My "hate" for Fullmetal Alchemist

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madpierrot

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#1  Edited By madpierrot

So I was watching the newest Vinnyvania and they brought up Fullmetal Alchemist. Most seemed to love it with Vinny even calling it his favorite. Now I can only talk about the original here as I've never seen Brotherhood, but for a few reasons my dislike of that show turned into pretty much unreasonable hate.

So for any other older anime fans like me you might remember when Fullmetal Alchemist started airing on Adult Swim around 2004ish. It was hard to miss because it dominated anime fandom for years. It was inescapable and almost universally loved. Literally until Attack on Titan people would just ask, what can be the next Fullmetal Alchemist.

So being an anime far who posted on forums regularly I read all the hype and love and decided to watch it. I didn't enjoy my time. It would be like a 2 out of 5. Something I thought was bad, but would just move on. However during this time it was impossible to move on from this show and that's where me thinking it was just a bad show turned into basically hate. I was a typical poster, thinking I known everything, and couldn't understand how people just didn't see or ignored all of theses problems with it.

Anytime a forum thread popped up about anime you dislike, overrated shows or yearly reviews I would just mention how I thought it was bad then get flooded with posts saying how wrong I was, to put it nicely. Whelp as a college student with too much free time I would type up long thought out responses about why it's not good and believe it or not I would actually get some good discussion going. Then I was basically able to just forget it. Enough time passed, eventually a new Fullmetal Alchemist came around and I wasn't bombarded by it. But still even now anytime someone mentions how it's the best anime I want to scream, no it's bad here's why!

Edit: So while the intention of this thread was just for me to get my thoughts out about being an idiot in college looking to start debates on forums because “only I can be right” and how fandom and even just the overwhelming zeitgeist of something can exacerbate that. Even to the point where 15 years later I feel that way. Some people were asking why I didn’t like it to begin with so I’ll throw a post below trying to remember my reasoning for it.

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onlineatron

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Hey so um why do you hate it?

I totally get a dislike for something becoming deeper and stronger as more and more people around you go gaga over it but I am curious what put you off in the first place.

Also I don’t have a dog in the fight because I’ve only seen a few eps but I’ve always heard Brotherhood is the one to watch.

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NietzscheCookie

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Yeah, FMA is one of the worst animes...but FMA:Brotherhood is one of the best.

They start in the same dark place in terms of plot but where FMA just keeps lazily throwing darker plot twists to be dramatic anime, Brotherhood builds up to a cohesive, hopeful and triumphant refutation of nihilism and fascism, it’s good.

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Onemanarmyy

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#4  Edited By Onemanarmyy

Is this hatred a similar kind of dislike that a lot of anime folk have towards something like DBZ? Where you feel that there's this whole world of anime out there that's vastly more interesting, but for some reason this one anime really blew up with a mainstream audience and they just won't look past this one huge mainstream show?

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Rejizzle

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Sometimes its okay to go against the grain. That being said I can't imagine anyone disliking Full Metal Alchemist. Brotherhood sure, its just a worst version of the manga, but the first series? Ridiculous!

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Gundato

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@nietzschecookie: FMA/Brotherhood is one of those interesting things that makes me REALLY excited for Martin to finish writing asoiaf (so never...)

FMA did an AMAZING job of the first few arcs... up until it ran out of source material. Most of the Brotherhood "memes" are actually either outright from or built up by FMA. But when they ran out of source material they mostly just followed the trend of the manga. Which was grimdark as hell

And while the manga stayed dark it also lightened the hell up to the point that I kind of suspect the author(s?) focus tested a bit with the anime.

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hermes

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@madpierrot said:

...But still even now anytime someone mentions how it's the best anime I want to scream, no it's bad here's why!

Maybe you should try to talk about why you dislike it instead of just ending the sentence there.

I get that when a lot of people get passionate about something that is not interesting to you, it can backlash and be part of the reason why you get even less invested in the show, specially if it gets so big that it is what most people see when they talk about the medium. I had the same experience with games like Final Fantasy 7 and animes like Attack on Titan. It is not really the fault of the show, though...

