Melissa

August 8, 2008

  Kimi no te de kirisaite,
  Tooi hi no kioku wo,
  Kanashimi no iki no ne wo tomete kure yo,
  Saa ai ni kogareta mune wo tsuranuke
 
There are some anime songs which I need to hear several times before I really like them and there are some which instantly goes into my list of favourite songs just after the first time. This particular song, Melissa, falls under the latter category. Being the 1st opening theme song from the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist, I guess it is one of the other minor reasons which get me to watch the anime. Well of course, the other main reason was because since I read that there were good reviews about the show and at the same time the local tv station decides to air it. But that was a long time ago.
 
  Asu ga kuru hazu no sora wo mite,
  Mayou bakari no kokoro moteamashiteru,
  Katawara no tori ga habataita,
  Doko ka hikari wo mitsukerareta no ka na
 
This pop rock song is sung by Porno Graffitti. Pop rock because in my opinion I think the tune and beat of this song isn’t so heavy. Just like a rock band being tuned down a little. So don’t expect to hear any screaming or shouting from the top of their lungs. When the song starts, listeners will be greeted with with a creative solo bass accompanied with a light beat before everything else comes into play. I find the flow of the song to be quite consistant and catchy. So it is no surprise that I sometimes get up and move my body and sing along with the flow of the music as though I’m the main star :).
 
  Naa omae no se ni ore mo nosete kurenai ka,
  Soshite ichiban takai toko de okizari ni shite yasashisa kara toozakete
 
Unfortunately, this song has got no karaoke version. What a disappointment. It would’ve been one of those songs which I could sing without any major glitches because I think I sound quite close to the singer himself (yeah right, yeah right). Okay, maybe at least because there aren’t any tough lines, which makes this song quite managable. So you guessed it, I’ll be doing a duet with the singer. Or sometimes as the background vocals. Speaking of which, there are quite a few of them nicely placed, especially during the chorus. As for the lyrics, sometimes I find that some of the lines are too fast and given that I’m still not quite proficient at Japanese, I find myself fumbling on the words.
 
  Kimi no te de kagi wo kakete,
  Tamerai nado nai darou,
  Machigatte mo nidoto aku koto no nai you ni,
  Saa jou no ochiru oto de owarasete
 
I wonder if there are any guitar and bass tabs for this particular song. Well, maybe if I wasn’t so lazy, I could’ve known whether they exists or not. Though the solo guitaring isn’t anything to shout about, but I really wish that I could play like that with an electric guitar. Sounds quite simple. Okay, perhaps I’m just better off just singing this song.
 
  Sukui no nai tamashii wa,
  Nagasarete kieyuku,
  Kieteyuku shunkan ni wazuka hikaru,
  Ima tsuki ga michiru yoru wo umidasu no sa…
 
Fullmetal Alchemist

Rewrite

September 8, 2006

  Kishinda omoi wo hakidashitai no wa,
  Sonzai no shoumei ga hoka ni nai kara
 
Hardcore fans of the Fullmetal Alchemist should know that those opening lines are from the fourth opening song of the series, Rewrite. Yeah, another one of those rock songs which suits well with the series.
 
  Tsukanda hazu no boku no mirai wa,
  Songen to jiyuu de mujun shiteru yo
 
As it is sung by Asian Kung-Fu Generation, I kinda like the heavy electrical guitar playing, especially the beginning and the end part. Plus, the drum playing too seens ‘catchy’. Though, I’m not really one of those heavy metal listeners or fans, but somehow this particular song mysteriously appeals to me.
 
  Yuganda zazou wo keshisaritai no wa,
  Jibun no genkai wo soko ni miru kara
 
Unfortunately, this is one of the few songs that has no karaoke version of it *Sob! Sob!*. Haih… Why is it that some songs that I like and really would like to try singing it, have no karaoke version of it? Maybe it must be the band who doesn’t believe in doing karaoke versions. Furthermore, I notice that songs sung by Asian Kung-Fu Generation don’t have any karaokes to it. WHY, OH WHY???!!!!
 
