First of all, I have seen the original FMA and although it was very popular and original, the pacing and conclusion did not sit too well with me. Brotherhood is meant to be a remake of the original, this time sticking to the manga all the way through, but there were people who thought it would spoil the franchise. That myth should be dispelled, as there's only one word to describe this series - EPIC.
I admit that as I've seen the original and read the manga, the pacing of Brotherhood seems to start off being VERY fast (I finally got used to the pacing after
watching the first fifteen eps or so). Events that took up half a volume of the manga and had spread though a few episodes of the original anime were now shown in just a single episode. However, after trying to look at it from the perspective of someone who's new to FMA (not comparing it to the manga nor the original), I believe that the pacing works and it manages to tell an intriguing story effectively with little confusion. The plot is full of clever ideas and unpredictable twists that link various parts of the story together. By the final episode, all loose ends are neatly tied up and what's left is a hugely satisfying epilogue.
The animation in FMA Brotherhood is crisp and very well done (although it does sometimes dip a bit in quality). Compared to the original FMA it's a bit simpler but that's just because the original set a very high standard to follow. The facial emotions of the characters are also perfectly presented. The action scenes are brilliant and VERY well animated, with a variety of alchemy techniques and other talents being displayed nearly every episode. The various battles are consistently exciting to watch, but somehow get even better towards the end of the series.
The voice acting is of an excellent and consistent quality, and I think that pretty much all the characters have voice actors which suit their personalities. The majority of the openings/endings are a pleasure to watch due to fantastic animated sequences and theme songs. The background music which play during the episodes usually fit very well with the situation, although some tracks seem to be overused a little at first. This becomes less of a problem as the series progresses, with plenty of new music being introduced to support the story as it reaches the finale.
Moving on to the characters (best thing about this series), the original FMA focussed mainly on Ed and Al and on their struggles to regain their bodies, whereas Brotherhood also explores other characters to great detail at the same time. The majority of the spotlight is still on the two brothers, but it highlights their interactions with new characters which were not present in the original anime. New characters include a group of people from Xing (a neighbouring country), another person from the Armstrong family (who I think has become one of the coolest members of the supporting cast), and a new main antagonist. For me, the Xingese characters in particular (Ling Yao and Mei Chang among others) provide a new dimension to the FMA world, by showing us a different culture to the militaristic one we're familiar with. I think the new antagonist is an improvement on the original FMA, as this person has a much stronger and clever link to the Elric brothers' father. Returning characters from the original FMA, such as Mustang and Scar, are much more awesome and developed due to the fact that Brotherhood is 100% faithful to the manga. Plus, Winry Rockbell now has a much more active role in the story. I can say for sure that this anime has one of the best main/supporting casts I've ever seen, and you'd probably find it difficult to label any of the recurring characters (whether they are good or evil) as being either boring or unnecessary in terms of the storyline.
One of the many good things about this series is that there has been absolutely no filler at all (yes, I'm thinking of Naruto, Inuyasha, etc), which prevents the story from losing momentum. All the episodes are concise and every scene is important as part of the huge plot. The dialogue fully explains everything and is straight to the point. As multiple characters are explored there are lots of side stories, but these are all perfectly intertwined with the main story of the Elric brothers and more often than not directly influence their journey too. Like most anime series, there are things from the manga which have been left out, but these are usually just restricted to comedy moments. There has been one episode which shows a lot of flashbacks of events so far, but that's forgiven as it shows the most epic moments of the series, and also provided us with some history on the father of the Elric brothers.
FMA Brotherhood will be sorely missed now that it's finished. It is excellent in every aspect and has very little, if anything, that can be called a flaw (maybe rushed character development at first due to the fast pacing, but this quickly subsides). Each episode feels like it's too short, a testimony to how much it draws you in to the story and characters. There are moments which leave you smiling, laughing, sad and simply amazed. Try this anime, it's recommended for absolutely everyone, to newcomers and to those familiar with Fullmetal Alchemist.
Adaptations have long been a thorn in the side of anime viewers, but not because they are inherently bad. No, the main problem has been that many studios have regarded the original work almost as an afterthought, and there are a number of shows that could have been wonderful if the writers had simply stuck to the original story.
One of the issues at hand seems to be ownership as producers, writers and directors all seem to want the work to be reflective of their style and perception, and in order to stamp their mark on a show they will makes numerous unnecessary changes or additions.
Admittedly there are times when the adaptation supersedes the original work, but more often than not the result is at best a decent anime, and at worst utter twaddle.
