Monday, April 10, 2006

Episode 6

"Alchemy Exam". Original title "State Alchemist Qualification Exam".

Too bad I caught the 1 a.m. show again and had no way to double check some places where I couldn't hear too well... no, I mean, I should be glad to still have some social life...

Ed is assigned by Mustang to study under Tuker for the exam. Hughes' wife Gracier gives birth to a baby girl at Ed's birthday party. Ed discovers that he can transmute without a circle. He takes the exam and passes. Al also passes the first stage of the exam but is asked to drop out by Mustang.

Peaceful everyday life.

Right off the back, in the very first minute of the show, another one of Ed's famous lines got changed from "I can also wag my tail" into "I should worry about what to wear to the graduation". Sigh... (I'm getting tired of complaining.) There're a few more places but sorry I forgot. Off hand there's one during Ed's interview with the Fuhrer. His lines got so long, they took up the complete length of the next shot, which is supposed to be Mustang's silent reaction shot.

Another one is when Al gets worried about the physical, Ed's line got changed from "I'm sure Mustang would work something out" into "hey you can put Alexander inside the armor and pretend you're a talking dog" (or something like that). The "Mustang factor" does get added into Al's voice-over in the next shot, but it's just another example of expending simple lines into something out of proportion. Oh! And the "golden tripod" turn into "a chair with three legs"!

Voice-bashing time! First, Tucker's voice! What's going on? He sounds like a frail old monk! The character can't be over 45! But I have to say, his voice has more existence than Ed's, and sounds like a more seasoned actor. Hughes' voice wasn't heard much in the last episode. His voice itself isn't bad, the acting is OK too. But whenever he says his beloved wife's name "Gracier", it sounds like he can't remember her name! (That's pretty bad!) Nina's voice is appropriate, but the acting (or writing?) feels way older than her age. Al is reading from the script as usual. And I think I've finally given up on Ed's voice. However, there's a surprise. Gracier's voice is really good! But just because of this, she stands out a lot. (Oh, except for the labour pain screaming. I don't understand why North American voice actors sound so wrong when they try to scream.)

In terms of story, it is an improved version of the manga. The exam format makes much more sense. Showing Ed's birthday party and how the brothers mingle with Nina add to their character. Mustang is also more concerned with Ed and Al.

However, there're even more things to poke at! (Aaaaow why did it have to turn out this way...?) It doesn't make sense that Ed isn't aware of the possibility of transmuting without a circle. Their teacher Izumi can do that and the brothers saw it themselves the very first time they met! And at the end, Ed (magically? Subconsciously? Naaa, the act of putting both palms together is very conscious) does it again under an emergency and saves the day. Sigh... I don't buy it. I just can't. And the object Ed transmuted is super lame! A giant ring of flower in mid-air with with wings? Whose idea was it? It sucks!

The "golden tripod" was not explained at all. Well, it's never in the manga anyway. But since it looks like such a big deal, I'd expect some explanations.

Gracier's "horse" pun worked out amazingly well. I was worried that it might turn into some weird translation monster, but it actually worked! It's a miracle!

Favorite shots. #1: The brothers in their bedroom. The way Al sleeps with chairs under his feet is interesting! But... in the manga, Al never sleeps, though.

#2: Panic trio. Plain funny. Ed doesn't get to act like a kid too much and this is one of the rare moments.

#3: When Nina forces Al to eat. The uneasiness of the situation is painfully well shown.

Well, coming form the manga, the overall impression of this episode is... wow, Ed is a kid! (Yeah he's still only 12 here!)

No comments: