FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST Live Action Panel at Anime Expo 2017
This year, the highly popular series Fullmetal Alchemist is celebrating its 16th anniversary after the original release of its manga which has sold over 67 million copies worldwide. Fullmetal Alchemist has been adapted twice as a televised anime series, video game, a theatrical animated film, and in December, a live action film. Kicking off the “Hagaren World Bullet Tour” to promote the film, Director Fumihiko Sori, and actor Ryosuke Yamada who plays the leading role as Edward Elric made an appearance hosting a panel at this year’s Anime Expo in Los Angeles.
Before the panel, fans zig zagged around the convention center outside Main Hall for a chance to get inside the room that has a capacity of 3,500 people. Speaking with the first person in line, she had been in line since 3:15 AM that morning mean she had waited almost 8 hours in line! The panel started promptly at 11:00 AM with the introduction of Fumihiko Sori and Ryosuke Yamada. For fans unfamiliar with the two guests, Sori is no stranger to working with anime, as he has directed the live action adaptation of Ping Pong and the CGI anime film Vexille. Yamada is a popular actor and idol in Japan and has starred in other anime live action films such as Kindaichi Case Files and 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.”
The panel first introduced the trailer that has been released on their official website, but the fans were lucky to see additional never seen before footage of the movie. Character visuals have not been released thus making it even more special for the present FMA fans. The new visual trailer included Tsubasa Honda, playing Wendy, Dean Fujioka, playing Mustang, Yasuko Matsuyuki playing Lust and many of the main characters. [unfortunately we didn’t get to see the fan favorite Alex Louis Armstrong]
Next came the pre-made questions. Yamada was asked what his feelings were when he first approached for the role of Ed. Yamada replied that he is not very tall and he appreciated his “chibi” height for once in his life and because of this he was offered the great role of Ed. 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 and he hopes it could be comparable to Hollywood movies, but he also mentioned that the movie is not all about the special effects. The movie is about the story of two brothers and that is where he would like fans to focus their attention to.
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 much 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. Another question 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?” the director answered back with “look forward to the end of the film and also part 2”. This lead 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 shy. He can feel the passion and the love for Full Metal Alchemist more here which is welcoming for him.
There was also a special message from the manga artist herself, Hiromu Arakawa. She stated “The manga is like my child. It was recreated into an anime and then into a game. Now it is being recreated into a film so it is as if it is my grandchild. Please enjoy the world and adventure [of Full Metal Alchemist] as much as possible. I was able to watch the film prior and it’s as 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 planned to be release in Japanese cinemas on December 1, 2017.