Friday, July 26, 2013

"Fullmetal Alchemest" Review

*This is a review for the 2003 anime, not for FMA: Brotherhood*

This show, THIS SHOW, totally trumps both "Fruits Basket" and "Host Club".  Action, adventure, alternate history and a slightly steampunk world... "Fullmetal Alchemist" is much more my type of show. Both the plot and the characters have great development, and every time you think the biggest plot twist happened, there's an even bigger one around the corner! FMA definitely makes it into my top 10 favorite shows.

Edward Elric and his younger brother Alphonse were living quite happily with their mother... until she died. So Edward and Alphonse decided to try to raise her from the dead. The resurrection failed, leaving Edward without an arm and a leg and Alphonse's soul attached to a suit of armor. Now they roam around the country trying to find a way to restore their bodies. Written by Salix

Aside from minor swearing, this show is relatively clean from general moral views. The violence is tricky, because it can go from 0 to Hunger Games and back again. Sometimes it is quite unexpected, and (less often) unnecessary. Fortunately these scenes normally add to the plot and character development, so it's not a waste of time.

*This is slightly spoiler-ey* The FMA universe is parallel to our own, having a split from our history from over 400 years before World War One. In this world, alchemy is the science that developed, instead of physics. There are many references to different religions, most of which are made up. The Ishvalan religion is the main religion, and it has some aspects similar to middle-eastern religion and culture (it is inspired a bit by Hindu, apparently). Christianity is brought up once, it being called a "dead religion". There are also many off hand/side comments about "not needing religion". I wouldn't say that there is any blatant Christianity/religion hate, but the "science, not God" attitude is sometimes there.

The show is about a war. It shows many different aspects and sides. It doesn't only focus on the heroes and the villains, but on the common people, on the villains  pawns, on everyone. It reminds me a bit of Timothy Zahns book, "Choices of One", which showed how one person can affect so many others. It is truly beautiful the way it is written like that.

It is quite interesting how the main villains are the seven deadly sins: Lust, Greed, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, and Pride.

Most definitely a 13+ show.

All 51 episodes are currently available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon ($25). Subs and dubs available on YouTube. The only place I could find the movie was on Hulu. Trust me, you'll want to watch it right when you finish the show.

After debating if I should do a whole different post for characters, I decided to cram it all in this one. There are so many wonderful characters, and I'm going to talk about my favorites... because I love them that much :p.

Edward Elric
Aww.. bby y u so cute!
Ed is one of the most adorable/lovable/amazing characters I have ever met. His determination and loyalty, especially to his brother, are his most admirable traits, but he can be quite childish at times (but aren't we all?). Great overall development, and I'm going to end it here or else I will start a fangirly rant. 

Alphonse Elric
Haha this pic is so intense and misleading
Al, Ed's younger brother, is often mistaken for his older brother. After loosing his body, his soul is attached to armor, which makes him near invincible. After Ed becomes a state alchemest, he travels everywhere with him.

The Mustang Unit
(Heymans Breda, Kain Fuery,  Riza Hawkeye, Roy Mustang, and Jean Havoc; Vato Falman not pictured)
So I'm putting this lovely group of people together, because that is simply how it should be done. Breda, Fuery, and Havoc are mostly comic relief, but they are well rounded characters. Roy Mustang, the Fire Alchemest, leads this team, and could be considered a bit as Ed's mentor figure, even though they don't get along at first. And then there is Riza Hawkeye, who is the most fantastic character ever. That's all I can say about her. She is just fantastic. The first moment that Roy and Riza showed up I shipped them.

Maes Hughes
You have no ides how painful it was
looking for this picture. No idea.
Just don't get attached to this entirely lovable and hilarious character and you will survive. *Just thought I'd warn you.* He loves his wife and daughter to no end, and loves to take pictures of them... which he  shows every person he meets. He is Roy's best friend. I'm going to stop before I start sobbing.