And then there's the other side of the coin, where the anime adaptation sticks to the storyline set out in the original work. Normally one would expect these to be superior works, but in a strange irony this is not always the case. The problem with these types of adaptations is that the original work may not have been very good, or even have a suitable narrative, to begin with, and turning them into anime only seems to exacerbate their inherent flaws.
Fortunately, the Full Metal Alchemist franchise manages to steer clear almost all of these pitfalls. The problem is, there are no other anime that have so evenly split the viewing public's opinion between the two versions of the series. Unlike the 2003 adaptation, Brotherhood is a faithful representation of Arakawa Hiromu's hit manga, and while many fans of the franchise laud it as the best thing since sliced bread, there are a number who consider the original anime version to be the superior tale.
But we'll get to that in a bit.
Many people will already be familiar with the particulars of the story, and in a very real sense the common perception is well formed. Unfortunately, one of the problems with liking something too much is that one becomes blinded to its flaws, and while Brotherhood has very few noticeable ones where the narrative is concerned, this also serves to make them stand out.
The story is told in a very straight forward, no nonsense manner that is kind of refreshing given the penchant for filler episodes. The issue though, is that the content of the tale is much lighter in tone, much more typically "shounen" in its essence, than that of the first adaptation. One of the reasons for this is because the undercurrent of obsession amongst the main characters peters out towards the end of the story - a stark contrast to the ending in the first adaptation. Instead, these obsessive behaviours are effectively "de-humanised" by pushing them on to the non human characters.
There is a very clear sense that the plot is geared towards a more typical shounen standpoint and mentality, and while the whole still works very well as a story, one does have to wonder if the writers for the first adaptation didn't steal a march on Arakawa. It's possible that she had to change her idea of how the tale should develop because the first anime version took a much darker path than most other shounen franchises.
That said, the ending allows for a degree of catharsis that was missing from the first adaptation, and although there are some broad similarities between the two versions at times, in truth they are as different as chalk and cheese. As an added bonus this series is far less dependent on random comedic moments, and the difference this makes to the flow of the plot is palpable when the two versions are directly compared.
One big advantage that Brotherhood has is that the seven year gap has allowed for improvements in various aspects of production, and it shows in a number of areas. The animation is more fluid than before, although admittedly the difference isn't really obvious at first and only really appears during large scale action set pieces. The character designs will be very familiar to any fan, but are subtly sharper and more defined than in the previous series.
Interestingly enough, one of the biggest plus points for Brotherhood is actually its wealth of interesting characters.
As one would expect, a number of the characters from the first adaptation appear in Brotherhood, but there are also several who are notable for their absence as they do no appear in the manga. Instead, a horde of new characters appear throughout the course of the series, many of whom have their own goals, ideals and personalities. Indeed the biggest difference between the two versions is the sheer number of people who all seem to have some impact on the story.
For much of the series Edward and Alphonse Elric behave in a manner that many who have watched the first adaptation will find familiar, and one of the nice things about this is that familiarity is used to very subtly develop the pair into very different characters. The change in their personas happens very gradually, but by the end of Brotherhood one can see just how much growth the pair has undergone.
Strangely enough, the most interesting additions to the series are actually Yao Ling and Olivier Mira Armstrong (Alex Louis Armstrong's older sister - but without all the muscle flexing), two of the supporting roles. Yao Ling presents a strange dichotomy for the series to tackle, and while he doesn't develop as much as he possibly could have, this is offset by the moral and ethical dilemmas inherent in his situation towards the end of the series. On the other Olivier Armstrong possesses some of the strongest characterisation in the whole story, and while she is without doubt a major player at certain points of the show, what makes her interesting is the fact that the viewer is never quite sure of her goals.
There are a number of very strong characterisations in the series, but one of the things that is a little strange is the difference between the two versions where the homunculi are concerned. Unlike the first adaptation the homunculi in Brotherhood have very different origins, even though they still deal with similar obsessions. This raises an interesting perspective on the series as a whole, and is one of the reasons why Brotherhood is far more of a shounen tale than the original adaptation. The plot takes on a subtly lighter tone, even though it may not seem that way, once their origins are understood, and the main reason for this is the "de-humanisation" I mentioned earlier. The viewer is aware that these characters, though human-like in form, are not linked to humans in any way, and this awareness acts as a buffer so the viewer is less likely to question the actions and behaviour of the homunculi. In essence one is subjected to the ethos that monsters are evil and do bad things, which raises some interesting issues where Kimblee, Greed and the military's generals are concerned.
