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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Fullmetal Alchemist
Part Four (Episodes 40-52)


Starring: Rie Kugimiya and Romi Park
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 27 May 2013

Alchemy the mystic science of transmutation. Gifted alchemists can break down and reconstruct matter using the Law of Equivalent Exchange, creating miraculous things. But one taboo can never be broken - human transmutation. The Elric brothers Edward and Alphonse broke the taboo in an attempt to resurrect their late mother and as a result, lost everything. Al's soul was transferred to a suit of living armor and Ed lost two limbs, confining him to mechanical auto-mail. To recover what they ve lost they embarked on a journey to find the fabled Philosopher s Stone. The closer they get to the hidden truth of the Philosopher s Stone, the deeper they fall under shadowy schemes and the perils of unnatural creatures. The military nation of Amestris, the grudges and hatreds of a persecuted people, and the countless tragedies caused by alchemy all form a dark vortex that will draw people and countries into its void. The Elric brothers forge ahead in their quest to transmute despair into hope…

Part four of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was previously released on DVD in June 2011. For reasons unknown, although I'm suspecting it's to wring out as much money from fans as possible, this Blu-ray collection is spread over two discs. The content would easily fit on one disc without any problem, so I'm assuming it's because charging £30 for a single disc would have the fans outraged.

It's another strong collection, although if you already own the DVDs then you have to ask yourself whether £30 is worth shelling out for for the extra picture clarity. Personally, I would upgrade, but then I am a huge Fullmetal Alchemist fan.

This collection contains episodes 40-52. We see how instrumental Hohenheim was in the birth of the homunculus Pride. Ed and Al are separated and have their own quests to follow in order to ultimately stop "The Promised Day" from coming to pass. All roads seem to lead back to Central for the big showdown... whatever that may be... no one is quite sure what it all means, but as the homunculi are all gathering it looks like it won't be a straightforward confrontation.

The one thing I did notice much more rewatching this series is Akira Senju's incredible score. There are a handful of his powerful themes (in particular the John Barry James Bond-esque 'Fire in the Sky') that are played to heighten the tension of dramatic scenes, which would otherwise been only half as powerful. He also does creepy, melancholic and comedy without any effort.

Extras are a little sparse and, like the DVD release, include audio commentaries on episodes 40 and 46 as well as textless opening and closing titles.

It's great to finally have these episodes on Blu-ray given the added picture definition.


Darren Rea

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