protagonists get caught up in it.
The gate between these two worlds becomes the carpet under which all of the unanswered questions are swept. What happened to Al’s memories? How did Ed get his metal arm back? How can Ed speak German? How did envy become a dragon? What made the normal human soldiers in suits of armor into these invincible superthings covered in black goo? Ummmm… Must be the gate!
The alternate world also gives the chance for main characters who died in the original series to make a cameo appearance. Their “other” selves appear quite often as common folks who bump into Ed for no other reason than the fact that it would please the fans.
There is no reason in the world for people to watch this movie if they have not seen the show. The plot is gibberish, the villian is cut from the same cloth as Gauron, and the technology makes no sense. However, for fans of the show this is a must-see. The good guys kick Nazi butt, all the loose ends are resolved, and we get to see the mega-happy ending.
Even allegedly smart people can make life-changing blunders that seem very, very obvious in retrospect.
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