FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST Live Action Panel at Anime Expo 2017
This year, the highly popular series Fullmetal Alchemist will be celebrating the 16th anniversary of its original manga release which has gone on to sell over 67 million copies worldwide since its inception. Since then, Fullmetal Alchemist has been adapted into a televised anime series, video game, a theatrical animated film, and an upcoming live action film this December. To celebrate the upcoming release director Fumihiko Sori, and actor Ryosuke Yamada, who plays the leading role as Edward Elric, made a special appearance at this year’s Anime Expo in Los Angeles as part of the "Hagaren World Bullet Tour."
Prior to the panel, fans zig zagged in line outside the Main Hall to get a chance to get inside the room for the special event. After speaking with the first person in line, I had found out that she been in line since 3:15 AM that morning; which meant that she had spent almost 8 hours in line! Starting promptly at 11:00 AM, the panel began with the introduction of the two guests Fumihiko Sori (Ping Pong, Vexille) and Ryosuke Yamada (Kindaichi Case Files, Assassination Classroom). The crowd went crazy when Yamada greeted them, “hello everyone. I’m Ryosuke Yamada. I Play Ed. Thank you for coming today. Please enjoy!”
Although the panel started with the trailer that had previously been released on the film's official website, fans in attendance were lucky to see additional never seen before footage of the movie including character visuals had not been released thus making it even more special for the present FMA fans. The new visual trailer included Tsubasa Honda (Wendy), Dean Fujioka (Mustang), Yasuko Matsuyuki (Lust) and many of the main characters. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the fan favorite Alex Louis Armstrong, much to everyone's disappointment!
Next came the pre-made questions. Yamada was asked what his feelings were when he was first approached for the role of Ed. Yamada replied that since he is not very tall, he appreciated his “chibi” height for once in his life. Director Sori also added that the only person who can play as Ed is Yamada, so the character setting wasn’t very hard to adapt to the actor and Yamada was able to pick up the characteristics very quickly.
Sori mentioned about the efforts he put into the CG and VFX he hopes it could be comparable to Hollywood movies, but also mentioned that the movie is not all about the special effects. He wants fans to focus on the story of the Elric brothers the most.
After the pre-made questions, fans were allowed to ask questions of their own during the Q&A part of the panel. One fan had asked if Yamada had any influences from the manga. Yamada stated he was actually an original fan of the manga so he tried to recreate the character as close to the original material as possible. He explained how he added his own touch on how Edward runs compared to a normal person, which made the crowd laugh due to him demonstrating it on stage. One other question that was asked was in reference to the characters that appeared or better yet not appeared in the trailer. “I did not see [Alex Louis] Armstrong is he in the film?” Yamada replied back with “[please] look forward to the end of the film and also part 2.” This led the crowd let out a huge cheer due to them realizing that there was a possible sequel in the works.
The guests were also asked about their most interesting experience so far at their stay in Los Angeles. Yamada answered that he thought that fans in America are more open at expressing themselves than the Japanese fans who are more reserved. He could really feel the passion and love American fans have for Full Metal Alchemist which was welcome for him.
At the conclusion of the panel, there was also a special message from the manga artist herself, Hiromu Arakawa. She stated, “the manga is like my child. It was [originally] recreated into an anime and then into a game. Now it is being recreated into a film, so please enjoy the world and adventure of Full Metal Alchemist as much as possible. Having seen most of its film already, it’s as though if the characters have come to life. Ryosuke Yamada-kun, you played Ed perfectly and excellently. Everyone around the world, please take good care of my grandchild.”
The movie is currently scheduled to be release in Japanese cinemas on December 1, 2017.