Bird Box

I’m a little late of the mark with this post, but Bird Box is a film I’ve wanted to talk about for a while. But before we get further into this post, there’ll probably (most likely) be SPOILERS in this post, so if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want it spoiled, you might want to stop reading.

Back to the movie, all in all the film itself was okay. It isn’t the greatest film I’ve ever seen but it’s watchable and has an interesting concept. However, when rating apocalypse type films I like to consider how difficult it would be to survive them. Sadly, for Bird Box it would be very easy for a particular large group of people to survive and I don’t mean the mentally ill people in the movie or the fully blind. But before I explain, let’s have a quick summary of Bird Box’s concept for those who are unfamiliar with the movie.

thumbnail_20917FB7-E651-4538-BE7D-E9D29AFF3F15Essentially in the film there is a monster on the loose that causes people to kill themselves if they look at it. This leads to people wearing blindfolds to avoid catching sight of the monster. However, the monster has a different effect on the mentally unwell and they see it as the most beautiful thing they’ve ever set eyes on. Which in turn, causes them to have an overwhelming desire to run around pulling off blindfolds and trying to force people to look at the monster (causing the victim to die from doing so). It’s a pretty interesting concept, but when you give it a bit more thought it sort of falls in on itself. Considering you have to see the monster for it to have an effect, there is another rather large group of people (other than the completely blind), that could easily survive Bird Box, which quite a few of you and myself belong too.

So, what is this incredible superpower that protects from the monster? Well, its probably wouldn’t be considered a superpower in a normal situation, but in the Bird Box world it pretty much is. Anyway, this superpower is poor eyesight. By this I don’t mean complete blindness, I mean eyesight just poor enough that you can’t navigate this world without wearing your glasses. Let me explain more.

Something I’ve never really mentioned on this blog is that without glasses I have dirt poor eyesight (everything’s a blurry mess of fuzzy shapes and colours and without glasses I can’t even identify family members. I also tend not to draw myself wearing glasses. Not because of vanity, it’s because I’ve had to wear glasses all the time since 8years old and forget I’m wearing them). From doing quite the remarkable Mr. Magoo impression while not wearing glasses, I’ve discovered a monster sized loophole in Bird Box’s plot that would mean a rather large percent of mankind could survive the Bird Box apocalypse.

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It probably seems obvious at this point, how a poor sighted person could survive Bird Box, but just for fun I’ll go into detail. Basically, all they’d have to do to survive is remove their glasses (yeah, it’s really as simple as that). If you can’t even make out objects 2 feet in front of your face, it’d be impossible to see a monster standing on the other side of the street or sitting up in a tree. Let’s just face it, with dirt poor eyesight the monster could probably walk up and headbutt you and you still wouldn’t be able to see it. So, you’d be very much immune to the monster’s powers (you still wouldn’t be immune to walking into a lamp post or tripping over a cat, though).

But wait what about those crazed monster worshiper people, you ask? What if they attack you, forcibly put back on your glasses and force you to look at the monster?  Well, here’s the hard part. After you remove your glasses, you’re going to have to break them into tiny pieces, including the lenses, then have a cry over how expensive those glasses were.

thumbnail_20917FB7-E651-4538-BE7D-E9D29AFF3F15After that you’d be pretty safe from the monster worshipers too, because even if the monster worshipers forcibly took you to the pharmacy to get a pair of those over the counter glasses, those glasses won’t make a button of difference. They’re more like a reading glasses than seeing glasses, so you’ll still be able to see bug all. It’s also highly unlikely that there’d be an optician amongst the monster worshipers to provide you with proper glasses, so you’d still be immune to the monster.

thumbnail_FF1830A8-FC1F-4DF0-B002-B4E5321DA78AI know the monster worshipers are still quite dangerous, they’re heavily armed in the film and could attack you for not loving the monster. So, for an added safety precaution you might want to put your acting skills to the test and pretend to be one of them, if you bump into monster worshipers in the Bird Box apocalypse (to be honest, they all seem pretty high on monster so it probably wouldn’t be that difficult to fool them. Just compliment the monster or comment on how beautiful it is and they wouldn’t notice your not one of them).

thumbnail_FF1830A8-FC1F-4DF0-B002-B4E5321DA78AOverall, I wasn’t very taken by Bird Box and think it was slightly over hyped. Right enough, a monster that causes death by just looking at it, is scary and could be seen as fantastic symbolism. But with a sieve-like plot, it loses its impact. The more you think about this film the more plot holes you find. For example, it didn’t matter if the babies seen the monster because they don’t have the ability or understanding to hurt themselves. Also, being in a situation where a deadly monster seems to be always present just waiting for its chance to strike you dead, would in itself be enough to drive a person to madness, therefore the monster would lose its deadly effect. Considering all this I would only recommend watching Bird Box if you’re curious/interested about its concept. Just don’t expect too much from it.

Rating: 2.5/5

Hope you enjoyed this post, it might seem a bit of a strange way to review this film, but I thought it’d be nice to shake things up and add a bit of fun to the post.

As always thanks for reading!

Switched

IMG_0554If you could switch bodies with anyone you on earth, would you do it? Would you still want to, if you knew you couldn’t switch back? What if you also had to risk death to make the switch, would you still give it a try?

Apologies for all the strange questions, but they are the main obstacles faced in the Netflix series Switched. As you have probably already guessed, this series is based on the good old tried and tested concept of having two characters swap bodies, then attempt to live as the other person. Usually leading to many lessons in empathy and gratitude. However, unlike your typical body swap movies or series such as Freaky Friday or It’s a Boy Girl Thing, Switched has a huge dark side to it. By this I mean it features a lot of triggering or darker subjects, like bullying, exclusion, neglect, body/beauty shaming and suicide, not forgetting that characters have to risk death to make the switch (in the literal sense).

So, why after reading the description on Netflix and knowing how dark this series was, did a sensitive little soul like myself (that cries at Disney movies), decide it was a good idea to watch this show? Well, it’s a bit of a strange story but in a nutshell, my friend was convinced I looked like the main character in the series, so I started watching it to see if this was true (or whether my friend needs glasses). Then got sucked in by its plot and had to know how it all ended. But before we go any further, let’s have a quick summary of this show. (In case you’re wondering, despite my friend still insisting I do, I don’t look like the main character. I only ever so slightly look like her. We both got pinchable cheeks).

