Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: the Sacred Star of Milos (Blu-ray/DVD) Review
When the final episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood aired in Japan in 2010, a teaser showed up once the credits finished rolling. Eagle-eyed viewers spotted that there would be an upcoming movie in 2011; on November 2010, the first teaser trailer aired on the official website. In 2005, the first Fullmetal Alchemist movie, Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa, was released in order to tie up the loose ends from the first series while the second movie, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is actually set within the middle of the manga storyline.
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos can be considered bonus chapters within the manga storyline and is an entirely self-contained event. Shortly before the movie premiered in Japan in 2011, Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromu Arakawa created a special manga issue, eleven and a half, to provide both backstory and setting for the movie; for those curious, Milos takes place just as Ling Yao, RanFan and Fu are trying to draw out the Homunculi while Ed and Alphonse are trying to draw out Scar. In the teaser manga volume, just as Ed is using his abilities in one part of Central City, Ling and RanFan spot a suspicious looking wolf chimera in the city and a few days later, a man escapes from a prison in Amestris due to a mysterious explosion.
At the beginning of the movie, we see a young girl and her family being forced to move from their home with the help of soldiers. Shortly afterwards, the movie cuts to the young girl waking up in the middle of the night while her older brother is studying some alchemy texts that belong to their parents. Startled by some strange noises coming from somewhere in their home, the older brother decides to go investigate and the girl, clearly worried about her brother, decides to follow. Immediately, the two siblings end up in the library before discovering two bodies hung up while blood pools below them; the girl immediately faints while the boy’s fate is unknown.
Moving forward, a celebration is breaking out in Central City while Edward Elric is fast asleep at his desk. His brother Alphonse enters the room and surprises his older brother with a noise popper causing Ed to wake up immediately and berate his younger brother, who pulls out another noise popper. As Alphonse pulls the popper, the windows in the room blow out from a large explosion outside causing the two Elrics to immediately investigate. In a nearby alleyway, the two confront an escaped prisoner that has the ability to use alchemy; the prisoner manages to escape after an intense battle while several soldiers nearly arrest the Elrics, though Ed is able to prove that he is a State Alchemist.
The next day, Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye set off to investigate the explosion though are shortly joined by the Elric brothers. As they study the surroundings, a newspaper is discovered with a missing clipping and they locate another copy of the paper with the article that had been clipped out. Thanks to the article, the Elrics set off for Table City where they hope to find Julia Crichton, the mysterious girl that was mentioned in the article and is a possible link to the explosion in the prison. From here on out, viewers get to solve the mystery of the Sacred Star of Milos alongside Ed, Alphonse, Roy and other familiar faces of the Fullmetal Alchemist universe.
Overall, I did enjoy Sacred Star of Milos, mostly due to how it seemed to fit within the overall manga storyline, but it was a fairly average movie. The plot has many twists and turns, but there are parts that feel shoe-horned to make a compelling twist. The characters introduced in the film, particularly Julia Crichton, feel both like characters that have already existed within the Fullmetal Alchemist universe but also like Mary Sue-ish type characters who don’t seem to advance much of the overall story. The animation is very fluid, particularly the fights, though the look of some of the characters is quite strange - particularly Ed. As the film features both English and Japanese casts, it was nice hearing the familiar voices of old characters while getting to know the new ones. The music in the movie is all new while also featuring original opening and ending songs from both L'Arc~en~Ciel (Good Luck My Way) and Miwa (Chasing Hearts).
This particular package from FUNImation consists of a DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack, which comes out to three discs total; two discs for the DVD version of the film and extras while there is a single Blu-Ray disc for both flim and extras. The extras for the film include commentary by the English cast, a making of the film featurette, theatrical trailers, and trailers from other FUNImation properties. I wish there was at least an insert that provided chapter information, but the interior art provided was a nice touch. The film fits in nicely with the overall plot of Fullmetal Alchemist and can engage non-fans, but is still a movie strictly for fans.
Two things I loved:
+ Crisp, clean animation, especially during fights and explosions
+ Story fits well within the existing universe of FMA
Two things I hated:
- Characters, especially Julia Crichton, feels like a "Mary Sue"-type character
- Plot is cliched in many places, especially at the end
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor, Images copyrighted:FUNimation/Bones