That being said, I don't think FMA is that bad. The quantity of shows that are worse than FMA since it came out probably amount in the hundreds. I can name more than 10 shows that are worst on this season alone.

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hermes

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#8  Edited By hermes

@onlineatron: Ehhh... it is kind of weird.

Brotherhood is definitely superior in almost any way, but the show assumes you are familiar with FMA. Some of the earlier parts seem to be covered a lot less thoroughly than on the previous incarnation of the story, with the idea that 1) You already saw it, and 2) you (and them) are in a rush to get to the new parts...

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plan6

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Both FMA and Brotherhood are good, IMO. I really liked FMA's villain and her plot because she was a terrifying, yet pathetic person. That she lacked the raw talent, so she pushed people to do the terrible thing and make the stone. And the show had important lessons, like governments that go to war all the time are bad, even if they are sometimes have good people in them. And bringing bad the dead is always bad.

If we are going to go into the world of terrible animes that are popular for bad reasons, darling in the franxx exists. Fuck it, people like end of evangelion and that thing is a repugnant, incel nightmare given physical form(PS, I used to like End of Eva, but it has not aged well at all).

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someoneproud

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I was meh on FMA but Brotherhood is much better and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Gundato

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@plan6: Has there been a lot of talk on the incel themes/vibes of Evangelion?

Rewatched when it hit netflix under the assumption I might eventually watch the follow up movies and remember disliking Shinji even more than I did years (decades?) ago. Didn't really click until I read a recent Polygon (?) article on the new Buffy comics that reimagine Xander as an incel because... he kind of always had that vibe beneath the goofy exterior. And it was a "shaved kittens" level of "oh... THAT is why I hated Shinji" moment.

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mouryous

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#12 mouryous  Online

@plan6 said:

If we are going to go into the world of terrible animes that are popular for bad reasons, darling in the franxx exists. Fuck it, people like end of evangelion and that thing is a repugnant, incel nightmare given physical form(PS, I used to like End of Eva, but it has not aged well at all).

Don't really wanna derail the thread, but how do you watch End of Eva and think it's pro-incel? The entire movie directly refutes that ideology. And having watched it within the last month, I'd say it holds up fairly well, in my opinion.

On the topic of FMA, I remember really hating how much Brotherhood was hyped up by everyone around me. It was to the point that I was fully expecting to hate it, only to be pleasantly surprised that it actually was as good as most people said it was. A very rare case of hype actually not killing the show for me.

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OurSin_360

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I still love FMA, and I like it better than brotherhood although I like brotherhood as well(it's basically the manga). I thought the emotional connection was better in FMA to what the homunculus were and it tied better into how they got where they were in the beginning (without spoiling a 20 year old anime series lol). I also still think it's one of, if not the best dub of a anime show.

That's the beauty of manga and anime, there is just enough stuff for everyone to like what they like without just hating on the art form itself since it's so broad.

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plan6

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#14  Edited By plan6

@mouryous: It isn’t that it is pro-intel, but that it is voices a lot of really garbage views on women through our sad boy Shinji, mostly without digging into them. I would call it “uncritical”. It knows the views are bad, but don’t really know why or who’s fault they are. Eva has always had a problem with how it treats women and the movie is sort of the peak of that. Plus the opening when Shinji cranks one out over Asuka and never talks about it again. Stuff like that.

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Gundato

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#15  Edited By Gundato

@mouryous: I am not sure I would say it was pro-incel but I would definitely agree with "nightmare given form".

To go even farther off topic: I am sure I would LOVE Mr Robot if I watched it. I have never been able to make it past the second episode because every single aspect of the protagonist annoys me because I have totally had to deal with too many of those "I am so much smarter than everyone else and she should love me and not that asshole and blah blah blah" shitheads that I can't even deal with lingering on one in media. I get that Things Happen but... if the first episode ended with him getting hit by a car I would probably cheer.

