English: Fullmetal Alchemist
Synonyms: Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, FMA, Full Metal Alchemist
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 4, 2003 to Oct 2, 2004
Duration: 25 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 8.441 (scored by 199792 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction adventure comedy drama fantasy magic military shounen supernatural
May 31, 2013
Now I’m sure most of you already know the story. The Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse attempt to bring back their mother and as a consequence for going against the law of equivalent exchange, Ed loses his right arm and left leg. And Alphonse loses his entire body to only have his soul become bonded to a suit of armor. With the help of their childhood friend Winery, she constructs an automail leg and arm for Ed. Soon, they learn about this special artifact known as the Philosophers stone, it has the ability to defy the laws of alchemy and perform the taboo known as human transmutation. Eventually they come to the conclusion that their best bet in hopes of finding the stone would be to join the military. Although, Ed is the only one who joins because he insisted on doing so. And so they embark on their journey. Along the way, the brothers encounter corrupt government officials, homunculi, chimeras and more.
As far as the story goes, it’s fantastic. Especially considering the fact that this anime is a shonen. FMA has a far more intricate and complex plot then shonens like One Piece, Fairy Tail, Naruto or Bleach. Thematically, it delves into area’s that you wouldn’t expect a show of its kind to do. What’s a life worth? An arm? A leg? An entire body? Can human’s play the role of god ? Should we even be allowed to play the role of god in the first place? Can we disrupt the flow of nature? So yeah, Fullmetal Alchemist is smarter then your average shonen!
Also, the setting of the anime takes place in a fictionalized version of early 20th century Europe during the industrial revolution. The majority of the show takes place in Amestris. A key part of the plot that I almost forgot to mention involves the neighboring nation of Ishval. Long ago, after the tragic incident of when an Amestrian officer shot an Ishvalan child in cold blood, a chaotic war erupted between the two nations. In the midst of the war, state alchemists were brought in to exterminate the Ishvalans through horrific acts of genocide. This is where the revenge driven Ishvalan named Scar comes in.
Speaking of characters, character wise, FMA is just as good. From Roy Mustang, to Riza Hawkeye, to the Elric brothers. All are given considerable amounts of depth. Take for example, the Elric brothers. Ed feels as if he got off easy because he still has his body and is burdened by this. Alphonse is constantly questioning his humanity, existence and whether or not he was a human to begin with ( his memory was erased when Ed bonded his soul to a suit of armor). And I just barely scratched the surface.
When it comes to the production values, yet again, this anime doesn’t disappoint. The animation is very crisp and fluid. It never lets up, character designs are good and remain consistent until the very end. The OST is also worth mentioning here. Michiru Oshima did a very good job. One track that stood out in particular was “Brothers.” Simply put, it was a beautifully done string instrumental over some harmonious Russian vocals. In regards to the opening and ending themes, they’re solid. Opening 4 was my personal favorite. Lastly, the voice acting. I’ll tell you right here and now that it is mandatory that you watch the dub instead of the sub. Why? Because, hands down without a doubt, Fullmetal Alchemist has one of the best dubs you’ll ever here in anime. It’s definitely one of Funimation’s best efforts. All the performances were fantastic from Vic Mignogna, to Aaron Dismuke, to Dameon Clarke, to Colleen Clinkenbeard.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of flaws here and there that prevent Fullmetal Alchemist from achieving perfection. Most notably the first 15 episode, these episodes were unevenly paced and it really didn’t get interesting until Scar showed up. Episodes 4, 5, 10-12 were completely unnecessary and felt very fillerish (I’m not sure but I think they were actually fillers, but don’t quote me on that).
Now of course, I can’t write a review without addressing the ending because it’s one of the reasons why anime fans have such a polarized reaction for this show. I personally liked the ending, it was very bitter sweet. It wasn’t like every other ending for a shonen where everything works out in the end and all the characters hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Plus there are no beach episodes (Jesus Christ, I f**kin hate those g**damn beach episodes in anime). Well, time to wrap this review up, all in all, FMA is an amazing anime. I highly recommend it to anime fans and non-anime fans alike.
May 5, 2013
FMA is the story of... well surely you know what it's about by now, don't you? I oftentimes refer to FMA as being the Star Wars of anime--even if you've never seen it, chances are good that you know who most of the characters are, what their allegiances are, what happens to them, and the general path by which the story progresses, including many of the twists and shockers that occur throughout. Things did get a little confused when FMA: Brotherhood entered the picture, but most casual anime fans I speak with are considerably more familiar with the first series. Still, I guess if you've somehow managed to totally avoid exposure to FMA (maybe you've just decided to get into anime and remembered how big FMA was a few years back?), it tells the story of the Elric brothers, Ed and Al, who join a powerful military organization in order to make use of said organization's extensive research resources--the reason being that they are seeking 'The Philosopher's Stone,' a powerful artifact that will enable them to restore their bodies to them, which were mangled and/or lost in a desperate attempt to raise their mother from the dead. Ed and Al, you see, are 'Alchemists,' and they wield a powerful 'science' (we would understand it as a magic, albeit one that works on somewhat logical principles) that enables them to powerfully manipulate their environment.
The world in which they live (a steampunk-esque one that is parallel to ours in many respects) is a world where many of these alchemists exist. A lot of them choose to serve in various fields of research, or to support the military--and it's worth noting that those with the strongest alchemical gifts seem to come from the powerful military state of Amestris--a happy country with a nasty habit of frequently waging war on its less advanced (both technologically and alchemically) neighbors. Ed and Al join Amestris's military knowing full well that they'll be forced to commit unsavory acts for the benefit of their state, but they believe that the resources they'll have access to will be worth the sacrifice. They've never been more right--or more wrong.
If it sounds a bit complex, truthfully, it *should be.* FMA juggles a mind-boggling amount of important characters, themes, events, subplots, and moods. Generally any show that attempts so much comes across as schizophrenic at best, even when they're as long as FMA is. FMA largely avoids this trap by focusing heavily on the heart of the story: the relationship between Ed and Al and their trials and tribulations. Certainly, there is a lot more going on at any given moment, but the writers always find a way to bring it back to these two, even when they are occasionally reduced to supporting roles in their own story. Another key point in FMA's favor are the variety of memorable and likable characters; first and foremost for me will always be Riza Hawkeye and Roy Mustang, but everyone has their own favorites, and there are plenty to choose from.
It also helps that FMA is pretty great at nearly everything it attempts. Only a few things about it seem at all half-assed, with most of these problems only cropping up in the first half of the series--though certainly many people have expressed reasonable misgivings about the last fourth of the series, as well. I actually love how the last fourth draws explicit parallels between our world and the world of FMA--after all, a good chunk of the preceding material is all about drawing slightly less explicit parallels anyways, so for the writers to take that final step, for me, gives the potency of the tale some extra 'oomph' that it might have otherwise lacked. (Contrast and compare FMA with Grave of the Fireflies and Now and Then, Here and There to see where I'm coming from.)
Most of the problems in the first half come down to awkward pacing (especially the placement of some of the 'stand-alone' episodes, which are generally too rushed-feeling to leave any sort of favorable impression), some occasionally severe mood whiplash, and just some plain-old tropey writing. Some people have also accused the series of straying into displays of over-sentimentality too frequently--I'm not sure that I totally agree, but there are some occasional eye-roll inducing moments here and there, particularly if you're the sort that's not moved at all by big wet anime character tears. However, it must be said that at least the voice acting talent (in both languages) is more than up to the task of knowing when to ham it up and when to tone it down. The English, in particular, is fantastic--it's probably one of the all-time great English dubs.
Less memorable is the music--it certainly does the job while you're watching, with only a couple of themes being reused a little too frequently, but doesn't hold up well when divorced from the context of the show, nor is it likely to stick in your head afterwards. The opening and ending themes are (with one exception) also pretty unremarkable--I try to watch all the way through each once with each show that I watch, but frequently found myself skipping through the openings and closings here, though in all fairness, that might be due more to impatience to see what happens next than anything else.
And that's where this show shines: you'll always want to see what happens next. Even in between the lengthier arcs there is always something interesting going on somewhere--whether it's the ember of a new plot thread flickering to life or a small character moment or yes, even a comedic filler episode, there is always a lot to look forward to here--so much so that even at 51 episodes FMA almost feels *too* short, and that's coming from someone who tends to avoid series that drag on for more than 26 episodes. I think that most anime production teams could learn a thing or two about when and how to employ filler and how to manage pacing from FMA--yes, I did mention above that there are some pacing issues in the first half of the series, but no one could reasonably make any such complaints about the second half.
I haven't mentioned the art yet, though it's certainly deserving of mention. The background art is rarely impressive and is frequently lacking in detail, but it's not bad by any stretch of the imagination, and when it is impressive, it is *seriously* impressive. (I'm thinking specifically of a few moments towards the end of the series.) As for the characters, most of them have a slightly rounded look that may throw some anime fans off (particularly those who still worship the 90s), but to say that they are memorable is a massive understatement. The designs are attractive and clean, with each character getting a nice touch or two to help them stick out from the crowd--even minor characters are distinctive from one another. I particularly like the female designs, which range from the unashamedly sexy (the very appropriately named Lust, who may rival even Faye Valentine for in-your-face sex appeal) to the the more utilitarian and simple, but nonetheless attractive (Lt. Ross). (And I'm still convinced that the only reason anyone likes Winry is because she really can rock a skirt.) And that's not to say that the guys get the short end of the stick--if we are talking about just pure sex appeal here, then Mustang might just be one of the sexiest male anime characters of all time, despite not conforming 100% to the typical pretty anime boy stereotypes. (In all fairness, some of this might be due to Travis Willingham's performance in the English dub.) For my money, he *may* only be topped by Akio, of Revolutionary Girl Utena. (Obviously. ^^)
Also of note visually is the 'directing.' The FMA artists have a strong sense of how to effectively use lighting, with particular attention given to the time of day. When it's not being excessively cartoony, FMA gives off a very cinematic vibe, particularly during action sequences and several of the back-story episodes, especially the ones that focus on past wars and Ed and Al's early experiences with alchemy. There are very few anime titles I can think of where my memory of specific scenes is so directly tied to the lighting of the scene, or the time of day at which it takes place. Only some of the better theatrical titles have it beat in this regards, as well as a very small handful of other series (Paranoia Agent springs to mind).
