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Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie - Conqueror of Shamballa

In desperation, Edward Elric sacrificed his body and soul to rescue his brother Alphonse, and is now displaced in the heart of Munich, Germany. He struggles to adapt to a world completely foreign to him in the wake of the economic crisis that followed the end of World War I. Isolated and unable to return home with his alchemy skills, Edward continues to research other methods of escaping the prison alongside colleagues who bear striking resemblances to many of the people he left behind. As dissent brews among the German citizenry, its neighbors also feel the unrest of the humiliated nation. Meanwhile, Alphonse continues to investigate Edward's disappearance, delving into the science of alchemy in the hopes of finally reuniting with his older brother. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
User Count21828
Favorites Count87
Start Date23rd Jul 2005
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank507
Rating Rank2201
Age RatingPG
Age Rating GuideTeens 13 or older
Subtypemovie
Statusfinished

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My main hope coming into "Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala" is that it would provide me with some explanations on some of the details that the series failed to clear up on. I did not find what I was looking for. What I found instead is a movie that simply continues on where the series leaves off and essentially mops up the story. Though an enjoyable movie in its own right, "The Conquerer of Shambala" feels a little disappointing. It's not that there's all that much wrong with it, it's just that comparisons against the series is inevitable, and the series is so exceptional that it'd take something special just to avoid a massive disappointment... and this movie ain't that special.Presentation wise, "The Conquerer of Shambala" retains the art style from the series, but it looks more beefed up and polished in general, and the colours seems more rich. The background music is completely new, but has similar style to the ones heard in the series. It's pretty good, but I do have one qualm with it: "Brothers", the song that, for me, encapsulated much of the feel of "Fullmetal Alchemist", does not appear to have been used in this movie. To omit the track that was at the heart and soul of the original series is a grave error in my opinion. Aside from the presentation, the setting for the story is also different compared to the original series. Ed's half of the adventure is set in "our" world, where alchemy is rarely seen.Even though everything about this movie has a similar feel as the original series, I just did not feel the same thrill as I did watching the series - perhaps the lack of alchemy in Ed's half of the story takes the edge off the excitement just a bit (I guess this highlights the importance and the strength of the fantasy element in the original series), or perhaps the story just isn't as good. But like I said, it would have been a tall order for any movie length anime to recreate the awesome feel of that amazing series. Still, in spite of this, I feel that as far as sequels go, it does serve as an adequate conclusion to the "Fullmetal Alchemist" saga. Now that "Fullmetal Alchmist: Brotherhood" is out though, it's not such a bad idea to just go straight on to that and forget about this alternative ending, because there really is no contest as to which one is better...

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa would have to be the most unrecognized piece of anime I've come across, compared to what it really holds within. This is a movie and it clearly has a high budget behind it. At the time the manga was incomplete, the anime having to recourse the story on its own route with its own image of itself. Also, coming from that, one shouldn't be confused with what this movie really is. This isn't a side-story like Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, this is the ending of the original series. And no, this isn't another Lunar Legend Tsukihime. While the movie re-explains some basics early on, this isn't a good sample of the show to get a friend into the franchise either. This is literally the ending of the series, and one can only be in a state of denial to think it as anything else. It's recommended that, before watching this movie, one finishes the entire 2003, television series. This anime movie is in a line of movies that surprised me by being one of the most memorable parts of their respective series (some being: End of Evangelion, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Cowboy Bebop - Knockin' on Heaven's Door). That could be because a movie and a television show are two different things, somewhat similar to how literature and any visual representation is. A television series allows for more down time and more complex setups. A movie doesn't have the run-time to allow for such things if it still wishes to balance its priorities, but it does allow for a