And even farther still: a lot of people loved The Magicians on Syfy because it called out Quentin on his bullshit and focused on the supporting characters. A lot of the same people HATED the books because you spend so long in Quentin's head. Yeah, the point is that he is a shitty protagonist and person but... you are still constantly bathed in his thoughts and perceptions

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noobsauce

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#16  Edited By noobsauce

FMA > FMA:B

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FacelessVixen

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Well, not everyone can like the things that I like, but that famous Austin Walker tweet is coming to mind.

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blackichigo

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#18  Edited By blackichigo

To each their own I guess. There are several parts of Brotherhood I get emotional too. Particularly with the fathers on this show, because of my own less than stellar relationship with my own father. I, like the Elric brothers, kind of hated my father for most of my adolescent life. It wasn't until I was an adult, when my father and I had a heart to heart when I learned he and I are a lot alike. He is just a man like any other, who has made mistakes.

Brotherhood's theme of family and friendship really hit home for me in a way that very few media, not just anime has. The characters are just so well done and EVERYONE has a propose to be in it.

But if the OP, doesn't like it doesn't really bother me. Everything can't be for everyone.

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mouryous

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#19  Edited By mouryous  Online

@plan6: Hmm, I disagree that Eva is uncritical of those misogynistic thoughts; to me, it's the complete opposite. EoE goes out of its way to depict the world in which all the women in Shinji's life are unconditionally nice to and physically intimate with him as a bloody, apocalyptic hellhole where everybody on earth loses individuality and free-will. (In that sense it is a "incel nightmare given physical form", but one that is deliberately invoked as a bad thing.) The last episodes of the show also make it very clear that it is Shinji's self-hatred -- which he projects onto everyone else -- that is the problem, not women being unkind to him. The series is sympathetic to him, while also pointing out that his worldview is wrong and needs to change.

I do agree that Eva isn't always the best with its female characters. At the same time, I think Eva tends to resonate really well with female audiences (or, at least for me) partially because it has complicated female characters whose lives don't revolve around the MC, and who are allowed to be mean/not always subservient to his desires. The most misogynistic thing about Eva, to be honest, is what happened to the anime industry after it came out.

I think there are a lot of works where it is painfully obvious looking back that the MC is a proto-incel and the writers/directors actually think those views have any validity (e.g. Chronicle), but I don't agree that NGE is one of them. Also sorry thread :^}

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Humanity

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I've had similar feelings about Attack on Titan but I've also just accepted that anime moved in a direction that isn't for me anymore so I was able to let that battle go a long time ago. I will still let people know that Cowboy Bebop is the best anime ever made and you might as well stop watching anime after you're done because you'll never find that same high again, but that is very much an old man yells at cloud mentality.

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Justin258

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#21  Edited By Justin258

As you can see by my profile picture, I gotta disagree. I saw the premier on Adult Swim when I was in like seventh grade. I remember having no idea what the show was. I remember seeing kid Ed's arm and leg missing, kinda shocked and scared at whatever the hell was happening, and then next scene he's got his limbs back. I was confused for the entire episode. Then he tears his shirt off at the end of the episode to reveal these crazy metal limbs and middle school me thought that was the coolest shit ever. In context, it's kind of not, because of all the trauma and such that led to that moment for that character, but you don't think about that stuff in middle school. I never actually saw the ending of FMA back then, I watched the show religiously until Envy gave some stones to Wrath and then the next week the show restarted at the beginning because they hadn't finished dubbing it. I think that might have been the thing that made me stop watching TV altogether.

The original show is what re-introduced me to anime after I sorta just gave up on cartoons entirely in middle school. Sometime in early college, I decided to dig into some old favorite TV shows for nostalgia's sake and a week later I had binged all of the original FMA in 360p on some shady anime site. Throughout my 20's, I have occasionally watched a new show here and there - not exactly a hardcore anime fan, but I'm pretty much up for watching something anytime. Much like movies and live action TV, though, I rarely actually get around to it. Too many video games to play.