Switched is a 6 episode long J-Drama about two high school girls that are complete opposites in personality, mindset and circumstance. During the red moon the unpopular and tormented Umine, carries out a twisted scheme to swap bodies with the most popular and prettiest girl in school, Ayumi. This plan involved jumping from the school roof and making Ayumi watch as she falls to her doom (told you it was dark). Due to the magical powers of the red moon this allows Umine to switch bodies with Ayumi. The story then focuses on Ayumi trapped in Umine’s body, as she struggles to live in Umine’s body or get anyone to believe her about the swap. In Umine’s body Ayumi faces a much harsher world, filled with beauty shaming, exclusion, bullying and a mother who would make Miss Trunchbull from Matilda look like mother of the year. Thankfully, Ayumi’s best friend Kaga quickly realises that Ayumi was swapped and is in Umine’s body. Kaga and Ayumi then work together to find a way to get Ayumi her body back.

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Thinking about my switch possibilities.

The strongest point of Switch is its unusual but interesting take on the body switching concepts. It puts a bit of spin on the regular idea of body switching, though this is a rather dark spin. Which is why this series might not be enjoyable for the easily triggered or those of a sensitive nature. If you can get over the darkness of characters risking death to steal another’s body and jumping from tall buildings, it can be an interesting concept to see in play. The added fact that when 2 people swap bodies they can’t swap back, really gets you thinking and adds suspense to the plot. Leaving you wondering how on earth Ayumi is going to get her body back. The additional pressure of Ayumi and Kaga not knowing who they can trust or who has ill intents for them, truly put you on the edge of your seat.

Another likeable aspect about this series is the relationship between Kaga and Ayumi. Kaga interactions with Ayumi in Umine’s body is incredible sweet and heart-warming. Kaga as a whole is a very likeable character, always looking out for Ayumi and joking around to keep her spirits up. Definitely a contender for the best boy list, which makes you really want to see him end up with Ayumi, even after the whole plot plays out. You may even find yourself at times shouting at the screen in frustration, when Kaga bottles it or when gets brushed off.

Switched does have its weak points which are noticeable from the very beginning of the series. Like 90’s TV, some of the Teenage roles are played by actors in their mid-twenties, which is made even cringier when you consider that the actors playing Koshiro Mizumoto and Kaga are both older than myself (and I’m not that young). The series can also be a little over the top and silly at times. There are just parts where things are extremely over dramatic. I know it’s a J-Drama and there’s meant to be some drama, but jeez does it take the biscuit sometimes. The body switching also gets a little ridiculous, when a man switches bodies with his pet budgie and magically gains the ability to tell when people have switched (which was never explained how or why).

Seeing Umine and Ayumi in Umine’s body get bullied and excluded can be a very bitter pill to swallow. It makes your heart break for them. No matter where they went people were very loudly making snide remarks about their appearance and calling them ugly. At times, you’re left wondering what the fudge is wrong with people in the world created in this J-Drama and why they’re choosing to be so unnecessarily cruel. With a foul natured mother on top of this, you can begin to see why Umine was pushed so far and why she did what she did. However, considering that Ayumi did nothing to Umine and actually offered her help on a few occasions, Umine’s actions still seem pretty twisted. Meaning your left with mixed emotions about the whole situation. On one hand you can empathise with the pain Umine’s character is feeling and wish people would treat her better. But on the other hand, you can’t really agree with her actions or look upon them in a good light. Even after understanding that her actions are a result of how she was treated (her actions aren’t very fair and she seems to have singled Ayumi out just because of how she looks, which makes Umine just as bad as her bullies). Though painful to watch at points, it’s this mix of emotions that keeps you watching the series.

Overall, Switch is a pretty good little watch. It can be dark and sad at points, but despite this it’s still heart-warming and has its happy moments. If I were to classify its plot, I’d say it was a tale of friendship, rather than a tale of vengeance or misery. For the most part the show focuses on the friendship between the characters, however it does feature topics that some may find difficult to deal with.  Being an interesting and exciting 6 episode long series, I would recommend giving this show a watch if you’re into J-Dramas and can handle the series dark side. If you’re easily triggered or of a sensitive nature I would pass on this show, as it may be too emotive to watch.

Rating: 3.5/5

Erased

e22c43ce-cc31-4d41-bf46-59bd9b0018f5If you had the ability to go back in time and stop something truly horrific happening, would you? Personally, I wouldn’t think twice about it and would head back in a heartbeat, to stop a few things from coming to pass and that’s exactly what our main character (Satoru) in this anime chooses to do. But before we get into that, I’d like to announce that Erased was the winner of the little review poll, I carried out a while ago and I can certainly see why. So with that out of the way, let’s begin this review the same way as every review, and start with a quick description.

Erased, begins with a grownup Satoru struggling to get his manga published and working as a pizza delivery guy to earn money. Though Satoru is struggling as a manga artist, this isn’t what has him feeling blue. Satoru heart is weighed down by guilt and the regret that he couldn’t save his classmate (Kayo) from dying at the hands of a child serial killer, when he was 11 years-old.

This guilt is made worse by the fact that, since Satoru was a child he has had the ability to foresee when something bad is about to happen, allowing him to act and prevent the potential tragedy. Just before Kayo disappears, Satoru gets the feeling that something bad is about to happen to her. But being a child, Satoru doesn’t fully understand this feeling and ignores it. Shortly after this Kayo is reported missing and months later, her body is discovered and a young man arrested and wrongly charged with the murder. Though, Satoru feels awful for not doing something to prevent Kayo’s death, he tries his best to put this horror behind him. That is until, the real serial killer returns and murders Satoru mother, somehow framing Satoru in the process. Left with no option but to flee from police, things take a bizarre turn when Satoru’s ability has him sent back in time, to shortly before Kayo disappears, when he was turning 11 years-old. Quickly, Satoru realises the opportunity presented him and he sets out determined, to save Kayo and the murderer’s other victims, as well as trying to catch the killer in the process.

