Conqueror of Shambala

Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa

is a 2005 Japanese animated film directed by Seiji Mizushima and written by Sho Aikawa, and acts as a continuation of the Fullmetal Alchemist television series. It premiered in Japan on July 23 2005. The Japanese DVD was released on January 25, 2006, including with it a limited edition with a special box, English subtitles and a series of other extras. The U.S. version was shown in a limited number of theaters starting August 25, 2006, and the DVD was released September 12, 2006 and a limited edition November 14, 2006. The film had a re-release in theaters for one day only in select theaters on September 20, 2007.

Plot

The film's story is set two years after the events of the Fullmetal Alchemist TV series' last episode. Dragged from his homeworld of Amestris to this world, Earth, Edward Elric lives in Munich, Germany, in the year 1923. Stripped of his alchemical powers and some of his limbs, but not the attachments for his automail (from his previous journey through the Gate), he has spent all this time researching rocketry together with Alfons Heiderich, a young man who resembles his own brother.

In the film, Earth is a parallel world to Amestris, and as a result Edward encounters many people whose faces are familiar to him. After rescuing and talking to Noa, a troubled gypsy woman, Edward is thrown into a series of events that reveal a path back to his homeworld along with a conspiracy that threatens both worlds.

Unaware of Edward's situation, Alphonse Elric ventures deeper into the mysteries of alchemy in search of a way to reunite with his older brother.

The film is set against the backdrop of the depression and economic collapse of Germany after World War I and the formation of the Nazi Party, notably the events leading up to and including the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. The antagonists frequently make references to it, though the actual event and its key real-life figures (including Adolf Hitler) and its aftermath are only shown in fleeting shots.

Characters

Edward Elric: The film's protagonist. After bringing back the body and soul of his younger brother from beyond the gate at the series finale, Edward finds himself on the other side of the Gate, Earth (the premise being that the world of Amestris and Earth are parallel universes). He befriends a young man named Alfons Heiderich, who resembles his younger brother Al, and the two follow an interest in rocketry and travel to Romania. Edward leads a rather calm life for the next two years, until he comes across a young Roma girl, Noa, and the Thule Society. Ed's automail limbs have been replaced with prosthetics created using Earth technology built by Hohenheim, and his arm is modified to contain a weapons system.

Alphonse Elric: "Al" is Edward's younger brother and the second main protagonist. After being resurrected by his brother in the anime, he lost all of his memories of the events following his and his brother's attempt to resurrect their mother. Since then he studied alchemy as a student of Izumi Curtis once again, and after her death he started walking his own path hoping to one day find a way to reunite with his brother and retrieve his lost memories. Al also has the ability to alchemically bind parts of his soul to inanimate objects (usually suits of armor in the movie). The effect is temporary, and doesn't appear to weaken Al at all.

Alfons Heiderich: A rocket engineer that bears a resemblance to Alphonse Elric and befriends Edward in the movie. He is fascinated by Ed's stories about his travels around his original world, but is unsure of whether he can believe in the fact that Ed came from another world where alchemy is real. He studies under the father of modern rocketry, and wants to prove the scientific worth of his fellow Germans by inventing a rocket that can actually be ridden. He also has his own reasons to do it as fast as possible - he slowly succumbs to an unspecified disease that eventually causes him to cough up blood.

Noa: A Roma woman whom Ed befriends. She had been sold by her own people to the Thule Society, but Edward helped her escape. She is withdrawn and introverted, partly because she has the ability to read people's minds (an ability so accurate that it makes people afraid of her), but mainly because of the persecution and discrimination she suffers as a Roma. Noa's dream is to find a home for herself.

Dietlinde Eckhart: The film's main antagonist. She occupies an important position as an occultist in the Thule Society. After obtaining information regarding the legendary Shamballa (Amestris), and the mysterious powers of its inhabitants, Dietlinde, with the help of other Thule Society members, developed a plan to open a gateway to Shamballa and invade it, in order to learn its secrets and claim its power. While she claims to be interested in helping the Nazis in their plan to overthrow the German government, her real intent is to reach and plunder Amestris for her own ends. Her plans are supported by real-life Nazi members like Rudolf Hess and Karl Haushofer.

Production

Production of the film began shortly after the television series finishing its original broadcasting on Japanese channels, although pre-production started during the show's run in March, 2004. The film's production was led by director Seiji Mizushima, who also had directed the series as well. Mizushima allowed a camera crew and interviewers into the show's conference room at the Bones studios where he described how production went, as seen in a special feature on the DVD release of the film. The conference room was filled with every cut and drawing created for the show and movie, but it was eventually cleared out to make room for other projects.