When it's all said and done, FMA isn't a particularly challenging or insightful piece of work (though there is more than enough to dissect here for the more literary-minded), but as an epic work of entertainment it doesn't strike a single truly sour note. Romance, adventure, action, war, horror (of an often higher caliber than that practiced by straight horror titles), and comedy all come together to make for a well-rounded whole. There's a little bit of something here for everyone (which can all too frequently be a curse, but is mostly a blessing here), and may be the rare work that could actually do a reasonably good job of bringing people outside of the anime fandom into the fold. If you've got a friend who is stubbornly resisting watching your anime with you and you haven't tried to inflict this on them yet, I'd be pretty willing to bet that you'd get good results with it. read more
Jun 24, 2009
*Review may contain minor spoilers, may hint at things, and will not be reviewed as an adaptation of the manga and how it compares, but as a standalone anime*
The basic basic synopsis of the story is about "The Fullmetal Alchemist" Edward Elric, and his brother, Alphonse Elric, and their quest of searching for the Philosopher's Stone in order to bring back what they've lost and fix a mistake made in the past.
From the synopsis that you might read on the back of a DVD cover or so, an anime about a quest and a siblings' search for a treasure sounds something light and fun, but in actuality, the story of Fullmetal is very dark. Right from the beginning, we're introduced to a gruesome nightmarish scene depicting what would be the major mistake Ed and Al make with Ed screaming in horror; it's almost as if the director wanted to point out "This isn't going to be some happy nakama anime about fighting, this is a dark anime about redemption, tragedy and the story of two brothers who will do whatever it takes to fix the mistake they've made." The story knows where its going and there's a good sense of direction, though the series does lose a bit of focus as it reaches its end, it still manages to finish strongly with what I think to be one of the most creative and nicely done anime-exclusive endings to an adaptation of an on-going manga. They could have just dumped it like Inuyasha, but they didn't, and actually formulated their own anime ending, which I think is commendable.
Art and Animation: 8/10
The character design is simplistic and kind of quirky, but decent. Character designs vary enough that you can clearly differentiate who is who and most of them have their own sense of individuality versus 'slap a different hairstyle on the same model' designs (ex. Gundam Seed). And having one of the main characters as a walking suit of armor is definitely a unique idea and the Homunculi are just great antagonists, design-wise.
The animation quality for the series is top-notch. The colors are vivid and characters are detailed with no shortcut taken in the animation and the fights are fluidly animated. Unless you pay extra attention, shortcomings in animation is something you won't find in this series.
The music fits so well in conveying the emotion and feelings of the characters and scenes, and invoking the atmosphere and sense of wonder in Fullmetal, its music is what ultimately captures the spirit of the show, and brings the world of Fullmetal to life. With pieces like "Brother" "Homunculus" and "Dante", Fullmetal easily has one of the best OST's I've heard in any anime series.
For such a large cast, Fullmetal manages to characterize most of the characters to a decent extent. But the most well-developed characters are without a doubt Edward and Alphonse, and their selfless brotherly relationship. What I see Ed as, is the Shounen archetype ( Loudmouthed, hot-headed, and proud), but done right, and with more depth than any of his counterparts. Despite his quirks, and his stereotypical Shounen characteristics (Acting arrogant? Check. Hot-blooded personality? Check. Childhood romantic interest? Check.), Ed has proven to be an extremely mature character, with the resolve to do whatever it takes to protect his brother.
Besides Ed and Al, Mustang also has a very well-written background to his character and shows that, in actuality, his arrogant personality is just a facade to cover-up for his doubt in what he did in his past.
Now the main quirk I have with the cast of Fullmetal is the lack of development for the antagonists. They're such a colorful cast of characters, and yet we know little or nothing about them. Yes, we have Scar, who's pretty well characterized, but what about Lust? Greed? And Gluttony? They may be artificial beings but they should have their own history and character right? The series only manages to touch on those characters and give us a small taste of the stories of the Homunculi.
Aside from that, overall, the "good" side of the cast is pretty well-developed while the Homunculi are developed to only the minimal extent. Which is passable considering this was an adaptation of the manga when it was still in its early stages. And while I do commend the anime team that worked on Fullmetal to cook up its own original villain, I find her to be extremely uninspired, incompetent, generic and just a poorly done villain in general.
Not much to say besides the fact that Fullmetal is very enjoyable, it's one of those series that keeps your eyes glued to the screen from the start and manages to keeps you entertained through the whole ride with its revelations and twists, and ends leaving you speechless.
Is Fullmetal Alchemist an essential viewing for every anime fan in the whole wide world? No. But is it a good stepping-stone for newcomers, or just a very enjoyable anime for anyone who wants a good equilibrium between great action and a well-written story? I say hell yes. For such a critically-acclaimed anime, it isn't anything that's overly groundbreaking nor does it escape the clutches of standard Shounen cliches. But for what it is, it's a bloody well done anime.
Too long didn't read version:
Story (A) : Well-crafted, intriguing, original and overall, very enjoyable and intelligent.
Art and Animation ( B+) : Good character designs, fantastic animation. Homunculi are interestingly designed.
Sound (A+) : Wonderful soundtrack, conveys the mood and scenery perfectly.
Character (B) : Military cast is developed nicely, Homunculi gets the short end of the stick and the main villain is disappointing.
Overall (A) : An enjoyable anime that has a colorful cast, fantastic story and great music. Would recommend.
Jul 9, 2010
Isn't it strange then, that such a well known human trait can so easily be mistaken for something else entirely?
Or is it simply a case of people not seeing what they don't want to see, especially if there something new and shiny to watch?
Many anime fans are currently raving about the new series of Full Metal Alchemist, especially as it is an almost direct adaptation of the manga, however in the light of all this new found glory, the original adaptation has become the topic of much debate and controversy, especially by those who once praised the show for being something ... a little different.
Now unlike many, the fact that the original adaptation didn't follow the manga for much of its run was something that I wasn't overly concerned about, and there's a very good reason for this too. One of the issues I had with the manga, and in turn Brotherhood, was the fact that the tale is far more "shounen" than the original adaptation, and this difference in not only plot and story content, but overall perspective as well, is noticeable in a number of areas.
As far as pacing, plot, and depth of story goes, Full Metal Alchemist does lose out somewhat to Brotherhood, however this is partly due to the fact that Arakawa Hiromu had far more time to produce a story that worked, whereas the writers for the original adaptation only had part of Arakawa's work to play with, and had to make up the rest.
Normally this would be the cause for a number of issues, not the least of which is continuity, however Full Metal Alchemist never really suffered from those except where the numerous, and unnecessary, comedy moments were included. That said, what the writers achieved was actually quite remarkable, as they produced a tale that is very clearly about one thing only - obsession - and in that respect, they actually managed to score quite a major coup over Arakawa's tale.
Some of you may be a tad confused by where this is all going, but fear not, it will become clearer as we get into more detail. Let's talk more about the actually show itself for a moment though.
In terms of looks, the original adaptation managed to transpose the characters fairly well, and while they didn't really require any bouts of creativity in general, there were a few new faces as, at the time, the manga hadn't actually introduced all the players. As for the various locations in which the characters find themselves, the first adaptation generally followed the path laid down by the manga, however there were also some surprisingly original and inventive additions to the various locales, many of which are unique to this particular adaptation.
Strangely enough though, the quality of the animation is almost the same as that of Brotherhood, and given the large degree of crossover in both adaptations, this is actually surprising as usually one version is greatly superior to the other. That said, the new series does have the advantage of seven years of improvements in animation, so one would be forgiven for thinking the margin between the two would be bigger.
Where sound and music are concerned, one might expect more pronounced differences between the two adaptations, however this is not the case. The selection of music for the first adaptation is actually very good throughout the series, and also gave rise to one of the catchiest opening themes in shounen anime - "Ready Steady Go" by L'Arc-en-Ciel. The aural effects are well chosen and choreographed, and while there are many occasions that feature frenetic clashes and lots of noise, care has generally been taken to modulate this to a level that won't unnerve the viewer (admittedly there are some minor overwhelming moments, but they're not really worth going into any detail as they don't really affect the story in any way).
As for the acting, granted there are some different seiyuu between the two adaptations, but the series' big guns are in force in both. That said, while there is some acting continuity between the two, the actual quality is a little better in Brotherhood, however this may be due to an increased familiarity with the characters, and also because Brotherhood is far more a straight forward shounen tale than the original adaptation- something which actually shows in the acting.
And now to the most interesting bit - the characters.
Unlike both the manga and Brotherhood, the original anime adaptation of Full Metal Alchemist featured some surprising and unique characters, not the least of which is Edward Elric himself.
But before we get into that though, let's talk Homunculi.
One of the most overlooked aspects of the original series was the nomenclature given to the homunculi, and although their names and purpose have been "clarified" by the manga and Brotherhood, the writers for the original adaptation didn't have this knowledge, so they actually made them work in a completely different way. The whole deal with the Seven Sins is very different in the first anime, as the writers used the homunculus to highlight the aspect of obsession throughout the series. This is why the first anime adaptation had them being "born" in a particular manner, rather than the more trite reasoning given in the manga and Brotherhood much later.
The homunculi are effectively born from the obsession of humans, a theme which is also present in Arakawa's version of the story, even though it has been downplayed a lot.
So what does this have to do with the characters? Well, rather a lot actually. Throughout the whole series, there are very few characters who don't show any of the visible signs that one would normally associate with obsessive behaviour, and this is because they're cleverly hidden for the most part. From Maes Hughes' constant babble about his daughter, to Winry's love of automail. From Izumi Curtis' longing for her baby, to Dante's desire for immortality (incidentally, one has to wonder why that particular character was called Dante).
And right at the top of the list is Edward Elric.
In essence, his obsession with being better than his father is what starts the whole chain of events, which then turns to his obsession with the Philosopher's Stone, and so on. The surprising thing though, is that Ed never actually lets go of his desires in the same manner that others who attempted human transmutation did, and there is actually proof of this too. One look at the manner of Alphonse Elric's return to his body, as well as the nature of that return, will highlight just how very different this show is to Arakwa's version, and how different the mentality is come the end.
And if you want more clarification on this, then feel free to ask.
The characters are actually pretty well developed throughout the series, and it's a testament to the writer's and seiyuu's abilities that they turned out as well as they did. That's not to say there aren't any problems, however the flaws with the characters stem mainly from a difference in goals and perspective rather than any real lack of talent.
In all honesty, it's difficult to decide which version is actually better as the differences in plot, theme and character development make this version and Arakawa's two very different tales. That said, there will be those who fall on one side or the other, some preferring the darker nature of the first adaptation while others like the more direct approach of the manga and Brotherhood. Personally, I found both versions to be very good, especially as the route that Arakawa's tale takes bears almost no resemblance to this one. While there are some broad similarities between the two in terms of locale, characters and basic plot, in actuality these are only skin deep, as the original adaptation of Full Metal Alchemist deviates quite a lot from the typical shounen sensibilities come the end of the series. The obsessive theme of the first adaptation is a far cry from what one is given in the manga and Brotherhood.
