The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala

Title: Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala aka Gekijyuouban Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Shanbara wo Yuku Mono
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: BONES
Format: Movie; 105 minutes
Dates: 23 Jul 2005

Synopsis: In an effort to return to his own world, Edward Elric has been relentlessly studying rocketry. In an effort to bring his brother back home, Alphonse Elric has been continuing his studies of alchemy. Two years have passed with minimal gains on both sides; however, a sudden turn of fortune and a looming war may be the key to creating the bridge between the two worlds.

The Highlights
Art and Animation: Solid, as expected of a movie.
Story: Fast moving and interesting, but awfully convenient at times.
Drama: Doesn’t portray the same genius as the original television series.
Ending: Satisfying, but not all that powerful.

For all of you who have already scrolled down to the bottom of this review and seen the “Above Average” rating I gave the anime, sit down, relax and give me a five second head start before you come after me with your pitchforks, yaoi paddles and authentic samurai swords. Despite the lukewarm grade, I really don’t have anything against this movie. As an avid fan of the television series, I really wanted this anime to be a compelling, heartwrenching and epic finale to the Fullmetal Alchemist franschise. Shame the movie just doesn’t deliver.

First of all, I would like to say that Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conquerer of Shambala is an entertaining conclusion to the franchise that all fans should watch. Beautiful animation, good music, and a quick moving script, the movie has all the components an entertaining anime should have. The character development is adequte and the story presented is an interesting attempt at tying all the loose ends from the television series together while at the same time presenting a standalone tale. So why the less than stellar reception? First of all “Above Average” isn’t a terrible rating, but more importantly, the movie largely fails to evoke emotion.

The thing that made Fullmetal Alchemist great is ability to draw in audience by presenting itself as a solid shounen anime then suddenly upping the ante by ramping up the drama into a mature and powerful thriller. The Conqueror of Shambala presents itself as an above average action/drama movie, and it really doesn’t go much further from there. Not only does the movie lack the time to create a proper buildup, the plot is also has of one too many “convenient” coincidences. Yes, it’s nice to see a focused, fast moving story, but too many events feel blatantly forced by scriptwriters trying to weave together too many ideas together into something marginally coherent. What little time that is put into the drama rarely results in anything meaningful.

Regardless of the rating, I wholeheartedly recommend this to any fan of Fullmetal Alchemist. While I wish the story portrayed the same genius the television series exuded, The Conqueror of Shambala is nonetheless an entertaining ride.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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