Armstrong is pretty much this:
And that's all
  The Villains  
This is actually from FMA: Brotherhood, Pride is different in the 2003 version
The idea to make each of the villains represent one of the 7 sins was a truly brilliant idea. It makes it a bit more realistic in a sense, the internal struggle agents these traits. I felt no sympathy for them, except for Lust and Wrath in the end. It's genius how Lust dies while she is consumed by lust to be human.

There are so many more wonderful characters, but I'm going to move on to the last section.


*Not so spoiler free end*

Well, this show is AMAZING on so many levels. I laughed, I cried, I laughed and cried at the same time, I screamed and sat there in complete awe of plot twists.

There is something painfully realistic about Hughes's death. He dies early on in the series, and there are reminders of him, all the way to the end. In most franchises that I'm into (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Last Airbender, even Doctor Who), favorite character's don't die until the end. If they die/leave early on, they are forgotten about quickly. When Hughes dies, Roy is determined to honor his best friends memory, and the viewers are not allowed to forget about him. It reminded me that the good guys do die, that sometimes a parent doesn't come home, and friends leave, but you never forget them. Just beautiful.

And I ship Roy/Riza like there is no tomorrow, and Riza Hawkeye is the coolest character ever. I'm going to cosplay as her :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Maybe I didn't make it to Comic-Con...

But I did have lots of fun this weekend!

On Thursday I went to Rodeo with my dad and friend Sierra. My Uncle DL and Zia Linda were there, too, volunteering. Thursday night is "Tough enough to wear Pink" to support breast cancer research, but I realized I don't own anything pink! I ended up wearing my Rebel Alliance shirt... yep. Star Wars, totally Rodeo-ey. At least I have a cowboy hat :p

The band outside of the arena
One of my best pictures... Bike riders!
This guy actually held on pretty long. 
Beautiful horse 
Fire works!

Friday was pretty relaxed. I worked on my book most of the morning, and then went to Grands house to work on my Steampunk skirt. Saturday was pretty similar. I went to karate in the morning and then to work on the skirt. It was lots of fun, and we listened to lots of 50's music. She told me about how when she was young, she would listen to Elvis and her mom would get so upset. It's funny how she had a story to go with so many of the songs. One of my favorites is when she almost met Elvis. She worked as a reporter, and he was staying in a near by hotel. The news company she worked for wanted her to get in and meet him. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let the station send somebody over. She went to the hotel and dressed as a maid, and brought up room service. When she got to his level, one of Elvis's body guards took the food, saying that he would take it. So close!

Ok, enough of stories, here's some pictures of the skirt making.

Tea and Hot Chocolate :)

Sewing station
Getting ready to put laces in 
Skirt down...
...And pulled up. I love all the ruffles!
Underskirt. I'm so proud of myself for sewing this :p

Yesterday, Sunday, Dad and I went to a baseball game up in San Francisco! I really love that city, it's really fun to do trips up there. Unfortunately the Giants didn't win, but it was still lots of fun!

Park entrance
The Giants are playing!
View of city- we were on the third level!
When we got home last night, we watched the last few episodes of Primeval. Sad developments. Bye-bye, face-dude! But yeah, I really like this show.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I wrote this for an assignment a few months ago, and thought I'd share it :)
I drew the picture last summer, but I used it as a bit of inspiration for the story.

By Shaak Ti/Aithusa

“To be human is to be 'a' human, a specific person with a life history and idiosyncrasy and point of view; artificial intelligence suggests that the line between intelligent machines and people blurs most when a puree is made of that identity.”
― Brian Christian

“Kimora, Kim! Hello? You need to wake up now,” I looked up to see the doctor... Dr. John Smith looking down at me. Why was I here? Oh, right, the accident. Memories fell into place: the accident, the suffocation, the coppery smell of blood that had surrounded me. Then... black. I thought I would die, but I didn’t. I woke up in the hospital with various machines and people pulling at my skin, putting screws in my shoulder. The nurse saw me open my mouth to scream, and I did, the pain taking over every rational thought that I had. Immediately she had the sleeping drugs running through my veins again.