Regardless of which version one prefers though, the simple fact is that we, as anime fans, have been given two great takes on the story, and we should count ourselves lucky to have such a wealth as all too often we must suffer through mediocrity and crap just find some entertainment.
It just a shame that so many people feel the need to side with one version or the other ... read more
Jul 25, 2013
It's pointless writing a synopsis because everybody just knows the story of FMA but for those who never heard of FMA, I'll be nice to summarize the story. FMA is the story of The Elric Brothers who live with their mother in the quiet land of Resembool with Edward Elric, who's the older brother, and Alphonse Elric, who's the younger brother. One day, their mother, Trisha Elric, died of a terminal illness and the boys are now alone without a mother or a father because their father left them for unknown reasons. Lonely and desperate, the brothers decide to perform "Human Transmutation", a taboo in alchemy that's forbidden to use by any means necessary, and suddenly, everything goes downhill with Edward losing his left leg and Alphonse losing his entire body, leaving Edward to sacrifice his right hand to grab Alphonse's soul and put his soul into a full-set armor. Days go by and as they grow older, The Elric Brothers set out on a journey to find "The Philosopher's Stone, which is rumored to grant them immense power to the user, and set out to recover their lost bodies in return. Only to discover that the brothers are pulled into a conspiracy that pulls them into something much more grand than just finding the stone.
The story is just huge and what's nice about the story is that everything ties up well in the grand plot that the series offers, There are stories about the disturbing history of The Ishbalan War, the story behind the truth of The Philosopher Stone, the origin of the Homunculi, which are beings that are created from the stone and can survive any harm or the story behind the Tucker family. I will not spoil the story because the overwhelming mystery and wonder in the story of FMA is what makes the anime so enjoyable to watch because the world is not only interesting but feels so real that it could be some place that we never knew it exists. I also love the deep themes about the nature of humanity and how we can overcome our weaknesses through peace, reasoning, determination, courage, faith and understanding rather than bloodshed or war and the themes fits because this is the story about the human spirit and how we all must stand together as one for us to keep on living. The characters are all wonderful because again, they feel like real people with real personalities and every character is likable. I love Roy Mustang's stubborn attitude but also this sense of kindness to him because he does care for his friends and you do feel his pain because of the disgusting choices that he was forced to make by the military, I love Colonel Hughes because he is a loving father and a strong soldier that's always there to help, I love Armstrong because.... He's Armstrong and he is just awesome. I even adore The Elric Brothers because not only are they brothers but you feel a powerful bond between the two. You see them learn to adapt on the world that they never knew outside of Resembool, they learn new and interesting things during their travels and most importantly, they develop their relationship with other people they meet through friendship and connection. We also see their struggles on what is right or wrong or learning of the appreciation of life during the last episode of the series. Simply put, all the characters and even villains of FMA are just wonderful and it is impossible to hate a single character in FMA because these are such great characters.
The animation in FMA is beautiful. Even though it's dated because this adaptation was an early Studio Bones effort, the animation still holds up pretty well with fantastic visuals, gorgeous lighting effects, imaginative background designs and beautifully fluid animation on character movements. It may be rough at times but the animation is still good looking to boot. The music in FMA is just breathtakingly magnificent with fantastic use of orchestrated tunes and well put together piano track pieces that matches the atmosphere of grand wonder to the show and that's thanks to composer Michiru Oshima and simply put, the guy was a genius for making such a perfect musical score. Both the Japanese and English dubs are excellent but the English dub by Funimation is just superior and it's not really hard to see why it is so good. Funimation has put money, time and effort into creating a dub that actually manages to be as good as the sub with Vic Mignogna nailing the role of Edward Elric, Aaron Dismuke perfect as the naive but strong Alphonse, Travis Willingham gives a deep and very passionate performance as Roy Mustang and J. Michael Tatum was just a great fit for Scar. Do i need to tell you why this dub is amazing? It simply is a fantastic dub and every voice actor was chosen perfectly into each role.
Fullmetal Alchemist is just an amazing series and a phenomenon that I am glad to be part on. Few animes can reach a goal of perfection while other animes can't quite achieve perfection but FMA is that rare breed. It took a bunch of mangas, re-wrote some of the unnecessary fillers that were in the mangas and the anime series just avoids them perfectly without stopping the pace. As for Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, I'm not gonna review the series because it's basically the same as FMA 2003 but closer to the manga and don't you dare start the whole "OH! You're a FMA 2003 fanboy because you're a FMAB hater!" bullsh*t because I love both FMA and FMAB period. Both shows are amazing in their own rights and for those who haven't seen FMA, I suggest you do cause this is one anime series that it is worth sinking your teeth into. FMA is one of my favorites anime series of all time and it deserves all of the praise it got 11 years ago. read more
Dec 2, 2013
Back in my school days, some of my friends were buzzing about this particular anime. I didn’t understand why at the time and I was into Naruto by then. My tastes were kinda picky for some odd reasons. This was during my stupid brain-dead teenage years. This anime was brought up quite often from some of my friends, but when it came to one of my best friends… it was brought up quite a lot, which is why I am finally going to review this anime phenomenon. Today is one of my best friends’ birthday and for obvious reasons, I won’t disclose the name. This is not the first time I’ve done a special review like this. I have been doing these kind of special reviews in response to a birthday of people I know. Last year on this very day, I reviewed Resident Evil: Degeneration and Princess Mononoke (the latter being requested). The anime I am about to review was not requested to begin with this time. The sole reason I am reviewing this particular anime is to write a form of a “Thank You” note to the person that got me into this anime. Out of all the animes that she has recommended, this was the most recommended at the time and I when I finally watched it for the first time. I felt glad that this was recommended that much. What anime am I talking about? Pfft. That’s a no-brainer. This anime phenomenon I was referring to is none other than Fullmetal Alchemist.
Edward and Alphonse Elric attempt to bring her mother back to life after she passed away from an illness by using the forbidden science of human alchemy. However, alchemy operates on the theory and laws of equivalent exchange, however, the alchemy they are attempting is Human Alchemy and it is a taboo art. Breaking the laws of alchemy with humans comes with a heavy price. Ed loses his leg, and Al loses his body. Ed is able to seal Al's soul inside of a huge suit of armor, at the cost of his arm. Years later, Ed (now with two mechanical limbs) and Al (still trapped in the armor) leave their childhood home, each brother concerned with the other's happiness. Ed, who has a natural talent and skill for alchemy, becomes nationally certified and is soon known everywhere as the "Fullmetal Alchemist." Their true objective is to search for any information on the fabled Philosopher's Stone, hoping it will allow them to regain their old bodies. All of their hopes rest with this mythical stone, which may not even exist at all. Regardless of the situation, they are strongly determined to find the Philosopher’s Stone. But the journey they embark will include hardships.
To be technical, this is a Studio BONES production and some of the design choices were well made in this show. The character designs look good, the backgrounds looks great. The animation itself has a few hiccups and there are some scenes that could have been animated better. This anime was made in the same year as Wolf’s Rain which was another BONES production. Wolf’s Rain looked amazing and it’s too bad that Fullmetal Alchemist couldn’t be like this. However, that is not why Fullmetal Alchemist was such a big hit, the animation is mostly good and it looks a little better in progression and this was made in 2003 after all. If the story, music, and characters are so strong…Animation wouldn’t be a huge deal in the long run but that’s not always the case. Fullmetal Alchemist’s animation is still good.
The music by Michiru Oshima is quite interesting, The soundtrack has some electronic music in it and it even has a little jazz in it too. But it does have a mix of instruments that are used terrifically and the genre used in this soundtrack isn’t really orchestral as it seems to be. There’s a few other genres besides Orchestral that is used in Fullmetal Alchemist. What I will say is that the soundtrack plays a huge part in this anime. If the prologue of the show wasn’t obvious enough, allow me to make this clear to you. This is a very emotional anime and the soundtrack helps this immensely. When the mood is energetic, the music is energetic. When it’s intense, the music’s intense. When it’s sad, the music’s sad. Michiru Oshima’s composition is terrific in this anime and she knows how to make even the music tug on your heartstrings. Fullmetal Alchemist has one of the most emotional soundtracks I have ever heard in an anime. The openings are all great, and the first two closing themes are great. The third closing theme is a nice change of pace and the fourth closing is a little unfitting but okay. If there is one theme I do want to highlight, it has to be the song “Bratja”, which is Russian for Brothers. You have probably heard this phrase hundreds of times, but symbolically speaking. Music is considered a universal language because it transcends all races regardless of language barrier. The settings do feel European and even though the song is in Russian, it is just a language after all. The song “Bratja” is a very beautiful song. I did say that this anime has one of the most emotional soundtracks in an anime, well this song will give you so many feels. It is a beautiful song, it may make you cry in joy and/or sadness. But either way, you will probably get a lot of feels out of this song as well as the soundtrack.
