I generally like animé, but I am not into it the way VikGup is, for example. About the only series I used to watch regularly was Dragon Ball Z (DBZ), before Cartoon Network India abruptly and very irritatingly pulled it off the air just as it was near the final few episodes. I liked the overall story in DBZ, but I felt the episodes and the fights were unnecessarily long and dragged-out, really testing one's patience (it reminded me of Ramanand Sagar's TV series "Ramayana"). I also liked Animatrix a lot. I have watched parts of other animé series, but I have never felt compelled to watch an entire series from the beginning to the end.
I am not a fan of the way most serious animé suddenly switches to "silly mode" in the middle of a scene, with characters swinging their limbs about wildly and screaming for no good reason, the drawing degrading in quality with quivering outlines - it just ruins the whole experience for me. I also find a bit odd the technique of showing an essentially still frame and then moving the camera about - I realise that the animators want to save effort and that it is a commonly-used technique elsewhere, but it seems to be used a lot more often in animé and I wish they didn't do it. Finally, the English dubbing is almost always terrible and I wish I could just see them in the original Japanese with English subtitles (I believe the DVD releases allow you to do that). All this aside, I must admit that many of the more popular animé series are beautifully drawn and have an overall story that is so fantastically different from anything else that one generally gets to see.
When I read Stevey Yegge's blog post on animé, I felt an urge to check out some of the animé series that he recommends. As luck would have it, Animax India has been showing some of the animé series that he highly recommends and on a whim I decided to check out Fullmetal Alchemist.
I am not disappointed at all - this is a wonderful series. It does switch to "silly mode" some times, but the rest of it is so good that I can live with that. The art is awesome, the story is intriguing, the music is nice and the story actually moves forward in each episode. No wonder many people have rated it one of the best animé of all time.
By the way, by the time I started watching the series, the episodes being shown were from the last one-third of the series so I didn't quite follow some of the things. Fortunately, Animax started showing the whole series from the beginning on weekends in a "catch-up marathon", with eight episodes shown back-to-back on every day of the weekend. In the evening on weekends they also show five episodes back-to-back to allow you to catch-up with the regular episodes that were shown during the week. It is a bit exhausting and my wife and sister think that I have gone crazy.
I am really looking forward to watching the concluding episodes that will be shown during this week and the next. I am also looking forward to watching the movie.