Anyway, the FMA vs Brotherhood thing is kinda like the Original vs TNG thing of the anime world. Both are great shows, both have their fans, and some people still think the original is the better show for whatever reason. I personally argued for the original quite a bit for a few years, but as I got older things shifted. Sure, Brotherhood's first thirteen or so episodes are paced way too quickly, but I can think of very few anime that have a finale as fun to watch and re-watch as Brotherhood's. Pretty much every character gets a chance to shine in their own awesome moment and it's all amazingly well-animated. There's still some part of me that wishes they had taken the same time to do the first quarter or so of the story that the original did. I didn't need that story rushed through, I knew it by heart by the time I watched Brotherhood and was still interested in seeing it again.

...so are we going to find out why OP hates the show so much? I mean, I get the idea that he or she didn't like the show as much as everyone else and the constant fandom grated on him, but why didn't you like it in the first place.

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hermes

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@plan6 said:

@mouryous: It isn’t that it is pro-intel, but that it is voices a lot of really garbage views on women through our sad boy Shinji, mostly without digging into them. I would call it “uncritical”. It knows the views are bad, but don’t really know why or who’s fault they are. Eva has always had a problem with how it treats women and the movie is sort of the peak of that. Plus the opening when Shinji cranks one out over Asuka and never talks about it again. Stuff like that.

I get your point, but I think Anno in Evangelion (the movie in particular) goes out of its way portraying Shinji in those moments as utterly pathetic. He is not "the pure hero" and he is not validated in the moments when he is at his most toxic. If anything, a considerable amount of time in the last episodes is spent with Shinji facing the reality that his desperation for "wanting people to be nice to him" is mostly projecting, and he can't expect people to love him unconditionally and kiss the ground he walks on; it is an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation. When you consider than Shinji is the audience surrogate, the scene you mention can be seen as a critique from Anno to the audience that can't let go and can't stop objectifying the characters.

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Amingo

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READY STEADY CAN'T HOLD ME BACK

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Junkerman

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I've always been surprised at the lack of consensus between FMA fans between Brotherhood and the original. I havent gotten far enough in either to rightfully compare them myself though didnt see anything terrible in either of them either.

To derail the thread... I dont understand Attack on Titan at all, I gave that a good college try during the zeitgeist and just see zero appeal.

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SethMode

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To derail the thread... I dont understand Attack on Titan at all, I gave that a good college try during the zeitgeist and just see zero appeal.

Same. I was curious after reading several online fights about whether it is pro-colonialism, pro-nationalist, has Nazi subtext, whatever...and then completely fell off because I found it kind of just dry, boring, and overly grim.

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nicksmi56

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You watched the wrong FMA!

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ShadyPingu

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#27  Edited By ShadyPingu

It's fine to go against the grain, but allowing other people's general positivity on a thing to reinforce and sharpen your dislike seems, I don't know, really unproductive. It's a sentiment I hear sometimes, that a thing being fawned over by others makes you dislike it even more, and I don't really understand it.

Also I watched FMA:B on Netflix earlier this year and really enjoyed it. Have no desire to watch FMA, but more power to the people who see its merits or even prefer it.

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Deathstriker

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FMA (either version) and Yu Yu Hacksho are the best animes to me. I like Cowboy Bebop, but it gets overrated IMO, and is often more flash than substance. I like Samurai Champloo more than Bebop (they have the same creator). DBZ started a lot of stuff and I have respect for it, but it's not all that great.

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naterfb

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I liked the original FMA just fine but it's profound how much better Brotherhood and especially the manga are comparatively. The story is just way more interesting and the cast is both far more varied and far better developed; so many of the side characters who by all rights should have been one note villains or nobodies wind up with compelling and emotional arcs who are able to contribute beyond just the Elric brothers and Mustang.

My only chief criticism is that the first 20 or so episodes are just worse versions of the manga chapters, made because the show largely assumes people are already familiar with the original series. But it's unfortunate because those early arcs are still really good and I wish they could exist in a better format along with the rest of the story.

