With the rise in box office dominance from the Asian markets, it comes as no surprise that manga adaptations are a hot commodity. Despite outcries over claims of whitewashing surrounding Ghost in the Shell and its casting, that film is still expected to have a big impact on the overseas markets. The recent announcement of Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki coming out of retirement (again) for one last film also stirred up much excitement from fans of manga and anime. With the release of the first teaser for the live action Fullmetal Alchemist back in November, this adaptation is picking up steam as it moves closer to its winter release date.
Fullmetal Alchemist began as a Japanese manga from writer and illustrator Hiromu Arakawa. Initially published by Square Enix (video game developer, publisher, and distribution company) in a monthly magazine format, the series eventually got its own 27 volume collection. Square Enix is probably better known outside of Japan for the Final Fantasy franchise and its absorption of Eidos, the developer originally responsible for Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and the Hitman series’. Fullmenal Alchemist has seen several adaptations from the original manga including two anime series, novels, audio novels, and even RPG video games ahead of the latest live action feature film.
The Anime News Network (h/t to CBR) pointed out the film’s official Twitter account released new stills from the film. One of the images looks like it was lifted from the trailer as it shows Edward fighting an iron beast in the streets. The other image shows the two brothers standing in a train station, likely before they set off to find a way to put Alphonse’s soul back into a body. Take a look at the photos below.
The short teaser trailer for Fullmetal Alchemist introduced Edward and Alphonse Elric; the two brothers on whom the story is based. With Edward now dismembered and Alphonse body-less, the two must work to find a way to restore themselves after their illegal transmutation attempt to save their mother went horribly wrong. Despite the many volumes of original content, the film’s director, Fumihiko Sori, aims to tell of the brothers travels in one film. The ambitious story telling sets off in the world of Amestris, where several antagonists and untold alchemical reactions await the brothers on their journey.
The film stars Japanese pop star Ryōsuke Yamada as Edward, with Dean Fujioka as Roy Mustang (a friend to the Elrics), and Tsubasa Honda as Winry Rockbell (another friend and potential love interest to Edward). The manga has sold more than 65 million copies since its initial collection into volumes in 2005; making it one of the most popular mangas of all time in Japan. The anime adaptation even won five American Anime Awards in 2007; but will its previous success translate to a box office hit?
Fullmetal Alchemist is set for a December 2017 release in Japan, but has no US release date yet.