format that makes it tolerable to watch something in a larger period of time by inserting a good deal of style and by giving the audience a great deal of respect. A good movie balances its priorities just right with that in mind, and I feel that is actually the weakest part of Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa. That may be surprising to start with what seems like a negative, but it may be even more surprising to say that it isn't even a negative. FMA: Conqueror of Shamballa is a movie and is limited to what it can present. It does make sacrifices in aspects that aren't particularly necessary for the overall enjoyment, but still creates lacking elements that some who were hoping for them in particular will be let down. In this way some have spoken down this movie for giving them something that wasn't what they expected or hoped for, delivering something different. For this reason more now huddle to, the sister series, "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" which carries a more acceptable ending. I would like to go back and ask why being different is a bad thing? This movie is certainly different and places its priorities in odd unexpected situations with unexpected and seemingly unnecessary outcomes. This, however, creates an interesting setup where the movie feels capable of going in any direction while still sticking to the plot elements created by the end of the television series. It works with those elements and connects a surprisingly fitting story, which will be more delved into. One thing this movie is criticized for is that it doesn't build up the elements of the story that much. It more works off of the unknown of the story, while simultaneously working closely with what is known from the series. It's true that if the movie had more time to build up the plot elements of the series, by bringing more explanations, that the entire film would have been more enjoyable. However, this movie is not three hours long and can only work with something near a six-episode length. This brings back the reality of priorities, and also leads to another point. If you have seen "2001: A Space Odyssey" (and if you haven't, watch it now), there is definitely a lot of working with the unknown being done by the end. The same can definitely be said for FMA: Conqueror of Shamballa. So why then does this movie not ring with the same acclaim as 2001? While building up plot elements is definitely a plus, it isn't necessary. When taking into account that we have different people working on the entire ending than who wrote the original manga, it may even be better to just not break what isn't broken. Even if one is to still stand beside that criticism, it still seems unreasonable to not take into consideration what is literally being seen and heard from the film. People will praise Ufotable for their visual work and, while it is respectable, Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa has something even greater. The original Fullmetal series already had some pretty good animation for its time, but to suddenly rise from that to this makes one wish for even more. The animation and art is top-notch the entire time this movie is playing. The background art is astounding, nearing to the level of Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door. The art style is that of the television series, but the quality control was set on ultra-high and there is never a time when that quality doesn't meet full potential. The frames-per-second is also increased for much of the highlights of the movie, and this animation is good enough to not even require to be watched with SVP smoothing software (while it still makes it better). Also, the directing for this movie is some of the best I've ever seen in anime. This director, Seiji Mizushima, needs more attention both from the industry and from the public. Seiji has talent, and this movie is likely his best example. While his work in the 2003, Fullmetal Alchemist series was still great, his grasp on all of this budget allowed him to work with no limits in that form (not taking into account of other possible and unknown factors). He treats timing perfectly and was able to fit in a huge amount of content in a roughly, two-hour movie and make it carry no aura of rushed pacing. He did push things to the limit, but he did so wonderfully. A movie is not a television show, and priorities come back again into how Seiji would now treat this part of the series as something more fitting to this form of media. The spectacular soundtrack of the original series takes up a lot of the movie in brilliantly-rehashed orchestrations, this time presenting itself in a movie format allowing the indulgence of the entire involvement of the audio rollercoaster. Even so, there's still some new music to be heard, but it's mostly involved with new theme-songs to better fit changed settings and characters. The themes for much of the series are still in place, yet nothing ever feels redundant. In-fact, the movie makes the soundtrack feel as though it was supposed to be experienced