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Old 2011-10-22, 09:08   Link #271
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Age: 27
Huge post, but I tried to respond to as many posts as possible.
Originally Posted by Endless Twilight View Post
I read what you said. Apparently you didn't do the same for me though, since I never addressed any comparison of yours between the merits of a "happy work" and a "sad work", but merely pointed out how pretentiously juvenile your method of assessing an artistic work's value is. And in case you try and claim you never said anything about that as well, I'll highlight the comment in question:
Yes, Endless Twilight. You got me. Clearly I hate all happy works, while stating that Superman and One Piece executed certain elements more effectively than FMA. Or perhaps I have better grasp of my own opinion than you do and like FMA 2003 over Brotherhood for other reasons than the fact that it's not tragic. As for pretentiousness, I would identify that term more with insulting other posters, while simultaneously throwing around words such as "juvenile" if their viewpoints differ from your own. I suppose the proper word for that would be "humble"?

Now how is that not a claim that "depictions of tragedy contain inherent artistic value regardless of their actual execution"? And even as far as a comparison between the two different types of works goes, you're also clearly implying that attempting to inspire some level of emotional catharsis via hopefulness (i.e. FMA manga/Brotherhood) doesn't earn as many "points" as attempting to do it via tragedy. And what that consequently implies is that the quality of a work should be measured through its tone, rather than its execution. Your tastes perfectly reflect that as well and as such your assessment of the merits of the two different FMA series is accordingly biased from the get-go.
Happy, and uplifting tones are the overwhelming norm, and anything that differs from that norm will earn points for being “refreshing”, especially if the author, say, kills off a popular character knowing full well that they’ll receive some sort of backlash from the fan base, in which case it also indicates some level of artistic integrity. Of course, being refreshing or unusual doesn’t make one work better than the other; that responsibility lies with the execution of the unusual or even original element, but yes, it does add points to works that are already high quality, which is why well put together works are often praised for tackling issue that are often overlooked or for introducing an unusual element to its plot.

That would be the difference between a poorly done tragic series such as Basilisk and well done drama such as FMA 2003. One lacks anything resembling a plot, while the other uses its unusual elements to improve upon the entire whole. It adds points in the same way that not including a dragon in a fantasy adds points, but no one really cares that Harry Potter includes them, because both that creative point and everything else is so well written. Likewise, I would say the exact opposite if tragic elements suddenly became the norm (a “Reverse Hollywood Ending”?), while uplifting works suddenly became unusual shocks.
Oh well, not my problem. Don't lemme stop you from revelling in your pseudo-philosophical melodrama and looking down on anything that tries to provoke an emotional resonance through something other than tragedy (and the supposed originality of taking a tragedy-esque direction in a storyline doesn't count for much either when said tragic elements are poorly implemented and sloppily written, not containing much of a purpose other than drama for the sake of drama (i.e. 2003 FMA anime), but that's neither here nor there).
Speaking of looking down on others…

Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
There are PLENTY of sad & tragic endings in fiction (these type of endings are not as original as you make them out to be). Just like there are plenty of happy ones. The tone of the ending does not make a series better or worse; it's what the viewer gets out of it & the presentation. And I personally like series with both types of endings. But I certainly don't think one is better or more unique than the other; because it definitely is not. That's why I can enjoy a film like Bicycle Thieves & Singing in the Rain and see the beauty of both.
The representation is far more balanced in written fiction than visual, high budget fiction, since in written, low budget fiction, the publishers don't have to worry about alienating most of the audience with a depressing ending, and failing to break even. That's also why a lot of movies adapted from books will either change a depressing ending to be more happy or end the movie before the depressing incident in either the book, or the true incident that the story is based upon. In visual, high budget, fiction such as anime, however, it really is a trope to make the ending as uplifting as possible, which is why an actual term, Hollywood Ending, is used to refer to American works that do this.

Has the theme of "relying on others" been done before? Certainly! But you know what so has the theme of the "hero" going at it alone to protect his loved one (ie: the first series).
It was indeed a cliché and FMA 2003, like every work created before it, contains numerous other clichés, but that cliché wasn't its main theme.

More important there is strong aspect of the adults in the series working with the teens of the story and helping them out. If anything I would say it's far more common for stories to have the teenagers have to "grow up" & save the world on their own. In Fullmetal Alchemist for Ed & Al growing up was accepting help from others & learning to trust in adults.
True, though the central idea of using equivalent exchange as a metaphor throughout the work, actually making the viewer accept its ideological premise, and then hitting the viewer with the idea that both its physical application within the universe, and its ideological argument that the world is a fair place in which sacrifice and hard work are generally rewarded, were false, was so well done it tended to overshadow the other themes in my eyes, making it the central theme of the work. This is especially true since the theme is verbally recapped by Mustang at the end, without really mentioning the importance of self-reliance.

As for One Piece I definitely enjoy it for what it is, but no I don't think it works its themes the same way as Fullmetal Alchemist at all. Maybe if you only look at both series on a very superficial level.
I disagree. I believe that its theme of trusting others and allowing them to help you were very well stated in the Arlong, Water 7, and Ennies Lobby Arcs. With Brotherhood, though I prefer it to One Piece overall, I can't think of a scene, in the first 37 episodes, that really exemplifies that theme, to the same extent.

Originally Posted by wisteria233 View Post
As for why I think that the first adaptation wasn't as good (for the record I've always had problems with it) is not because of the angst and dark elements, in fact I love series with angst and dark elements (my love of Bokurano, Now and Then Here and There and Mirai Nikki can attest to that) its the way it handled those dark elements. With the first adaptation it seemed like it just used those elements were to just shock you, so that it could get a knee jerk reaction from you, but unfortunately it couldn't shock me so instead I was left wondering what the point was to them introducing the dark elements to begin with, especially when they came up out of no where and didn't really have a meaningless. Which ultimately gave me the impression that it was more preoccupied with topping the last the dark element it introduced than it was with just telling its story, which ended up making the story feel contrived.
I don't agree. I'd say that Gantz is a better example of a series that uses dark elements to shock the viewer. When I think of using dark elements to shock the viewer, I don't think of Full Metal Alchemist 2003, which displayed the characters having to deal with every unpleasant circumstance introduced. Instead, I think of some 90's super hero comic where a character is raped or dismembered, and then the incident is never discussed or explored again. Including dark elements as gore porn or as an excuse for one character to be angry at another.
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