  Jiishiki kajou no boku no mado ni wa,
  Kyonen no KARENDAA hidzuke ga nai yo
 
So as usual, I have to sing along with the singer himself. Well, at least it covers up my shortcomings. Hehehe. That’s because you need to have that ‘hoarse screaming voice’ to sing this song, especially the chorus part, where you really yell. Of course, I don’t sound good. Like some bugger being stabbed (actually it sounded much worse that that). But the rest of the song, the singer seems to sing through his nasal. So I also follow. Felt a bit weird and a little kinda low for my voice too.
 
  Keshite… RIRAITO shite,
  Kudaranai chou gensou,
  Wasurarenu sonzai kan wo
 
The overall lyrics of the song is quite short, though I had some hard time remembering it because the choice of words used to describe some ‘abstract situation’. I think so lah. Yup, the verse is only at the beginning with the chorus being repeated twice, and a bridge after the solo part.
 
  Kishikaisei… RIRAITO shite,
  Imi no nai souzou wo,
  Kimi wo nasu gendouryoku,
  Zenshin zenrei wo, Kure yo
 
I think I’m getting a hang of the ‘screaming part’. Okay… One more time… KESHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RIRAITO SHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Darn, I need more practising.
 
  Woh woh woh yeah yeah yeah…

Fullmetal Alchemist

May 26, 2006

I really didn’t fully understand the whole show even when I finished watching Fullmetal Alchemist. That’s because, the anime was shown in Japanese (which is a good thing) but without any subtitles (which is a bad thing)! And with my limited Japanese vocabulary, I’d be going ‘err…’, ‘huh…’, ‘uumm…’ most of the time, trying to figure things out.
 
Even when I try to do some reading up from sources over the Internet, it didn’t really help that much either. I’m still as confused as ever. Yeah… that’s because there were quite a number of characters, quite a number of plots and subplots here and there, and quite a number of terminology and jargon. You really need to be a fan (read: obssessed) about this anime to comprehend things. At least that’s what I think.
 
So basically here’s what I’ve figured out. The 2 main protagonists, brothers Edward (Ed) and Alphonse (Al) Elric, tried to revive their dead mom when they were young. In order to do so, they tried their hands at alchemy. However this process was a failure and there was a price to be paid. Al lost his entire body while Ed lost his left leg. In order to save Al, Edward sacrificed his right arm to seal his younger brother’s soul in a robot like armour.
 
Before we move on, I’d like to point out that the term alchemy here refers to the ability to transform one matter to another matter using a transmutation circle (devices which look like some round circles with weird patterns, used by alchemists to transmutate). Why is the term alchemy different here? It’s because, this anime is set in an alternate version of our world. Hmm…
 
Then there’s that legendary philosopher’s stone (nothing to do with Harry Potter), which is said to bypass the Law of Equivalent Exchange. It’s some law which means that in order to gain, something of equal value must be lost. So this is everybody who have suffer from the effects of a failed alchemy dreams for. Something like the Holy Grail. But later on, Ed and Al finds out that there’re some sacrifices need to made to produce it. The part where they discovered the secret Laboratory Five. So they’re in a bind whether or not to creat the philosopher’s stone by sacrificing some prisoners there (of course, they didn’t lah, after much persuasion from Al).
 
So anyway, fast forward a few years, Ed and Al got spurred by a State Alchemist guy named Roy Mustang to joined the organization and work for him in order to achieve their goals in finding the philosopher’s stone in order to restore back to their original bodies. Because Ed became the youngest alchemist, he’s been given the nickname ‘Fullmetal’. But this is often confused among other people as they mistakenly think that the ‘Fullmetal’ is Al. Obviously, he’s the one with the metal armour, right? Along their way they encounter many many things and many many interesting characters.
 
