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
Company: BONES
Format: Movie; 105 minutes.
Dates: 23 Jul 2005

Synopsis: Two years after Edward Elric was sent from his world he is now studying rocketry in order to find a way to return home. All is well, until one day Edward finds out about a German plan to invade his home world to restore Germany to her former glory before she was defeated in World War I. Meanwhile, Alphonse Elric has been refining his alchemy in order to find Edward and bring him back home. Will the brothers be reunited at long last? And what will become of their worlds?

The Highlights
Context: Historical setting is accurately portrayed.
Ending: Gives Fullmetal Alchemist the ending it deserved.
Characters: Provides a new look at the characters without feeling like a fan-fic.
Plot: Tells a good story that can still be appreciated with minimal knowledge of Fullmetal Alchemist.

As I sat down to watch Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala I expected it to be terrible. Anime sequel movies have a long track record of being awful and a disservice to their source material almost without exception. With the massive Ed/Mustang/Hughes fan following, I was certain BONES would appeal to the masses and make Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala into a glorified fan-fiction. If all my expectations were met, I likely would have given a rating not higher than “Below Average”. I have never misjudged an anime so much in my entire life.

Ironically enough, the best part of Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala is the way the characters were portrayed. Setting the movie in a parallel universe and a historic setting allows for us to see how the characters would react to actual historical events. Characters both dead and alive make appearances, and take on new roles without losing what made them special in Fullmetal Alchemist. While this might seem like something a fan embittered over the death of his favorite character might create, in the context of the events from Fullmetal Alchemist it comes off as natural and believable. The critics and the fanboys/girls will both be pleased; Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala is that good.

In spite of the brilliant use of the characters, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala would not have been the success it is if it did not do something about Fullmetal Alchemist’s ending. Thankfully, Fullmetal Alchemist’s plot now has a worthy ending that isn’t completely open-ended. The rest of Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala’s story is quite good as well, and can even be enjoyed by someone who is not very familiar with Fullmetal Alchemist (although I don’t recommend it). Putting the plot in a historical setting adds depth to an already deep story and allows the themes in Fullmetal Alchemist to be explored in the context of real events.

I really don’t have anything bad to say about Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala. There is a well known saying that you can’t please everyone, but here we have the exception to that rule. Never did I think I would ever see such great things from a movie that was created to squeeze more money out of a successful franchise.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Kuma

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