Quite the plot, isn’t it? As you’d expect there’s a lot of playing detective and trying to outsmart the murderer in this anime. Making Erased a rather interesting and captivating watch, that leaves you unable to take your eyes off the screen, for fear of missing something important that identifies the killer. On top of this, Erased is quite a cute anime that really warms the heart. Little boys running around wanting to be superheroes, trying to save their friends, is just adorable and incredibly sweet to watch.

9cabd461-6ea9-4d26-9f25-b18e9a6adf90When it comes to these sorts of shows predictability is very important. Erased I would class as not that predictable. Of course, going into this anime you kind of know that Satoru will stop the murderer, because if he didn’t then what would be the point of making the show. The ending would be horrible and the whole thing would be incredibly depressing, if he didn’t. You would imagine, not many people would want to watch a show like that, leading to the failure of the anime. Although you can predict that much, what you can’t foresee is how he’s going to stop the killer. Meaning, you know he’ll stop the killer but not know how he will do it (if that makes sense). Which in itself makes the show really exciting and suspenseful to watch.

In terms of identifying the killer, with these types of shows I love to try to identifying the culprit before the grand reveal. Using some true Sherlock Holmes skills, I was able to identify the killer at about episode 5 (it’s only 12 episodes long, so around the half way mark). The flashes you get of the killer was a real give away and completely confirmed my prediction. For the non-Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts however, the killer will come as quite the shock. Even if you do work out who the killer is, the show is still very enjoyable and strangely become a little more exciting, due to the killer’s closeness to the victims.

The animation in Erased is pretty average and what you’d expect from an anime. In saying that, there are still a few aspects of its animation that I really like. For example, though it made me jump out of my skin at first, the hypnotoad moments were rather cool. The unusual character designs, was also something you could appreciate about the animation and made characters really identifiable. For instance, the way grownup Satoru’s eyes can move like a lizard’s, to look behind him. Though a little creepy is still very cool and makes him stand out from the rest of the characters. The little extras like the blue butterflies, use of colour and the film reel concept were all very nice touches to the show’s animation and all work well to set the tone.

My only slight criticism I could give Erased is that the subtitle speed is a little too fast and can be hard to keep up with. But if you know how to use the pause and rewind buttons and don’t mind using them, this won’t be much of a problem (just a slightly annoying inconvenience).

Overall, Erased is an excellent anime with a great plot and delivery that does it justice. It’s not overly predictable and manages to have little surprises for the viewer at every turn. Especially, when it comes to the identity of the killer, making it rather exciting to watch. With its added cute factor and heart-warming moments, I can really see why this anime is a favourite of a lot of people. So, for these reasons I would highly recommend watching this anime, even if the subtitles are ridiculously fast.

Rating: 5/5

The Wailing

00ba897d-bbf6-4493-be80-b0b3a78f181cThis week something terribly unfortunate happened. I was in the middle of creating some digital art for this post, when suddenly the app crashed and stopped working. After a few panic-stricken minutes, I finally got the app to open again to be met by the horror that the app had wiped itself clean and deleted everything, including the piece I was working on (literally could have cried). Over 200 digital drawings gone and all the brush settings reset. The only thing to remember them by is thumbnails saved on my computer and the saddest thing is there where pieces I hadn’t completed yet. They’re just thumbnails now that can never be finished or opened on the app as a digital drawing again. They will forever be incomplete. So, what has this got to do with this review? Well, it mostly affects the art work for the review, because now all the brushes have reset back to their default settings, which makes them kind of awkward to use. I will eventually get the brush settings back to the way I like them, but that’s going to involve a lot of trial and error. In the meantime, I hope you still enjoy my more resourceful approach to digital art.

Getting back to the film, The Wailing is a South Korean horror movie about a police officer (Jong-goo) who is investigating a series of strange violent attacks and murders, that all involve the offender falling ill with a mysterious sickness before committing the crime. Soon into the investigation Jong-goo hears rumours of witchcraft and a terrifying naked man attacking people in the woods and eating raw flesh. Things rapidly go downhill for Jong-goo when his young daughter contracts the mysterious illness and doctors tell him they can do nothing. This leads to Jong-goo enlisting the help of a shaman and things take a bit of a demonic turn. Will the shaman be able to cure Jong-goo’s daughter or will it all end in tragedy?

The Wailing completely took me by surprise, I really wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. I went into this movie expecting it to be just another demon horror movie. The sort of film where a demon shows up and torments a family then possesses someone. Everyone freaks out and they call for the Padre or a paranormal fighting duo to come exercise the demon. You know, the type that are filled with jump scares and clichés and sends your heart racing. Luckily, The Wailing has a little more to it than that and is not your run of the mill demon themed horror movie.

You may be thinking now, what does this film have that all other demon movies don’t have? The answer to that question is suspense, breath-taking scenery and a rather unique storyline with one hell of a plot twist. The Wailing is a bit of a slow starter, but when it gets going glob does it suck you in. Between wanting to see if Jong-goo solves the mystery and finds the true cause of the sickness and sitting in suspense, waiting to find out if the daughter survives, this film gets you totally invested in the plot. The amazing scenes of greenery and countryside on top of that, just really holds your attention, keeping you glued to the screen.

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 My face after losing all those drawings. It also aged about 20 years in that moment.  

The brilliant twist and mind screw at the end, truly puts the cherry on the cake. I for one certainly didn’t see it coming and while viewing the last part of the film, I was in a state of confusion, wonder and awe watching the tale spin and mystery unravel. At one point, I was completely baffled over who was actually the evil one and really couldn’t tell. Both possibilities seemed equally as untrustworthy and both were creepy as fudge, with a presence that screamed evil.

Which takes me to my next point, like all good horror films The Wailing was incredibly creepy and really leaves a lasting impression on you. Meaning it could quite possibly keep you up at night, checking and rechecking that all the windows and doors of locked and secured. There’s just something about a naked demonic feral person, running around, eating raw deer and attacking people, that’s pretty terrifying. Not to mention, the horror of being attacked by a possessed extremely violent 9-year-old (you can’t punch a child, so not sure how you’d defend yourself against that one). Making this film pretty scary to watch at times.

