Denver fans of cutting-edge Japanese manga and anime can immerse themselves this week in the alternate steampunk European world of “Fullmetal Alchemy,” a popular series of comic and animated TV series and feature films that have captivated audiences on both sides of the Pacific since 2001, when the series launched in Japan as a serial comic.
The latest output of the franchise, “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos,” continues the compelling tale of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are famous alchemists — scientists who can use their powers to change the molecular structure of objects and materials. Edward lost a leg and then an arm, and Alphonse his entire body when they tried unsuccessfully to use alchemy to bring back their mother to life after she died of an illness. Alphonse’s soul is contained in an armor.
In the new film, the Elric brothers track down a fugitive alchemist with unknown powers to a city where the Milos, a downtrodden people, are rebelling against their oppressors. The Elrics are drawn into the battle, and befriend a young woman who wants to lead the Milos even if it means using the Philosopher’s Stone, the powerful catalyst that could restore Edward and Alphonse’s bodies.
The film is a thrill ride of cutting-edge animation and action, and even if you’re not familiar with anime in general of the “Full Metal Alchemist” franchise, you’ll be immediately drawn into the sci-fi reality and soon forget you’re watching an animated movie.