The quality of the acting is possibly the main reason why Brotherhood is able to pull off its feat of developing not only the familiar characters, but also the new additions. Paku Romi and Kugimiya Rie reprise their roles as Edward and Alphonse Elric, but with the exception of a few roles, the remaining cast are very different from the first outing. Now normally one might consider this a recipe for disaster, but it's a testament to the quality of not only the actor's abilities, but also the scriptwriters, that this series easily stands shoulder to shoulder with the original.
The music is very well composed and produced, and the series has a surprisingly large number of opening and ending themes, especially for 64 episode series. That said, fans of Brotherhood may find themselves in a bit of a quandary, especially if they prefer the OPs and EDs from the first series. As for the sound effects, they are handled in a decidedly competent manner that makes one wonder why other shounen anime seem to have trouble in this department. Granted there are occasions when there's a bit of a cacophony, but in general the effects are clear, bold, and well choreographed.
Now unlike most viewers, I actually consider Brotherhood to be equal to the first series, and I don't really fall on one side or another. Like a number of fans my preference is for the much darker tone of the first series, however the cathartic ending of Brotherhood, as well as the improvements in production and animation, go some way to balancing the scales. Some people prefer the somewhat darker nature to Ed's character from the first adaptation, but in all honesty the rationale behind the two versions is very different, and while they're broadly the same character, that perception is only really valid until the last few episodes of either show. The same principle applies to Alphonse, Roy Mustang, in fact to most of the characters.
That said, Brotherhood is just as entertaining and involving as its predecessor, and it's a testament to Arakawa's skill as a mangaka that she has been able to produce a tale that, at the very least, rivals the original anime adaptation.Yes, Brotherhood is more typically shounen than the other version, but the nice thing about this is that fans are given two very good versions of the same story, and that is something rare in anime.
Now if only all remakes, revisions or reboots could be this good.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood gets an immense amount of praise in the MAL community, is the #1 ranked show and is constantly referred to as a masterpiece and the greatest show ever created. I've seen many fans preach about how "it lives up to the hype" and "can never receive too much praise". Now this is just the opinion of one guy. I'm certainly not the law of the land or anything. However, I personally feel as though calling FMA:B a masterpiece and the champion of all shows is a bit of a stretch. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it or that it
isn't a very solid addition to the ranks of notable shows; I really would like to preface this review by saying that I believe that FMA:B is a very good show and I wouldn't be nearly as harsh on it if it weren't for the God status the show has attained in America. I would happily remand "greatest show ever made" to "greatest long-running shonen ever made if you haven't seen the 2011 Hunter X Hunter"
I'm not a huge fan of the MAL categorical rating system, as I've mentioned in some of my previous reviews. I oftentimes outright ignore it. However, looking at the categories right now, I feel as though this is one instance where I can use it to talk about everything I want to so I'm going to use it.
The FMA:B plot and world-building are some of its strongest aspects. The world that it creates is an immersive, full-feeling thing with many animate pieces that move even when you aren't looking at them. It's an extremely creative world as well, adopting its own set of universal laws including alchemy through equivalent exchange, mind-body duality and its own interpretation of a higher power, and it sticks by these laws. Never once does the story contradict its own rules, instead using them in creative ways to build off of each other. The plot is also one of the most engaging parts of the show, unveiling itself at just the right pace to keep you interested whilst still keeping a few major cards to play at the very end. The pieces fall into place in a way that is satisfying because it simultaneously mind-blowing and obvious, and that's one of the marks of strong storytelling.
While the FMA:B story is certainly one of the best I've seen, I find that I have to withhold my 10 score here on the grounds that its incredible direction and creativity are marred by some detrimental weaknesses. First of all, the exposition is handled extremely poorly. The first and third episodes feel like they're from some shitty cartoon network show, the show blatantly ignores the show-don't-tell rule in the entirety of its first chunk (with characters spelling out exactly what is happening and why it's happening) and its tendency to repeat important plot points over and over again quite frankly feels insulting to me as the audience as though the show is assuming I'm not able to pay attention or figure things out for myself and need to have the fact that Ed and Al committed the sin of human transmutation and lost their bodies told to me at least twenty-five times in the first two hours of show. Secondly, there's a period of time which I would probably refer to as the third fourth of the show (episodes 40-53ish) in which the show drags incredibly, adopting a typical battle-shonen approach of having characters engage in multiple-episode long one-on-one or two-on-one battles, giving them plenty of time to pose and stand off and monologue at each other. This isn't how fighting or war works, and these contrived battles really take away a lot of the climactic atmosphere. Finally, the show's ending is not nearly as satisfying as I wish it had been. The final few episodes are for the most part brilliant, but once the show plays all its cards and it's resolution time, it wraps itself up with cliches and in-your-face themes.
