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Focal Point – Reboot!

Well, it’s been about a year since I started (and soon afterward stopped) writing editorials for Random Curiosity. But, I’m back. It seems like I’m not the only one who has left and subsequently returned to write for Omni. Makes me wonder what sort of spell he’s cast on us… Regardless, I am once again here to grace you with overly garrulous, superfluously verbose, excessively long-winded, and TLDNR editorials filled to the brim with a cornucopia of inane hyperlinks, gross hyperboles, outlandish hypocrisy, and exaggerated opinions pontificated by yours truly. Oh! I also forgot to mention the ludicrously difficult-to-read run-on sentences that would probably sound a lot better if they were read by this guy. Yeah, it’s good to be back!


The “reboot” (as is used in serial works of fiction) should really be classified as a sub-category of the adaptation. After all, both take a previous piece of fiction and “butcher” it in a way that often upsets FANS (I capitalize to emphasize the type of fan that makes the rest of us groan with our foreheads nestled in our palms), while at the same time potentially enticing newcomers to an established series.

Truly, the only real difference between the two is that the reboot does not transcend different media. While an adaptation can go from a book to a movie or from a manga to an anime, a reboot (if we were to strictly define it in an objective way that appeases my nature as an obsessive-compulsive high school science teacher) may go from a movie to a movie or, as is the Focal Point (ooh! clever!) of this editorial, an anime to an anime.

While it’s only been fairly recently (in my opinion), that Hollywood has been trying to reboot movie franchises, such as Batman, James Bond, and Star Trek, anime has been doing it for a long time already. There is a natural reboot via the OVA-TV series transition. The rebooting can be in either direction, with the TV series rebooting what an OVA started (i.e. Kodomo no Omocha) or the OVA rebooting what a TV series has done (i.e Hellsing / Hellsing Ultimate). And then, there are those series that seem to just come with a natural reboot, like Digimon (after Adventure and 02), Gundam (Wing and the latest 00 are not part of the Universal Century timeline), and even not-anime-but-Japanese series, like the Transformers cartoons (Car Robots vs. the Unicron trilogy – and please, let’s not argue about whether Transformers is Japanese or not) and Super Sentai (Power Rangers) series. Now, that I think about it, the Japanese sure love to reboot! I mean, how many anime shows (let’s not even try to count live-action dramas or movies) are there for stories based on “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” and “Journey to the West?”

But, let’s try to remain topical and current, so the two examples of an anime reboot that immediately come to mind from this anime season are Dragonball Kai and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.


I’m so glad all the filler from Goku’s journey down Snake Road was removed. That trip took 13 episodes originally and was cut down to 3 episodes

Now I must admit, I enjoy watching Dragonball Kai, which is arguably less of a reboot and more of a re-edit (cutting out the filler that wasn’t in the original manga and parsing down the ridiculously extended yet infamous power-up and fight scenes). I started watching Dragonball Z over a decade ago: some of it dubbed on Toonami (R.I.P.) back in its hey-day and some if it before that on old VHS tapes with Chinese subtitles. After some of the extended fights against Frieza, I really started to tire of the anime and switched to the manga, in order to quickly digest the story, which I found fairly delightful (yes, it’s shounen; yes, it’s formulaic; and yes, I like it if it’s done well… and, yes, you and I may disagree on what is to be considered well-done, but I’m write……….ing and you’re not). More than 10 years later now, there’s just enough nostalgia and a decent story line that I can sit back and relax after a hard day’s work of trying to educate emotional yet lazy teenagers with the attention span of a gnat by watching the show. Obviously, it’s not mind-riveting entertainment; Dragonball Kai is an anime I can still enjoy by letting it run in the background while doing something else, or it’s a show I can simply veg out to, in order to keep me from going back to the bottle

I remember several comments in various blogs and news sites that applauded Dragonball Kai’s edits and wished this type of re-edit or reboot would occur with more modern shounen series like Naruto and Bleach (again, removing the fillers and extended fights). I see two problems with this. First of all, the shounen animators of today have learned from the past mistakes of the shounen animators of yesterday (for the most part), and nothing current comes close to the idiotically interminable power-up scenes or unnecessarily lengthened fight scenes of Dragonball Z. More accurately, animation of the super epic fight scenes in shounen shows today is (usually) done EXTREMELY well, often blowing the studio’s animation budget for that month and unfortunately resulting in poorer animation the next few episodes. But a second problem with rebooting Naruto or Bleach is very simple: neither series is over yet. Even if it was over, a series shouldn’t be rebooted within at least three years of its completion, because the series is still “too new.”


