Full Metal Alchemist to end

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So Full Metal Alchemist is going to be ending soon. FMA has been a consistently good shounen manga since 2001 and garnered TWO anime series based off of it (one because people complained the first was so shitty). FMA was the third most popular manga in Japan last year, behind One Piece and NANA and just ahead of Naruto, so its ending is significant to alot of people, particular in the downturn of manga sales in recent years.

But does having a foreseeable ending make FMA better? If we were to compare it to something similar, like say LOST (an American TV Show, for those who didn’t know -_-), a few similarities can be made. After the third season of LOST, the series had begun to stagnate and many felt it wasn’t going anywhere. But then they announced the series would end in 2010 and began writing the series with the ending in mind and the series became watchable again. While I haven’t read or watched FMA yet, I have heard that it does seem to be going somewhere right now and its making a fair few of my friends excited.

Currently Naruto doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon, with Naruto back in some kind of training and no foreseeable showdown between Naruto or Sasuke coming soon (which should be the way to end the series). I think Naruto is kind of flailing right now, there’s only so much character development you can have with a single character, particularly in training phases. Bleach is a little unpredictable right now, as all the major players have arrived on the scene and the series could end soon, but thus far there’s been no indication or hint of that happening. In fact, I have a feeling Kubo will extend it further with some kind of Aizen shenanigans. And from what I’ve heard, One Piece similarly doesn’t seem to be ending.

One of my favourite shounen series was Eyeshield #21. The series had very good pacing and character development, which was largely helped because there was an end goal, the Christmas Bowl, which had to eventually occur in the series. Its also one of the reason tournament style shounen series do so well (Yu Yu Hakushu, Flame of Recca and even Dragonball Z at times). They force story progression down an albeit limited path, but it doesn’t really feel like it stagnates at any point.

So does a shounen series need an ending to be great? I think so. We can say that Naruto, One Piece and Bleach were great at times, but we can’t say the series was great. In two months time though, I think we’ll be able to say FMA was one of the best series ever made.