The art is absolutely astounding 80% of the time and absolutely horrid 20% of the time. Thus the 8 score. The action is all stunning, the openings gorgeous, the backgrounds consistent and unique, building a sense of a real lived-in world. The character designs are sometimes a little bland, but for the most part they are memorable and the homunculi look brilliant so I don't have any real complaints there.
What I have a problem with is the obnoxious number of times that the show goes "anime" - reducing its characters to shittily-drawn caricatures and its animation to blocky, looped motion. Usually this is used during the shows attempts at humor, which I'll talk about later, but most of the time it was just extremely cringe-inducing and distracting, ruining the sense of continuity and immersion in this world. The show obviously wants you to take it seriously (it sure loves its drama) and when Al is portrayed as a big grey mound with a squiggle for a mouth it makes this difficult. There's a difference between having your character goof around and having the show itself goof around. It almost feels like a laugh-track, telling the audience "this is the funny part!"
For the most part, however, the art is gorgeous. When it counts, it shines, and that's really what matters.
Undeniably the strongest aspect of the show. I have no complaints whatsoever. The soundtrack is never distracting but always effective, the voice-actors (especially for Bradley and Al) absolutely nailed it and the openings and endings... dear lord. It's been said before, but the openings and endings to FMA:B are some of the very best ever made, both in sound and visuals. They tell small stories of their own. They set the tone for the episode and for their section of the show as a whole. I especially loved 'Golden Time Lover' and 'Chemistry', but I have to give special mention to SID's 'Rain'. As far as I'm concerned, that opening could have been the end of the show. It single-handedly established a sense of finality, a long-endured struggle of these characters and their causes. Everyone is portrayed as exhausted, weak and full of both despair and determination: protagonist and antagonist alike, fighting under the rain. Not for glory, not for honor, but just for the one thing they care most for. Personally, it made me extremely hyped for the final stretch of the show. It wasn't quite what we got, but at least we got some of it.
I believe that there is an intense connection between a show's opening and the audience's willingness to appreciate it. It is very likely that the intensity of many fanbases is in part due to the ability that openings such as these have to maintain feelings in regards to the show, oftentimes perhaps even distorting or altering memories of the show itself into what the opening would have you believe the show was like rather than what it was actually like. Obvious examples that jump to mind are Sword Art Online's "Courage" and Guilty Crown's "My Dearest". Remember how those shows were absolutely nothing like that? No?? IT'S TOO LATE FOR YOU
But I digress.
I would definitely call out the show's characters on being the weakest link and the most undeserving of the praise that the show receives. For starters, the writing is often clunky and awkward, but that's not the main issue. It's because most of them are not really characters: they're plot devices with one or two distinguishing traits tacked on. They're entirely predictable, not because they feel like real people but because they do the same things over and over again. Al talks about what he'll do when he gets his body back. Ed talks about how they'll find a way and how they will atone for their mistakes and etc. It's not that it's melodrama: it's the fact that it's the SAME melodrama over and over again. It wasn't until sometime past episode 30 that Ed stopped sounding perpetually like a broken record and started to feel as though he were actually developing, but even then he was really just defined by his arc and not by any amount of complexity.
And that's the pitfall that so many of these characters fall into. If your character's only real traits beyond their development for the sake of the show are "hates being called short" and "hates milk" they're really more of a tool with some googly eyes stuck on to them. Other characters are even worse: Armstrong is manly. His sister is more manly. Mustang wants to be Fuhrer and avenge Hughes (he's even got this great relationship with Hawkeye that could have been seriously compelling if they ever had any real conversations about anything besides "we must overthrow the government" and "Hughes!" over and over again). Winry likes Ed and automail. Ling wants to be emperor. Now, FMA:B is a complex, busy show. I could understand if it didn't have the time to make these characters anything more than chess pieces for its grand and elaborate plot, giving them a few distinguishing traits because that's really all it can manage without dragging itself out immensely. But it DOES have the time: it has all the time it spends having Ed yell about being called short. It has all the time it spends having Armstrong pull of his shirt and yell about being manly. It has all the time it spends having Ed and Al talk about getting their goddamn bodies back over and fucking over again as though I would somehow manage to forget it. Ling passing out from lack of food. May fawning comically over Ed. Mustang is antisocial LOL. The same gags, over and over again, barely even rehashed in any original way. Not only do they become painful to watch, they devour all of the development that this shallow cast of characters could have had to make me actually invested in them. They're far too static, with most of them having a single change or revelation over the course of the show's 64 episodes in order to indicate that they have grown as a person. But a good character has so much more than that: what kind of music do these people listen to? Why? Who are their role models? Why? What books do they like? What are their favorite places to eat? What do they appreciate in the people they're close to?? What are their personal histories...