As a science teacher, I thought it was totally cool how he used his blood as a weapon!

While I am devoutly watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I am (at least right now) not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. The first episode with its original material had me really pumped, even though some people complained of its lack of relevance, since this reboot was supposed to be a more faithful telling of the manga and the first episode had anime-original material. Yet, now that we’ve passed episode eight, I feel my attention is wandering while I’m watching; in fact, I find myself doing other activities or vegging similarly to how I watch Dragonball Kai (and I’ll admit it’s a crying shame for me to put Fullmetal and Dragonball on the same level). My first rationalization for feeling this way is that FMA is too new for me. I watched the first anime series about 5 years ago, and I have been reading the manga as it has been coming out in Japan. So maybe this reboot is too soon: all the information is too fresh in my mind that I feel Brotherhood is a rehash.

I have to admit, though, 5 years is still a half a decade, and to teenagers trying to get out of the house as soon as possible, 5 years is an eternity (I guess to a grumpy, crotchety old man like me, 5 years seems short, but let’s not talk about relativistic time periods…in THIS editorial…). So, at least for me, the show is too new to be rebooted. Even though the anime is moving at a much more brisk pace than the first iteration, I know too much of the story from reading the manga, and much of the animation from these early episodes feels like a Xerox copy of scenes from the original anime. I’m hoping that when we get to the parts where the people from Xing start to enter the fray that I’ll start to enjoy the anime more, because even though I read it in the manga, at least I have yet to see such scenes animated (at the very least, I love the new opening and ending).


Wait, who the hell are these guys?

Still, I had to ponder more, because I’m a self-loathing masochist (as is obvious by my employment) I remember watching and enjoying The Incredible Hulk: a reboot of Hulk, which came out 5 years earlier. Hulk was not a good movie, but since I had watched it before The Incredible Hulk, my expectations for the reboot were lowered. Thus, even though I can objectively critique The Incredible Hulk as a good movie, I know that my experience watching Hulk beforehand made me enjoy the reboot that much more. It’s like if you’re a poor college student eating nothing but ramen and chips for a month, before you go visit your family to do your laundry and eat a decent piece of fruit. That piece of fruit (at least should) taste like heaven, because you’ve pretty much eaten crap beforehand. However, if you were treated to an intoxicatingly sweet fudge brownie, then immediately eating a piece of fruit afterward might taste awful (Natron-e? The Science Teacher’s Try It Yourself Home Experiment: take a bunch of sweet candy or chocolate treats, eat them, and try eating a regular piece of fruit afterward! It’ll taste much more tart and sour than you’d expect, because you’ve already saturated your mouth with sweetness!). Likewise, watching FMA gave me higher expectations for FMA:B, and as of right now, those expectations are not quite being met. I can still objectively state that FMA:B is being done well, but I’m not enjoying it as much as I could or should, simply because of the influence from FMA. I think I appreciate Dragonball Kai, because it had some time to settle and get hazy in the back of my memory.

And this is so very, very sad.

So, what should you take away from my rambling? Don’t judge a reboot by its predecessor, or at the very least try not to. I know it’s hard, but here I am just feeling like I’m trudging through Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, waiting and hoping for the newer parts that have yet to be seen animated (but were seen in the manga) and knowing that my high expectations for them might be my own downfall for not enjoying them as much as I could. This is not to say every reboot is going to be better. You still need to appraise a piece of entertainment fairly, and just like there are some bad adaptations (insert your favorite link to a bad adaptation here), I’m sure there are some bad reboots, although, I’m having a hard time thinking of them, to be honest (I don’t doubt some of you will write a comment with one you can think of). Still, in some ways, I wish I could wipe my memories of Fullmetal Alchemist, so I can watch its reboot unhindered. At the very least, I know I’m not as bad as some FANS who hate the idea of a reboot defiling their holy work of art.

