Today the first teaser trailer dropped for the live action Fullmetal Alchemist film, due this winter in Japan. This will be the third film based on Hiromu Arakawa’s manga. It will be the first unrelated to the two anime adaptations from 2003 or 2009.
Fullmetal Alchemist is an action series featuring a pair of brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, using the science of alchemy to hunt for the Philosopher’s Stone. The historical protoscience in this series is akin to magic, with the only limitation being equivalent exchange – matter cannot be created or destroyed. The brothers’ goal is to reverse a terrible curse they brought upon themselves when they attempted forbidden Alchemy. The results cost one Edward his arm and leg, and Alphonse his entire body. The popularity of Fullmetal Alchemist has already inspired over a decade’s worth of anime, video games, and countless toys.
Director Fumihiko Sori states this will be a faithful adaptation. However, it will certainly be a tiny Homunculus of the full story, which ran for 27 volumes and inspired TV shows of 50+ episodes each. Much of the manga cast is here, but unsurprisingly many characters are missing. We’ll see villains like Lust, but we are losing out on the imposing mustachioed muscleman, Major Armstrong.
This new Fullmetal Alchemist film features an all-Japanese cast. The characters of the manga, however, were intended to come from the fantasy European country of Amestris. A similar all-Japanese cast was recently used for the live action film of Attack on Titan, whose manga only had one character of East-Asian descent. Meanwhile, here in the West, some critics have found the casting Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell controversial. These issues should not overshadow what has been a great time for anime movies.
The teaser trailer is only thirty seconds long, altogether. It shows us Edward Elric, as played by Japanese pop star Ryōsuke Yamada, who looks the part. It is not yet known who will be playing his younger brother Alphonse, but presumably, they’ll be doing mostly voice work. Alphonse’s suit of armor which his soul inhabits is entirely CG. The effect is passable. Fullmetal Alchemist was filmed in Italy, fitting the manga’s location.
There is not yet word on a Western release.