Saturday, March 18, 2006

Episode 3

Caught the 10 pm show. Seemed like they mutilated less this time. (Or have I been desensitised?) Before the first commercial break at around 3 minutes, there were both the starter and OP. It's good that they didn't put the OP in front of the starter, but it was still the second season OP. Yup, Looks like they ARE using it for all the episodes. Lazy bastards. Al's monologue intro with the old photos was also all there, but it really sounded like it was his first reading of the script! Hey Al, what you're telling is your story too! Don't speak like you have nothing to do with it!

It was very uncomfortable to hear the actors and actresses squeeze their voices into some sort of kid imitations. (Yup, that means both Ed and Winry. Al is OK in this case.) Couldn't hear Winry's lines at all while she was crying, unfortunately, at the key event of finding out her parents' death. All the screams and cries... simply sucked. Trisha was also hard to hear when she was sick.

The first time I ever watched this episode was on a DVD, in English. But it didn't feel this bad. Only after I had a chance to see the Japanese version that I realized how much was lost through acting (or the lack there of)!

This was the first episode that tickled my interest. Half way through the show, I knew there was something unusual. Episode 3 serves as both "explaining things" and "deepening the characters". With the amount of content, the director could have easily dragged it into 2 episodes, but he didn't. The tempo was kept very fast. The events flew by so quickly, yet didn't interfere with character-building. It's got lots of emotional moments without leaving you any sticky feeling. When the 30 minutes is over, you even start to care about the brothers. (Winry's time comes much later.) But I have to admit, the number one thing in this episode that stood out back then, was Winry's bad acting.

When I watched the Japanese version, the kids were cute. Somehow they aren't cute at all in the English version! Probably because of the mismatched voices and acting. Oh no! This is fatal for the series! They busted one of the key episodes that get viewers hooked!

My favorite shot: when the two boys were standing at the door, seeing their mom passed out on the floor. Al was standing behind and half blocked by Ed. The moment he realized what was going on, he threw his basket before entering the house. And his action was lead by his eyes! He took a quick glance at the basket. The timing of the throw is awesome! That's such a delicious piece of animation! Excellent acting! If the director ordered that, excellent direction! (Best of all, Al doesn't need to say a word!)

The sequence where the brothers had the long talk about making things right is also cleverly done. It could have easily become a boring bla bla bla talk. By mixing in action and scenery, it doesn't only make the scene visually interesting, it also adds depth and width to the scale. (Well, scenery and music always do that...) Things were double layered. The brothers were having an important conversation not only through speech, but also through their bodies (mock fighting). The scenery widens the view up to this point, from "home" to "world", foreshadowing the journey they were about to take. The director was very successful in saying, this is it. This is where they made up their mind and everything starts from here.

Things to poke at... The boys use their blood for their mom's soul, but wait a second! Their blood is also from their dad too! Haha... maybe that's why the transmutation failed. And then during the mock fight near the end, Ed kicked Al into the water, head first. This is the biggest hole in this episode, because Al is not supposed to go into water! But we don't know that until much later.

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