0 Items | £0.00


Aaron Dismuke and Vic Mignogna are Brothers Beyond

Thursday 9th June 2011

Andrew Osmond quizzes the lead voices in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

The two Alchemist anime share some of the same voice-talents, both in Japan and America. In Japan, the brothers in both versions are played by two women, Romi Park as Edward and Rie Kugimiya as Alphonse. Casting adult women as boys is a common practice in animation, especially TV anime. It’s even spoofed in an episode of the American cartoon Avatar The Last Airbender, where the young hero – who is voiced by a boy – is shocked to find a woman playing him on stage. However, when the first Fullmetal Alchemist series was dubbed in America, Alphonse was voiced by 12-year-old Aaron Dismuke, alongside the grown-up performer Vic Mignogna as Edward.

Mignogna and Dismuke played the Elric brothers through the first series and the Shamballa film. However, by the time Brotherhood came around, nature had taken its course, Dismske’s voice had matured and another Alphonse was needed. The dubbing director Mike McFarland director chose actress Maxey Whitehead, who had previously played Antonio in Romeo x Juliet; her other parts include Crona, a supporting character in Soul Eater. With Mignogna back as Edward, we effectively have an “old” brother paired up with a “new” one, although Dismuke can be still heard in Brotherhood as a young version of the boys’ dad.

Vic MignognaAccording to Mignogna, the return of Alchemist was completely unexpected for the dub team. “I don’t think anyone had any clue. I did a couple of anime conventions with Seiji Mizushima, who directed the first series and Shamballa, and he made it clear he would not be doing any more Alchemist,Mignogna remembers. “He didn’t say why, but my guess is that he felt really good about the way Alchemist ended, and he had told the story he wanted to tell.” Indeed, Brotherhood has a new director, Yasuhiro Irie.

“We were surprised and excited, and to be honest we were also a little concerned,” Mignogna says. “The original series had turned out so well; could the new series replicate the same combination of writing and characters?” One difference between the old and the new shows is that Brotherhood has far more comic interludes where Edward shouts out his frustrations, often related to his pipsqueak size. Mignogna ruefully agrees there are more scenes designed to rip up his vocal cords. But, he points out, “The comedic moments are often right in the middle of serious, heavy-duty scenes. From the point of view of the plot, Brotherhood is much darker than the first Alchemist; it starts out feeling like comedy, but gets heavier and heavier and heavier. The comedy is there for precisely that reason.”

WhiteheadWhitehead, meanwhile, came to Alchemist entirely new. How does she see her character? “I love Al!” she says with obvious affection. “He’s sweet, but at the same time he’s really strong. I love that he is so brave, how he bounces back with such resilence, and the way his goodness can bring out the really good things in other people. He’s been through so much; he’s lost his mum and dad and then his whole self, and the fact he can be the sunshine among the crazy dark stuff is great for people of any age to take away from the show. It’s an honour to be voicing him!” However, Whitehead stresses we see Al growing up, and having to be less dependent on Edward. She cites an early battle between Al and a serial killer called Barry the Chopper, who causes Al to doubt his brother and question his own identity. “He has to become his own person,” Whitehead says.

The actress has inherited Al’s famous bowl – a small metal mixing bowl (“a bit bigger than a cereal bowl”) that’s set up on a music stand for the actress to speak through. It gives Al’s soft voice its characteristic metal timbre, befitting an animated suit of armour. Of course, any actor or actress playing Alphonse has a huge advantage over the rest of the cast. As Al’s head is only a metal helmet (except on the occasions when we see Al as human), there are no pesky mouth flaps to match!

On the soundtrack, Whitehead’s Alphonse sounds startlingly similar to Dismuke’s. “There were times when I was recording to her lines and I forgot that it wasn’t Aaron,” says Mignogna (as is common in anime dubs, the actors record their lines separately). However, Whitehead chose not to listen to Dimuske’s performance in the earlier series. “I sound like Aaron just being myself,” she explains. “If I spent too long listening to his Alphonse, then I’d be an impersonator.”

Mignogna points out that Al in Brotherhood will go through different twists, turns and changes than those that anime viewers have seen before. Mignogna is especially fond of a “crazy” adventure he’s dubbed where Ed and Al find themselves in a monster’s stomach!

And, being meanies, we have to ask Mignogna the unfair question: which of the two Alchemist anime does he prefer? Naturally, he declines to answer. “Even when Brotherhood is over, I don’t know if it would be possible for me to pick one over the other,” he says. “But if the ending of Brotherhood is just unbelievably dynamic and impactful...” Let’s hope, for Mignogna’s sake, that it’s stunning.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 4 is out on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.


Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Four

was £24.99
Alchemy – the mystic science of transmutation. Gifted alchemists can break down and reconstruct matter using the “Law of Equivalent Exchange,” creating miraculous things. But one taboo can never be broken - human transmutation. The Elric brothers Edward and Alphonse broke the taboo in an attempt to resurrect their late mother and as a result, lost everything. Al’s soul was transferred to a suit of living armor and Ed lost two limbs, confining him to mechanical auto-mail. To recover what they’ve lost they embarked on a journey to find the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. The closer they get to the hidden truth of the Philosopher’s Stone, the deeper they fall under shadowy schemes and the perils of unnatural creatures. The military nation of Amestris, the grudges and hatreds of a persecuted people, and the countless tragedies caused by alchemy all form a dark vortex that will draw people and countries into its void. The Elric brothers forge ahead in their quest to transmute despair into hope...



One Piece. Pieces of Hate

Been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt....
Of the anime titles turned into T-shirts by Uniqlo, One Piece is the biggest – the reigning king of all the anime and manga franchises, pretty much unchallenged in the 16 years since Eiichiro Oda began the manga, and 14 since Toei Animation started animating it. But perhaps Uniqlo would have turned One Piece into a line of shirts even if the saga hadn’t been a world hit. Just look at those pirate designs – brash, cartoony, uncompromising. There’s no whiff of a committee, no hint of a five-year product plan reliant on changing a heroine’s hair colour (or deepening her cleavage). It just helps that the pictures are as commercial when they move as they are when they’re a cool static graphic in a manga, or on the front of a T-shirt.

One Piece: Strong World

The Straw Hats Pirates come together for an adventure like no other...
Written by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda himself, Strong World leads the Straw Hats into the deadly path of Golden Lion Shiki.

One Piece - ninja or pirates?

Matt Kamen turns video pirate!
“Ninja or pirates?” While Naruto – representing the ninja corner, of course – has proven hugely popular, UK fans have long been unable to weigh in on the other side. With the long-awaited arrival of One Piece on DVD this May, that finally changes.

One piece: Crew Manifest #1

Matt Kamen finds out who’s who in the One Piece anime
Monkey D. Luffy: The founder and captain of the Straw Hats, Luffy is a carefree soul who wants to become king of the pirates. After eating the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit, he gained an elastic body, making him near-invulnerable and able to stretch but paradoxically making him unable to swim.

One Piece: Crew Manifest #2

Back at sea for volume two of One Piece
Before you set sail on the second round of voyages for One Piece, brush up on who you’ll be encountering in this latest volume of nautical nonsense

One Piece music: TOMATO CUBE

Tom Smith on One Piece’s TOMATO CUBE
One-hit wonders. Every country has them. And, as PSY can most likely attest, very few musicians really want to be labelled as one. Sure, it’s all fun, games and fancy dinners when that royalty cheque floats through the letter box. The one with all the zeroes from that single from yesteryear that went massive. But what about the rest of your work? It must be somewhat unsatisfying as an artist to be known for one track, while everything else remains relatively overlooked, and expectations are high for that difficult follow up single. If you’re TOMATO CUBE, you do nothing. Ever again.


Fairy Tail Music: Idoling!!!

Tom Smith on the music to part nine
Even without the tie-in with anime, Idoling!!! had had a strong presence on television. After all, the group were created by a bunch of media moguls from Fuji TV. They figured out that by appealing to two of Japan’s more dedicated entertainment fangroups, idol fans and TV junkies, that they could be on to a winner.

Mysterious Cities of Gold: The Game

Some day we will find...
The game Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths is rolling out as a digital download across multiple platforms. This month it becomes available on the Nintendo 3DS and Amazon, following launches on the Wii U, iPad, iPhone and Steam.

Anime Streaming Sites

Legal ways to mainline your Japanese animation
The new Manga Entertainment podcast includes a discussion of legitimate anime streaming sites – in other words, the ones that send money to the Japanese studios which make anime, thereby supporting the industry. (Rather than the other streaming sites, which just steal anime and make it less likely there’ll be anime to steal in the future.)

Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2014

Jasper Sharp gets down with the kids
The Japan Foundation’s annual touring film programme is back for another year, and kicking off at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts at the end of the month. Now in its tenth iteration, the season offers audiences across the UK an insight into Japan and its cinema by way of a wide-ranging and accessible selection of titles assembled under a certain theme. This year, that theme is youth, with the eleven-film ‘East Side Stories: Japanese Cinema Depicting the Lives of Youth’ programme travelling to eight venues across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 31 January to 27 March.

Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust

The grand finale of the SF eggstravaganza
It is a real testament to how far things have progressed in the U.K. that this trilogy has been released uncut; in the 1990s the BBFC would never have allowed it. In that sense, the ten years it has taken Ubukata to get his books on-screen may, despite the frustrations caused him personally, have ended up benefiting U.K. audiences.

Ghost in the Shell: Innocence

Jasper Sharp on Oshii's Innocence abroad
Mamoru Oshii’s unashamedly esoteric sequel to his earlier global crossover Ghost in the Shell lent the most credibility to claims for anime as ‘Art’ with a capital ‘A’, when it became the first animated film from Japan to be entered in competition at Cannes.
Contact Us   |   Refund Policy   |   Delivery Times   |   Privacy statement   |   Terms & Conditions
Please note your card statement will show billing by MVM. Aaron Dismuke and Vic Mignogna are Brothers Beyond from the UK's best Anime Blog.