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colourful_hippie

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Aww was hoping to see some real reasoning behind one's hate for the franchise

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bananabreath

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keep your friends close and your animes closer

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madpierrot

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So here are my reasons I thought it was a bad show. I’m trying to remember something I haven’t seen in 15 years so I’ll do the best I can. This does bring me back though. Just now it’s me trying to answer some people’s curiosity. I’m going to leave it at this. Now looking to argue, this was simply to answer some people’s curiosity.

Comedy – People seem to praise the mix of comedy and drama, but personally I didn’t like it and just thought it was bad. One big example is in the first episode we get an Ed is short joke, 40 episodes later we’ll still getting Ed is short jokes. Didn’t think it was funny the first time and it gets used countless times. Also I found the mix of the comedy and serious moments to be poorly done. This show really wants to drive home its seriousness and dramatic moments (more on that later) and undercuts its own stuff so often. One example was that early on one of the bad guys was that serial killer who would skin people, but later he literally becomes a comedic relief character used multiple times. You can’t build up this horrible, awful, dark moment and character and then kinda forget them only to bring them back however many episodes later to be wacky fun.

Action scenes – So one of the coolest things about this show is how Ed is pretty much only limited by his imagination for all the amazing, cool things he can do. Early on we see this when he makes that cannon on a train or when he turned that blimp into flowers I believe during the test. Cool stuff. But then literally almost every single action fight scene is just, turn hand into knife. Over and over and over again. There are so many possibilities for how they could do cool fights and we almost entirely just get the same stupid knife hand that breaks more often than not. It’s a life or death struggle or maybe he has to save someone in a crucial moment so what does he decide to do? Fight hand to hand with something that breaks more often than not. Not only extremely disappointing, but just kinda lame.

Random plot points – Ok here’s where my memory fades. Some things I can kind of remember are that in the first episode Ed whips up some alchemy to save his bothers life after messing around with things they shouldn’t have and then in the last episode Ed… whips up some alchemy to save his brother after messing around with things they shouldn’t have. I mean sure characters changed, but if in the biggest moments they just do the same stuff it’s basically nerfing any progress you’ve actually made. Then Al just goes off on his own to try and save his brother and all the adults are just like, go for it! Hasn’t anyone been watching this series up to now? Shouldn’t one of the grownups be like, hey maybe let’s stop trying to mess with things.

Then that gate. This important, impactful part of the story that has set rules for alchemy yet it seemingly does something different for the brothers every time we see it? First it takes Ed’s arm and leg, then it sucks him into another world, then it just decides to send him back giving him his life. It basically just seemed like this random plot device that did whatever would move the story along for the main characters. I know even fans say this, but the last 10 or so episodes were just a jumbled mess in a way. People agree to that in different amounts, but even fans seem to say they weren’t paced or handled the best. Oh and the “other world” conceit. I know at the time it wasn’t as big of a contrived plot point, but it still made me want to tell FMA to just slow down a bit. Handle what you’ve got in front of you before throwing in the whole, “but it’s actually our world” idea.

Over sentimentality – ok this is the last and probably biggest sticking point for me. This show REALLY wanted to make you shed a tear or feel something. After a while the effort just seemed fake because of how obvious they were trying to make you feel sad. Have an episode where you build up this adorable little girl that we love, turn her into a horrible monster the next. Introduce the cool, hard, but actually kind teacher we love. Show she has some horrible condition that’s killing her (oh and this also became a comedy point), in the final moments of the series dangle the mute woman’s baby around like some prop so that hopefully we feel even more from the ending. The worst offender to me was the entire episode basically for Mas Huges daughter’s birthday. What an amazing family this is, what a cute daughter she is, what an incredible man he is that we all love so much. Kill him the very next episode. I’m sorry, but the cheap manner in which they tried to wring out these feelings just lost any meaning to me.

Boy that was way longer than I wanted.

