ANIME DEBUNKED...Over at Anime Fringe, probably the best attempt to do an anime review site in a "monthly" online magazine format since EX stopped updating their site several years back, there is what appears to be the first installment of a regular column by Maria Lin, "Anime Debunked", which seems like it will be a column dedicated to taking whatever the current "sacred cow" is among online anime fans and decimating it until the all that remains is a pile of ground beef, which will hopefully be reconstituted into tasty Big Macs. Did any of what I just said make sense? No, it's just that I love Big Macs and couldn't resist the temptation to work it into an awkward metaphor.
This month's target? Fullmetal Alchemist.
Although it's lengthy, there's not much I can excerpt without spoiling the show for Canadians who still haven't seen it (and won't see it any time soon), but this paragraph, as far as I can tell, won't ruin anything.
"Fullmetal Alchemist switches its point of view quite often, and the reason it does so is very amateur indeed. From Mustang to Scar to Winry, in order to garner some sympathy for its characters, the show has to give us a little aside about their pasts. "Yes, we know Mustang just sits on his butt and does nothing, but look at this, he killed a lot of people before, regrets it, and now he wants to be fuehrer. Do you like him now?" Nowhere is this more obvious than when for a single episode, we are put in Lust's shoes and dragged around as she contemplates love and life. The only reason that episode is there is to garner sympathy for another underdeveloped character, and maybe to get us to let out a sigh when she dies. The copious use of flashbacks is a similar construct made to inform the viewer about something that the writers don't know how to put into the story itself."
Predictably, (some) FMA fans are getting very wanky, thinking the mere existence of a dissenting opinion will turn away potential fans.
And, in this case, they're perfectly correct... now that I've seen most of the final few episodes of the show, I'm still not getting what all the fuss is about. It's a show that seems pretty decent for what it is, but I still don't get what's so "ZOMG!!!1111 AMAZING!" about it. It just doesn't seem as deep and mind-blowing as some people make it out to be. It could just be that I'm seeing all the plot twists without having seen the 40 odd episodes before that that would probably make the twists seem a lot more interesting if I had a better command of previously established or assumed details about the character's pasts that the twists contradict, but now this one article shall serve as the solid bedrock for my lukewarm opinion of the show for the rest of time eternal.
Links to other reviews or opinion pieces which serve as the solid bedrock from which I derive the opinions about a show and which I consider to be the final word on said show:
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Spirited Away (again, heh heh)
And, finally, the all-time best negative anime review I've ever read, David Smith's Love Hina review in IGN.