I became aware of an odd metallic thumping. My whole body ached. Why am I so cold? More importantly, how am I alive? Awake, if that’s what I was, was not fun. Dr. Smith explained that I was out for almost a week, partially drug-induced. He explained how the accident had permanently damaged my left side.

“Unfortunately, there was only one way to save you: you’re half machine; you’re an Almost.” He let the information sink in.

An Almost? But that means that if I get any more replacements, I won’t be given the same rights as people. I won’t be able... what’s that? The dull metallic thumping alarmed me again, causing a painful sting behind my ribs, like someone had put a cold pocket of air where my heart was supposed to be. “My heart!” I screamed, slamming my hand across my chest, fear taking hold. Cold metal met my fingers, and I realized that I didn’t have a heart. Every pump of this... this thing in me caused immense pain. “My heart!’ I screamed again, not wanting to accept the truth.
“Here, look in the mirror,” said the nurse, Martha; that was her name. She helped me up and led me to the full-length mirror. I didn’t dare look around at anything - not down at my feet, not at the door, nor at the blank walls. I closed my eyes, limping, leaning heavily on Martha.

“Well, are you going to look?”
“I don’t know. Should I?” I asked, not sure if I actually wanted to know what I looked like now.
“You have to, at some point.”

I opened my eyes; there stood the reflection of Martha and myself. My strawberry-blonde hair was cut choppy and short; my left eye had obviously been replaced; it was too shiny to be real. That wasn’t the worst, nor was the fact that my entire left arm had been replaced by a silver robotic appendage. My left leg looked strange, being my real leg from the knee down, but knee up was just like my arm. I didn’t want to even ask how that had happened. Even the scars on the skin that I still had left, paled in comparison. Those would heal, or be easily covered in makeup. No, the worst was that I didn’t have my heart. My own life was in the hands of some doctors and machines. Not having a heart almost pushed me into the category of artificial intelligence.

AI’s had a whole different set of laws to follow; I had a whole different set of laws to follow. If I needed another replacement, just one more, I would be an AI. I could deal with being called an ‘Almost’, but being branded with ‘AI’ across the forehead forever? Unthinkable. If there was still a soul in me, I would still be human, right? Thoughts like these raced through my mind as Martha led me back to my bed to sit down.

A few days later Martha sat down next to my bed, “You need to learn how to use yourself now. You can’t lie here forever.”

I groaned and looked over at her, “Yes, I can. Nobody can make me move. I don’t even know how to move!”

“That’s why I’m here; to teach you how to use your new limbs. We’ll start with your leg~ that will be easiest~ and then your arm. If you want ~ we can work on your eye. But you need to do something.”

“Fine,” I sat up in bed, “When do we start?”

“Now, if now’s a good time.”

“No, Martha,” I nodded at my monitor screen, “I’m busy watching “Merlin” reruns and listening to doctors talk about random doctor-ey stuff when they think I’m not listening,”  I said, rather sarcastically. Well, at least I still have my personality.

Martha smiled, “Alright, we start right now.”

It felt like hours before she let me take a break, but when I looked at the clock it had only been thirty minutes. Again and again she had me trying to move my leg this way and that, turning it from side to side without her help. I watched my progress on a screen. Most of the time my leg did nothing, but I saw the occasional twitch that indicated that I was actually progressing. By the end of the day, I was tired and upset that I still had no control over my leg, or arm for that matter. Fortunately, the eye worked, and I would only need to learn how to use it if I wanted fancy tricks, like x-ray and night vision.

Weeks later I was able to control my hip enough to walk by myself. It was actually pretty cool having the robotic leg once I got used to it. It really showed how far science had come, and I was able to display the very best technology of our time. I think that my new-found curiosity in bionics helped me in my recovery.

One day, while I was working on moving my shoulder, Martha said, “I’ve noticed your interest in technology and human bionics. Maybe when you’re a little better at moving around, you could work with Advancing Human Bionics and Artificial Intelligence. Have you heard of them?”
I shook my head.

“They use Almosts, like you, and AIs for advancements in science. Usually Almosts test new products; others become representatives and talk about Almost and AI rights. If you want, I can refer you to them when you’re better.”

