Bittman's <insert random number> comments - FMA 66

bittman

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...Hey...do you hear that sound? Its time for the first installment of...

Whoamg! Someone doing FMA comments, what a nut. Thats like...44 pages a chapter to look at! :blink

Yet regardless here I am, for the first time in flesh and blood (assuming you also run your bodies functions through the internet). A big thanks to ZOMGFTA who are the most dedicated FMA scan team I have seen and were profusely apologising for being a couple of days late from the RAW's release. Chillax dudes, its a big chapter after all~ ;)So anyway, here I go for my first time. Its pretty graphic intensive, maybe I should put that in big red letters hey? GRAPHIC INTENSIVE WARNING HERE!!!!!1!!1one There we go.

Firstly, Id like to say I am a big fan of the Full Metal Alchemist manga and it is one of four mangas I download latest chapters of (the others being Bleach, One Piece and Naruto...but they already have comments [speaking of which, Djudge should start his up again <_<;;;]). I love the mixture of mystery, character development, comedy and action in that order. Perhaps I love it too much since I kinda refuse to watch anymore of the anime after seeing them change all the homonculus and w/ever, but lets save that rant for another time. On to the comments!!!

Bittman's <insert random number> comments on Full Metal Alchemist Chapter 66 - Snow Queen]

But first, pick up the soap please.

1. A prelude to knowledge? I find scar's journey north to find Marcoh and discover the meaning of his brothers notes of comparison between Amestris' alchemy and Xing's alchemy a rather interesting development when the Elrics have decided to look for a similiar idea at the same time. I predict that there will be a degree of working together with Scar coming up, but I hope it doesnt turn somewhat anime-ish and that Scar remains as evil as he has been in the manga (yes, Im a big Scar fan :amuse )

Also, I am very curious as to what his little black-haired sidekick will actually help with as the manga progresses. No shonen gives a character any airtime to then leave them behind in the dust.


I dont like him, he's killed more people than I have.

2. Crimson snow. Everyone's favourite mad bombing alchemist (or perhaps the only mad bombing alchemist I suppose) is still kicking hard and now he is in the Briggs mountain range as well. For me, I see his positioning as useful for the bad doodz of FMA (Hereby refered to as 'The Stoners' for their love of the philosophers stone). He is under their command almost as strongly as any of the Homonculus and now he has a stone of his own. I predict that he will come into play with 'Sloth' being as he is by the end of the chapter (*brushes off sweat at not spoiling anything yet*)

I dont know why, but I laughed at how it was said "He is asking for full cooperation." Its a perfect display of his character since he believes he should be in charge of everything. Conversely, I can see this being his downfall as he will probably turn on the Homonculus at some point, though I do still hope Scar gets him. And a final note, I wonder if there will be any dialogue between himself and Miles. This would interest me greatly, but I am not expecting it.


*cues Super Smash Bros. Brawl Theme* Newcomer - Sloth

3. The New Threat. Everyone say hello to the one Homonculus who has gotten the least airtime thus far (assuming you count 2 pannels of his back as airtime)...SLOTH! *showers confetti from heavens* A newcomer for the Stoner's who appears alot like gluttony, except built. And boy is he built. Probably at about 10 foot and considering what happens later, Id say he weighs in at quite a few hundred kilo's. Unlike every other bad guy introduced, Sloth is indeed formidable. And on that note, I want to see Armstrong meet him sooooooooooooooooo badly :p

I find his character design rather average however. The tight clothes are a big concern for any fangirls he may have created on first impressions *listens for crickets*, while his Orborous Tattoo is rather uninterestingly placed on his shoulder. The only other character with an non interestingly placed tattoo has been Envy's who people forget its positioning of due to it (its on the thigh btw).

That said, the line-circle design is something we havent really seen since Lust's costume, and I sincerely hope it comes with more of an explanation other than "Well, I thought lines and circles looked cool." Also, the design runs into his eye which to me screams 'eye ability', but we shall see. To note is that his hair seems to meet his eyeline in a strange blackness which to me makes Sloth appear rather mysterious and evil. So all-in-all, I find myself liking the design, but not overwhelmed by it.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering exactly how to know this is the fabled 'Sloth' homonculus...

...self-explanatory really ^_^;;;


No...but then again Pride might be a fortune teller O_O! *re-commences Pride-watch*

4. Scaredy Cats? I find it rather interesting how quickly Edward has become fearful of how far 'The Stoners' intelligence reaches to the point where he is afraid that they can either read minds, or that someone very close to them has contacts with them (i.e. Roy or Armstrong). I also wonder, on the note of Ed's thoughts, if the Father is actually concerned with the fact that Scar and Mei-chan could use alchemy despite his weird voodoo seeing as he kicked their asses anyway.


