Manga/anime series and live action adaptations have history. It can go fairly well (Death Note, Assassination Classroom...) or horribly wrong (Attack on Titan, Sailor Moon…). The Japanese film industry doesn’t have the same budget as Hollywood and it’s still lacking in the special effects department, which is probably one of the reasons why real-life stories without super powers are often better than those that have to rely on heavy special effects and CGI. You can’t really blame them, though. One of the reasons why many people prefer anime to live-action is because stories are only limited by your imagination. If they were to make series like One Piece or Naruto into live-action series, they would have to have budgets like HBO’s Game of Thrones! Not to mention that Hollywood has also failed big time in live-action anime adaptations before (remember the horror that was Dragonball: Evolution?).
So what can we expect from Fullmetal Alchemist in that regard? Well, the series takes place in a world where alchemy is a science. Aside from the special effects we can expect from transmutations and the battles that will probably take place, it has also been revealed that they will be using CGI for Al’s armor. On the other hand, the story takes place in a European setting (Germany, in the movie Conqueror of Shamballa) and it also features a lot of countryside scenery, especially in the scenes that take place in Resembool. So far, we know that the film is going to be shot in Italy (June-August 2016), so at least the scenery will still be somewhat faithful to the original series. As a matter of fact, the beautiful landscapes (helped by the gorgeous soundtrack) was one of the reasons why this series was so immersive. If the production team does a good work of choosing Italian fields to recreate places like Resembool and Amestris (which was actually inspired by England), then the film will already have a lot in their favor visually wise.
Aesthetics aside, what can we expect from plot-wise? Sources have revealed that the first half of the film will reproduce the original story of the manga, but the film will digress in the second half into an original story. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Unlike the depressing 2003 anime version, ‘Brotherhood’ was a perfect adaptation of the original manga, so it’ll be interesting to see yet a different version of the story coming from the film. As long as characters don’t start acting out of character or they betray canon in some way, there’s no reason to panic. Speaking of characters, we can expect some film originals too.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is considered by many to be the most flawless manga-to-anime adaptations ever made. It has become one of the most popular shounen of recent years and, since very recently, it had the #1 spot in MyAnimeList. It’s understandable that fans fear live-action adaptations of their beloved series because, sadly, they tend to be bad. Regardless of what happens with this film, we will always have the previous material. Furthremore, unlike Conqueror of Shamballa and The Sacred Star of Milos, which followed the events of the 2003 anime version, many fans have been asking for a follow-up anime movie of Brotherhood. So here’s to hoping that the live-action film is a good one that will actually bring back the hype for this franchise and give us more Fullmetal material!