The Wailing isn’t without its flaws, the biggest flaw being the excessive use of foul language (in the subbed version at least). This may seem like an overreaction to a bit of swearing, but it really isn’t the case. Truth be told I usually wouldn’t care about swearing or even notice there was swearing. However, this film goes a little too far with the strong language, like even the kid was swearing obscenely. It seemed as if they couldn’t even make it through a sentence without swearing, which really killed the atmosphere of certain scenes. Maybe in the subbed version someone got a little carried away when creating the subtitles and the actual version it isn’t as bad. But glob that amount of swearing really wasn’t necessary.

There are also a few strange bible references throughout this film, which may put off some viewers. But considering the ending of this film, those references are more like well hidden clues to how the film was going to end and who was actually the evil one. So, you can’t really cringe too hard at them. However, you could probably cringe rather hard at the acting from some of the minor characters. Their overacting is quite comical at times, but mostly it’ll have you holding your head in your hand and shaking your head in distaste. In saying that, the acting of those in the main roles more than makes up for this.

Overall, The Wailing is quite a good horror movie. It does have its shortcomings, but in whole it’s an interesting and very exciting watch. With its plot twists and interesting concept of how demonic possession works, The Wailing will really grab your attention. If you fancy a change from your typical demon horror movie like The Conjuring or The Exorcist and don’t mind reading subtitles, I would recommend giving this film a try. It quite the creepy watch and will please the lovers of horror.

Rating: 3.5/5

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Part 5)

thumbnail_c299d47c-f538-4f70-88a4-3114eb1a231eBefore I start this review, I’d like to say Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of the best anime I’ve watched in a long time and has won a well-deserved spot in my top 3 anime series. It’s so great in fact that I was rather heartbroken after finishing the entire anime and left wondering what to do with myself. Now that I can’t unwind to some alchemy and homunculi getting their butts whipped. But sure, it’s not all bad. This gives me the perfect opportunity to find another great anime to get my teeth sunk into. So, without moping over anime heartbreak any further, I bring to you the last in this series of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood reviews.

Providing a spoiler free description of part 5, is kind of hard to do. So, all I will say is a lot of arse kicking and deaths occurred in part 5 and a few awesome Armstrong moments. As for the ending, you’ll be happy to hear it was very satisfying, unlike a lot of anime that are ruined by very poor no-questions-answered and everything-in-the-air endings. Though, the ending is a little sad (Glob Envy nearly broke me) it still leaves you with a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside.

7557043a-3782-4dc6-b0bc-3b0efe467880The best thing about part 5 and the whole anime in fact, is how the plot unravels, twists and turns right in front of the viewer’s eyes. It’s extremely hard to be bored while watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It completely captures your attention, while having you on the edge of your seat, screaming for more and dying to find out how everything will end. For me at least the plot wasn’t that predictable. Although I could predict somethings (final correct prediction count-24 out of 46 predictions), there was a lot that took me totally by surprise and when making prediction it was very hard to pinpoint exactly what was going to happen. Making this anime a truly exciting watch.

Second to the plot, the characters are Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood next greatest aspect. Despite it incredibly large cast, most characters are very well put together. Some have very unique personalities and/or design, that makes them stand out from the others. Some also have little quirks that make them very entertaining and others are just so relatable, that you couldn’t help but get emotionally invested in their story. At times, your heart will break for certain characters, at other times you’ll find yourself cheering them on and on the other side of this, you’ll also find yourself wishing for a horrific death to be brought upon particular characters (*cough *cough Kimblee).

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Glob, I hope this isn’t too dark to have in this review.

Even the villains, you can kind of feel sorry for and relate to, at points in the show. Though, they are still monsters, they have very understandable motives for their actions. Some just wanted to please their father and are like lost little children and others just wanted to fill a void in their heart and feel whole. Things most people can at least sympathise with. The point I’m trying to make here is, that on top of its great storyline Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood characters make the anime a real emotional roller-coaster to watch.

In addition to an exciting plot and excellent characters Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has a lot of little tiny things that bring the anime to whole other level of enjoyment. These include its very cute chemistry references, clueless and hothead Ed moments, a great soundtrack, dramatic Armstrong moments and fun little animations that provides comic relief. The voice acting is also something that rises this anime to other level. However as good voice acting is something that is expected from an anime as popular as this one, I won’t lengthen this post any further by going into great detail. All I will say is, that it really sucks you in and can cause you to be captured in the moment, quite often in the anime.

thumbnail_9f4c51f9-efd8-4735-b47a-af1847c01e07Like all well balanced reviews, we’ve come to the negatives of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. To be honest, I really had to put on the surgical gloves, get out the nit-comb and start some thorough nit-picking, to come up with some negatives for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. One these being, that in the English dub version Al is very obviously voiced by a woman. Considering he spends most his time as a suit of armour in the anime, this could become annoying or confusing for some viewers. Personally, I had no problem with this and thought his voice was very sweet and made him very loveable. However, some viewers might not feel the same, it really depends on personal taste.

While we’re in the business of nit-picking, I suppose you could class Colonel Roy Mustang as a negative. He’s a bit of an annoying, arrogant character. Although you can admire his daringness and awesome fire alchemy, for the most part his character is a bit too full of himself and a tad self-centred. He didn’t seem to give much thought to what would happen to his men, if he got caught snooping and seemed shocked when they were punished for his actions. In true blunt Irish fashion, one could say his head was a little too far up his own backside, making him a rather dislikeable fellow.

thumbnail_db98f359-0b8e-42d3-9b70-aedd05239dd1But wait we’re not finished yet, there is still more nits we can pick in this anime. A little juicy one being, we don’t see enough of that cute little panda Shao May. Shao May just suddenly fades into the background and we don’t see anymore of their adorable panda Kung Fu (hmm… wonder if Shao May is related to Po the Dragon Warrior) or hilarious, yet mildly evil panda logic. Considering how intense this anime gets at times, some Shao May cuteness could have been put to good use and eased the heaviness.