Please help me keep what little faith I have in fandom that no one acts like this in regards to reboots (especially considering that clip is from The Onion, which is all FAKE, albeit funny, news).

- Natron-e?
who wonders if writing this editorial is really a reboot of my old way of writing editorials…

May 29, 2009 at 9:22 pm
46 comments »
  • May 29, 2009 at 9:27 pmpietro

    ok, welcome back however you are

  • May 29, 2009 at 9:35 pmManga-Fan

    @Natrone

    Welcome Back! :D

  • May 29, 2009 at 9:35 pmMaka

    who are you again?

  • May 29, 2009 at 9:35 pmKimnu04

    :D

  • May 29, 2009 at 9:38 pmAlive

    Ahh good Old reboot. They are also rebooting Reboot as well

  • May 29, 2009 at 9:41 pmPhosphatide

    holy mackerel reboot, i love that show

  • May 29, 2009 at 9:43 pmasrialys

    ^ What!?

  • May 29, 2009 at 9:44 pmasrialys

    Ah, oops. My post was directed at Alive.

  • May 29, 2009 at 9:45 pmotanga

    Welcome Back Natron-e!
    Reboot!? Yeah you are right, these days there are alot of those. Hmmm.. I wonder if the new COBRA is any good?

  • May 29, 2009 at 9:53 pmKaris

    Though a reboot to Fullmetal Alchemist might be a good thing, I would rather want the story to skip to the point when Edward and Al meets Yao and the gang after fighting with Greed, which would have sped things up and to the point. The bad thing about this reboot is how will they retell the demise of our beloved Hughes, which left a pretty big impression in the first anime adaptation. Seeing that again will scar me again if they did that again.

  • May 29, 2009 at 10:00 pmSyrus Azog

    You know, I used to like your editorials, so wellcome back

  • May 29, 2009 at 10:15 pmAlive

    @Asrialys

    The first picture is from the show reboot. And this Show is being Rebooted (The show Reboot is starting up again)

  • May 29, 2009 at 10:16 pmSadmask

    I was wondering where you went. I even forgot your name.

  • May 29, 2009 at 10:21 pmbaka~

    i think most reboots need some major event going on before it finally catches attention. as for FMA:B a friend of mine predicts that it’ll get interesting Show Spoiler ▼

    since the first anime deviated from its path at that point.

  • May 29, 2009 at 10:22 pmBK-110

    Tl;dr as of now, although I’ll read it when I wake up again, because it’s very late/very early here.

    Anyway:
    [img]http://randomc.net/image/Focal%20Point/editorial06/fma-manga.jpg[/img]
    OLD SNAKE?! I think I even spot the Solid Eye! Where is that picture from?

  • May 29, 2009 at 10:36 pmJimmy

    Welcome back, interesting read as always. I liked the Zero-Punctuation plug :P

  • May 29, 2009 at 11:51 pmd

    “write—ing”? what the hell? “writing” is the word you’re looking for.. and you used it in the first sentence of this post. why did you suddenly feel the compulsion to hyphenate it? for some reason that one weird choice threw off the entire article for me..

  • May 30, 2009 at 12:11 amMichiko

    Welcome back, Natrone-sensei! Your editorials were always wonderfully verbose and articulate.

    Ah Reboot… the first CG show I remember seeing on YTV as a kid.

  • May 30, 2009 at 12:24 amNatrone

    @BK-110
    The guy that looks like Old Snake in the picture is Fu, a character from later in the Fullmetal Alchemist storyline (I would think the jpg file name “fma-manga” would be a clue), who has already been showcased in the manga but has yet to be animated (and hopefully will be in Brotherhood).