Oh wait, sorry! I didn't mean to ask that last one! Please, I take it back! NOOOOOOO...
Yeah so I forgot to mention something. Screw all that stuff about making these characters possess complex personalities, FMA:B has a better way to define them.
Everyone who's remotely relevant has a traumatic backstory. It's a harsh world, sure. I get that. Here's the issue: people are introduced and then defined through their trauma. Now this isn't Angel Beats bad, where horrible things happen to perfectly innocent people for no reason. Most of the tragedy is partially a result of the decisions of the characters involved, and their resulting struggle is a combination of having to cope with the consequences and with themselves and their mistakes. However, this cannot be used as a SUBSTITUTE for character development. A supplement, sure, but I still remember in episode four when Ed and Al meet a state alchemist who literally introduces himself with something along the lines of "my wife left me because we were too poor" before he even tells them his goddamn NAME. Here, come on in! Take a seat! Would you like some sorrow pie or tragic backstory cake? We have plenty! Ed and Al's dad left, then their mom died, then they f*cking ripped their bodies apart. Winry's parents were murdered in cold blood. Mustang had to kill lots of people. Armstrong had to kill lots of people. Everyone had to kill lots of people. Scar watched everyone he loved get killed, and then had to kill lots of people. These are always the first things we find out about people, and then for the rest of the show they are defined almost exclusively by them. If anyone is overly happy and wholesome, it means something horrid is going to happen to them. It's basic emotional manipulation. Look at this adorable little girl and her dog! Dead. Look at this smiling, picturesque family! Husband dead. Dead. Everyone innocuously happy has to die or lose someone close to them. The more broken and internally conflicted you are, the safer you are. There's no need to pile more grief on Scar, so he's relatively safe.
Yes, the characters suffer from repeatable and preventable problems. They exist mainly to function as morals-in-a-bottle with gags tacked on to them. They're difficult to relate to, because all we know about them is whatever themes they embody and one or two dumb jokes. Ikuhara writes characters more personable than this, and his stories don't make sense on PURPOSE. I did give the characters a 6 though, and there are reasons for that.
First off, despite their lack of humanization the characters complete their tasks of being walking themes with relative effectiveness. This isn't anywhere near Log Horizon S1 bad. These characters are here for a reason, they represent something, and they represent those things well. Sure, they could have easily been better, but they fulfill their purpose and for that alone they are not failures. I will also give special mention to Scar, who, while still actively defined by his trauma was executed far more impressively than the other characters. This is probably in part because the show actually viewed him as morally ambiguous as opposed to just making the character FEEL morally ambiguous when there was really no doubt that the show wanted you to think this was a 'good guy' (*cough* Mustang)
Second off, there are some exceptions to the rule. Most of my complaints thusfar have been leveled at the shows protagonists. They are the ones that suffer from dismal repetition and blatant violation of show-don't-tell. Where the show does excel is with its antagonists. There are seven homunculi in the show, incarnations of the seven deadly sins, and they so utterly clobber their "good-guy" counterparts in terms of being engaging, personable subtle characters that it isn't even funny. Their intensive backstories are never shoved in your face, their apparent contradictions are given plenty of time to be uncovered by the viewer, and the deliciously ironic conclusions to their arcs are done tactfully. Many times I found myself actively routing for them because they were just so much more interesting and well-executed. I would happily watch an "Adventures of the Homunculus" spinoff cataloging the several hundred years most of them lived before the start of the series.