Speaking of heaviness, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood can be really sad, at times and hit you right in the heart. Especially, part 1 of this anime and when it comes to characters background stories or their deaths. It can be incredibly heart wrenching to watch and may be enough to make the more sensitive of us cry. However, this anime uses comedy very well to keep the show becoming extremely depressing and never really leaves you feeling gloomy for long.

thumbnail_62c6e2ab-bec7-49ac-82be-80e6092065c4A few other things you could argue as negatives, is the length of the anime and gross giant Envy’s animation. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is 64 episodes long, so is a huge commitment to watch from start to finish. I finished this anime wanting more, so in my opinion its worth it. As for Envy’s animation, it is kind of poor when he mutates into giant gross monster Envy and his movements look very unnatural. However, considering how long ago this show was made (2009-2010) you can somewhat forgive this. Also, you never really find out what that thing made from performing Human Transmutation actually is (or maybe we do and I’ve forgotten, because the show is that long. Let me know in the comments, if you know what that creature was. Not knowing is kind of bugging me).

2a626d16-7892-456b-9328-eb198776a377Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an absolutely unbelievably great anime. It has all the features that make an anime incredible and then some. It’s the kind of show that will remind you why you love anime in the first place and why you got into it. Great storytelling mixed with amazing characters, really cool action scenes, shock and tragedy, topped with a sprinkle of comedy to prevent things getting too much, makes for one hell of a show. Unless you really nit-pick (like I did. Apologies for that, I really went to town on this anime), there isn’t much you can fault the anime for. So, for those reasons if you haven’t seen Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood yet, I would highly recommend placing it on top of your to watch list. Although, it is on the long side it’s completely worth it and you’ll most likely love every minute of it.

Rating: 5+/5 (It’s just that good)

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Yeah, I wasn’t going to end this review series without Chibi Armstrong.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Part 4)

thumbnail_c299d47c-f538-4f70-88a4-3114eb1a231eI’ve thankfully picked up the pace with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The threat of my oldest niece spoiling it on me, was enough for me to get my heinie in gear and get a move on with this series. My oldest niece spoiling Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood would definitely be more annoying, than her reminding me that she’s taller than me. Anyway, before I start rambling, I’ll give you a quick summary of what has happened in part 4.

Ed was impaled and nearly died, while Al struggled to remain conscious. That kick-ass team of Homunculus butt whoopers I was wishing for, happened (it was so awesome). We learnt the full story of Van Hohenheim past and that Papa Humpy (Father) is just a wrinkly old leather handbag and used to live in a flask. We also discovered that Envy was nothing more than a gross, unkillable talking leech.

Everyone eventually headed to central, where my opinion of Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong deteriorated. When she brutally assaulted her brother Alex the sparkly He-Man, then kicked him out of his home and kept having stabs at his sensitive personality. The saddest thing is, Alex saves her from being squashed by Sloth.

Kimblee’s head was nearly bitten of by a lion-man (it was great) and to my great pleasure, he died when he was eaten by Pride (Glob, I hated Kimblee so much). Pride also committed cannibalism and ate Gluttony and Colonel Mustang has finally made his move to take over central. Unfortunately, an army of unkillable zombies was released in central, putting a bit of a dampener on everyone’s plans.

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Chibi Alex

Before we go any further in this review, I’m just going to put my hands up and confess that I absolutely love this anime. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has literally blown its way into my top 5 anime series. It’s the best darn anime I’ve watched in ages and I’ve not been this excited about an anime in a very long time. Now that I’ve gotten my fangirling out of the way, on with the review.

Part 4 has had all the same great aspects as the 3 previous parts, however two things part 4 has made me aware of is, how great character development and design is in this anime. Character development wise, you really go on a journey with the characters. Van Hohenheim for example, I went from thinking he was a bit of a-hole for leaving his children, to feeling sorry for the guy, to falling in love with his character. His whole background story completely changes how you see Van Hohenheim, adding layers to his character and also makes you develop some empathy for the guy. Ed and Al’s, character development is almost as good as Van Hohenheim. They go from miserable little boys missing their Mummy, to being deeply remorseful and wanting their bodies back at all cost, to wanting to save everyone even if that means not getting back their bodies. Ed and Al really mature throughout the series. Ed even grows a little and looks less boy-like.

The character design in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is something I’ve been really enjoying. The diversity in how characters are drawn is just amazing and works really well together. For example, you have your very masculine sharply drawn characters like Van Hohenheim, the Chimeras, Scar, Alex and King Bradley. The more rounded softly drawn characters like Ed, Winry, May Chang, Pride, Colonel Mustang and Hawkeye. Then, the in-betweens like Ling Yao, Yoki, Kimblee and Hughes and also the extremely animated exaggerated characters like Sloth and Gluttony. There is just so many different drawing styles/character designs going on in this anime, which for me has been a breath of fresh air. Visually for an anime, there’s nothing worse than characters all looking the same, just with different hair styles or different eye and hair colours. It’s like they’ve been made with a cookie cutter or something.

2a626d16-7892-456b-9328-eb198776a377The only real downside to this anime is that it literally takes the characters ages to do anything. For instance, they said promise day was going to happen the next day and 4 episodes later, promise day still didn’t happen. Also, it took them 11 episodes to go to central to kick Papa Humpy’s butt and his butt still hasn’t been kicked. Like seriously I love this anime, but they’re taking the biscuit a bit with that. If I was in the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood universe, I would have given Papa Humpy a good butt whooping by now and be sitting down to a nice cup of Tea with Alex and Van Hohenheim. In saying that however, this is an annoying trope of this type of anime, so I guess I can’t be too harsh on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Overall, part 4 has been as excellent as the previous 3 parts. After, over 50 episodes it still has my attention firmly captured and still has me dying for more. It does have that “takes ages to do anything” trope, but considering how entertaining this anime is, you can kind of let that slide. As this is the best anime series I’ve seen in a very long time, I would highly recommend watching it if you haven’t seen it already.

Rating: 5/5

Predictions:
Now for the part I really enjoy, trying to predict how this anime will end. As these are the last predictions I will make. I’m limiting myself to 5 new predictions and a death list, to make them a little more focused. So far, I made 13½ correct predictions, so I’m confident I’ll get at least one right.

thumbnail_2b5f5f70-ea5d-4730-9b17-05af8ae3fa81My Final Predictions are:
-The zombies, I don’t think anyone is be able to control them. So, they’ll most likely escape into the city, where Briggs’s men will get into an epic fight with them. But as the zombies are unkillable, I predict that Dr Marcoh’s will turn up last minute, to use his Philosopher’s Stone destroying alchemy on them. Either that or they’ll have to trick Envy into absorbing them all.

