Takes on the all-Japanese cast of the upcoming live action Fullmetal Alchemist film seem to cover the spectrum of reservation, optimism, and apathy, but original anime director Seiji Mizushima has at least made his opinion known. During a roundtable discussion at Tokyo's 2017 Nikufes (Meat Festival--which may seem random, but the festival has been promoting itself with idol and anime song performances) the director of the popular anime series stated that “It was a bad idea to only use Japanese actors", reports Anime News Network.

The comments were made during an open discussion with Hiroshi Kanemaru (Popin Q) and Tomoki Misawa (Urawa no Usagi-chan), while talking about anime as a rising presence in Japanese media and thoughts on the upcoming film. Mizushima elaborated that his concerns had to do with respecting both the aesthetic and atmosphere depicted in the original manga, saying “If you asked me whether I think the cast could pull it off, I'd say that no, they can't...It's hard for actors to capture the look and feel of the original manga.”

Mizushima's criticism isn't limited to Fullmetal Alchemist, however, he seems to take an issue with live action adaptations of anime in general, saying that "Gintama just looked stupid" and calling Terraformars a poor adaptation. The roundtable concluded that 2D animation allows for more freedom in expression than live action.

Mizushima did clarify that he is rooting for the film's success, and that while he prefers anime productions, supports the rise of popularity that live action adaptations can create.

As for live action director Fumihiko Sori's take on adapting the source material and the cast's ethnicity, he said "I want to create a style that follows the original manga as much as possible. The cast is entirely Japanese, but the cultural background is Europe. However, it's a style that doesn't represent a specific race or country...there will never be a scene in which a character says something that would identify him/her as Japanese."

Ryosuke Yamada, who plays Edward Elric in the live action film, also addressed the casting concerns in CUT magazine:

First of all, Edward Elric isn’t Japanese, right? Playing [the role] while figuring out how to digest that within myself was something I really struggled with. I thought of how I could show that without making it feel out of place. I think that was a difficult problem that the rest of the cast probably struggled with too. Each one of us prepared for these roles with all our might, facing them earnestly, and I think we completely cleared [the hurdles]. I think that fans of the manga are still in a state of ‘how, how?’ so in regards to that, I think that’s what I want them to feel reassured about.

Source: Hagarenmovie Tumblr

By - grape Japan editorial staff.