The Platypus, my Opinions and Me 5

I wrote this in response to a friend who posted a blog entry about heroes and memes over a year ago:

Yes, I am a fan of anime; right now, my two favorites are FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Naruto: Shippuden! And the reason I'm in to these particular shows is one word: pluck.

Both main characters, Naruto and Edward Elric (Naruto: Shippuden! and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, respectively) are literally and figuratively the shortest dogs in the fight; two very powerful human beings who through sheer will and sticktoitiveness increased their abilities exponentially! They never stop, they never quit! Sure, there are many real life artist, writers, athletes, scholars, etc. who also have pluck, but there's something about these two characters that speak to me more than there real life counterparts.

In Nartuo's case, he's been an outcast since birth! He was born into a village of ninjas and when said village was attacked by a very dangerous creature called the nine-tailed fox. After a large amount of death and destruction, in a last ditch effort, the nine-tailed fox was sealed inside the infant Naurto for safe keeping. As a result, the villagers shunned him and kept their kids away from him, causing our young hero to grow up an outcast amongst the other villagers. As a student, he seems to have little to know potential but refuses to give up! He decides to tackle his weakest skill first: the Shadow Clone Jutsu. With the help of his sensei, support from his squad and fellow ninjas, sheer determination and countless tries, he not only masters said jutsu but also the Rasengan, a very powerful technique he uses (with the shadow clones jutsu) to help vanquish his opponents.

Of course, it's not that easy. He has to put up with doubt in his abilities, doubt from some of the very ninjas that told him that he should give up, 'cause they have, no to mention the growing presence and influence of the nine-tail fox that grows stronger and stronger within him. Add to that the difficulty of just about every mission that he and his squad have to complete, and what you have is a hero steeped in hardship...and he seems to RELISH it! I've only seen him nearly give up once! Once. And that was for about a minute before he hit the internal "reset button" and went right back to work. He's been nearly killed dozens of times and seems to come back stronger. He also seems to be the cheerleader that gets everyone out of the funk of a bad situation; he's the rallying cry that turns every football game around! The "c'mon, we can do it, we're the insert favorite sports team name here!!!" And, it works every time, he won't even let his teammates give up! His nickname is the "The Number One Knuckle-Headed Ninja", he just too stubborn to quit!

Likewise for Edward Elric, but he fights for a different reason. Edward and his brother, Alphonse studied Alchemy as children (not real Alchemy. Alchemy in this since is sort of like nerdy magic--sorry, I haven't had enough caffeine to fully describe it, but that's close enough for gov't work). In this world Alchemy is used to transmute inanimate objects into anything you can dream of. If you have a quarter for example, an alchemist can draw a transmutation circle and transmute that quarter into a bird or a sword...but it'll still be made of the same material that the quarter's made of and will be roughly the size and shape of said quarter. You can't however, transmute the dead. Or a soul. Which is exactly what the brothers try to do after their mother dies; attempt to bring her back to life...with disastrous results! Edward loses a leg and his brother is well, gone! Ed then does another transmutation to get his brother's soul back, this time losing an arm. But he gets Alphonse's soul and seals it in a suit of armor. Luckily, their close family friend takes the brothers in after this ordeal (Ed and Al's father had long since left.). Added bonus, Ed and Al's surrogate family by trade make and maintain prosthetic limbs called automail, which is exactly what Ed needs for his newly amputated arm and leg and what Al needs for his suit of armor. After a year or trying to deal with the death of their mother, the inability to bring her back to life and the consequence of said action, Ed decides makes a vow practically swears a blood oath on all that is holy that he will get their bodies back to their original forms.

And, Ed is just like Naruto; same song, second verse! Ed and Al have been shot, shot at, stabbed, de-powered, blown up or eaten by Hommunculi (undead beings that were brought to life after other alchemist tried to bring someone back to life...well, at least that how it was in "Full Metal Alchemist".  In "Full Metal Alchemist:Brotherhood", they tend to be created by a character by the name of "father".), and they act as if the word "quit" was removed from their dictionary.  I won't ruin the ending of this serious, but things get really grim for these brothers and there were times in the series where I actually thought about turning off the show 'cause, well, shit got real!

And through all of the things that our heroes and their allies have had to deal with, they keep getting right back up!  Ed and Al don't have as much power as Naruto, but what they lack in power, they make up for it in cunning and smarts.  Many times when Ed was nearly killed, at the eleventh hour, he thinks of a brilliant way to beat his opponent and makes it happen.  I'm sorry if that's vague, but folks I know tell me I've got spoiler issues, so all I can say is check these shows out!

They are compelling, entertaining, uplifting and just made of good stuff!