in such a way to begin with. The sound in general is astounding and it's a shame to known that I'll never be able to experience this film in a theater. There were certainly no budget-cuts made with any aspect of the budget for this movie, also linking to the storytelling and the screenwriting. This returns to how fitting this ending really was for the series, but first let me take note of the screenwriting. If one was impressed with the dialogue of the 2003 series, I will be happy to inform that this movie raises the bar from that point. The dialogue always stays interesting and feels as if it was read over numerous times to leave out filler conversation and thoughts. This is high quality dialogue, along with some in-depth screenwriting. While the writing doesn't explain the plot elements from the series, it relates them astoundingly well to this next phase of the story. This phase is a game-changer, and a story like Fullmetal Alchemist requires some work and some style to keep the quality storytelling on high marks. Well, Conqueror of Shamballa again raises the bar with the massive amounts of research its staff members must have done to create the movie. I've written a lengthy examination of their research, in the blog on my profile, and the setting of this movie was definitely treated with care. They chose not to break the story with attempted reasoning, but instead made interesting setups and relations with the television series' plot to what is now on the table. They researched the setting, what was going on at the time in: politics, entertainment, and the society. This movie is also the point where many may start to notice the relationship of Buddhism to the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise as a whole. Without going into a lengthy explanation, "Shamballa" is a metaphysical kingdom in ancient Buddhism that obviously has a place in the story. Take note again that the staff working on the last half of the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist was not the original creator and had to basically deconstruct what she had already constructed to continue the story (as it was too famous to halt production at the time). That's likely why the original series of Fullmetal Alchemist has more of a European feeling, from the simple coincidence that the majority of what was finished at the time shows visualizations similar to Europe from the cars to the clothing. In the original manga the setting diversifies, but the 2003 series sticks with such a different outlook of itself leading to a more consistent theme. Coming the time of this movie, that theme is treated with care for it to carry depth in itself by making solid connections to justify the risky plot-turn they already took in the series. People shrug off this movie for being wasteful and useless, but they lack to remember that this is the ending of the series and its main goal is thoughtful closure. Some will immediately hear that and say it's still lacking, but when I say "thoughtful" I don't mean "considerate". This movie still takes an interesting turn in the fate of the characters and to which character receives the spotlight. By the ending of the series and the movie, basically every character receives thoughtful closure, but the strange and "cruel" direction of that closure is what's the problem for some. That's fine, but it shouldn't motivate to deter others from giving this movie a try. Opinions are opinions and one isn't better than the other, but it just feels tough for someone to justify a 3/10 rating or lower for this movie. Sure, for some visuals aren't everything, but this movie still knocks it out of the park. Sure, for some sound isn't everything, but I'd like to ask for a scene where the atmosphere wasn't engrossing. Finally to the story, not everyone will like every story, and the direction the 2003 series took is definitely different from the usual. Even so, such superficial parts of a story shouldn't be taken as such great negatives if they are still treated well. Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa is heavily controversial and some may still hate the way it chose to give its characters closure and I could agree to disagree with that, but I couldn't agree for someone to consider this movie as a waste of time and as something to not acknowledge. If such superficial aspects make someone not want to acknowledge a story's ending, considering it "fanfiction" would still ironically backfire into the person in question filling in a “fanfiction” ending of their own. Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa is the ending to the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. All you're expected to go in with is a bit of tolerance for the direction it might take. Also, if you want to see my examination of the movie, go here: http://myanimelist.net/blog.php?eid=760355 Now I can only wish for a remake of the original series in a movie format, like Kara no Kyoukai, that reaches this level of budget constantly. With a bit of fine-tuning, that would definitely be the best anime around.

