Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is an anime film based on the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise, and it was directed by Kazuya Murata. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 2, 2011. FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American distribution license for Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos. FUNimation released this film as part of a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and as a standalone DVD. This review focuses on the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack pressing for Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos.
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos introduces the country of Creta, which is on the western border of Amestris. Milos, which is part of the title of the film, is a slum located at the bottom of a trench that separates the two countries. The film also introduces two new characters to the Fullmetal Alchemist universe: Julia Crichton and Melvin Voyager.
Julia is the daughter of two alchemists from Creta; before the start of the story, her parents were murdered after being branded as traitors. Her brother also disappeared. Julia was taken in by the people of Milos, and she joined Milos' resistance movement when she got older. Julia also knows a form of alchemy that the Elric brothers do not know.
Melvin Voyager escapes from a prison in Amestris, and he uses the same kind of alchemy as Julia. Ed and Al try to battle with him, but Melvin escapes before he can be recaptured. Later, when Melvin arrives in Table City (which is located in Creta), he helps a jailed Julia out of prison and claims to be her long-lost brother.
Ed and Al Elric are intrigued by Melvin's alchemy, and they pursue him to Table City. The brothers encounter Julia, and learn about Milos. The rest of the film follows what happens between Julia, Melvin, and the Elric brothers in Milos and Table City.
When it comes to Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, I really enjoyed the music score and the animation is decent. Unfortunately, the story itself didn't keep my interest. It doesn't really seem to fit into the timeline of Fullmetal Alchemist or Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood; at least the Conqueror of Shamballa film obviously fit in after the end of the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime series.
I believe another problem the film had was trying to incorporate Julia as a main character. Julia had a lot of potential, but I get the feeling her story was a little "too big" to be told well in the time frame allotted in the film. Since Julia wasn't as developed as she could have been, it really made it hard for me as a viewer to truly care about what happened to her. It also didn't help that the story of the film took a little while to get going, and it was a little confusing right at first.
Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos wasn't a bad film. However, as someone who has basically seen every anime connected to Fullmetal Alchemist, I didn't think this film fits in convincingly with the rest of the Fullmetal Alchemist universe.
When it comes to the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, there are three discs included: a DVD with the movie and some extras, a second DVD that has extra features, and a Blu-ray Disc that has the film and all of the extra features. Like the Conqueror of Shamballa Blu-ray release, there is no actual insert with information for the film included; instead, there is a comment card.
According to the packaging, the DVD has English and Japanese audio, English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English subtitles, and has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The Blu-ray Disc has 1080p High Definition 16x9 HD Native video for the film and bonus features, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 for both English and Japanese audio for the film and Dolby True HD 2.0 in Japanese for the bonus features, and English subtitles.
The biggest bonus feature that's included is the roughly one-hour "making of" feature for the film. The Japanese voice actors for Ed and Al narrate the feature, and it covers everything from how the film came to be, the recording sessions for the dialogue and music, audio mixing, the screening for the staff, and the premiere of the film. I thought this was a rather well-done "making of" documentary, and it should appeal to viewers who appreciate learning behind-the-scenes information about the films and shows that they watch.
There is one U.S. trailer for the film included, as well as five Japanese theatrical trailers and three Japanese TV spots. The "web promo" feature includes four flash animation pieces that were produced to promote the film online. The "web promos" were amusing to watch once, but I doubt I'll watch them again anytime soon. There is also a U.S. cast commentary, as well as several trailers for properties that FUNimation was promoting at the time this film was released.
If you're a fan of Fullmetal Alchemist and want to own everything related to the franchise in your anime collection, then you need to acquire a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos. If you have the ability to watch Blu-ray Discs, then I would recommend purchasing the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in order to own the film on Blu-ray. However, if you can only watch DVDs, then I would recommend purchasing the DVD pressing of Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this Blu-ray/DVD combo that my husband and I purchased.