If you, like me, are obsessed with the original Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA) anime series, then you know that yesterday (October 3) was the anniversary of the date in the series that marks Ed and Al burning down their home and starting their journey to find the Philosopher’s Stone so they can restore each other’s bodies after having sacrificed (parts of) them in order to try to bring their mother back to life. Similarly, you, if like me, spent at least two hours in memoriam, holed up in front of some kind of video monitor while watching Ed sacrifice himself for Al and Al sacrifice himself for Ed and Ed sacrifice himself for Al and ...
Sorry, needed a tissue.
I’ll be the first to recommend drinking to inhibit the brain’s, the psyche’s, the soul’s inhibitors while watching the conclusion of one of the best anime dramas ever in order to let loose a flood of sympathy, but a little levity is both needed and welcome at the end of such a sublime saltwater purge. And what better way to lift your spirits than by lifting some spirits along with the chibi-fied cast of FMA: The Conqueror of Shambala during their wrap party? “What does one do at a chibi wrap party,” you ask. One drinks! (Just what kinda column didja think you were readin’ here, bub?) So if I might steal a dubbed line from chibi Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, let me introduce a great moment in drinking that happens during “The Fullmetal Alchemist Drink Too Much in Public and Complain Party!”
For its romantic tension and payoff, FMA relies upon non-acknowledgement and waiting. Character couplings, namely Hawkeye & Mustang and Winry & Ed, bring the melodrama simply by not being spoken of or acted upon. And while the end of the series proper gives closure to some pairings, tragedy (both intentional and non-) in the movie installs a permanent fissure between all. What did the characters think about that? How could we possibly know? Why via the lips loosed during the alcohol-infused wrap party of course! There, “actors” are their characters, and those characters are extending their role, but no-one’s pulling any punches — be it grievances over bit parts, having to perform their own stunts, or witnessing some insensitivity or potential infidelity.
Ok, so Mustang x Hawkeye is a given; that contentious affair is basically reestablished by the movie and continued via the party, but what about the waiting Winry? She’s shafted come the end of the movie, while Ed, in the meantime, is free to romance/be romanced by a parallel universe love interest. Similarly, Winry’s completely ignored at the party by all parties involved (including you, the viewer) until exposed in a background shot behind Mustang’s crumbling ego approximately three and a half minutes into a less than seven-minute short!
Hell, Ed even speaks to cameo characters before he speaks directly to Winry. Needless to say this doesn’t go over too well; Winry finally has no other recourse but to drunkenly force her way into the conversation at around the five-minute mark armed with an anime fan magazine that provides photographic proof of Ed’s Munich bedroom exploits.
Winry drinking her way into belligerence over the script’s failure to consummate her relationship with Ed, whilst he’s “caught in the act” (of the film), is a great moment in drinking in that the degree of her animosity brought out by booze blatantly puts the figurative ring on Ed’s cold metal hand for all viewers to witness – something never fully actualized in the series or film. "I’M THE LOVE INTEREST YOU NEVER ACT ON, ED! ME!!! GET BACK HERE,” Winry screams as she presumably pummels everyone at the party in an attempt to express her frustration without outright harming her love. I, like most viewers, have been waiting 50-some episodes and a movie for this, and the drunken silliness is exactly what is needed to offset the heavy drama.
On the first Friday of every month (or occasionally on the hazy, hung-over Saturday directly following), Ani-Gamers blogger Ink tackles an anime, manga, or video game through the theme of alcohol in our column "Drunken Otaku." Look out for "Beer Googles" (reviews), "Great Drinkers" (character profiles), "Drinkin' Buddies" (interviews), and "Great Moments in Drinking" (more or less). To read previous entries, click here.