Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $14.98 US
Running Time: 35 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
Short, sweet and just the right ticket for all Fullmetal Alchemist fans.
A true anime classic in every sense, Fullmetal Alchemist is the kind of series that will forever haunt your dreams. It’s a timeless story that did deserve to be released on DVD and once again in another set and it’s a loyal fan like myself that has bought it again. So the big Fullmetal Alchemist fan in me rejoiced when Fullmetal Alchemist: Premium OVA Collection was released. Mind you, this reasonably priced DVD isn’t jam-packed with content but it’s a tasty morsel no fan should do without.
Here’s the strange thing about the Premium OVA Collection, though. It only contains four shorts that clock in at about 35 minutes of entertainment. Still, before you file this one under “Extras that should have been included in the last Fullmetal Alchemist set”, know that these four shorts weren’t readily available until now. The good news is that there are two shorts that are truly memorable and the bad news is that the other two are just decent … one is even good for a chuckle or two before you forget about it completely.
We’ll start with the good shorts, which comes in the form of a short called “Kids.” It tells a very brief and very touching little story of three modern-day children that resemble Ed and Alphonse Elric as well as a little girl that resembles Winry. It playfully follows these three kids who are on their way to a place they obvious don’t go to often on their own. It’s short and sweet and has a surprise twist at the end.
The second best short is called Chibi Wrap Party where the original voice cast is reunited in an animated short with the characters as cute and super deformed characters meeting in a restaurant after the completion of the Fullmetal Alchemist movie, “Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa.” The short makes some funny references to Mustang and Hawkeye’s romance-that-wasn’t as well as Winry not being a big part of the movie. Better yet, it’s great to hear Vic Mignogna voicing Ed again and point out that Aaron Dismuke no longer sounds anything like Alphonse anymore.
“It’s called puberty, Ed.” Al quips. “It’ll happen to you someday.” Classic!
Speaking of Alphonse, he makes a “live-action” appearance in featurette that has a statue of Al placed in various spots throughout Tokyo. Al is searching for Ed, wondering what might have become of his brother and hopes the talents at BONES have the answers. While not particularly deep or memorable, it is funny. Finally, there’s the Interactive Experience … a somewhat lengthy animation that was part of a Universal Studio Japan Fullmetal Alchemist attraction that – unfortunately – is not longer there. The Interactive Experience basically covers a few shorts that have characters like the Fuhrer, Mustang and even Ed Elric addressing the viewer as a new State Alchemist recruit. These are scenes we have seen before but the action is still just as hot.
We would have loved more material here, of course. Another short would have been great but what is here isn’t too bad if you’re a loyal Fullmetal Alchemist fan. With “Kids” and the “Chibi Wrap Party” being the best of the foursome, it’s great to see the Interactive Experience (although it’s not the same as seeing the theme park attraction) and the short “live-action” feature.
If you’re a huge Fullmetal Alchemist fan, the Fullmetal Alchemist: Premium OVA Collection should be added to your collection for sure. Yes, it’s not jam-packed and yes it’s considerably short but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for it in quality. Besides, missing the two best Fullmetal Alchemist shorts would be a real shame to fans that just cannot get enough of all things Fullmetal Alchemist.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
There are four shorts in total with the Interactive Experience being the longest and “Kids” being the reason fans of the series will want to pick this up. While the “live-action” feature is fun, it’s not as enjoyable as the Chibi Wrap Party.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The whole package looks good in this single DVD and the animation is wonderfully sharp and colorful. Plus, you just have to love the ultra cute super deformed versions of your favorite Fullmetal characters.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
The familiar Fullmetal Alchemist score from the series and movie can be heard in a few of the shorts but the highlight is the cast for both the English dub and Japanese voices. It’s great to hear them voice their respective characters again.
There’s a textless score for those who like the closing tune without text and there are a few trailers as well as the original Japanese trailer for “Conqueror of Shamballa.”
The Premium OVA Collection is not big on content but Fullmetal Alchemist fans will find this to be an irresistible buy and a DVD you will certainly want to complete your Fullmetal collection. The four shorts are actually entertaining and the price is within reason so there’s really no reason you should not pick this one up if you just can’t get enough of the Elric brothers.