When voice acting is concerned, The Japanese cast is well casted. Romi Park is great as Edward Elric and Rie Kugimiya is fantastic as Alphonse Elric. Toru Ohkawa was also pretty good as Roy Mustang, Megumi Toyoguchi was great as Winry Rockbell, and Ryotaro Okiayu was terrific as Scar. Noteworthy seiyus include Kenji Utsumi as Major Armstrong, Hidekatsu Shibata as King Bradley, Keiji Fujiwara as Maes Hughes, Yuuko Satou as Lust, Junichi Suwabe as Greed, and Sho Hayami as Frank Archer. As with the English Dub, the cast is a blast from the past and it’s been 8 years since the dub was in the process of being made. Funimation has been consistent with some decent to really good dubs and there are a few dubs from Funimation that I just flat-out hate. Bang Zoom! Entertainment has a few flawless dubs, Cowboy Bebop was one of them, and so were Wolf’s Rain and Paranoia Agent. The dub to Fullmetal Alchemist was solely Funimation and it’s a damn good dub. Don’t get me wrong, the Subtitled Version is fantastic too but the Dub is also really good because Funimation knew that they were working on something huge that they couldn’t screw this up. Now you fangirls know who I am going to talk about, and the fangasms are mostly likely inevitable. Edward Elric is voiced by Vic Mignogna (pronunciation note: the g’s are silent) and this is probably the most interesting casting choice in the dub. Romi Park was in her mid 30’s, Vic Mignogna was in his early 40’s while playing Edward. Since I am a man, it may be difficult for me to understand why this guy is so popular in the dubbed anime fan community. I will give him credit that he doesn’t always get the big roles most of the time yet he loves what he’s doing and I can tell he loves going to conventions. He probably has one of the funnest jobs in the world. However I think he gets way too much attention. Now hold on a damn minute before you start spamming hate mail, combo attacks, and fatalities. I don’t think most of his minor roles stand out as much and there are some roles that are nice surprises. With Fullmetal Alchemist, he nails that performance as Edward Elric.. I can see why a lot of fangirls love Vic Mignogna as a voice actor. it is very likely that it is his greatest role in his career. Hands down. Another nice thing about the dub is that the younger child characters are actually played by children which leads me to Alphonse Elric. Al was played by a 12 year old boy at the time named Aaron Dismuke and he still does voice acting. Aaron Dismuke also was absolutely terrific as Alphonse. Travis Willingham is also great as Roy Mustang but this was one of his roles in his early days but he does play the part well. Caitlin Glass also has a great performance as Winry Rockbell for pulling off her silly moments and even her emotional moments so well. As for Dameon Clarke, he plays his role very well, Noteworthy voices of the dub include Chris Patton as Greed, Christine Auten as Izumi, Chris Sabat as Major Armstrong, Chuck Huber as Shou Tucker, Cindee Mayfield as Dante, Colleen Clickenbeard as Lt. Hawkeye and Rose Ty…*Ahem* Thomas. Ed Blaylock as King Bradley. Juli Erickson as Pinako Rockbell, Laura Bailey as Lust, Sonny Strait as Maes Hughes. Wendy Powell as Envy, Jerry Jewell as Barry the Chopper, and Mike McFarland as Jean Havoc as well as the ADR director of this fantastic dub. Since this was a Funimation dub in the early days, Funimation added some talent outside of Funimation to avoid double billing with the voice actors. There are some that were known for their work on ADV Films which is also in the state of Texas where Funimation resides and this dub managed to get Greg Ayres and Tiffany Grant but not only few from ADV, but they also got a little more outside their talent pool. This dub has Carrie Savage who has been with Funimation before and since, but Funimation also got Michael Sinterniklaas. Like Carrie Savage, he is part of a number of dubbing companies. If that wasn’t enough. Johnny Yong Bosch is in this show for one episode and that was a real treat. Hell, the dub even has Scott McNeil and this awesome Canadien was Hohenheim. However, the most surprising role in this entire dub is Monica Rial. Her part in this show is phenomenal and outstanding. Casting voices outside of a company’s talent roster is not an easy thing to do, but Funimation managed to pull it off. This dub is a miracle and even though it’s not performed in a top professional manner, from what I can guess… Funimation’s intent was probably to give the dub a natural feel and they damn well succeeded in that. Mike McFarland’s ADR Direction is superb in this one, the only issues I can see is some translation differences from the original Japanese. For example, Ishval was called “Ishbal” in the dub. But in the long run, these translation differences are not something to get worked up about.
One of the most key factors that made this show such a hit are the characters. Edward and Alphonse are such strong characters in this anime. These two brothers are the most important in the story. Roy Mustang is also a great character and his backstory is interesting. Scar is another character that is interesting to stick along to. Then of course we have Winry Rockbell who is a great supporting character, especially her kindness and care towards the Elric Brothers. I will say that there is so much to this show that I find it difficult to talk about the characters. There are so many different kinds of characters that it’s hard to make the topic short. Maes Hughes is an awesome character, especially for the love of his family and his friends. Lt. Hawkeye is a nice contrast to Roy Mustang. Mustang’s subordinates are great. and Alex Louis Armstrong is fabulously awesome. Here’s a nice thing about the show, The good guys are not the only group that have “good intentions” Even the Homunculi have some interesting aspects as well. Lust is actually a fascinating character and much different in the manga, Gluttony…is alright. Envy is mostly hated in this show and Envy was written that way. Greed is awesome for the most part, Sloth’s character kind of doesn’t make any sense, Wrath is annoying, and Pride should’ve been called Wrath. In fact, It feels like they got the two characters mixed up with their names. The way Wrath acts like in this show should’ve been clear that he would be Pride. But oh well. The Main villain in this show is actually written pretty well for the most part…that is until the show is ending. If there is one character that is unfortunately underused is Hohenheim He comes in late in the game but he doesn’t get much development which is kind of a shame to some degree. What makes Fullmetal Alchemist such a hit is not only are the characters written so well, it’s that there are over 30 recurring supporting characters throughout the whole show. the supporting characters support the story and make strong character threads that not many anime could achieve. The Elric Brothers are by far the most important characters and everyone else is part of his journey. What makes the Elric Brothers such captivating characters is their brotherly love and how they are willing to go as far as sacrificing something for the benefit of the other. It is by far the most touching aspect of Fullmetal Alchemist. There is also a great deal with relationships on this show where the show is dealing with family, friendships, relationships, and complicating relationships. it is balanced greatly. But what also hits the mark for the viewer is that not everything is black and white, and what makes this show work so well is that there is a great majority of flawed characters. No one is perfect in this show and that is a very good thing to a fictional story. This anime is very emotional and having the characters not be perfect makes this such an endearing anime. The way the characters interact as well as the bravery they display and the sacrifices they make can really hit the viewers hard. And this is because there is good storytelling in Fullmetal Alchemist.
The story is very memorable as well and what I love so much about Fullmetal Alchemist is its portrayal of the human condition and even though I’ve said enough times that it is a very emotional series. This is an anime that a viewer is given enough time to attach to the character and yet they need to be on guard because there will be some ups and downs. The way this show is constructed is what could make the viewer empathize the character even though they are fictional and you are given enough time to sympathize with them because of what has happened to some of these characters. You will probably get emotional as well if any of the characters get deconstructed whether something bad happens to them or they die. Then the story reconstructs itself after the change that has happened. There is a lot of variety to character as well and these characters are three-dimensional in such a moving story. The reason this show is so big is that it was heavily marketed because Funimation knew they had a big series in their hands and they knew this show would probably be successful. This show is extremely popular and that’s not necessarily a bad thing although the hype can be underwhelming. But there’s no denying that this anime became such a phenomenon in the anime fandom. What this show succeeds on is having a combination of good artwork and animation as best as it could have been, an emotional soundtrack, a great cast of flawed characters, and a moving story that is so touching that viewers can relate to. The show allows the viewer to attach to the character so closely that it makes these characters feel timeless, and that is because of the quality of storytelling. It even tackles themes like family, relationships, life, military, philosophy, and even religion. These are very well synchronized and all the dynamics feel natural and mostly well-balanced. With all the drama, humor, suspense, action, and the twists and turns all involved in this journey. It creates memorable moments that are sometimes unforgettable. However, even with 51 episodes. I do see some flaws with the show that seriously have been overlooked. As touching as the story is, I will say that the first two episodes are terrific, but after that, there were a few episodes that took place before the first two episodes. in a chronological standpoint, it’s a little off. There are some episodes that feel like filler once in a while but they can be enjoyed but despite my nitpicking, there is one major tick I have with the story, and that is “The Other Side of the Gate”. Yes… The Gate. It was built up pretty well but it was revealed near the end of the show and the show as a result was rushed at the end. It wasn’t brought up heavily and it raised a hell of a lot of questions yet the concept behind the Other Side has got to be the most unfitting thing in this anime’s existence, and the fact that it wasn’t explained very well and convoluted everything the show was going for made the series lose its momentum. But surprisingly, it was still emotional regardless. The storytelling isn’t perfect and the ending was acceptable that even Hiromu Arakawa herself approved of. No matter how Fullmetal Alchemist turned out. the fandom to this show is huge and they all have a heart made Fullmetal. The fans love this show because the show looks so good and the story hits hard on the heartstrings because it is so touching and moving and the characters are so timeless that you can relate to these characters, the music also compliments all this very well. This show isn’t perfect, but it tried to be the best it could be. That’s what made this anime so damn beautiful. Most things work out, some don’t. Some good things happen, some bad things happen. Hell, the animation isn’t eye-popping but at least it’s condensed in a good way. There will be strengths to everything and there will be flaws. Personal opinions are just opinions, not fact. Humankind cannot give anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is the first law of equivalent exchange. In those days, fans of the show supported the series with a price… and in return, they were rewarded.
Fullmetal Alchemist is available by Funimation, the Fullmetal Alchemist movie, Conqueror of Shamballa is also available by Funimation, the Fullmetal Alchemist OVA Collection is available by Funimation, the Manga by Hiromu Arakawa is available by Viz Media and I strongly suggest picking this one up if you loved the anime. The series of light novels to Fullmetal Alchemist which seven are part of the series’ universe while the other 3 are novelizations of the Fullmetal Alchemist video games are available by Viz Media, although the first 5 books are available, the last 2 books and the video game novelizations have not made it overseas which is a damn shame. The Fullmetal Alchemist video games were available for the PlayStation 2 but the third Fullmetal Alchemist game was never released overseas. The Fullmetal Alchemist DS game called Dual Sympathy was available for the Nintendo DS. The faithful adaptation remake Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is available by Funimation, The Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA Collection is available by Funimation. The second Fullmetal Alchemist movie The Sacred Star of Milos is also available by Funimation. Hooray! I’m done talking about the extra stuff…
With all that said, Fullmetal Alchemist is a special concoction that manages to ties things well for the most part with a touching and moving story, good animation, a terrific soundtrack, and timeless characters. It does have some chronological issues at the start but at least the stories within them are told well. It does suffer with a rushed ending as well as a momentum dropper thanks to a concept near the end of the show that does not fit in with what this anime was going for. But that’s just one thing that doesn’t work, there are many other things that do work and that’s why Fullmetal Alchemist is such a beloved series.
I give Fullmetal Alchemist a 9.3 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!
Feel free to leave a comment, One is All, All is One.
Feb 17, 2009
Fullmetal Alchemist takes place in a world that seems similar to our own, but not as technologically advanced. Trains and steam powered engines are used a great deal, and the science of alchemy is far more prevalent than machines of our time. In alchemy, there is the rule of equivalent trade: you must give something of equal value in order to get something. And above all else, human transmutation is against all rules of alchemy, and does not work... or so it seems. Rumors have it that the Philosopher's Stone can give the alchemist the ability to even raise the dead, but it is long since sought after and never found. Enter Al and Edward, two young boys who attempted this heinous act once their beloved mother died. The act failed, causing Ed to lose his arm and leg, and Al to lose his body, trapping his soul in the body of a machine. Full Metal Alchemist follows Ed and Al as they search for the Philosopher's Stone to get their bodies and lives back... and that's just the beginning.