-Papa Humpy can’t survive outside has container. But from the look of him, his container has seen better day and is starting to age/deteriorate. Therefore, I think Papa Humpy isn’t after an immortal army (he already has that), but is going use transmutation as a way to get a new container or fix/improve the one he has. To be honest, it this point in the anime that’s the only thing he could gain from transmutation. He already controls everything and has his army, so it’s the only thing that would make sense.

– Van Hohenheim and Papa Humpy are linked, so I think in order to kill Papa Humpy, Van Hohenheim is going to have to die, too (like Voldemort in Harry Potter).

– Truth (the shadow thing in the portal) will escape from the portal and Ed and Al will have to fight it, too.

– Hawkeye’s and Scar’s tattoos are going to have to come to play, at some point (otherwise why have them in the anime). Therefore, I predict that they will be the key to defeating Papa Humpy (or Truth if it escapes)

thumbnail_62c6e2ab-bec7-49ac-82be-80e6092065c4My Death list:
Colonel Mustang
Hawkeye
Scar
Izumi Curtis
Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong
The Homunculus and Papa Humpy (they have to die for the anime to come to a satisfying end)
Van Hohenheim (there’s been a lot of red flags with his character. He seems like he wants to die, so if he isn’t killed in the final battle, he’ll probably find another way to die. Like using Dr Marcoh’s Philosopher’s Stone destroying alchemy or letting Ed and Al use him to get their bodies back).

There’s still a lot of my previous predictions in play, but as this post is already rather long and I don’t want to make it any longer on you guys, so I’ll leave them out.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post and Thanks for reading.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Part 3)

thumbnail_c299d47c-f538-4f70-88a4-3114eb1a231eIt’s been a long time coming, but finally I can bring you my review for part 3 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. So, what took me so long? Without going too far into personal things, a lot of family stuff happened and I had to deal with/sort out a few things, leaving very little time for anime (or any other type of entertainment). Everything’s a little less hectic now, so I was able to finally finish part 3 and bring you this review.

So, what happened in part 3? Well, there was not as much butt whooping, but we did learn a hell of a lot about alchemy, the Homunculus, Papa Humpy (Father), Ed’s and Al’s father (Van Hohenheim) and the country’s history. Also, King Bradley has taken everyone hostage and is holding Colonel Mustang in a figurative headlock. Ling Yao has turned into an evil creep (I predicted that one). Ed and Al have joined the Night’s watch and gone to the Wall. Sorry I mean they’ve travel north to the icy Fort Briggs, ran by the most awesome anime woman ever, Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong.

Papa Humpy gave birth to a beautiful baby Gluttony through his boobs (it was a very confusing, disturbing experience) and we finally met Sloth. Who is like a giant annoying meerkat, that thinks everything is a pain. Also, Selim Bradley has shown his true creepy nature (predicted that one, too). Bebop and Rocksteady from teenage mutant ninja turtle showed up, for a fight with Scar and I’ve just realised, Ed and Al remind me of Asterix and Obelix from Asterix (or The Adventures of Asterix).

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The exact face I made, when Papa Humpy gave birth to baby Gluttony

As you can see an awful lot happens in part 3. But to be honest, this has been the least enjoyable part of the anime, so far. Don’t get me wrong, I still very much like this anime. It’s just that it’s starting to feel like they’re dragging things out a little too much. Causing me to slightly lose interest in some of the subplots. However, after 39 episodes that’s to be expected, I just hope part 4 manages to recapture my attention again.

On a more positive note, they’ve really laid off the depressing juice in part 3. Aside for Van Hohenheim background story, which had me fighting back the tears (it was very close but I remained dry-eyed). Part 3 was more upbeat and felt more geared towards providing answers and capturing the viewers’ attention, with weird creepy things and a twisted corrupted military.

The animation and characters are still as entertaining as ever. The animation has somehow managed to become even funnier (which isn’t an easy thing to do, so hats off to the animators). The characters have also become that bit more enjoyable and relatable. Particularly, the Ice Queen- Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong, who is now my favourite anime female. She’s so ruthless and tough, but also has a sense of fair play about her and hidden caring side. Her character has really won over my heart (not in a romantic way, more in a “I like the cut of your jib” way).

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Evil Ed Dancing

Opening wise, compared to Hologram, part 3’s opening (Golden Time Lover) is a real improvement. It no longer sounds like elevator music but was upgraded to caller on hold music. It’s still not great but it’s a move in the right direction. Thankfully, part 3’s ending more than makes up for this.

Overall, even though part 3 wasn’t as good as the 2 previous parts, it was still very enjoyable. Being very information heavy, it’s not the kind of thing you could easily binge watch. However, in saying that I still really love this anime and will definitely watch it to the end. The only down side is, when I finish Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I’ll have to find another great anime to review, which might prove hard.

Rating: 4.9/5

Predictions:
Things are about to get scary because so far, I’ve made 10 correct predictions. Have your tinfoil hats at the ready and prepare for dark times ahead, as I make even more predictions about the final 2 parts of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood:

-Firstly, there has been a little too much attention drawn to Al’s body in part 3. Ending with Al’s body calling out to him as he struggles through a blizzard. Making me think that somethings going to happen to his body. For that reason, I predict that Papa Humpy or King Bradley will find some way to use Al’s body for evil. For example, put a Homunculus, evil spirit or something along those lines, inside it.

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This post ended up a lot longer then expected. So, lets recap on this cute drawing.

-From the way Papa Humpy was talking, Papa Humpy and Van Hohenheim should be around the same age. However, Papa Humpy looks considerably older, so I predict that creating Homunculus costs Papa Humpy some of his life/immortality and makes him grow older.

-I foresee Papa Humpy and Van Hohenheim being some type of god like creature.

-Also, Ed and Al will turn out to be their father’s (Van Hohenheim) own type of Homunculus or they’ll be same the species as him. (The gold eyes make me think that)

– Van Hohenheim is going kick Papa Humpy’s butt and either him or Ed will be the one to kill/destroy him, in the end.

