Happy birthday, helike!
I reread this recently. Not going to say anything about the plot; I've already ranted enough about that over the years. Still hate the ending; still like Jezebel best out of everyone.
Of course, since I reread it, now I want to write fanfic again. Although I do seem to say that anytime I reread anything.... I'd like to write some fic with Uncle Neil in it, since he seems to get no almost no attention from this fandom (except for occasionally getting to appear as the bad guy who's trying to BREAK UP CAIN AND RIFF OH NOES!!!1). I'd also like to write something about Suzette, since she gets such flimsy characterization in canon.
I finally got Mom to read this, and she liked it. My talent seems to be for getting random people who don't read manga to read Death Note.
Now I feel like I also want to reread it sometime this summer. It's occurred to me how well-plotted this series is in comparison with most other manga. Shounen manga seem to have this huge weakness for having the plot drag on and on for no conceivable reason (and for having 80-page fight scenes), so I love that Death Note really has none of that. I really feel like a lot of shounen authors could stand to learn a thing or two here....
I have to admit, though, I sort of hate most of the fandom for this series. It annoys me every time how big of a disconnect there is between the (basically unemotional, ruthless) tone of canon and the way that fanon tends to be all OMG SPARKLES AND UNICORNS L AND LIGHT CAN EAT COOKIES IN HEAVEN FOREVAH NOW YAYYYYY!!!!!! Also, I don't ship anyone in this series. I just can't do it. So I always end up feeling slightly left out. XD
Reread this also. Actually, before I'd read all of it except for the very last chapter. Don't remember now if there was a specific reason why I didn't read the last chapter, of if I just sort of didn't feel like it. -.-
Things I like about this manga:
-- I really appreciate that Ed has more personality than most shounen heroes. I hate the thing where, simply because a character is the protagonist, they end up becoming a shining paragon of heroicness instead of an actual person. And Kurosaki Ichigo, I am looking at you. >.>
-- Hawkeye. Don't ask my why, but she's consistently been one of my absolute favorite characters.
-- Ishval/Ishbal/etc. I love it. I enjoy any time a series lets some of its good guys do something really awful without turning around and saying NO WAIT, IT WAS ALL A MISTAKE; TURNS OUT [INSERT 5000 MITIGATING FACTORS HERE].
-- I like the rules of alchemy. Manga that involve anything supernatural seem to have a bad habit of not having any clear rules about what is/isn't possible in this universe, which drives me absolutely up the wall, so I liked how the rules for alchemy are set out right away. (And the fact that there's almost always a definite reason for any exceptions to them.) It made me feel like Arakawa always knew what she was doing when she wrote something.
-- Kimbley. Every time I read this, I think, 'This time, I won't end up liking that psycho, Kimbley.' But then, invariably, I actually do end up liking him. At least he's an interesting sociopath. And I liked his... I don't want to call it a redemption, but his little bit at the end there with Pride. If nothing else, Kimbley clearly does have his own weird set of morals which he follows consistently.
-- The plotting seems a lot tighter than many other manga. Still not nearly as tight as Death Note, but not bad. For the most part the fight scenes aren't abnormally long either, and the things that happen during a fight matter instead of just being filler.
-- I really like Ling! Another one where I'm not really sure why I like this character. Possibly because he's so adorable and amusing when he first shows up?
Things I don't so much like:
-- Ed and Winry. It's not that I actively dislike their relationship; I'm basically indifferent to it. But feels superfluous to me. Also, it irritates me somewhat because it seems like something of a stock relationship. I don't understand the trope of childhood friends = true love forever. I mean, I'm sure it happens, but I don't understand it. It seems to be a very consistent thing in manga that if a male character has a female childhood friend, they're very likely to end up together. But why? Some of the things that were clearly meant to illustrate how much Winry matters to Ed didn't really track for me either. I hadn't realized that wanting to marry someone when you were a little kid meant that you would obviously still feel the same way years and years later. (Doesn't anyone ever grow up and meet new people?)
At any rate, I don't like to general feeling of that trope because to me it seems to imply that men and women can't have a close but platonic relationship, so I find it very limiting.
-- The preoccupation with almost everyone who's plot-important being a ridiculously amazing fighter, even when it doesn't actually contribute anything to the plot. It started to get on my nerves after a while that almost everyone, regardless of what other skills or talents they have, is invariably also capable of kicking some serious ass in a physical confrontation. Why aren't there more people who are very clever but physically weak or even just average? And why do so many of the alchemists also seem to be well-versed in hand-to-hand combat? Wouldn't they actually be less likely than most to have ever bothered with such a thing? And what about Ling? I know that he's afraid of being assassinated, but it still doesn't make much sense. Aside from the fact that it's his bodyguards' job to protect him, how would skill in hand-to-hand combat actually come in that useful for him himself? Wouldn't an assassin be more likely to shoot him or poison him anyway, than run up to him and try to beat him to death?
I miss this fandom a lot. Hetalia's still my favorite. I'd sort of like to start watching hetalia again, except that it updates so constantly that it makes my flist a billion pages long and that annoys me way too much to be worth it. So instead I end up settling for being sort of out of the loop.
Naruto: Okay, so I actually stopped reading this about a billion years ago. Talk about series where nothing happens for 50 chapters at a time. >.>
For people who are still following it: has anything interesting happened? Is it worth catching up on? Actually, I probably still won't get caught up with it, so you should seriously just tell me everything that's happened for the past nine months or so. Seriously, I'll thank you.