I was constantly gripped by the plot. I actively looked forward to the openings and endings. The art was oftentimes orgasmic. The homunculi made me want to start looking for ingredients to make a philosopher's stone with. However, I was constantly frustrated by the show's apparent lack of respect for its viewers and by its absolutely abysmal humor. I've already said it, but I don't know if I've driven home just how infuriating it is to have exposition repeated to you over and f*cking over again and how cringe-inducing it is when somebody violates the show-don't-tell rule at extremely tense and crucial moments. It actively snapped me out of the experience whenever Ed and Al had a conversation about getting their bodies back after the 5th time it happened, and when God literally spelled out for Ed that he had discovered the meaning of life I facepalmed hard. That's not how you do themes, man. That just comes off as preachy. That's something the show suffered constantly from: it felt incredibly preachy. It's character's speeches about the answers they had found to their struggles felt much more pointed at the audience than at anyone in the show they were talking to, and that bothered the ever-loving crap out of me. And have I mentioned the humor? For every joke the show has that lands, it tries about five others that fall on their face. As I've already mentioned, they're repetitive and used as a substitute for meaningful character interactions and development. It seems as thought the show is trying to use them as a counterbalance for its immense amount of melodrama, but instead they end up just ripping apart the tone and stagnating the story. Despite these gripes, I did overall enjoy the experience and felt that the positives did inevitably outweigh the negatives so I will happily give it a 7 for enjoyment.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is not a masterpiece. It's a very respectable, unique, inspired and creative show and it's definitely a classic. I would happily recommend this to most people. However, don't go in with irrational expectations. It's enjoyable, it's engaging, it will definitely give you plenty to think about, but in my personal opinion it gets a little too much praise and a little too much hype. I probably would have enjoyed it more myself if I hadn't heard nothing but angelic worship for it before going into it. I formally apologize to any huge fans of the show that I may have offended: it's not by any means a bad show! I don't give out 7s all that lightly, believe me. This is merely an argument against FMA:B being the be-all-end-all of anime. Thanks for reading if you made it through that wall of text, and have a nice day!
FMA Brotherhood is an anime that needs no introduction. This is the highest rated anime on all of MAL. This is the anime that the current generation of anime fans holds above all others as the greatest single anime EVER made! In the following paragraphs, I will be reviewing this legendary series and discussing whether or not it truly deserves this title.
SPOILERS for both Brotherhood and 2003 FMA!!!!
The plot takes place in the country of Armestris, which is basically like an alternate WW2 Germany. It is constantly at war for reasons that are less than just and is ruled by a rather nefarious government.
What makes this world special is that alchemy is the primary science instead of the much less fun and flashy science of our own reality. Alchemy allows practitioners to transmute material into other useful material, and basically do all kinds of awesome stuff! Our heroes are the Elric brothers, who wish to find the legendary Philosopher's Stone and gain back their original bodies that they lost in a forbidden alchemy ritual gone horribly wrong. In order to search for the stone, they join the military. Unfortunately this means they have to serve under a rather evil government and face strong moral dilemmas. The Elric brothers don't wish to take part in the government's genocidal campaigns, but they need the military in order to accomplish their own personal goals. Of course, things are a bit more complicated by the fact that many in the military are actually good people and are either unaware of just how bad the government is, or feel remorse for their crimes and wish to change the government. This is refreshing for a shonen series in which "good and evil" is too often clear cut. We have all seen Hollywood movies where the German Army is filled with nothing but pure evil monsters with zero humanity. As a side note, eventually Hollywood got MUCH better with treating the Germans this way... thanks to us ethnic Germans making up 40% of the US population, but Hollywood STILL treats the Russians and certain other groups this way!
Eventually, the Elric brothers uncover the frightening truth that the real leader behind the government is an ancient evil being called "Father" who uses his homunculus minions to due his bidding and wishes for ultimate knowledge and power! The Elric brothers also make many allies on their adventures including Scar, the Xingese, and Hohenheim, who all contribute in the fight against Father. The plot ultimately concludes with a very happy ending, which pleased fans far more than the bittersweet ending of the 2003 anime. It should also be noted that unlike the plot of the 2003 anime, FMA Brotherhood mostly stays faithful the Hiromu Arakawa's original manga.
Differences between 2003 FMA and Brotherhood:
Although there are many differences in the plot which I will get to, the most immediately obvious difference is in the tone of the series' narrative. The 2003 FMA has a VERY dark and somber tone throughout the series, which makes it really stand out as the oddball of the shonen world. FMA Brotherhood has tragic moments, but they are balanced out with zany comedy, more happy endings, and less emotional suffering in general. The tone in Brotherhood actually feels like you are watching a shonen anime like Naruto or One Piece. You know going in that there will be sad parts, but all will turn out well in the end. FMA 2003 feels closer to watching Berserk than it does to watching Naruto or One Piece! Whether a viewer prefers lighthearted shonen or brooding seinen is a matter of taste, but let us take a look at the subject matter being dealt with in this series. In both the 2003 FMA and Brotherhood, this is a series about German soldiers serving a genocidal regime and ultimately having to rebel against the government and try atone for their crimes. Does that sound like something that should be a fun, zany comedy? "It is almost certain that we will fail. But how will future history judge the German people if not even a handful of men had the courage to put an end to that criminal?" - Henning Von Tresckow. I can ASSURE you he didn't tell a stupid joke 20 seconds afterwards so that his listeners wouldn't feel sad about the deaths of 17 million civilians murdered by the Nazis as "untermenschen". Was the movie Das Boot a fun comedy? NO! Have you ever wondered why that is? The reason is that making a movie or series about German soldiers reflecting on mass genocide into a delightful romp is fucking stupid as hell! To think that people on MAL accuse Elfen Lied of having bad tone whiplash. FMA Brotherhood thematically achieves a mood whiplash other anime can only dream of.