Full Metal Alchemist is, in a word, brilliant. It's hard to explain exactly why it was so good, so you'd probably just have to see it for yourself. There is a perfect blend of comedy, action, intrigue and excitement all in one. Filler episodes are wonderful and fly by quicker than a bullet train. I never at any point in the series was bored, even for a second. In the beginning, there are a great deal of mini-arcs that deal with events in a certain town or location, but all are still somewhat involved with the main plot. Once the end of the series rolls around, you realize that all of these seemingly unconnected events or places really ARE connected, or come back into play somehow. This comes down to FMA's epic nature at heart, and maybe that's why it was so good, who knows.
9 / 10
The animation style for FMA was superb, and held a perfect balance of serious scenes and comedic chibis. Let's face it, the comedy played a big part in the series, and comic relief was badly needed in harsh scenes. The longest running joke was Ed being called short, and his irritation always manifested itself by him turning chibified for a few minutes. Whereas this would annoy me in most series, it seemed totally appropriate in FMA. Colors used were incredibly bright and vibrant, and character designs looked, well, normal for a series in this time period. The alchemy was definitely the most impressive part, showing us beautiful special effects and sequences. I believe a bit of CG was used, and was seamless, but I could be wrong on that point. Backgrounds were gorgeous, monsters were creepy, and the violence and disturbing parts were animated in a very... well... disturbing fashion as well.
10 / 10
There are barely any series that I see that make me want to get the soundtrack, and this is one of them. There was a piano tune in the later half of the series that was haunting and gave me chills every time it was played. Every piece fit the series in some way, from the upbeat lighthearted tracks to the moody depressing ones. Orchestral music dominated the series, mostly piano and violins.Even the intros and outros (except the last two outros, which were pretty terrible) shone. I don't usually rate the music score on the intro/outro, which is why this still gets a 10. Flawless music all the way around, and enchanting enough to make me want to buy the soundtrack, which is a really big deal in itself.
10 / 10
I honestly can't see how anyone could think the characters score should be lower than a 10. All the characters, even the secondary ones, were developed extremely well. Al and Ed, obviously, had the most revealed about their pasts and motivations for the future, but even the bad guys and non-important folk seemed to have twists and depth attached to them in some way. We see characters grow close and drift apart. We see characters born, and characters die unexpectedly. We see masks cast aside from familiar faces, showing us that what the people we thought we knew, we really didn't at all. Everyone has layers that are peeled back and shown to us slowly... and in general, it was done in the most effective way possible.
10 / 10
I can't say enough good things about this series, but I feel like watching it for yourself would make you understand why I gave it a perfect score. Everything about the series is flawless, from the epic and involved story to the pacing and mood, to the music and animation and depth of characters. It really is rare for a series like this to come along that not only succeeds at keeping your attention for 26 episodes, but for 51. Whether you like action, adventure, comedy, a good story, interesting and multi-dimensional characters, etc. you’re bound to find something you like. And that’s part of what makes Fullmetal Alchemist such a great series. So what are you waiting for? Check this out as soon as you can!
Aug 14, 2013
Full Metal Alchemist takes place in a world that seems similar to ours. The worlds are similar but they have achieved far more in alchemy.
The rules of alchemy state that to gain something, one must lose something of equal value. And above all else, human transmutation is against all rules of alchemy... The Philosopher's Stone can give the alchemist the ability to become powerful as god or even raise the dead.
The story shows us to little alchemists Al and Edward. Two alchemists broke the rules and tried to revive their beloved mother, but were punished for their careless mistake. Full Metal Alchemist follows Ed and Al as they search for the Philosopher's Stone to get their bodies and lives back...
Full metal is just brilliant. More than that FMA is masterpiece. Because only a few anime can blend Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Magic, Shounen, Military genres in really enjoyable anime. I have never liked Filler episodes but FMA made me like it. Funny and entertaining.
FMA is an extremely dark series, with plenty of messed up scenes.
The animation style of FMA was superb. The balance of serious and funny scenes, character design, BG. Fantastic!
There are barely any series that I see that make me want to get the soundtrack, and this is one of them. OST, op, ed themes, v.a.- PERFECT!
All the characters, even the secondary ones, were developed extremely well. Al and Ed, obviously, had the best development. Hell! Even bad-guys had development. FMA will make you love characters, you will worry about them, I guarantee.
FMA has one of the best cast I have ever seen in my life.
Very dark, dramatic, funny, suspenseful, with great cast, amazing story-line…
This show is definitely must watch. If you are after a masterpiece watch it right now!
Everything about the series is flawless. read more
Sep 29, 2009
“Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy's first law of equivalent exchange."
Thus the concept of Equivalent Exchange; it’s a fundamental theory throughout the series and movie and that had constant speculation; whether or not if this was true - applying it to real life situations, without the alchemy business. I think I like this theory mainly because it’s a lot similar to the concept of Karma - “What goes around, comes around” which sometimes has me and many others asking if its true or if we just choose to believe it to make our own lives easier? Unintentionally, this anime has produced quite a philosophical theory giving it a real life sort of edge that has me thinking and intrigued at the same time.
The show was a bit slow for me at first, but strangely enough it wasn’t boring, and being the type to get bored easily with an amazingly short attention span this certainly was a spectacular job the anime had done. I’ll be fair - it does take quite a few episodes to get into it, but it’s time worth spent once you’re sucked into this world of alchemy.
I won’t go into the story that much since the summary does a good job of telling the gist of the anime. What the summary doesn’t tell you though is that there is a fair deal of dark themes, psychopaths and mad scientists/alchemists. I was surprised how bloody, warped and twisted it got especially around episode 7. The anime does a good job of using both dark and comedy/adventure themes and it does lean towards the latter most of time but still has the seriousness and tension that makes it exciting.
The cast of characters were very well ranged. It didn’t seem like there were too many characters or any useless characters - they were all pretty much important to the story and you get a mix of personalities, characteristics etc. Some may be there for comic relief, but none at all were boring and it didn’t seem like it was annoying to see them. Edward Elric, our protagonist of the story is sort of your average funny, short tempered, stubborn chibi hero but he doesn’t fall short there, he also brings along brains as well as brawns which he does use from time to time amazingly enough. He’s a likeable character and he isn’t too noisy to the point where you want to punch his lights out (e.g. Naruto, Ichigo), and I really do admire the bond he and his brother, Alphonse has. Edward is a little different from the typical super power shounen character in one aspect: Motivation. He’s not just a do-gooder who does it because it’s right; he’s actually doing it to repent for his past deeds and to restore his brother’s body.
For me, the art was a plus. I understand some people did not like the art but I liked the unique style it had; it didn’t try to make everyone look so pretty or with pointy chins etc. and Roy Mustang actually did look Japanese to me. This is probably my favourite art amongst all the anime I have watched because it’s so different yet it’s not an eye sore - it’s refreshing I guess.
I watched this over 6 months ago and still I can remember the music used - so it definitely isn’t forgettable. The openings were all amazing, especially the fourth one which I’ve even downloaded on my phone and have made me an Asian Kung Fu Generation fan.
I did think this show was a bit over hyped and overrated at first, and maybe it still is, but after watching the series I understand why it is so loved – It’s simply exciting. You have comedy, action, adventure, magic, tiny bit of blasphemy, some science, brotherly bonds, friendship, psychopaths, conspiracy theories, racial elements, political issues and even a little romance if you’re willing to look deep enough into it. read more
Oct 19, 2013
I'm typing this review, and i wonder to myself, "Why am i doing this? What can i say about a show that's been talked about to death?", and you know what, i don't exactly have a clear answer. Fullmetal Alchemist premiered a decade ago and is still to this day, one of the most beloved and well known anime of our recent generation. It's so well known that talking about it almost seems redundant as about 90% of anime fans have already seen it, and if they haven't seen it then they at least have heard of it, know the premise, and might even know some of the more shocking twists in it. But over the past few years, more and more people have begun to disregard it all thanks to a little thing called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, to the point where i've heard Brotherhood fans say to people on several occasions that they shouldn't watch the original series and just go watch Brotherhood, which i answer to with a big, "Huh?". But this isn't about Brotherhood, i'll cover that elephant in the room if i ever choose to do a review of it. No this is about the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, and why if you haven't already seen it, then you should check out as soon as possible.
As i said it's almost pointless to sum up the plot that everybody already knows but, formulaic procedure wins. The story is about the two Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, who try to use a blend of science and magic called alchemy to bring their mother back from the dead. Things go terribly wrong however, and in the process Edward loses an arm and a leg, and Alphonse loses his entire body, being forced to fuse his soul with a body of armor to survive. They soon join the country's militia, the state alchemist division to be precise, in order to search for a item of great power called the philosopher's stone, in order to revive their bodies back to their original forms. The idea of two brothers setting off on a journey is already a concept that could fill an entire show, but then there's also the story of the them joining the military and how their more childish outlook and views clash with the military's actions, which is also enough to fill an entire show. But then there's also the military itself and it's mission to reform the country, and also the soldiers that wish to change the military to better the country, and then there's the evil forces that the Elric brothers encounter with their own mission and backstory, and so on and so forth. Fullmetal Alchemist has enough plot lines to fill up 10 different anime, which could easily just make for a cluttered mess of ruined potential, but the story in Fullmetal Alchemist is a well written, perfectly paced, and air tight. But even so this seems like a lot for just a battle shounen, but you can't really call it just a battle shounen as it seems like the show has just about every genre you can think of all in one. There's action, adventure, comedy, drama, supernatural, super power, military, romance, mystery, thriller, horror, shock jock, fantasy, and sci fi, all in one. Once again, having so much in one show could easily be the death of it, but all of these genres are performed well and at just the right moments, even having them clash at times just to prove a point. And if that wasn't enough, this show completes every plot point and every character saga, and still has room for filler. To some the concept of adding filler is a bad thing, but in this case i find being able to have filler more of a compliment than anything. If you haven't gotten what's good about the story of FMA from this, let me sum it up for you. Fullmetal Alchemist is an emotional, action packed, well written saga and above all, is fucking big, displaying a vast world of different cultures, inventions and religions that just sucks you in from the very beginning.