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EVILGibson

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@humanity said:

I've had similar feelings about Attack on Titan but I've also just accepted that anime moved in a direction that isn't for me anymore so I was able to let that battle go a long time ago. I will still let people know that Cowboy Bebop is the best anime ever made and you might as well stop watching anime after you're done because you'll never find that same high again, but that is very much an old man yells at cloud mentality.

To be honest, the manga also went the same way with me to the point I ignore everything about both sources (anime and manga) after the YEARS LATER OLDER PRISONER/CRIPPLED Eren Yeager. There is an awesome fight but it only happens after chapters and chapters of political stuff I have 0 interest in.

For those that did not like the original FMA release on adult swim, there was the reason that the story was not finished and random-dude-turns-into-a-dragon would put one off. FMA: Brotherhood has an actual and poignant ending* and it makes sense why the sins are sins.

* Ed gives up any and all alchemy he posses to bring back what really matters. His brother. Ed was ready to give up his life when he finally realized that his alchemy is something he could sacrifice, with meaning, but still keep him alive to meet his brother again. That scene made me cry pretty good.

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Undeadpool

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#34  Edited By Undeadpool

@onemanarmyy said:

Is this hatred a similar kind of dislike that a lot of anime folk have towards something like DBZ? Where you feel that there's this whole world of anime out there that's vastly more interesting, but for some reason this one anime really blew up with a mainstream audience and they just won't look past this one huge mainstream show?

I know you're not necessarily putting this forth as a good way to be, but I'll say in-general: when one starts getting angry at how other people are enjoying something "correctly" or "incorrectly," that's the point where it's a good idea to sign off, in my experience. This isn't to say different interpretations or discussions can't be had (whether or not Piccolo is more of a father to Gohan than Goku ever could be springs to mind), but getting angry that people love DBZ more than Yu-Yu Hakusho or Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is mere steps from gatekeeping and musical genre policing, and that way lies only madness.

Cause I've been that guy too, and it is just so...enervating. And unhealthy.

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geeelectronica

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@humanity: couldnt agree more with that cowboy bebop statement.

I am currently watching the Big O which came around that time so it does have that old school feeling also you can give "Outlaw Star" a chance, an anime that came out during the Toonami era

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@madpierrot: I find that people conflate the idea of them disliking something for certain reasons and the hype around a show as some ununitable front on their taste. I assure you everyone hates everything somewhere but no matter how well thought out or said your take on why citizens kane is bad, some other thousands believe it's good. That goes with the idea that you can think something is good and thousands think it is bad, generally good or decent stuff rises to the top, but nothing will ever be liked 100% since no plot can hit all the beats needed for someone somewhere. You can hate Full metal cause it has powers and you hate powers so it's bad, *critic many make. You could like the spontaneous nature of chainsaw man, others hate how fast chainsaw man is, the point is these shows are going for a particular flavor, that flavor happened to hit with a lot of people, but it was bound not to hit with someone, and that person was you. Doesn't make you're hot take more valid than anyone else. It's why reviews have gotten so meaningless given how much we can view opinions on the same thing from millions of people and all relatively come to our own personal experiences like some quantum crap. Overall we can admit the show did something right to hit that many people, and it's just something you don't click with. I just think dissenting or approving opinions on popular things have run into the ground for usefulness. Type in any upcoming show, a month into its popularity, type ___ show is overrated Reddit, and you'll see all the flaws spelled out in your precious show. A bunch of said flaws will sound like personal preferences spoken in objective tones. It's annoying. That's why I enjoy review critics who don't approach everything with the here's the positives and heres' the negatives but advance it to what was the show trying to do, I see what they were going for, let's see how that works out, this is a smart technique used in many stories but the author brought a twist that I find fascinating and risky, etc. Personally, I think your take is that you get attacked for having a dissenting opinion, screams someone set in their ways, and are unwilling to argue as much as they think others are willing to hear their take. I think no matter what your take is, it's valid for you cause that's how you engaged with the show. My friends engage with prestige television by checking Instagram and saying it's boring when they look up, doesn't make them wrong. I'd just says it's all pointless, like what you like, don't what you don't.