Now we get to characters and plot differences. Firstly, lets talk about everyone's favorite FMA character, Roy Mustang. In FMA 2003, Roy is the one who murdered Winry's parents instead of Scar. Roy is also MUCH more affected by his guilt for having murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the name of an evil government. In 2003 FMA, Roy actually tries to kill himself in a state of deep depression, but Hughes stops him and instead inspires him to live, so that one day he can overthrow and lead the government. Roy actually manages to kill Fuhrer Bradley and do what he had dreamed of for so long. However, he is too overwhelmed by the emotional stress to simply stay in the military and take a role of leadership like he does in Brotherhood. Roy retires to a simple life with Hawkeye instead and only uses his alchemy again in the movie Conquerors of Shamballa to save the people of Central. Roy is a MUCH more empathetic and truly human character in the original 2003 series. He is actually, truly effected by guilt and stress the way a real person that isn't a total sociopath would be. He doesn't just feel kind of bad for about 5 minutes, then move on. "I killed those people under orders, I don't have to REALLY feel too bad about it." If the point is to make Roy a true military hero that reveals the full horrors of war and shows how even good men will commit evil deeds under orders, then the 2003 anime accomplishes this a LOT better than Brotherhood did!
Now let's look at the Arab anti-hero Scar. In both series, Scar is a survivor of the Ishvalan genocide who is consumed with the desire for vengeance against the State Alchemists that slaughtered his people. In both series, Scar has an elder brother who violated Scar's Ishvalan religion and practiced alchemy, ultimately saving his life and giving him his special arm. However, in the 2003 anime we learn that Scar's brother violated a FAR more sacred law and tried to resurrect his dead lover with alchemy. This was of course a miserable failure that drove his brother mad with grief and furthered Scar's hatred of alchemy. This works better in terms of narrative, because it gives Scar even more reason to hate alchemy as violently as he does and view it as "false". It also better explains why Scar sympathized with Edward Elric, because he could tell he had lost his limbs in a human transmutation and was reminded of his own brother. In terms of objective "writing 101" and constructing a narrative, this extra back story from the 2003 anime was brilliant and felt far more complete than Brotherhood. Scar's end is also WAY better in the original 2003 anime. In Brotherhood, Scar fights his ultimate battle against Wrath, who was only the 3rd strongest homunculi, not the real mastermind behind the Ishvalan genocide, and had no real connection to Scar since they had never met. In the 2003 series, Scar fights his ultimate battle against the pure evil State Alchemist Zolf Kimblee, who murdered his brother and gave him his namesake scar. Which of these makes sense in terms of basic storytelling? Having a character's big fight be against a personal opponent where the struggle actually MEANS something, or have the fight be against a barely connected random character? It is sad that Scar has to die in the 2003 series, but his death is a heroic one and ultimately a much better written conclusion to his story. In Brotherhood, Scar somehow survives in order for a happier ending and we get a quick cameo of him working to rebuild Ishval. Scar is a flawed anti-hero consumed with a desire for revenge. In the original series, his tragic and heroic death makes the audience care a LOT more about him than Brotherhood does. Would it have been good storytelling in Lord of the Rings if Boromir for some reason survived, then we get a quick 2 sentences about how he is living happily in Gondor after the war? No. That would be really stupid and Tolkien being a good writer, realized that and gave Boromir a heroic death of penance that better closed his story.
