Funimation // 2005 // 35 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Steve Power // August 19th, 2009
The final battle lies in the hands of two brothers!
When you have a popular series on your hands, one can hardly blame you for mining the heck out of it. Having run out of theatrical features and TV episodes, Funimation has essentially snagged the last bits of Full Metal Alchemist memorabilia and crammed them onto a DVD for mass consumption.
The disc consists of four short works produced by the series creators, giving a combined runtime of 35 minutes:
The first, the "Interactive Experience" is a horribly cheese-ridden, first-person primer on the world of the film and series. Originally created for a Universal Studios Japan theme park ride, you-the-viewer are dragged around Central (a sort of military HQ for the series' titular Alchemists), before witnessing a battle with the series' villains. I had my DVD remote in hand, waiting to press buttons to shoot fireballs or something, but no. By interactive, it means you watch. So I guess it interacts with your eyes. This is awful. Skip it.
The "Live-Action" featurette, presented in crappy non-anamorphic widescreen, was shot with what appears to be a home video cam, and basically consists of a 7-foot tall statue of series hero Alphonse (the big suit of armor) standing around locations throughout Japan while musing in voice over. Thankfully, it's brief.
The "Chibi-Wrap Party" is humorous for what it is, and managed to get a chuckle or two out of me. For those not familiar with Chibi, it's essentially extremely cute and highly stylized drawings of the series characters mixed with a completely unhealthy dose of Japanese humor. No, it isn't clever or the least bit intelligent and the majority of the jokes go beyond juvenile. Thankfully, it's brief.
Last up is "Kids," which features three precocious tykes roaming around a Japanese city looking for a particular house. They play, get lost, and eventually find the home of their "great-grandpa," which turns out to be series lead, Edward Elric, right before the brief spot tells us that somewhere in the real world, Edward turns 100 in 2005. It was actually quite charming, and by far the strongest bit of material on the disc. Sadly, it's brief.
So there you have it. What ultimately amounts to a disc of bonus features that probably should have been included with a re-release of the Fullmetal Alchemist theatrical film, considering everything here ties so closely into that feature. Instead, you get a disc that costs over ten bucks and is essentially throw away material.
No real care was taken with the transfer, which looks passable, and almost half the disc is presented in shoddy non-anamorphic widescreen. The sound, for what it is, is passable.
Guilty of being a complete and utter waste of time, for all but the most diehard of FMA fans.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 35 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Textless Close