Fullmetal Alchemist was made by studio BONES and is probably the show most responsible for the seemingly endless pockets of money that the studio had for many years. But this was an early work, so it's not exactly perfect. The show didn't have all that much of a budget to work with, and there were times when it showed, inconsistent character designs, jagged edges, and one or two episodes in particular that looked fairly cheap. But the show is still overall a good looking show. What impressed me most was probably the shading in it and how perfectly it was used to represent different emotions and foreshadowing. The character facial designs also helped this, done well enough at times that two characters could just share a scene together, with zero dialogue, and in just one stare, convey all the emotions they need to get across. Of course this is a battle series, and you can tell that this is where a good chunk of the budget was spent, with fluid animation and splendid choreographing that kept your eyes firmly glued to the screen. Fullmetal Alchemist is a good looking show with some dents here and there, but the moments of brilliance shine right though.
The soundtrack is comprised completely of orchestral pieces, all of which compliment their scenes quite well. It's in the background, always noticeable but never overpowering, a perfect accompaniment to the show. But, to tell the truth, nothing on the OST really sticks out on it's own and it's not really a soundtrack that you listen to on it's own. A good soundtrack nonetheless but nothing spectacular. If i was only judging the sound based off the soundtrack then i'd probably only give it a 7 or 8 out of 10, but there's one more important thing to talk about. The dub. This was an early Funimation show, but i'm guessing that they knew ahead of time how big the show would be, because they really brought their A game for it. Talking about Vic Mignogna as Edward Elric is almost as redundant as telling people about the plot to FMA, he's great as the role, and it's the number one reason why he has so many fangirls. Plus this was also the show that launched Travis Willingham's career for his performance as Roy Mustang, which is well deserved. And i'd be remiss to not mention Christopher Sabbat's performance as Major Alex Louise Armstrong who just does the role complete justice as though IT WAS A PERFORMANCE HANDED DOWN THE ARMSTRONG FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS. There are plenty of other big names like Johnny Yong Bosch and Luci Christanson playing ver small roles which are always nice to hear. But the thing that really impressed me about the dub is that they had actual kids playing the kids including a 12 year old Aaron Dismuke doing a bang up job in his first performance as Alphonse Elric. It's definitely a show worth checking out dubbed.
A story as big as Fullmetal Alchemist need a big cast, and not only is this cast supplied, but their also just as well written as the story itself. First off we have out two main characters Edward and Alphonse Elric. Edward is the prodigy of the two, the genius who often makes the decisions of what the two of them will do, which can proof to be disastrous at times, considering that with great intelligence and curiosity comes an overwhelming temptation to the dark side. He's the one who decided to resurrect their mother, he's the one who decides to join the military, and he's the one who constantly has to struggle with doing the right thing and doing the things that most benefit them. But he's still just a kid, and with so comes a certain naiveté towards things. He's quick to learn from his mistakes and often feels guilt for what his actions have causes, and is driven with a strong determination to set things right, making him the ideal protagonist. Alphonse on the other hand is the philosopher, usually being the moral compass of the two and keeping his older brother grounded to the right side. Between the two brothers, he loses the most, but instead of being angry and bitter about it, is often friendly and optimistic and hates to see people suffer for his sake, giving him great guilt as well for what his brother has to go through for his sake. These are of course, only the two main characters, and Fullmetal Alchemist has nearly 40 supporting and recurring character, meaning characters that show up for more than two episodes and have a role in the overall plot. And you know what, each and every one of them is left unresolved. Like the story, the characters of Fullmetal Alchemist are memorable, well written, and big. But the most important thing that these characters do in the series, is acknowledge and represent the importance of family bonds, from the relationship between the Elric brothers, to the relationship between the military soldiers, and event he weird relationship between the Homunculi of the series that form their own little family in a way. From the arrogant but gentle hearted Colonel Roy Mustang, to the incredibly manly glittering Major Alex Louise Armstrong, to the Homunculi that oppose the Elric brothers, all of the characters of Fullmetal Alchemist are fleshed out and memorable.
Enjoyment and Overall (10/10)
In case you haven't been able to tell, i love Fullmetal Alchemist, very few series have made me love them this much. I'm not really sure what i can say about this series that i haven't already said. It's an epic tale of love, determination, and passion that every one should check out. We never needed a movie, the series ended fine on it's own, and just because Brotherhood now exists, doesn't mean we should disregard this series, personal tastes aside. Fullmetal Alchemist is a series that is completely on par with the original manga and proof that a series doesn't need fidelity to succeed. I'll leave off with this quote, which is technically from Brotherhood but screw it, it works.
"There’s no such thing as a painless lesson. They just don’t exist. Sacrifices are necessary. You can’t gain anything without losing something first. Although, if you can endure that pain and walk away from it, you will find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Yes…a heart that's Fullmetal." read more
Jun 13, 2008
The concept - in my eyes - is very fascinating. Some people may say that alchemy is no more than just another form of magic from just another series, but it's not really like that. It's not like they just draw out some hidden power and poof, they've made something from nothing. They use alchemy by decomposing, restructuring and rebuilding materials. For example, they can take normal sand, decompose it, restructure the materials it's made of, and build it up again as a hard rock wall. That's what separates alchemy from magic/etc. as seen in other series; it's more a science than, well, magic.
The story of the series is enthralling, captivating and deep. It starts out simple; two boys wanting to regain their original bodies, which were lost due to something that went wrong in their past. However, it soon goes much deeper, with the military coming into the picture; who's good and bad there, conspiracies, ulterior motives etc. There's also the deal with the Philosopher's Stone; the hidden motives, the dark secrets, lots of stuff which will often leave you on the edge of your seat, wanting to know the truth behind things.
It is important to note that the story differs greatly from the manga from around episode 32 or so. So if you've read the manga, you'll have to adjust to that fact. However, the ending of the series is actually very good in my opinion. A lot happens, and there are some loose ends, but it's really great. I think it's the kind of ending you'll either love or hate, having read the manga or not.
I liked the animation in FMA. It's very flawless, and the color palette is varied. Light effects are good too, during transmutations and such. However, something that drags it down is that it's pretty simple. I'm not a fan of "simple is good", but if you don't mind it, you'll have no problems with the animation of this series.
The music in FMA is very good; it has very good OP/ED themes, and the background music's very good, setting the mood perfectly, while at the same time being great as stand-alone songs (I'm especially fond of "Brothers"). The soundtrack of the series simply cannot be missed.
The characters are okay. There's a lot of good characters, but not that much character development; how they are when they are introduced is pretty much how they are at the end as well. But as said, they are good when they start out, and that somewhat makes up for the lack of character development.
All in all, this was a series that I enjoyed a great lot. I'm not really a fan of giving popular series high scores, but this is one of the series that just deserved it.
To 'Not Helpful' voters (and you 'Helpful' voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =) read more
May 16, 2008
Synonymous to: Amazing.
Yes, I am well aware that there are probably more rave reviews for FMA than necessary, but I seriously could not help myself. It had to be said. :3
The plot is nothing short of brilliant. It twists and spirals more than a rollercoster, yet provides depth, and is easy to pick-up and follow. The introductory episodes, which can also be considered as the 'flashback' episodes, are sometimes bland, but once the real plot gets going, you'll get hooked immediately. Of course, even the flashback episodes themselves have their own merits, as they provide much appreciated character development and establish the foundations of FMA as a whole (such as Ed and Al's quest, why they lost their bodies). Plus, they're usually high on action and are often times better than you'd think.
Once the real story does pick up, FMA spins its web of tales in earnest. Each show reveals little by little, the overall goal of the homunculi, their identities, and where the anime seems to be heading. Plus, the show does an amazing job in weaving the character relationships. Nearly every recurring character is somehow involved in the overall plot, no matter how random they might be. In the final stages of the series, all of these connected characters are brought together, providing the audience with a resolution that satisfies immensely. Though the occasional incongruity keeps it from being a true masterpiece, FMA does earn its 10 by keeping me hooked with a plot that's fluid and a pleasure to watch
I don't consider myself the best art critic out there, but I'd still have to give high marks here as well. Nothing in the anime seems ridiculously complicated or simplified, and everything is visually appealing. Unless you're a truly seasoned anime connoisseur, chances are that you'll be satisfied with the animation regardless of the reviewer's opinion.
Square Enix contributed to the production of FMA. And wherever Square Enix goes, good music is bound to follow.
This might be too much of a generalization, but for FMA, it holds true. The background music mends in seamlessly with the rest of the sounds such as the special effects and the dialogue, but also manages to help evoke emotions within the audience
However, the main reason for FMA's spectacular performance in the sound category are the opening and closing themes. In my personal opinion, one of the best anime song collections are the openings of this particular series. I mean, who hasn't gone crazy with an air guitar pretending to play AKFG's "Rewrite" ? ... or is that just me?
Finally, the area I believe that FMA truly shines in every aspect. I touched upon the characters somewhat while praising the plot, and I'll go into more depth here.
The characters encountered are probably some of the most dynamic and well-rounded ever created. I've heard many people complain about how Ed and Al never really managed to beat an enemy outright, and how their fights sometimes seem boring. Well, I'd hate to break it to those folks, but it would be even more boring if the protagonists won every single battle without a sweat. Not every encounter can be flashy and brilliant, and that is what provides a sense of reality here. In addition, most characters give the impression that they're actually simple and predictable, but when it really counts, you'll be surprised at how different they can be. It definitely adds to the personalities of the characters and makes them seem much more realistic. One of the most striking examples of this duality is Maes Hughes. He's the type of character who can knock you off your chair with laughter one second, then make you cry the next. And he's not the only one. Many of the main and supporting characters have different sides to their personality, and discovering each of those is quite the experience.
In terms of relationships between characters, FMA doesn't disappoint. Every character is in some way, shape, or form related to the others. And none of them feel like a stretch. Even though most of the characters are from all over the place and seem to be random additions, it always turns out that they were placed for a reason. In many anime, meetings between characters are often shown as chance occurrences, or fated encounters if you will. But FMA is deviously well-crafted to the point the audience would eventually think that it was obvious that a certain character was tied to someone else.
One of the main factors of enjoyment in FMA is the comic relief. It's extremely well done so you truly feel that it doesn't detract from the overall seriousness of the plot. This is probably because the hilarity and levity is well balanced by equally serious and slightly darker elements. However, you will literally fall off your chair/couch/sofa/bed at least once while watching this. I guarantee it... but don't take my word for it.
Perhaps in the far future, if anime still retains its popularity amongst western (and even eastern) audiences, Full Metal Alchemist will be one of those titles included in the "classic anime titles you must watch" section. It certainly deserves its place in history as one of the best fantasy/shounen anime of the early 21st century.
*please forgive any lapses in spelling, grammar, or sanity I may have had in the process of writing this review* read more
Sep 29, 2007
Fullmetal Alchemist is another one of the series I wish I’ve seen sooner. The reason why I didn’t watch it right away was the number of episodes. Usually, I prefer series that have a maximum of 26 episodes, because series with 50 episodes or more tend to lose its juice somewhere around the middle. It was not the same for Fullmetal Alchemist.