-Scar and Winry will become best buds.

-Scar’s definitely not making it to the end of this anime alive, so I suspect he’ll die saving someone else. Possibly Winry, Ed or May Chang.

-For dramatic effect, it’s better if Dr Marcoh’s group in the tunnels get caught. So, I predict that’s happening.

-Also, those two Chimeras will betray Dr Marcoh’s group. They’re acting way too cheesy for that not to happen.

thumbnail_9f4c51f9-efd8-4735-b47a-af1847c01e07-Al’s armour is starting to reject him, so I think his soul will end up trapped somewhere, causing Ed to have a major freak out.

– The Ice Queen- Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong, will be hauled away to central. I really can’t see King Bradley letting her stay at the fort, in a position of power, without having some level of control over her.

-The Crimson Alchemist (Kimblee) will die next (Just because I don’t like that character. He gets on my wick).

– My complete shot in the dark prediction, is that the Transmutation circle isn’t used to make a Philosopher’s Stone but is used to make another of the same species as Papa Humpy and Van Hohenheim.

-The White Walkers will bring down the wall with their ice dragon (oops wrong show).

-And of course, Ed and Al will get their bodies back, but that’s been completely obvious from the start.

Also, the predictions I still stand by from in part 1 and 2 are:
– Colonel Mustang isn’t going to making it to the end of this anime alive and will be the one who kills King Bradley, in the end.

– The creature made when performing human transmutation, is actually that shadow thing/God called Truth.

The Jungle Book (2016)

thumbnail_f256818e-292d-4bc9-9033-81e02c0306bbAs Disney films go, The Jungle Book has always been one of my favourites. Out of all the Disney movies I watched as a child (which was a lot. I was a 90’s kid), The Jungle Book had the best soundtrack (followed closely by Mulan) and would really get you up and singing along. It’s pretty hard to believe that anyone could resist singing along to The Bare Necessities.

Watching the live-action version of a childhood favourite has put me in very sentimental mood. So, I thought since I’m sitting here reminiscing about the days of The Rugrats and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I might as well make this movie, this week’s review.

The storyline to the live-action film, is pretty similar to The Jungle Book (1967), I watched as a child. A baby boy (Mowgli) is left alone in the jungle and is raised by wolves. An old bigoted tiger (Shere Khan) shows up one day, notices Mowgli the man-cub and decides he doesn’t want any man-cubs in his jungle. So, demands the man-cub be given to him, so that he can kill him (Glob, that’s actually rather dark and twisted). Mowgli doesn’t want to endanger his wolf family, so sets out to return to the man village, escorted by his panther friend Bagheera. However, things do not go to plan and Mowgli ends up going on an exciting adventure through the jungle, meeting a range of eccentric animals on his journey.

thumbnail_3b0b1417-ea85-4d73-8fcc-d9fe415a14faThis film is very CGI, with only one non-CGI character (Mowgli). The rest of the characters are CGI animals, which in my opinion were done very well. Granted you could tell they were computerised, but they still looked really good and moved like the real animals (not like some films, were the animals move like robots). CGI King Louie, even managed to thoroughly creep me out and will forever haunt my dreams. He was like a terrifying ginger King Kong, that disturbingly wanted people’s red flower.

To be honest, I was surprised by how good this live-action Jungle Book was. It managed to capture the fun of the cartoon 1967 version, without making any of the characters seem too over the top. They even had a few of those great songs from the cartoon version, which was a very nice touch to the film. The Jungle Book without “The Bare Necessities” and “I wan’na be like you”, just wouldn’t have been the same and just wouldn’t have been as enjoyable.

thumbnail_9eb92bf9-5fff-4110-91af-10eb8367882cHowever, one thing I do have to say about this film is, it’s a hell of a lot darker than the 1967 version and has more action scenes. Although, in my opinion this just sets it apart from the other versions of The Jungle Book. The only other small negative, is that Neel Sethi (Mowgli), acting isn’t that great at times. But considering how young he is and the fact all the other characters are CGI, I think this can be over looked.

Overall, the live-action Jungle Book (2016) is a rather enjoyable film. It has the fun of the 1967 version, while still managing to set itself apart from that version. Granted it was a bit dark and creepy, at times and that King Louie would look at home in any horror movie. However, the film as a whole is good enough over look this, if you dislike the dark and creepy. Personally, I still prefer Disney’s 1967 version of The Jungle Book, but I would say that this live-action version is worth watching, especially it you’re a fan of The Jungle Book.

Rating: 4/5

10 Cloverfield Lane

thumbnail_99cd16f9-f5c4-4073-b3ce-0afa27a427a1Have you ever read a movie description and thought the movie seems really good, just to be left sadly disappointed after watching it? That feeling of disappointment, would pretty much sums up this film. 10 Cloverfield Lane sounds so promising, but it just doesn’t deliver. But hey at least, it gave me an excuse to draw an underground bunker (it was so much fun), so with that in mind. On with the review.

In 10 Cloverfield Lane, a woman (Michelle) awakes after having a car accident and finds herself locked in basement-like room, chained to a pipe by the kneecap. Her captor (Howard), claims he found her unconscious in her car, on the side of the road and saved her from a chemical attack, that killed nearly all life on earth.

After claiming to be Michelle’s saviour, Howard frees Michelle from her chains but won’t let her leave his underground bunker, saying the air outside is contaminated and would kill her instantly. Now trapped underground, Michelle slowly realises there is something very wrong with Howard and ends up being sucked into a deadly game of house. Is Howard telling the true about the chemical attack and will Michelle make it out alive?