Like Homonculi, which serves as the ‘bad guys’ of the series. Seven of them actually AKA the Seven Deadly Sins (with names like Envy, Lust, Wrath, Greed, etc, how fitting). But I’m not delving into much of the details because I’ve got a headache trying to figure things out. Also there’s that Chimera, which is some hybrid between man and beasts. And that Mr Scar who goes around killing State Alchemists because of that Ishbal Massacre in which he was a survivor. Yeah, and some State Alchemists were involved too. Can’t blame him for the hatred towards them.
 
Anyway, let me skip to the last few episodes. Most of the Homonculi already died. Al’s body has become the philosopher’s stone. Dante is using Al to achieve her own goals. Ed has been thrown to the other side of the gate (that is, our world during World War 1, London). Roy and Pride engage in hand to hand combat. Archer has become part robot, which reminds me of Terminator. Ed briefly came back and has some fight with Envy. Envy stabs and kills Ed. But I wonder did Ed really die. I mean, he went back to our world then. Envy tries to follow Ed to the other side of the gate but gets ‘eaten’ by some weird creatures. Dante’s plans then were ruined. But she faced off with Gluttony and both of them died (didn’t show it anyhow). Roy kills Pride, Riza kills Archer. Wow… so messy lah. What’s going on.
 
In the end, we could see that when all of this ended, Al is restored to his normal human self again but has no memories of what has happened because the 4 years that he and Ed spent researching is ‘traded off ‘ in exchange for this. I think that’s what happened. Wrath now fitted with Ed’s automail, ran away somewhere. Anyway, Al’s teacher, Izumi Curtis, took him under her care and vowed to make Al a better Alchemist. But we also see Ed who’s now in our world along with his dad, Hohenheim. Ed having some rocket blueprints? I wonder what that meant. But anyway he vowed to find a way back to his world. And is there some chemistry between Riza and Roy in the end? Seems like it but don’t count on it. The series ends with both Ed and El extending their arms to the sky (though they’re both in different worlds) catching a train to somewhere.
 
So you see, even with this brief (well, it could be over long winded than this) blog, see how confusing and messy this could get. Plus, there isn’t any romance or chemistry with Ed or Al with Winry Rockbell, the Elric’s childhood friend and a pretty good (and pretty looking too) mechanic. I also felt that her presence didn’t really have any significant impact on the entire series.
 
Then there’s that Major Alex Louis Armstrong guy. He’s always showing his muscles and body off and bragging about something.  Another funny thing I’d like to point out is that, I find it funny that Al in such a fearsome looking robot armour, had such a child-like voice. So unfitting. But I guess I got used to it in the end. And, why is he wearing a loincloth? I thought every part of his body is metal. Don’t tell me that there’s still flesh and skin at that ‘part’. Nah… maybe not. But it’s quite contrasting the characters of the 2 Elric brothers. Ed is somewhat stubborn, hot-headed and rash whereas Al seems to be the gentler and calmer voice of reasoning.
 
And that Roy Mustang, though an ally with Ed and Al, he seems to always try and annoy Ed whenever he can especially about his short stature. And what do you get when 2 hot-headed Alchemist clash? You know the answer. Interesting guy, some more suggested that if he’d become to new State Alchemist head, he’d make all female State Alchemist wear mini skirts!
 
There isn’t any major comic relief episode except for episode 37 where it’s about attempts to get Jean Havoc a girlfriend and that mysterious warehouse with human bones (only later on to be discovered that some dog just buried its bones there). Of course, bits here and there got lah in other episodes.
 
Overall, because this anime’s a sci-fi horror action drama flick, there’re certain parts where it’s scary, dark and gruesome. So which means, I won’t be seeing it again. Even if there’re subtitles provided and I have all the time in the world or somebody offeres to pay me to watch it again. It’s rather ok to me, since I’m not that big fan of this series. Plus, I don’t want to be confused (and be scared) all over again, even though I’d understand just a little bit this time round.
 
I’m not saying that this is a bad anime. It’s just that somehow it doesn’t really appeal to me. Besides the huge fanbase, it really spawned several video games, graphic novels, a movie, and merchandise. So I’m sure there’s something real good about it.