Adaptations: Yay or Nay?

  Full Metal Alchemist and  Gintama 

(The live action movies)

Recently I have had the pleasure, and displeasure, of seeing a couple of live action adaptations of beloved anime.

Now I am a fan of anime, and animation in general. I like seeing the art and the skill in which the animated story is expressed. That being said, I approached these two adaptations with a bit of caution. I wasn’t really sure they could pull it off.

Full Metal Alchemist

I’m sorry if you liked this adaption, but in my mind they really didn’t pull it off. It was kind of a train wreck. For several reasons.

  • The story was a mess. It was very convoluted. If you were not familiar with the original you would probably be scratching your head at what was happening. This, in many ways, is understandable as they were trying to cram an entire season into a two hour movie. Now what they actually did was use much of the first season and a modified piece of the end. It really didn’t work well.
  • The characters. They had a bunch of them, but because of how they were written and the direction you never really got to care about any of them. FMA Brotherhood is known for some great, heart-wrenching scenes…but it depended on caring about these characters and giving them the time to develop that made the difference that just didn’t happen in this movie.
  • Th direction. It wasn’t good and the director didn’t seem to have watched the original. There are scenes that should be dark, lit for impact and mood, but that was very much missed in this movie. Taking hugely important scenes from the original anime and directing them in such a way that they took on much less significance.

    It’s hard to tell from the movie still here, but it was a bright, sunny day in the live movie and not lit or directed for the emotional impact needed.

  • The music. The opening scene music felt way out of place. I know I’m being picky, but it was the first thing I noticed.
  • Costuming and CGI. Some people have likened Ed’s actor as looking more like an excited cosplayer. That’s a little mean, but the hair does look a bit out of place. Some of the the CGI worked fine, but I think they could have utilized it better How about Ed petting/ comforting Nina-doggo?
  • The casting. I actually was okay with the casting. Ed wasn’t great, but not bad. I thought Lust and Envy were decent and the choice for Maes Hughes was good.
  • Nerdy fan stuff. No Scar, Teacher, Hohenheim, Pride, Wrath, Greed, or Sloth. No explanation of the impotance of the Ishvalen war. No explanation of the humunculi. Winry was not used well in the movie at all. Aaand Lieutenant Ross’s character was introduced by serving tea and sandwiches….so not cool.

Take a look at it, it’s currently available on Netflix. See if you like it…you may? I definitely had issues with the movie and thought it was a poor adaptation.


I saw this one in the the theater. I overall liked it. As an adaption I thought they did a good job. This, I actually recommend seeing.

  • The story. It was good. Followed the show pretty well and was a cohesive enough of a story that you wouldn’t feel lost not knowing the source material. It was touted as a retelling of the Benizakura Arc and did a pretty good job.
  • The comedy. This was one of the movie’s weaker points, in my opinion. There were times when the actors were really trying to emulate the anime/ manga comedy faces, etc that kind of fell flat for me. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it felt forced. There were some bits of self aware comedy that were quite funny as the movie poked fun at itself or made reference to other anime.
  • CGI and costuming. I wish they had more budget for this. Some of the Amanto looked kind of hokey and some of the CGI could have been done better. But, time, budget, etc all falls into this…so I kind of just accepted that going in.
  • The casting. I thought the casting was amazing. Everyone were really good choices. I loved the choices for the Shinsengumi!
  • The action. Great fight scenes. Nice visuals. a high point.
  • Dramatic moments. It wouldn’t be Gintama if there wasn’t some dramatic monologue thrown in somewhere among the silliness. The movie did this and did it well I thought.


I would recommend seeing this one. Will you like it? Perhaps? I would think so…at least more than Full Metal Alchemist…

Until next time: Happy viewing!!