The original draft of the film's script was a hundred pages long, making the film over three hours long. Sho Aikawa wrote the script. Mizushima and others had to cut a third of the script's scenes out in order to make the film an appropriate length. Some scenes and characters were removed from the final cut, including a character named Steiner who could see auras, and his role was similar to Noa's. A scene which was cut involved characters Roy Mustang and Winry Rockbell meeting in front of the late Maes Hughes' grave. It was a highly awaited scene from the perspective of the fans. By October, 2004, the script was completed and the pre-check storyboards were produced. The pre-check storyboards showed the movements of objects and characters in each shot along with the characters' lines. Production on the proper storyboards began in November of the same year, but the schedule in producing the film was immensely busy, so the directors of the film split the storyboards into six section, one for each of the directors to create.

The opening and ending scenes were drawn by Mizushima; the scene involving the debut of the film's villain was drawn by Soichi Masui; the middle section of the film was drawn by Shingo Kaneko; Edward Elric's return to his homeworld was drawn by Masahiro Ando; action scenes were drawn by Shinji Aramaki; and the epic battle between Wrath and Gluttony was drawn by Yutaka Nakamura. Mizushima was repeatedly harassed by the head employees at Aniplex to speed up work on the storyboards. A trailer was produced for the film in December, 2004 with Romi Paku, the voice actor for Edward Elric, narrating it. Three posters were produced for the film, two teaser posters and a third for the release of the film. A "Fullmetal Festival" was held on December 26, 2004 to celebrate the show and film. Most of the directors finished their assigned storyboards by February of 2005, except Shingo Kaneko, who was taking longest due to the general slow process, but his storyboards were nevertheless impressive.

The artwork for the film was produced once Kaneko was finished and cel-animation was used to produce several characters or items in the film. Seven-hundred of the film's animated frames had to be redone with only two weeks to the film's release. The film was released in September, 2005.

Distribution

The movie premiered at Montreal Fantasia's Festival on July 22, 2006.

The movie was premiered on August 25 in a small number of theaters by Funimation Films with little promotion. Some only ran less than 10 showings of the film. Some promotional activity was done after the film was already gone from theaters. The movie trailer was shown to a group of about 300 persons at Shiokazecon in Houston, Texas on April 27, 2006. Vic Mignogna, the English voice actor for Edward Elric, heavily promoted the film at anime conventions.

According to a press release from Funimation and the SPJA, the first official screening was shown at the 2006 Anime Expo on Monday, July 3 at noon. The session was presented by Seiji Mizushima (the original director), Mike McFarland (English voice director and voice of Lieutenant Havoc) and voice actor Vic Mignogna. Romi Paku was also supposed to attend but she did not because she (a Korean national) did not have a valid visa. Other screenings of the movie occurred at Otakon 2006, AnimeVegas 2006, Gen Con 2006, Sugoicon 2006, Anime Weekend Atlanta XII (2006), Armageddon Expo 2006 New Zealand, Wizard World Chicago 2006, Otakon 2007, and Yasumicon 2007.

The special edition DVD release will be premiered at Nan Desu Kan in Denver according to news published on their website.

On the movie's MySpace it announced that the movie was going to be shown again in select theaters on September 20, 2007. It should be noted that they only showed the movie for that day only.

Soundtrack

The film's music was produced by Michiru Oshima, who worked in the music of the anime. L'Arc~en~ciel gave two of their new songs for the film's opening and closing credits, "Link" and "LOST HEAVEN", respectively. The film's orchestral music was performed by the Moscow Orchestra. "KELAS [LET'S-DANCE]", the song performed by the Roma women while Edward Elric and Alfons Heiderich hitch a ride. Composed and guitar by Ferenc Snétberger, with vocals by Tayo Awosusi. A soundtrack CD of the film, Fullmetal Alchemist The Movie Conqueror Of Shamballa OST, which contained forty-six tracks, was released on December 21, 2005.

Awards

The film won in three categories in 5th Tokyo Anime Award competition at the Tokyo International Anime Fair:

  • Animation Of The Year
  • Best Original Story (Hiromu Arakawa)
  • Best Music (Michiru Oshima)

It also won the 2005 Animation Grand Award prize in Mainichi Film Awards. and Best Animated Film prize in Fantasia International Film Festival (Montreal, Canada).

References

External links

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