Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

In a bit of scheduling shenanigans, Hank McCoy (Before the Fur) and Defense With the BoomStick have switched! Hank McCoy (Before the Fur) will now be running on Mondays while Defense With the BoomStick will run on Fridays.

I’m a little low on time, these days. So I may just have to make this one short and sweet.

I dabble a bit in manga/anime on the side. I mean, this column wouldn’t dare try to replicate what the other Omnicomic talent is already working on. But occasionally, I like to mix it up. Throw some new stuff in there. My latest foray into the world of anime is Fullmetal Alchemist.

I was a big Cowboy Bebop fan. I mean, who isn’t, right?  What was it that made Cowboy Bebop so damn good, anyway?  For me it was how un-cliché Bebop always turned out to be. I thought of Cowboy Bebop as sort of the ‘Quentin Tarantino’ film of Japanese anime. That is to say, the moment that you kind of felt like you knew where Bebop was going…the second you caught yourself thinking ‘Oh, yeah yeah, I’ve seen this show a million times before”…

WHAM. It would slam in another direction. Wildly.

I believe Tarantino films have a similar effect.   It’s like Kill Bill. It seems like it’s going to be really cool and badass, right?  But remember the first time you watched it? It wasn’t ‘cool’- it was horrifying! Tarantino tantalizes you with the promise of pulse-pounding action, but then delivers, over-the-top pseudo-horror film blood sprays and gory maiming.

So the art is in the pulling you into believing the film is going to be one way and that catching you off guard with something that makes you feel like ‘God, I should have seen that coming.’  I think Bebop had some of this going on. People love Bebop because even those cliché, little, throwaway episodes aren’t exactly what you suspect.

I’ve become a big fan of Fullmetal for similar reasons.  I think Fullmetal does fall back on a few of the more trendy patterns that you see in anime shows. It’s got that big cast of characters all with their own little quirks that come out in odd ways, that all pose one at a time while that overplayed J-pop song plays through the title…But for Fullmetal, it’s the THEMES that really take me aback. What the show is really about is a bit more sophisticated than maybe you’d expect…

Alchemy is, of course, the act of making something into something else. And what they don’t pull any punches on in the show is this:  Alchemy is un-natural. It’s something that people probably shouldn’t be doing. You can do awful things WITH it. Man made monsters and atrocities are common…and that’s kind of what the show is about, really, I think- at it’s core. Trying to control thigns that you shouldn’t. Everybody’s got stuff like this. There will be something that you CAN do but does that mean you should?

It reverberates in every sense throughout the show from the military seizing control of new territory, to people maneuvering political systems for their own benefit, to even man attempting to transcend the boundaries of nature, death, and life itself.  So yeah philosophy in Fullmetal is an interesting subject. Just saying. Might be worth the time to check out.


  1. Look at you trying not to clash with an article that hasn't run in like a month. Aren't you considerate.

    I love Fullmetal Alchemist. While it has a big character cast something fascinating happens from time to time...characters die! GOOD characters! On top of that some of the moral questions they approach just seem a little more realistic than some other anime/manga out there.

    I think that moral question is what also drives Death Note to be so immensely popular.

    That closing to the second to last paragraph just reminds me of the ever so wise...Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park.

    "Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."

    /end ramble


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