    @d

    They always say that a joke is ruined if you try to explain it, so I won’t make the attempt. Instead, I will simply say that I’m right and you’re not about my puns, and I base my correctness simply on the fact that I’m writing an editorial and you’re not.

    (oh, and I’ll change the hyphen to a bunch of periods for the hell of it) :P

  • May 30, 2009 at 12:42 amDazzer

    I love Reboot! Wish they would … well… reboot Reboot.

    Anyway, while we’re on the topic, I didn’t really like how the new Evangelion movies were adapted. I think I preferred how the story unfolded when it was restricted by 30 minute episodes, but that is just me. So I can’t help but compare it to the anime version.

    Just my 2p.

  • May 30, 2009 at 1:06 amGrim

    Where’s the last picture from? I am not familiar with those characters. The link has the term “fma-manga” in it. Does that mean these are new characters from the manga that haven’t been introduced yet? I have not read the fma manga yet.

  • May 30, 2009 at 1:10 amGrim

    Nevermind, found a link featuring all of the manga-only characters from FMA. Guess I got a lot of reading to do.

  • May 30, 2009 at 1:19 amBigJerk

    I agree with FMA being redone too early… ideally they should have waited a few years after the manga ends. Seems kind of like they’re making the same mistake starting a new anime while the manga is still doing, even if it seems like it’s going to end soon.

    In their defense, though, FMA probably made a ton of money for them back in the day. With the shape of the economy now, they probably wanted something that would pretty much guarantee them a decent amount of money instead of risking an original show or whatever else they’d be doing otherwise.

  • May 30, 2009 at 1:29 amKing of Kings

    reboot is amazing, dont hate on reboot, it was a clever, sometimes corny overall great show for kids, you learned a bit about computers while having fun, PLUS it still technically hasn’t ended yet, still on a cliffhanger :(

  • May 30, 2009 at 1:33 amKing of Kings

    instant gratification is not all its cracked up to be, ya diggggg?

  • May 30, 2009 at 2:06 amchloesong

    Liked the article, welcome back! =D
    Ahahah.. your description of teenagers is perfect. “Emotional yet lazy”
    Your jokes/puns/links are funny.
    You have a good point about FMA:B. I was so so excited when I heard a manga-true anime adaption was coming out but lately I haven’t even been watching the newest episodes. I feel like I’ve seen them before because it’s all so similar so far. >_<
    (Not that I won’t get around to them eventually, probably.)

  • May 30, 2009 at 2:13 amoTAKu

    And I was starting to wonder where you were…
    Welcome back! It’s always a pleasure to read your focal points!

  • May 30, 2009 at 2:19 amWerlock

    Although I do like the new FMA better than the older one you do bring a good point about just because its a remake doesn’t mean its automatically better. One example I can think of is the Zeta Gundam The New Translation movie trilogy which is somewhat a remake meaning half the scenes were renimated with a completely different ending but lot of important story and character development was taken out. Not saying those movies were bad but can’t really say its “better”.

    And about your fandom comment.. let me link you this podcast. Listen to the 2nd segment. It’s a segment that pretty much every anime fan should to.
    http://www.mechatalk.net/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=10800

  • May 30, 2009 at 2:57 ambrianleung8912

    natrone sensei is back >:)

  • May 30, 2009 at 5:11 amlastSKYsamurai

    Natrone, I think I’m going to agree with everything you say. Because first up, I only ever really saw DBZ on Cheese TV when I was a kid, but never really went any further then that with it or DB or GT, & while I haven’t seen any of Kai yet, it has sparked my interest because of what I have heard they have done with it. Secondly, I have the Box set of FMA, I really wanted it because I love the show that much, & yet, as you said, the show is still so fresh in my mind that Brotherhood has absolutely no interest to me. & while knowing nothing about the manga, just seeing screen-shots of scenes I’ve already seen before just push the show future away form my interest to it.

    - So summing up. Yes, everything you said I think i can agree with. Yet, you really put these two shows into perspective for me, so thanks.

