Fullmetal Alchemist Live-Action Trailer Stirs Debate About Japanese Lead
Fullmetal Alchemist
(Last Updated On: April 9, 2017)

Square Enix released the latest trailer for Fullmetal Alchemist, the live-action rendition of the popular manga and anime of the same name.

The trailer is barely a minute long and doesn’t really delve much into the story, but we do get some visually impressive sequences highlighting the movie’s special effects. You can check it out below.

The movie follows brothers Edward and Alphonse, who undergo some mystical alchemic transformations, resulting in both brothers losing some part of themselves to gain special mechanical abilities, such as Edward having a mechanical arm and Alphonse’s entire body being transformed and sealed inside of a giant metal suit of armor.

The trailer doesn’t go much further than that, only showcasing Alphonse’s fully armored suit, which looks identical to the way it was depicted in the anime, and Edward’s mechanical arm.

The special effects for Edward summoning the pike looks pretty good, and the pillars breaking through the walls at the end were sufficient enough.

Obviously, the elephant in the room this time around was that characters who were supposed to be white are Japanese. The comment section on the trailers have broken down into complete chaos as users debate as to why the main character is wearing a blonde wig instead of them just hiring a European actor to play the role of Edward.

It’s the inverse of what happened with Ghost in the Shell, where they hired Scarlet Johansson to play the Major, a cyborg police enforcer. There were groups of people saying that they should have hired in a Japanese/Chinese/Korean/Asian actress for the role. Others argued that Hollywood needed a bankable star for the movie to succeed. According to Paramount Pictures, the movie flopped because of the “fanboys”, as reported by Anime Lover.

In this case, some people think that the role should have gone to a white lead since that’s who the main character is supposed to be. Others argued that it’s a Japanese movie designed for a Japanese audience, and that hiring a Japanese lead made the most sense.

Well, one thing is for sure… now that the media has stirred the pot and continues to push everyone towards a race war by focusing so heavily on SJW topics at every turn, it looks like no property is safe from the depressing discussions centered around identity politics.


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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • Wisdomcube2000

    I half remember an anime or game or something I used to see a lot back in the day. The whole thing was in jp with a jp cast and with subtitles in english. Later on though they introduced an American character and something I thought was really neat happened. Whenever he spoke, it was in english accompanied by jp subtitles. I really liked that about it, made it feel a lot more realistic. Shame I can’t remember what it was…

    Back to the point: My thoughts are to try to match the source material as much as possible within reason (budget concerns and all that hoopla).

  • Mr.Towel

    Fuck that shit, it would still be cornily cringey even if they had found an european shorty with long hair.

    Fantasy anime/manga are usually heavy on special effects and special hairs. It doesn’t work AT ALL with live action. Every live action movie that I’ve seen that was based on anime/manga was corny as hell. Well, maybe Kenshin wasn’t so much, but still way cornier than the actual work. Fuck, even the Warcraft live action movie was corny.

    If they want a more realistic depiction of manga/anime they should throw live action ideas away and focus on full CGI Movies. It worked for Final Fantasy 7, it worked for Resident Evil (capcom’s one, not that Western monstruosity with hot models and bloated Alberts). On Full CGI you can get very realistic shaders and throw the lightning through all sort of weird to make it more interesting and natural. The Suspension of Disbelief flows way more easily, way more naturally.

    On Live Action, things doesn’t fit. The actors usually don’t know how to interact with the greenscreen, you go through the whole movie trying to understand how his hair works and why no one says anything about it. The directing is usually on mexican soap-opera levels of simplicity and so is the acting.

    Just no, please, stop. That’s not the experience we have when watching anime/reading manga.

  • SevTheBear

    Let them eat each other. Kick them all into a giant boxing ring.

  • Fear Me I Am Free

    It’s a Japanese movie made by Japanese people based on a Japanese story about some fictional white people. Now it would be stupid if it was being done by Hollywood, but it’s not.

  • Vrenna

    I was among the people who complained about the “white-washing” of Ghost in the Shell, and for the simple reason of wanting the adaptation to be true to the original. When you see Scarlet Johanson as Major you know that this can only mean they will change everything, I suppose that, as a sort of aversion to the very thought, people like me then attack the actor choices.

    As if that would change anything. They already made the mess they did, the people they hire changes nothing. Will they grasp the core of the main story? Will it feel the same? That’s what matters. As much as I don’t regret complaining about the white-washing, I have to concede that the focus on the actor is pointless, the point is how true to the material the adaptation will be, the actor choices are mere hints of what is to come.

    With Ghost in the Shell the hint was simple, it would turn into some forgettable american action movie inspired by ghost in the shell, and that is almost what happened.

    With Full Metal Alchemist being done in Japan though I have no fears. Yes the japanese lead will look weird. I don’t like his voice as well, I don’t think he grasped the personality of Edward at all, but then again I’ve gotta watch more to be certain. They will at least make something that is Full Metal Alchemist and we can recognize as so. So for that instead of criticizing the whole thing I will just say: “Yeah, they could have done better with the actors.”

    • Fear Me I Am Free

      Did you have any problems with the other members of Section 9 being changed or was it just the Major?

      • Ghost

        I didn’t have a problem with it, namely because she’s a fucking robot and who gives a shit. I really believe anime fans are the worst kind of fans.

        • EroBotan

          you probably never visit tumblr and meet steven universe fans lol

        • Fear Me I Am Free

          Most of the people bitching about the whitewashing aren’t fucking anime fans though. It’s SJWs who think changing a white character is “diversity” and if that change is to a white person, then it’s “whitewashing”. Sounds like hypocrisy to me.

      • Vrenna

        Batou was fine, the old man not so much.

    • daniel_ream

      I’ve found every iteration of FMA I’ve seen to be painfully sophomoric adolescent power fantasy. Complaining about “grasping the personality of Edward” is like complaining that Matthew Lillard didn’t understand the nuances of Shaggy’s motivations in the Scooby Doo movie.

      • Mr.Towel

        Did you watch Brotherhood till the end?

        • daniel_ream

          No. My time on this planet is limited and I’m not going to invest 12 hours in something that might get good later.

          • Mr.Towel

            I’m guessing a lot of classics aren’t on your schedule then.

            Brotherhood starts with a very light-hearted atmosphere to it. It’s purposefully made stupid because it’s meant to be funny. As the series progresses and the problems get bigger and people start to die the series get a more serious tone. Mind you, it doesn’t get dark nor it loses it’s light-hearted moments, but it does get heavy and adult, specially because it deals with human sin and family relations.

            But if you can’t go through that, through the light-hearted parts, then anime in general is not for you, it will always feel childish to you.

          • daniel_ream

            It always amuses me when millenials try to school me on anime because I’m not fangirl squeeing over their latest Naruto-of-the-week.

          • Mr.Towel

            It always amuses me when people think FMA is a kind of Naruto.

  • EroBotan

    I don’t mind if the japanese did it, in fact i will complaint if they hired a western actor to play as edward & friends.

    The main reason is the badass and cute scenes. There will be a big problem when hiring westerners because they have a different kind of badass there .. and westerners fails at being cute ^^;

  • LurkerJK

    I’m so fucking tired about this complaint

    they do not give a fuck about yellowwashing, take the hint, stop giving a fuck about whitewashing

  • Conner Garry Sennett

    I’m more lenient on this considering I doubt there’s many white actors chilling in Japan.

    • EroBotan

      haha, true ^^. And i also think most japanese movie’s budget won’t be able to cover white actors with hollywood quality.

    • Fear Me I Am Free

      I could understand the complaint if this was a Hollywood film, but it’s not. This is just like the Attack on Titan movie.