When anonymous end-of-chapter-shadow's strike...

5. Drachma's evil empire. Though there has officially been no war between Amestris and Drachma, Marcoh picked it out when in The Stoners base that they were about to attack towards the north. Clearly, the base at the North already has a fair amount of hatred towards the idea that Drachmans (sp? oO) are attacking. I feel there has been a build up to this for a while and wont be surprised if part of Sloth's mission was to actually dig under the mountains to reach Drachma so they could invade successfully.

Also, I love how Arakawa draws her comedy with less detailed profiles and goofy expressions. It is this style which makes it much different to the other manga's I read in their potrayal of comedy.


Dont mess with me! Im the Juggernaught bitch!

6. Enter, the Tank. Every manga has a tank character who can take more hits than the main character can deal. Of course, all the Homonculli have the ability to regenerate from death, but this is a whole new level of tankage (literally...he takes on a tank shell and wins). I doubt being able to take hits is his only ability, but its definately a prelude to Sloth's awesomeness especially in comparison to someone like Greed who has to shield his body manually. With Sloth, its almost automatic. This said, I hope it doesnt lead to Greed getting lame quickly.

Another note about the tankage, this time in reference to the actual tank inside the base. I like how this manga is not afraid to use modern technology against mystic powers while still keeping it rather fair both ways. However, what irked me is that FMA in general follows early 1900s technology, yet here it uses a late 1900s tank (mid 1900s at best). Ah well, they also have modern-style handguns, so I guess it kinda works.


Shikamaru was always the 'better' of the brothers.

7. Sloth's personality in a nutshell. Tire-sooooome. Througout the entire chapter, Sloth continually speaks rather quietly and really to himself. His mind is fairly one-tracked on the point of digging even when being pelted by tank shells.

However, whether Arakawa meant it or not, Sloth's personality has led to an unusual fanbase. Lots of girls. I kid you not. Chicks everywhere who read FMA watch Sloth with adoring eyes at how 'cute' he appears as he tries to go about his own business without harming anyone while the 'meanie shrimps' attack him relentlessly. Even though similarities between Gluttony and Sloth were quickly drawn, there is probably already a larger fanbase for our new Homonculli than the one who has been around since chapter 3.


And what size knickers do you wear? I can't answer!?

8. Who can you trust? I mentioned before that the Edward was scared at the fact that the Homonculus may have a far greater reach than he knew seeing as they do effectively run the army. Though Armstrong the Muscle (*tags that nickname to his favourite armstrong*) said his sister would be a good ally for the Elrics, Ed is still very concerned as to whether he can actually trust those in Briggs.

Though I do believe Olivia is trustable, It's very possible that we may see the trust end there. If The Stoners aim is to see blood in the North next, then I highly doubt that there are NO spies within the Briggs base despite the many assurances that they follow Olivia Armstrong strongly. You should also remember, that since The Stoners are in control of the army, technically any officer in the compound would only have to be reporting to a general outside the complex for them to know. Ed's judgement is probably very right especially when his lover childhood friend is at risk.


*pats mustang* There there, Im sure she doesnt mean it.

9. Ice, Ice baby~ (*gives instant +1 to Olivia's character design*) I think I am in love. She's strong, she's egotistical, she's cold-blooded, she's blonde AND she's got Armstrong the Muscle as her brother!

Personally, Olivia is a good character introduction to the FMA set since she displays a very headstrong personality which she will instantly back up with actions to match her words. Unlike every other fight with the Homonculus, her strategy to "stop him from functioning" is much more sound than every other single fight where its been "Kill them as much as you can! RAWR!!!!"


A Comment cannot describe the possible innuendo of the above scene.

10. Who can you trust control? Again, I would like to mention that I love the comedy drawings of Arakawa and how randomly they can appear. Just when you think the page is turning into a moment of trust between comrades in battle, Ed is held at gunpoint and forced to work for the Briggs base. And not only that, Ed also has an evil side as he recruits Falman as "Our best bud!!".

In commenting this, I realised how effective it is that Arakawa uses less-detailed profiles of the characters when displaying comedy in small boxes of the pages. Not only does the less attention to detail make the scene appear random and also make the facial expressions much more out-there, but like all good Shonens, it leaves the bigger sections of page to be used for dramatic battle strikes of furious poses. Arakawa's page use actually squeezes out more from a page than most Shonen's so when I read it's lovely 44 page chapters it feels closer to 60.