  • May 30, 2009 at 6:19 amFeenix

    Aww don’t dis the oldschool DBZ. What other anime gave you 30 minute episodes that were actually less than 30 minutes in the anime world??

    But seriously, you said you were glad that the snake way trip was cut down from 13 episodes to 3. I didn’t like that decision. Yeah the episodes were kinda boring/pointless, but how else are they going to get the feeling in the viewer that the trip is taking 7+ months? It felt odd when he got there so quickly.

  • May 30, 2009 at 6:30 amFeenix

    Oh and as for FMA:B, I haven’t read a single page of the manga and haven’t watched an episode since i bought the movie from the end of the last series. I am enjoying this recapping/rehashing even though i remember all this stuff from series 1 (and all the new stuff is noted by Omni). Forgive me if i don’t feel it is too soon; it feels right to me.

  • May 30, 2009 at 6:50 amSirMuffin

    I don’t know who you are but you write extremely well and it’s been a pleasure reading it! So welcome back! I look forward to reading more from you in the near future.

  • May 30, 2009 at 6:53 amConfusedGirl29

    Thank god I thought I was the only one that was somewhat bored while watching FMA:B, it’s enough that I watched FMA about 3 years ago and started to read the manga this year so it’s all superfresh in my mind making FMA:B a lil bit boring… I just wanna see them make a proper ending^^

  • May 30, 2009 at 7:52 ambrianleung8912

    ur humour and jaalin’s humour differs a lot :) but i like both XD

  • May 30, 2009 at 8:21 amJusuchin (Military Otaku)

    Was wondering when you’d get back. Will properly do a read once I’m done with stuff. Welcome back, yours is usually one of my favorite tl;dr writing. (Aside from the Army Field Manuals…I joke.)

  • May 30, 2009 at 11:33 amillu

    REBOOT IS AWESOME. Too bad they don’t make it anymore =(

  • May 30, 2009 at 4:12 pmkureejii

    scary seeing the reboot cast again…I was like “WOAH D: REBOOT ON AN ANIME BLOG?!”

  • May 30, 2009 at 4:16 pmd

    @natrone

    if your ‘joke’ was the whole right/write thing, it’s not worth being smug about. and what is with your inflated sense of self-importance? “i’m ‘write’ you’re wrong nananana”

    you are ‘righting’ an ‘editorial’ on someone else’s anime blog, quite the prestigious publication there. get over yourself?

    will happily skip your entries from now on. :)

  • May 30, 2009 at 4:43 pmGiostz

    Welcome back. it’s been a while, looking forward to reading more from you.

  • May 30, 2009 at 5:43 pmteutates

    pleased to meet you :P

  • May 30, 2009 at 7:56 pmJusuchin (Military Otaku)

    @d:

    Keep in mind he’s doing this alongside a real world job in teaching. This is for fun, and like the other members of the staff who have their own unique entries, this is his. Don’t burst the bubble.

  • May 30, 2009 at 11:08 pmKaly

    I wish they could do a reboot of the first Negima and continue it….

  • May 31, 2009 at 2:56 amKevin

    Reboots are overdone. Sort of ruin the memories I had because it will never be as good as I remember.

  • May 31, 2009 at 5:41 ampenguintruth

    FMA: Brotherhood is essentially Bones striking while the iron’s still hot, playing off the continuing popularity of the first series and the still-running manga series to make huge profits. Not that I mind it at all, because there’s plenty of manga material that wasn’t in the first series that I will enjoy seeing, but I’m crazy enough to enjoy the first series AS MUCH, or maybe even a little more than the manga.

    With Dragon Ball Kai, of course there’s the element of max profit off off a legendary hit, but there’s also a sense of “anniversary” and introducing something from so long ago to a new generation. I wouldn’t mind it so much if the new music wasn’t so poor and the violence censored. If they’re going to edit the violence, they might as well dub it with the Ocean cast while they’re at it.

  • June 1, 2009 at 10:52 pmJohnson Yip

    I love the first season of Reboot, but it got kind of dark after the first season.