Fullmetal Alchemist definitely kept me entertained. I don’t think there was a time during any of the episodes that I felt bored – there was always something that caught my attention. The storyline definitely had a lot of depth to it and had something for everybody. It had me laughing, crying, and sometimes feeling like I was having a heart attack. Watch it and you’ll know what I’m talking about. A word of caution though – sometimes it tends to be bloody, and possibly cruel (SPOILER – A lot of unexpected deaths). There's also the scientific aspect of it that I like. Alchemy, the law of conservation and even the food chain is embedded in the storyline.
I love all the characters. They too, had a lot of depth to them. Ed can be cheeky and rude sometimes, but he has his morals. I didn’t think he was charismatic at first, but after a few episodes, I started to like him. I like how he gets mad when people made comments about his height. He’s such a good big brother to Al. And Al! He’s probably my favorite characters from the series. I know he’s huge, but he’s just so cute. I really believe that he’s a kid even if he doesn’t look like it. The villains are really convincing too – they really made me hate them. My favorite has to be Envy, because he’s really sinister, and Wrath. He’s a cute kid, but he’s kinda psychotic. Other characters I like are Winry and Hughes.
I think the voice acting contributed a lot to the likeability of the characters. I love the fact that they picked female seiyus to portray the 2 main male characters. As always, Romi Paku did a good job of portraying Ed. Romi Paku’s voice is perfect for teenage boys with a lot of personality. I absolutely love Rie Kugimiya’s depiction of Alphonse Elric. All throughout the series, I kept saying how cute Al’s voice was and how it was one of the most clever voice acting ever. Rie Kugimiya should do less loli roles and choose roles that are more like Al.
One trait I noticed in BONES productions I’ve seen is that their art style is always simple. At first I was disappointed, thinking it was too simple, that the characters looked too stubby, but I learned to appreciate it after a short while. I guess they focused more on the story, which is more important than the art for some. I also realized that Winry is really beautiful, even though her design is not perfect.
The music was good too. I love all of the BGM tracks. They were all beautiful and nicely done. As for the opening and ending themes, I am amazed at the roster of class acts that were involved with FMA’s music. My two favorites would have to be the second opening song, “Ready Steady Go" by L'Arc-en-Ciel and the other would be the fourth opening song, "Rewrite" by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION. "Tobira no Mukou e (To the Other Side of the Door)" by YeLLOW Generation was also nice.
One of the resonating themes that went on throughout the series was the importance of life and being human. Living was important to Ed and Al, and it was the same for their enemies. I also like how they said that life (or the world) isn’t perfect, but that’s why it’s so beautiful. There’s also the importance of family. The characters (especially those with brothers) were all very family-oriented, which is something you don’t see in the real world. It’ll make you cherish your family more.
And with that, I strongly recommend Fullmetal Alchemist to everyone who reads this review. I think that almost anyone will like this anime and will definitely enjoy it. I can confidently say that I haven’t seen an anime like this before. read more
Dec 5, 2008
Whatever. That's neither here nor there.
I do not give out 10's lightly. I give out a lot of 9's, even 8's, but 10's are the shows that work their way under my skin, tug at my chest, and express so beautifully the things we already know deep down, but could not put to words, or consciously conceptualize. Fullmetal Alchemist is a singular show in that regard. It is a singularly imaginative, beautifully-written masterpiece on par with the greatest works of literature. Some of the political commentary feels a little heavy-handed, but then again, when does it not? The oppressive, violent military is not portrayed as a singular body of "AMERICA FUCK YEAH" heathens, but a diverse body of human beings with individual motives, value judgments, and sacrifices. The Ishbal people are not portrayed as selfless martyrs--usually, the oppressed people have to be perfect to garner any sympathy, but in this case, they are flawed humans as much as anybody else.
Ultimately, the show does not make any black-and-white assertions of right-and-wrong, truth-and-myth. Everything is still shades of gray when all is said and done. The only conclusion that can be made, as Al so beautifully states, is that there is no one law that governs the world--it's too complicated and flawed. Life is unfair and sacrifice does not guarantee gain. And yet, the power of determination is not undermined. It is not wholly pessimistic nor wholly optimistic. That would be too simple. That would be too clean. Life is not like that.
This is one of those shows I feel I can recommend to anybody. It is universal, it is powerful, and it is not dogmatic in a way that would turn off somebody who does not agree with that central dogma. It represents fundamentalist religious activists and atheist scientists with equal humanity and flaw. Ultimately, nobody is shown to be in possession of the one, and only, truth. read more
Mar 16, 2009
At times, I did question what defines Ed’s idealistic views beyond just brotherly love. Despite his status in this anime as a teenage military officer, there are many times you can admire his stance on certain moral issues some people can think are simple and/or complicated, but during those moments, you do wonder what does motivate him to feel that way. Is it because of his age that gives him that kind of way to view things? Or is it because of his experience? Sometimes I felt it couldn’t have been a combination of both. To give some elaboration, I just thought that his mentality at times, even at the most idealistic of moments was just him being a naïve kid who has yet to fully grow up, or was it really because how he has faced so much adversity to give him that much hope. I felt Al despite being Ed’s primary motivation also serves as an excellent foil to Ed whenever he got out of hand. In a way, I feel those who are the younger sibling can relate to him. A lot of us know how bossy older siblings can be just because they’re older, and I think Al and his relationship with Ed does a great job of portraying this relationship in a realistic way, and yet so comedic at times.
Before I give some conclusion to what I felt about the story and characters, by the laws of equivalent exchange, I feel I do need to point out a flaw in conjunction to my praise until now, and which I will give again at the conclusion of the story and character part of this review. And that of course is that it at some point it loses track from the original manga source material which has inspired the April 2009 installment. Upon buying the DVDs, I started reading the manga with it. If there was one thing that upset me between the differences between the two mediums, it was definitely the handling of Barry the Butcher in the anime. This will be a spoiler, so skim to the next paragraph. What I liked in the original manga is that he was simply that sadistic soul in the crazy armor acting stupid. In the anime, he is given a different, but elaborate back-story in which he kidnaps Winry and Ed. I mean, the guy freaks Ed out to the point that he seemed to pee his pants and I felt it kind of cheapened that moment that Ed was scared for his life during their initial encounter in the anime. When Barry was reduced to being a comic relief character, I felt those moments in the anime were kind of ruined for me, and I felt it was the only time the comedy didn't feel right. I guess this is what happens when you adapt an anime from a manga in which there was limited material at the time.
Now that I mentioned the comedy aspect, what I also found unique about this anime was how it combines a dark story with some lighthearted comedy, especially with Armstrong who reminds me of Gai-sensei from Naruto, and the never ending jokes about Ed’s height. Despite my criticism of the anime handling of Barry the Butcher, it’s very rare to see this combination pulled off so effectively by still keeping a consistent tone in any medium whether American or Japanese animation, or even live action. I feel it does a great job that it can appeal to just about anybody who is either new or strongly familiar with anime.
The character design, specifically the faces, I’ll just call very fan art friendly. It’s basic and simple, but yet very distinct. What helps define that distinction first is the costume and clothing designs. I felt they were very appropriate for the time period it takes place in and compliments the frame of the characters. I really thought the design of Al was quite original, especially in use. It appropriately makes him unassuming and I like how the beads in his eyes convey that he’s an innocent soul thanks to the support of the voice acting (in both English AND Japanese) which I will elaborate later. The special effects are top notch, and the action sequences are timed and coordinated excellently. It’s easy to follow, and still elaborate. I like how it combines martial arts and the alchemy attacks. I like how this anime redefines the shounen energy action sequences to something more directly scientific and not over the top such as FF7: AC, or as technical as Rurouni Kenshin. The city designs are breath taking and I like how all kinds of environments are portrayed. In addition to old cities, you also got rural villages, forests, deserts, ghetto slums in which our heroes will explore.
The Japanese and English tracks are equally excellent. I feel this is one of those animes where you can watch it in Japanese for one episode, and watch it in English, or you can simply exclusively watch it in one language or another. I feel the English and Japanese respective actors for Ed and Al had perfect chemistry, and really brought out the qualities of them as individuals. I felt that Paku Romi and Vic Mignona did an excellent job of making Ed sound mature, idealistic, and appropriately childish and stubborn. While Kugimiya Rie and Aaron Dismuke accurately capture Al by being that eternal and yet mature child who always shows concern for Ed. It’s hard to believe that he played the role at 12 years of age, the same age as Al. He’s far more talented than a majority of dubs I’ve ever seen in my lifetime of watching anime. The anime in both Japanese and English overall share an all star cast of the best talent you can find.
The soundtrack is also an undeniable quality. The first two opening themes are performed by Porno Graffiti and L’arc~en~ciel, who also did the two opening themes to GTO. But their style to the songs they contributed to this anime brings a much different flavor from what those two bands contributed to GTO. For Melissa performed by Porno Graffiti, in comparison to Hitori no Yoru, the 2nd opening theme of GTO, it feels much more relaxing and laid back, but yet the imagery along with the song gives an adventurous and mysterious feel to it. I also somewhat feel the same about Ready Steady Go, the 2nd opening theme by L’Arc at some capacity as well. The last opening theme is Rewrite by Asian Kung Fu Generation, in which many of you may know as the singers of Haruka Kanata in Naruto. They also bring that hard and loud style to this song and reflects more on the action orientated nature. The background music is more generally grand and orchestrated and accurately reflects the mood and atmosphere of the moment.
Like I said before, I feel this anime can be watched by just about anybody whether you’re not just new or familiar with anime, maybe you don’t have to be an anime fan to appreciate its universal qualities and themes. I feel that the characters are people we can relate to for pretty much every reason possible.I feel by watching this anime, by the laws of equivalent exchange, you'll get something inspiring out of it.
Aug 10, 2007
I think this anime is one of the best. You can't compare it to the others, well at least I can't. The story is so complex, it contains drama, mystery, action, romance and of course adventure. The characters (even the supportingcast) and their background story was perfect, not to mention the design and the music. I think within the characters eveybody finds his or her favourite.
I just want to say: watch it! It really worth it. read more
Sep 5, 2011
Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the greatest animes ever and for good reason. However, here's what bothers me the most. I've seen all of the first anime and I have seen all of Brotherhood. I love both equally but I hate the fact that Brotherhood exist. Meaning I hate the fact that Brotherhood has to overshadow the first anime as the first anime did some things WAAAAAY better than Brotherhood even with everyone on Myanimelist giving Brotherhood high ratings.