To be honest, 10 Cloverfield Lane starts of really strong and set a truly unnerving tone, that would make for a good Misery type thriller. Having Michelle awake in a creepy room, chained to a pipe with a Saw-like contraption, really gives you the feeling, things aren’t going to go well for Michelle. However, this level of intensity gets lost somewhere, causing the movie to feel a little flat. Probably because it tries to push too many reasons for why Howard is psychotic, at the viewer. Making the whole plot feel a little confused and lacking direction.

thumbnail_94b4c701-80df-42c5-b3a1-43cf0a1e5869In saying that, John Goodman (who plays Howard), does a really good job of portraying a disturbing unstable psychopath. They really didn’t need to give the viewer a reason why Howard was psychotic. Just from the demeanour John Goodman gave off as Howard and from his facial expression and strange body language, it was pretty clear that the character Howard wasn’t stable and had some serious issues. At points in the film, it shows glimpses of Howard’s face and it’s enough to make your blood run cold. It’s just very disturbing, which really shows how well John Goodman played the role of Howard.

I can’t say much more about 10 Cloverfield Lane, without making this into a complete rant post, so I’ll quickly conclude and give you my final thoughts. Although, John Goodman does a really good job of making 10 Cloverfield Lane feel very unnerving and adding suspense to this film. The film itself just lacks direction and its very messy ending completely reflects this (it was like they had another 20 minutes of film to make, so they randomly threw an alien and its warship into the mix, just to make up the time). 10 Cloverfield Lane sounds like it has the potential to be a great thriller, but it just doesn’t deliver. For this reason, I would say if you’re looking to watch a thriller, look elsewhere. There’s just so many more better thrillers you could spend your time watching, other than 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Rating: Due to John Goodman great acting, a generous 2/5

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Part 2)

thumbnail_c299d47c-f538-4f70-88a4-3114eb1a231eFinally, I’ve finished watching Part 2 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I know, what the fudge? How can it take you that long to watch 13 episodes? Well, I was savouring it (Only joking, I’m watching a lot of other series and it takes a while to get around to them all).

So, what has happened since part one? Nothing much really, just a lot of plot building and butt whooping’s. Ed and Al are still looking for the Philosopher’s Stone and getting their butts kicked. Colonel Mustang, isn’t as smart as he thinks and got screwed over big time. A few people from Xing have showed up, to join the battle for the Philosopher’s Stone. We’ve learnt a lot more about King Bradley and the Homunculus and got a glimpse of their Papa. Envy is also ironically very ugly and Gluttony has given us all nightmares about being engulfed by a giant ass eyeball, with big pointy, pointy teeth. (That’s all I can say without spoiling it)

Now for the important part, after 26 episodes is this anime still entertaining. Strangely, it has managed to become even more so. It has really lightened up on the heavy depressing storyline and has gotten very interesting. There still are a few sad moments in part 2, but there’s also a lot more scheming and plotting and a couple more uncertainties thrown into the mix. As well as, more humour and funny animation, preventing the tragic and death-filled story getting too much.

In part 2, we do get a few answers to things and a few characters backstories. However, this leads to more mysteries and more questions. So, overall Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is starting to get very exciting and suspenseful.

thumbnail_db98f359-0b8e-42d3-9b70-aedd05239dd1At this stage, I can still only find a few nit-picky things wrong with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. One being the change of opening. Again (Yui), was a great opening to have a little sing song and a boogie to (I know, I’m super cringey sometimes), but with the new opening (Hologram), I’m just not feeling it. It feels a little like elevator music. But sure, it’ll probably be changed again in part 3, so we’ll not get too caught up on that.

As good as part 1 and 2 was, I do have a few little concerns about part 3. These being, that the short jokes might start to get annoying and that some of its references might go a little too far (when it comes to history, I know almost nothing. Yet even I am starting to question some of its references).

Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood part 2 was very exciting. It manages to satisfy your thirst for answer in part 1, while still remaining suspenseful and thicken its plot. To be honest after watching part 2, I like this anime even more and haven’t felt bored once watching it. I’m truly starting to understand the hype around this anime.

Rate so far: 5/5

Predictions:
Surprisingly, I got two predictions right and one half right, last time.
We all might want to start getting the tinfoil hats ready and start looking for a nice cave to hide in, if I get more right. I hardly ever get plot predictions right, so there’ll have to be something seriously wrong with the universe, for that to happen.
Anyway, ignoring that worrying thought, here my new predictions:

Human Transmutation Predictions
-The city where central is, will turn out to be a giant Transmutation circle and everyone who live there will be human sacrifices.

– The creature made when preforming human transmutation, is actually that shadow thing/God called Truth, in Homunculus form. Truth is obviously a reflection of the person traveling through the portal, therefore the Homunculus produced will also reflect them. (Pretty sure at this point, that human transmutation doesn’t make anything human).

-As Ed has just open the portal and travelled through, this also means he’ll have made his own Homunculus (it’ll be a grumpy little Homunculus).

thumbnail_2b5f5f70-ea5d-4730-9b17-05af8ae3fa81Father of The Homunculus (Papa Humpy) Predictions
-Ed’s and Al’s father, is also father of the Homunculus or is somehow related to him. From the glimpses we get of Papa Humpy, he looks ridiculously similar to Ed’s and Al’s father.

-Papa Humpy is also not human, but is some type of unholy demon, super Homunculus or other being.

-Papa Humpy will take Al captive and use him a bargaining tool, to get Ed to do his bidding

Character Predictions 
-Ling Yao’s backstory is a little too close, to the backstory of the evil guy from frozen. Therefore, I predict he will eventually turn evil. Ling seems to want the Philosopher’s Stone as much, as evil the guy in frozen wanted to be king. So, I really think he’d be willing to turn evil to get it.

-Scar, Ed, Al and the people from Xing, will all come together to make the ultimate Homunculus fighting force.

-Selim Bradley is giving me the pure creeps (getting a real Damien Omen vibe from that kid), so I predict he’ll follow in his adoptive father’s footsteps and become a sociopathic psychopath, too.

– Colonel Mustang, will be the one who kills King Bradley in the end.

– And the next characters to die will be, Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, Ling Yao’s or Scar. Also, I definitely think Colonel Mustang isn’t making it to the end of this anime alive.

Also, I still stand be the following predictions made in part 1:
-Ed is not human, but is some other type of being that’s not yet been introduced to the plot. (Possibly the same as Papa Humpy)

– Scar will turn out, to not be as bad as he’s currently looking. Or will have some type of weird epiphany and want to help Ed and Alphonse.

– Ed’s and Alphonse’s Father, I foresee as being a Tywin Lannister type character or his absence was to protect his sons, in some way.