Not a figure review, but a review nevertheless!
Today we’re gonna have a look at what the UK has to offer in terms of Anime publication. I’ve ordered a bunch of Fullmetal Alchemist stuff published by Manga Home Entertainment.
As a little side note: Germany can be pretty much considered the ultimate hell for collectors when it comes to anime. The country is relatively small, the anime market itself is still niche and pricing is therefore – sometimes almost insanely – high. That’s why I’ve decided to think outside the box and see what other countries have to offer.
Things that arrived are the following:
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood – The Complete Collection #1 Episodes 1-35 BD
Amazon UK Import ~50€ (US$ 64)
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood – The Complete Collection #2 Episodes 36-64 BD
Amazon UK Import ~50€ (US$ 64)
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA Collection – BluRay & DVD Combo Pack
Amazon UK Import ~20€ (US$ 25)
Fullmetal Alchemist Movie Double Pack BD
The Sacred Star of Milos + The Conqueror of Shamballa
Amazon UK Import ~30€ (US$ 38)
There are 5 BluRays included in every box.
The design is the same, which makes sense as they pretty much go together.
Languages: English, Japanese
The region code on these, as well as the others, is B2. Note that those will only work on European players.
The inlay design is pretty simple. The title of each episode is printed on it and on which disc you can find it.
Bonus material includes English audio commentaries and the opening and ending songs.
The whole package is really the basics of the basics. It’s not too fancy but you’ll get the whole series of 64 episodes neatly packed together for as much as 100€ – not to forget amazing BluRay quality. For me that’s absolutely sufficient. I’m used to the Japanese Dub – English Subs Combo anyways, so that’s all I need.
The menu is super easy to navigate. Scenes from the episodes on the respective discs are shown in the background together with an audio loop of the shows soundtrack. There are 2 things that struck me kind of odd. Maybe I’m just not used to it because it’s not like that on German BluRays, tell me if that’s normal in your country in the comments section!
#1 – Selecting episodes instead of ‘Play all’: It will not only play the episode you’ve selected, but continue with the next one right away instead of going back to the episode selection menu. That’s completely new to me. Nothing annoying, but it came as a surprise, so make sure to pause before leaving the room to get something to drink.
#2 – When selecting the original Japanese dub, the English subtitles are non-optional. There’s no extra menu for turning them on and off. I tried it via the playstation menu, too, but it won’t work. If you want to listen to the Japanese dub, you will have to watch it with subtitles. Again, that’s nothing annoying. My Japanese language skills are not as great (yet) that I don’t need them, so that’s fine for me.
The OVA bundle comes in a cardboard slipcase and – as the name already suggests – includes a DVD as well as a BluRay with the same material on it. Never understood that kind of marketing. If I want to watch this on BluRay, why would I need the DVD?
This time we get a nice inlay design. It is a bit misleading, though, because there is no OVA revolving around Hohenheim. One features Ed and Al (who would have thought), one is about Winry and Hawkeye, one about Izumi and the last one is about Mustang and Hughes. No Hohenheim… weird?
Nevertheless, each OVA is really enjoyable and add a lot to the characters and the FMA-universe. Some stories are more lighthearted and others are more serious. It’s really a nice mixture. Owning this is worth its money.
The menu is exactly the same as the already above mentioned Complete Collection menu.
The disc does include nice bonus material, though. The complete Fullmetal Alchemist Yonkoma Comic Theater is included. 16 animated mini episodes consisting of several funny scenes, that differ a tiny bit from the ones in the show :p. They will be familiar to the people owning the manga but seeing those animated and dubbed makes it even funnier than just reading them.
You’ll get both of the movies in this double-pack.
The Conqueror of Shamballa was the first on to be made and concludes the almost cliffhanger-like ending of the first Fullmetal Alchemist series. I have no idea if you will get anything what’s happening in this movie without knowing the first series.
The Sacred Star of Milos is the second movie made in… 2012, I think. This is completely watchable on its own. The story is original, the animation is great. Nice addition to the FMA-Universe as a whole.
Movie #1 (bottom inlay) has a really, really nice design. I like this kind of movie artwork a lot better than the cover of the UK-version. I owned the German version of the movie once and it had the same kind of style as the inlay. I can’t even put my finger on why I dislike the cover design so much. Maybe it’s the colors….
Movie #2 has a flip cover! I love flip covers. Be it the same design without the age restriction logo or something completely different. Nice!
The Sacred Star of Milos got some pretty neat bonus material.
U.S. trailers, TV spots, Web promo, Theatrical Trailer, U.S. cast commentary AND my absolute highlight – The Making of.
SO informative! It has information on EVERYTHING. Animation, Soundtrack, Voice-Actors, Interviews, theater tours and the list goes on. Above all, the whole thing is narrated by Ed and Al’s voice actors (in-character), which makes this even more enjoyable to watch.
The Conqueror of Shamballa has some serious menu issues *laughs*
The writing is TINY! I had to get up from the sofa to navigate through this. The writing you see in the picture above is the biggest you will get. Every sub-category will go even smaller… Ugh…
The bonus material is almost better than the one from Milos.
Production art image gallery, Japanese theatrical and TV trailers, extended trailers, 3 audio commentaries, Interviews with Japanese cast and crew AND a Making of.
The making of for this movie takes a completely different approach from the one for Milos. It’s basically the director of the movie talking about production, the ups and downs and the different stages of making this movie. He’s walking around the studio in which the movie material is stored and shows us around cells, storyboards, posters and merchandise. The guy is super funny.
What’s even better are the interviews with cast and crew. Once again we’ll see the director + the voice actors of Ed, Al and Mustang. There are group interviews and 1on1 interviews. Romi Park is a super funny persona to listen to.
Overall I really enjoyed the material that is included on any of these BluRays. Be it the show itself, movies, OVAs or bonus material. I’m currently in the process of rewatching the whole series once again (I skipped Nina’s episode, though, because you know…. Ed, let’s play… *bursts into tears*)