Yes, the Tank is Olivia's form of Armstrong Love.

11. Sloth gets smacked up. I wont lie, the few pages around this annoyed me (including the image in the next comment) as Sloth suddenly goes from indestructable and immobile save from his own will to throwable, tank-rammable and icicle-head-dazed. Even though he took it all without a scratch, before this he was hardly moved by three tanks which made me think he was over a ton in weight. Yet here, he is pushed around like a horny man at a lesbian convention (o_O...can i say that?). Regardless, I suppose it was necessary from a story perspective that he is not able to completely tank the laws of physics as well.


*Cues Mighty Mouse music* Look who's come, to save the day~

12. Main character Power-kick! Like any Shonen ever created since the dawn of time, a teamed attack will always end in the main character/s landing the final blow to topple the danger which needed the attention of so many. Though overused, it is probably an essential aspect for a Shonen to allow the mains to destroy twice as many enemies as the rest of the cast combined. Otherwise, they wouldn't be main characters would they?


My mother always told me not to go out without a jumper.

13. Frozen Juggernaught. Despite my complaints about Sloth getting owned, I found it rather cool (literally) that there was some good old chemical warfare to use rather than the typical hack, shoot and magic-powers which are usually used to end battles. The explanation of its working was rather interesting to me as well especially since it was actually effective on the 'imortal' Homonculus. I feel a bit sad also for Sloth as he did nothing in particular and got beaten so badly...geez, maybe I have unwittingly also joined the new fanbase for this Homonculus.


Izumi > entire Briggs base...*changes fanism from Olivia to Izumi*

14. The Provisions Butcher. L-O-L. I loved this one scene especially since I love how the Elrics potray their master as a bloodthirsty and teasing Butcher rather than simply a sick Butchers wife. And if Olivia should ever meet Izumi...well...you definately wouldnt want to get caught in the middle of that.

My other curiosity is whether Izumi's training and survival meant that she learned her alchemy from someone in the North. If this is true, it is very possible that the story could be sticking to the Northern Regions for quite a long time especially with some of The Stoners, Scars gang and the heroes all there at once. I smell major plot development on the horizon...and it smells like turkey.


Thats not his heartbeat, he's making those noises with his voice.

15. Does anything work? The end of the chapter spoiler for whats in store for next week seems pretty obvious as Sloth has lived the onslaught and chemicals thrown at him. The fact that the last scene hint gives detail to me appears much more tantalising than the old 'mysterious shadow' routine which Bleach often plays out.

But since Sloth lived such an attack, I wonder how exactly it is he will continue especially as he has the special oil being continually poured over him and he has lost his hole and, judging from this chapter, his sense of direction. I will be severely disappointed if another Homonculus turns up (unless its Pride...*sigh*...), but he could very easily be saved by Kimbley. However, I would ultimately like to see Sloth kick some more ass himself since he has only been introduced now. Heres hoping ^_^

Rating: 4/5 - A new homonculus calls for cheers and celebrations and Sloth is definately a tough opponent for the heroes which makes his introduction chapter so much better. It was a good chapter to see the Briggs base's reactions and the reason Olivia Armstrong is a commander tactically. The only thing I felt let the chapter down was the shift from Sloth-tankage to Sloth-the-pinball as well as some lacklustre backgrounds and no new mysteries.

Predictions: Though Sloth is nullified, I expect by the midpoint of the next chapter he will be on the move again curteousy of either his own strength or Kimbley's help. I expect a meeting between the Elrics and Kimbley as well as an interesting find in the tunnel of some description. Probably a few pages on Marcoh-Mei as they wait for Scar, but I doubt there will be any Roy or Greed-ling coming (sorry fanatics...but seriously stop complaining about it <_> )

Credits: ZOMGFTA for the scantalation/translation. Without you guys...well...I would be relying on someone else I suppose, but since you're here good job ^_^d . Also like to Credit Gold Knight, Djudge, Chopper and White Silver for their kickass graphical commentaries which got me in the mood to make one of my own. Anyone who hasnt read their stuff should, its much better than my own (and they do it weekly...It took me hours to do this :darn )


You are in the way of her comments pipsqueak!!!

Hope you all enjoyed my first shot at it, comment away. If I receive some good feedback, you can expect another monthly installation when the next chapter is delivered =D
 

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