Fullmetal Alchemist is just beautiful. Studio Bones really knows how to make things detailed and distinctive. Every single waking scene is filled with life and color. Even with the grimmest locations like in the middle of a desert, the serious inside of a military, or even at night in the pouring rain, there are so many little details that should be appreciated here. Even better, no one truly is a carbon copy of each other, they are all different and their uniqueness adds to their personality. Truly of work of art as far as animes go and I love every moment. Also, one thing that the first FMA anime has that Brotherhood doesn't have was that in first anime the characters have the absolute most terrifying faces when a shocking situation emoting the fear in their eyes sending chills down the spine.
This is what Brotherhood should've at least kept: The excellent score. I remember the score of the first FMA more than I remember the score of the Brotherhood. Granted, I do think the openings and endings are better in Brotherhood, but the score in Brotherhood was not that all memorable. There are times in FMA where the score would have string instruments to show beauty of one scene then switch to a more cheerful piece to signify more comedic relief. It comes in at the right time and knows how to set the mood. The sound design is also great with one of the most memorable sound effects in anime, the sound of Alchemy. On to the voice tracks, if you read my reviews you know that I watch shows dubbed and FMA is no exception in fact to all you weeaboos who think dubs suck should watch FMA's dub. We all know that Vic Mignogna is legendary as Edward Elric. A little criticism for Vic is that while I do love him in every role he does small or big, he probably has the most narrow vocal range because you just know it's him every time. Though as Edward, he fits the role well being serious when he needs to and breaking out into one of his memorable Edward rants. We all know Vic, but there are so many other notable roles here. Laura Bailey, providing her sexiest performance as well Lust, Travis Willingham and Colleen Clinkenbeard as Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye, respectively, Aaron Dimuske, before the voice maturation as Alphonse, Christopher Sabat as the oh so lovable Major Alex Louis Armstrong and even Johnny Yong Bosch makes an appearance in one episode if you could believe it. Got to watch this show dub, it is excellent plus it makes sense being all these characters have english names.
Story and Characters:
Before I get to talking about how this show compares to Brotherhood let me just say something about FMA in general. FMA is one of the most emotional and powerful stories ever. It is a triumphant tale of two brothers, their big mistake, and their journey to return to the way things are. On this journey, they gain and lose friends, overcome obstacles, and make the best out of every situation even if there are disadvantages. The other thing about FMA that even my other top animes don't have: THERE ARE NO CHARACTERS IN FMA THAT I HATE NOR FORGET! Every character large and small is memorable, all of them have personalities, all of them have their moments, and all of them are just the greatest characters. Even Shou Tucker, the character that people hate the most in FMA I don't happen to mind because at least he is interesting because the sick act that he has done. FMA truly is unbelievable and I love it.
We all know why people don't like this first anime that much. It is because halfway through the series, it strays away from the manga to an ending that while not completely ridiculous, is a little out of the blue. Now I am going to say something that you all have to think about: FMA Brotherhood has a better story, but the first anime told it's story better. I'm dead serious. Brotherhood I felt was a story on steroids with things going at a faster pace which is great. Here's what I like about the first FMA. Some characters are around longer and have more significance to the plot which I like a lot better. Brotherhood is dark but the first anime is even darker. I feel the Homunculi are more evil and nihilistic. There were more conflicting and somewhat psychological situations between characters. I think the show conveys more atmosphere and gives the audience much more time to breathe and enjoy the scenario. Unlike Brotherhood which I feel everything is rushed, plot threads gets solved faster, and things are all happening at once. Brotherhood, however, is the much better story and is how the original creator intended but then again she was satisfied with the direction the story of the first anime went and to tell you the truth I really think the first anime is somewhat superior. Yes, the ending the was a little random and the fact that it continued in a movie that while not entirely bad was absolutely pointless. Seriously though the first FMA anime is excellent on it's own and I really wish that people didn't write it off at all.
FMA is an emotional roller coaster. It makes you laugh, cry, cheer, and even can get pretty scary at times. After you watch one episode, all you want to do is move on the next one. Even when I go back to revisit an episode I am tempted to watch the whole show again because I forget so many things and remember the reasons why I love this show so much.
If you haven't watched this show, or really loved Brotherhood, then get to it. This is one of my top 5 animes of all time and even I who hasn't watched it second time through yet can safely say that you will not forget this anime. I don't care if it doesn't follow the manga. I agree the story of the manga and Brotherhood is way better but the first anime has it's own story and it is presented so much better than Brotherhood. Don't pass this up please. Now If you'll excuse me I have to study my alchemy. read more
Apr 6, 2008
This is an example of an anime I categorize as a "well rounded shonen". Even though it is indeed included in the genre of shonen, action, steampunk , drama, adventure, thriller etc. this anime encompassed those fields emerging as an anime masterpiece, not imprisoned in those areas' stereotypes.
"You cannot gain anything without giving something in return. To obtain something, one must trade an equivalent value - that is the law of Alchemy and the law of the world."
That simple concept of alchemy gave way to top-notch anime action, character conflicts and heart-wrenching questions.
First of all, Full Metal Alchemist watchers will be excited with its shonen attributes mainly: "what will be their powers or fighting skills?","Who will be their enemy?" or "When will cooler characters come?". FMA is like that yet I was amazed on how this anime is stereotypical yet does not feel like that at all: It mixed "coolness" with heartwarming and thought-provoking drama and philosophical thoughts like "what is evil? It is science or religion?", "What makes us human?" when it is full of action packed and with some suspense.
It portrayed the maturing of a boy as he encounters trials with his brother and how they sticked together as family as they repent for their sins. The story showed that sin does pay-and it can be very painful. It is the same with the sick world. Actions caused people to suffer and longing to get something unobtainable will make them lose more- alchemy as a tool of war and religion as an excuse for it.
And even in those hard times, one will be touched by the presence of kindness within the characters. People have different lives but all they want to live; but all has a price to pay.
The animation is very consistent, richly colored and vibrant. What I really liked about the characters are; because this anime only used realistic hair colors like blond or brunette, a lot of characters have them similar (Riza and Winry) yet they are still easily identifiable, characters are very distinct from each other. The places,clothing, car and cities' designs are based on the early 1900's, realistic and nicely detailed. The art of the transmutation circle are also worth appreciated and is very memorable.
What I also loved in its art is the distortion of the female or" kind" image to show evil and abomination in a intriguing way.
Opening themes rock and ending themes nice, appropriate and anticipated. Though the background themes are not very addictive, they give you the necessary mood; hatred, horror, military, farewells, happiness, mother etc. They are very Baroque/Romantic/Classical European with modern arrangements, therefore familiar and eerie at certain times.
My favorite song in FMA, "Bratya" the image song of Ed and Al, and will surely warm your heart and will make you curious what the lyrics are.
FMA is one of the animes with a strong character both in its plot and characters.The story was well portrayed, both in its succession and foreshadowing; well portrayed that humorous scenes are funny and serious scenes are serious and ungoofy. It is also very age and gender-friendly and very redeeming indeed.
The characters have well-composed personalities and developed that are quite "human" and unstereotypical. The story progresses with their interactions(that are unforced) as their dramas coincide with each others'.
The main protagonist. Edward Elric has a strong character which is a very good asset to the series. He balances his tough guy and confident shonen image to his maturity and sensitivity to others' feelings.
Enjoyment and Overall:10
No episode out of 50 is wasted in FMA, and every episode clearly show either story or character- it is really amazing.
I really enjoyed watching this (watched it 3 times) and I really recommend this to all anime fans, this show should not be missed nor overlooked. This anime deserves its awards as one of the best. My only criticisms are; first there were tini-tiny overuse of flashbacks in some episodes and because it is very well rounded, it did not appeal to some anime fans preference; example, a fan likes drama and found that FMA lacked it or a fan likes action and many fight scenes and thinks that FMA wasn't cool enough. It's like a circle.
Jan 25, 2007
Sep 6, 2008
The story is not really about one character, but two. The brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric have perpetuated the greatest of taboos and have paid dearly. Though both brothers had their distinct personalities and traits before their tragic accident, this moment transforms and traumatizes them forever. The hotheaded Edward is a great character, one who comes with a bit of a “Napoleon complex”, and acts like an adult. But in his greatest moments reminds you that he is still a child who misses his mother and feels terrible guilt for what has happened to his brother. The younger Alphonse is now merely a soul bound to a suit of armor, trying to live normally. He seems to be way too innocent and childlike at times even if he appears to be walking metal monster.
The supporting characters also have strong personalities and it appears everyone is connected and has some tragedy of their own. Two of my favorites are actually bad guys, the homunculi, Envy and Greed. Greed may personify his name completely, but someone how he becomes a sympathetic character that shows heart and (dare I say) qualities you find admirable in a person. Envy is the kind of character that is so heartless and powerful that he transcends his role. As a matter of fact, he and Major Hughes have one of the best scenes in the show. As Major Hughes becomes another transcendent and memorable character.
Episode by episode the plot is tightly woven and told better than any other story I’ve seen. Everything is well thought out and interconnected, the beginning, middle and end are all equally as important and there are no throw away episodes. The show flawlessly goes from pure horror to light-hearted fun, and back again. Even the silly episode dealing with Major Armstrong’s family and a haunted warehouse has some meaning to the overall plot.
The action in the show is also smart and exciting and varies greatly. We see moments of terror as a character try to escape serial killers. We see the fantastic action of alchemy against alchemy and also sword and gunplay. The action definitely shows off its shonen roots. And many of these fights become heart wrenching, always giving the life of a person, any person, its proper weight in the story. Some of my favorite battles are Edward versus Colonel Mustang, Edward versus Greed and Edward and Alphonse versus Sloth.
The deaths of people are never glossed over or taken lightly in this series and I think that that is the shows greatest message and legacy. There are MANY deaths in this show, major and minor characters alike, and there are many tragedies as many people foolishly or ignorantly meet their end at the cruel hands of a fate and malice. No matter what though, the show always finds time to ask what the price of life is.
The ending for the series certainly throws a curve ball at you as some nagging mysteries are finally revealed. In a way, the ending was satisfying even though everything wasn’t neatly wrapped up. But honestly, the real ending is the fantastic Fullmetal Alchemist movie, which may be one of the most satisfying anime ending you’ll ever see.
Edit: I know the 10's across the board may seem a bit "fanboyish", but I honestly and personally didn't find any flaws in the show to make me downgrade the scores. It is a perfect example of not only shonen, but what anime is general can do. read more