Critic’s Log - Earthdate: December 2, 2013. Review #76: Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa. Traveling through time and space is tricky business, one must be careful and very cautious when dealing with all that wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff. This anime film doesn’t really deal with this as much and time travel was never implemented in the show that this movie follows. With that said, Listen up!, Here’s **Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa!** Allons-y! In Munich, Germany, 1923. Two years have passed since Edward Elric was dragged from his own world into our own, leaving behind his country, his friends and his younger brother, Alphonse. Stripped of his alchemical powers, he has been all this time researching rocketry together with Alphonse Heiderich, a young man who bears a resemblance to his own brother, hoping to one day find a way back home. His efforts so far had proven fruitless, but after helping a troubled gypsy girl, Edward is thrown in a series of events that can wreak havoc in both worlds. Meanwhile, at his own world, Alphonse Elric ventures deeper into the mysteries of alchemy in search for a way to reunite with his older brother. To be technical, this is a Studio BONES production and this is the sequel to Fullmetal Alchemist as well as the conclusion of the original 2003 series and the animation looks fantastic compared to the show and that’s because it obviously is a theatrical film (meaning higher budget). The animation has a good contrast between Ed’s world and our world. Ed’s world looks bright and vibrant while our world isn’t. This is an interesting aspect of the animation and I can see why Seiji Mizushima went with this visual approach near the end of the series and this film. The animation is very good but it isn’t perfect. This movie does have a little 3D motion in it and it feels a little different than what was seen before the movie. The action scenes are much higher than the show and it has some great visuals till the very end. In the long run, the animation was very good. The music by Michiru Oshima is a bit different with the movie yet it makes sense, it does compliment the atmosphere in the movie and it is a pretty good soundtrack. It does have some exclusive music to the movie and there is even some themes from the original series. And… even though it’s different from the show, it is still a great soundtrack. It complements the emotional feel of the movie which stayed after the series and Oshima-san does it again. The music is the strongest factor of the entire movie. When voice acting is concerned, the Japanese cast is excellent. Romi Park is great as Edward Elric, Rie Kugimiya is fantastic as Alphonse Elric, and Shun Oguri is alright as Alphonse Heiderich. Some of the cast members that came back are still great as before. As with the English Dub, it is still fantastic as ever with one little flaw. Allow me to recap, In the final episode of Fullmetal Alchemist, there was a german accent to one of the characters. That accent is missing throughout the whole movie which is the only flaw with the dub, but as the movie alone… it’s well performed. Vic Mignogna is terrific as Edward, Aaron Dismuke is also terrific as Alphonse even though we can tell his voice was starting to mature. Jason Liebrecht is also great as Alphonse Heiderich. As for the English cast that were able to make it into the movie, they all performed well. You can’t go wrong with either version just like the original anime. If there’s one thing that this movie does wrong is that it doesn’t give its characters enough time which the original series did so well with this. Allow me to explain. Edward got a good amount of screentime, and so did Alphonse. There was a lot of time spent on the real world characters and less of Ed and Al’s world. Characters like Mustang, Hawkeye, and Armstrong only get less than a half-hour of screentime. Considering the events that took place before the movie, this is a huge stepdown in the entire series and this is the conclusion. It was nice to see those timeless characters once again but the military characters did feel a little sidelined until the last half hour. At least Alphonse was given proper screentime, and it was a nice touch that he wore Edward’s trademark Red Coat.  As for the real-world characters, I didn’t really care for them, so I’ll just stick to looking them up on history articles. Another issue I have with this movie is some of the sendoffs. The main problem I have with the characters is that most of them don’t get a proper closure even though the bittersweet effect does work.  That’s where my main issue lies, the whole entire story is a huge stepdown to the writing after all that the original series was leading up to. The show was well paced despite some questionable chronological choices at the start of the series, and it was well-written even though it has its flaws especially near the end of the series. What Fullmetal Alchemist was able to achieve was take 6 volumes of the manga, and even though they couldn’t keep up with the manga. It took a different path that was actually just as interesting as the manga and just as moving and it had a decent ending. The ending of the show did raise questions which was why Conqueror of Shamballa is made, but the movie adds more questions and they are not answered and the movie makes more plot holes . What made the show so beloved is that it had a balance of animation, story, characters, and music. Half of this is there in Conqueror of Shamballa, the most important half is unbalanced. The story doesn’t feel like a proper conclusion and there isn’t enough balance of screentime with the characters and that’s why I find Conqueror of Shamballa disappointing. But I will be completely honest, I actually enjoyed this movie to a degree. It’s not perfect but it actually was an okay movie. It’s just not the ending this anime deserved, it may be disappointing but at least it was not a terrible conclusion. Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa is available by Funimation. With all that said, Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa has some very good animation and really good music. It unfortunately is unbalanced with some characters sidelined and not appearing much while a few and movie-exclusive characters do. The story is a huge stepdown compared to the show and will disappoint some. It may not be perfect, but it is an okay movie. This movie as well as the conclusion could have been so much better. I give Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa a 5.8 out of 10, it is SO and SO! Feel free to leave a comment.

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