One of the factors I consider in deciding whether to buy a DVD beside the movie itself is what kind of bonus features are packaged in with it. For example, I could have bought only the standard edition and saved ten bucks but I would have not received the talk session, the audio commentaries and portrait cards. The bound-in book had good material in it like interviews and sketches, although the placement of it between the two disc holders doesn’t seem optimal because it might start to fall out over time. That is my only major complaint with the extras as the other bonuses were definitely enjoyable.
Romi Park led an entertaining discussion of topics such as the mood during recording and notable scenes. The participants of this session included herself, director Seiji Mizushima, Rie Kugiyama (Alphonse), and Toru Okawa (Roy). Each topic was talked about by all four people and edited in between topics were one-on-one sessions. These informal interviews gave the director a chance to catch up the three actors he had worked with a while and talk about everyday things like baseball and eyeglasses. The final one-on-one between Romi and Rie was funny because the two women didn’t know what to talk about; both were sad the series was over so Rie told Romi she’d come over to her house for dinner to console her. Somehow that led to the idea of Romi coming home to Rie wearing an apron naked — yeah, it was that hilariously bad.
Making of the Film:
Director Seiji Mizushima went down to the production warehouse and dug through the cuts and storyboards while telling the story of how the parts of the film were put together. There was some interesting information in it regarding the script and problems that came up when making it. For example, the original script was 100 pages long and represented three hours of material; over a third of it was cut out including a scene where Mustang and Winry resolve their differences after meeting at Hughes’ grave. The initial storyboarding work was split among 6 directors in order to keep the quality up in a shorter amount of time and it was discovered a month before the premiere that half the scenes hadn’t been colored so they had to feverishly get those done in time.
I learned there was a particular strategy in not giving the fans hints of the story in advance. This was exhibited by the initial trailer which only showed footage from the opening action sequence and by the first poster featuring a grown-up Edward by himself on a grey background. Also, throughout the documentary, there were illustrations depicting Mizushima as Al, the production director as Ed, and Kazuko Kato as Eckart. I don’t know if these were drawn during production or made just for the special but I thought they were a good addition and enhanced the mood of the ancedotes Mizushima was telling.
There were three commentary tracks on the second disc — two in Japanese and one in English — and the dub for each track mirrors the language of the commentators (e.g. US actors has the English dub). I was fine with how the actors and their respective performances were paired…but each track has the commentary and dub inseperably fused together instead of just having a base track and three alternate voice tracks!
The Japanese actors commentary featured the director Mizushima and the voices of Edward (Park), Al (Kugiyama), and Winry (Megumi Toyoguchi). The very informational Japanese staff commentary had Mizushima alongside technical director Yohei Miyahara, production desk Yoshihiro Oyabu, color coordinator Shihoko Nakayama, producer Hiroo Maruyama, and executive animation director Yoshiyuki Ito. Finally, the US actors commentary was less focused on what was occuring onscreen and more on individual interviews between the ADR director Mike McFarlane and the various voice actors about their roles over the course of the series, providing insight into how they approached their respective characters.
From left to right:
1: First appeared in Official Theater Pamphlet (Deluxe Edition)
2: First appeared as 1st Main Visual
3: First appeared as 2nd Main Visual
4: First appeared as 3rd Main Visual
5: First appeared in NEWTYPE March 2005 Issue
6: First appeared in ANIMAGE August 2005 Issue
7: First appeared in ANIMEDIA August 2005 Issue
8: First appeared in Official Theater Pamphlet
9: First appeared in Conqueror of Shamballa DVD
10: First appeared in Conqueror of Shamballa DVD
[Aargh! I reached my upload quota and had to link to the last four portraits from GooglePages. So I might start considering moving away from WP hosting as soon as December whether it be Animeblogger or something else.]