“Yes, I would like that. Maybe I could do something useful with my disabilities.”

“Just because it’s not the norm to have crazy robot arms that can spin in circles doesn't mean that you are disabled in any way. Once you gain complete control, you will be almost back to normal. If you choose to learn how to really use your eye, you’ll have advantages over normal people.”

I nodded. She was right, in a way. I still wouldn’t be completely back to normal, but I was able to appreciate how far technology had advanced. If I had been born a hundred years earlier, I would have been stuck with an eye-patch and peg leg. Oh, and I would have been dead. No heart replacements back then, either. It really was a miracle of how far science had come.

I was moved to a recovery room, now that I was starting to get better. I shared the room with a girl who seemed to be a few years younger than me. Though she normally kept quiet, there was one conversation that we had that really struck me.

“You know,” she said, “I never thought that I would be here. My life had always been so great. But I guess that the best fall the hardest, huh?”

I was a little shocked that she was talking. She said barely a word for the two days I had been sharing a room with her. I didn’t know much about her, other than that her name was Marietta, and she had recently had replacements, like me. I didn’t know how many ~ if she was an Almost, AI, or just a regular person who needed a finger replaced. But when she spoke her voice was deeper than I expected. I actually had thought she would be more of a “dumb blonde” stereotype. I learned she was very far from that.

“Oh, well, I guess. I never expected to be in a place like this, either. You mind if I ask, what are you here for?”

“Last replacement I’ll ever have, I hope,” she said, “I’m an AI-Human now. Guess I’m just one of the lucky ones now ~ no more rights. What about you?

“Similar. One bad idea, one bad friend, one bad accident, the next thing I knew I was in the hospital. I’m an Almost, just one part short of an AI. But you said ‘AI-Human’. What does that mean?”

“It’s the step between Almost and AI. The order is Human, Almost, AI-Human, then AI. Most people just classify it as an AI, but we aren’t. We’re still human, somewhere deep down. So you’re almost an AI-Human, not an AI.”

She looked at me with an expression filled with so much experience and sympathy, I didn’t know what to say. Fortunately she continued, “You still have rights. I don’t. They think that I don’t have any morals left, like a human-made AI. They treat me like a computer. When do you think the line that divides Human and Machine is crossed?”

This time her eyes had a fire, a soul, a rebellion. It scared me a little, but she was obviously human.

“I think... I don’t really know what I think. I guess the only way for a person to really become Machine would be when they give up and lose their dream to go on. This technology can keep a body alive forever, but a soul can last for only so long, and a soul cannot be put into a machine. Yeah, that’s where the line is crossed: when a person loses their soul, or if the machine was made by people.”

Marietta smiled, “Well, I guess I’m not the only one who thinks I’m real.”

Later I found myself thinking of Martha’s offer for me to join Advancing Human Bionics and Artificial Intelligence. I decided I would join. People like Marietta needed to be represented as just that: people. If I worked for them, I could stand up for AI-human rights, but still hold to my belief that AI machines did not qualify for human rights. I knew that even though I could never fully again be categorized as human, I could still help others.

I fell asleep to the rhythm of a dull thumping sound in my chest.

Friday, July 12, 2013

June 2013~ My Version of 365

Anakin/Ahsoka Species Swap
What if Ani was a Tagruta and Ahsoka was human? Well, this is how I think they would look. (And yay for new pencils!)

HER HAIR! Oh my gosh it took forever! But I think it turned out nice. I left the cheek markings... just because she's human dosen't mean she wouldn't have tattoos.

Loads of research. It seems that male Tagrutas head tails don't grow as long as the females, and that they have a bit of a different... bend in them.

Just practice with perspective.

Steampunk Costume Planning
Here's my next cosplay plan! My uncle (DL, who helped me with Ahsoka) has offered to help me make this.

Purple Stemapunk
I'll probably make this one, too. I already have the corset and boots :)

Thanks for taking your time to look at my art each month, it means a lot to me!

Have a great week, everyone!