August 7th, 2012

steph hey you

Backing Stuff Up:The Great Feminist Manga and Anime List: Fullmetal Alchemist


Note: This is referring to the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and its direct adaptation, which is called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in the States and Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Fullmetal Alchemist in Japan. I amnot referring to the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist anime adaptation, which I don’t consider feminist due mostly to less central female characters, more problematic handling of race and most prominently its bad treatment of Rose and to a lesser extent, Winry. It’s okay if you consider it feminist, but this is my review. I detail my problems with the anime on feminist and other grounds in the top posts here: Beware spoilers for both series.

I will forever find it pretty fantastic that it’s a woman who wrote what I consider to be the best shonen manga ever. Hiromu Arakawa’s masterpiece should be an example to other artists of how it’s done. It’s tightly plotted, well drawn, has a huge cast of complex characters and it never lags, but comes together to be a beautiful and inspirational tale. Forget one of the best stories in manga, the Fullmetal Alchemist series is one of the best stories out there, period. Not only did Hiromu Arakawa continue the legacy (started by artists such as Rumiko Takahashi) of proving women can dominate in action-oriented manga, she also showed that you can do a story in a genre typically targeted to young boys with male main characters and still have a diverse, prominent and fantastic cast of lady characters. You can also explore serious themes like war, genocide, prejudice, faith, hubris and the nature of humanity and how to move on after committing great sins.

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