There are WAY too many examples, so we will make our final one a comparison between Dante and Father. How can I even compare them? You are probably thinking right now. "Dante is just a forgettable Filler Villain and Father is one of the greatest villains in anime history!" The truth is that Father...isn't actually a very good villain. Remember that this is a story about an alternate WW2 Germany and a group of soldiers fighting against an evil government following a massive genocide. Adolf Hitler was not a nice man, but he WAS a human being. Dante is powerful, but ultimately just an ordinary human sociopath who wishes to sacrifice countless people she views as inferior to guarantee her own Godhood and immortality. I think that sounds a LOT closer to Hitler than a fucking ink blot genie from Ancient Persia looking for ultimate knowledge. If you are going to tell a story with OBVIOUS real world parallels, then STAY CONSISTENT! Government atrocities and genocides happen due to ordinary human leaders with extremely selfish desires, NOT evil genies! The Holocaust, Cambodian Genocide, Rwandan Genocide, and Armenian Genocide were not caused by Mr. Popo!!!
FMA Brotherhood is a very well animated series and admittedly does look better in most places than the 2003 original. Is the animation enough to give it the title of greatest of all time? No.
The soundtrack for FMA Brotherhood is once again quite solid, but isn't even as good as the 2003 FMA OST, let alone worthy of the greatest of all time title! Just compare the main theme from the Brotherhood OST to the main theme Bratja from 2003 FMA. The main theme for Brotherhood is a fairly bland orchestral piece with some ominous chanting that sounds like a throw away extra from the Hellsing Ultimate soundtrack. The main theme from the 2003 FMA is a heartbreaking, beautiful song about an elder brother asking forgiveness from his younger brother. Bratja is WAY better than anything in Brotherhood without question! Compare the first opening theme of Brotherhood to the 1st opening of the 2003 series. The 2003 series has Ready Steady Go, one of the greatest openings in the history of anime. Brotherhood has an extremely forgettable opening that wouldn't rank in the top 500 anime openings.
FMA Brotherhood is a good anime overall, but it is ONLY a good anime. It isn't anywhere NEAR the greatest anime ever made! It is actually vastly inferior to the original 2003 FMA and even that wasn't the single greatest anime of all time, although a MUCH better candidate than Brotherhood. Of course the title of G.O.A.T. is a highly subjective and debatable matter, but there isn't a single category where Brotherhood REALLY outshines its competitors. Some people say Legend of the Galactic Heroes is the greatest of all time. I'm not going to say that LOTGH is an absolutely flawless work, because it isn't. However, it actually stays consistent in its tone with the heavy ideas and themes it presents. Brotherhood does not. Brotherhood is WAY closer to Elfen Lied than LOTGH in terms of keeping a consistent tone to respect very dark and serious subject matters. LOTGH has an absolutely EPIC scope with hundreds of well written characters, maybe the most intricate politics in all of anime, and gets viewers to really think about real world problems and issues in terms of government, better than any other anime ever made. In other words, LOTGH actually DOES have areas where it clearly outshines its peers and therefore has a far more legitimate claim to the throne. Cowboy Bebop has almost without question the greatest original OST in anime history, is more accessible to non-anime fans than any other anime, and is an absolute blast from beginning to end. Once again, it has areas where it is clearly the best, so a more legitimate claim. Name just ONE thing that Brotherhood is the best at? Most tearjerking? nope. Best written? not even close. Most philosophical and complex? Hell no. Best art? nope. Best soundtrack? nope. It is solid around the board, but it isn't actually truly great at anything! I would therefore argue that Brotherhood is NOT the greatest of all time, is INSANELY overrated, and you are honestly much better off watching the 2003 FMA. I'm sorry if this review hurt any feelings. My job as a critic is to say what needs to be said.
Since I couldn't find any legitimate objective analysis in any of these fanboy reviews, I decided put my own review:
Here's why FMA:B and it's Manga counterpart don't work:
It's just a disjointed piece of art. The initial premise of the narrative: two young siblings that horrifically lose their mother and parts of themselves is incredibly dark and powerfully poignant. Their journey to find the philosophers stone is one that's objectively adventurous but the endpoint is still inherently adult and sophisticatedly gritty; especially as it delves into the implications of bringing a dead person back to life early on in the series.
So why is it disjointed?
Because there's a mistranslation of tonal nuance throughout the entire series. Now I don't mean stylistic aspects such as art style choices e.g. Chibi segments (because those are minuscule details in the grand scheme of storytelling devices), but rather the way they're implemented in the story. For example, one second we're dealing with the introspective reconciliation of human birth and how beautiful it is and the very next we drop it for side-gags just to transition into the next topic/character development. It just doesn't fit. It's formulaic. It's predictable storytelling at it's finest and it absolutely ruins the pacing.
It's a huge shame because the character development and dialogue in the series is exquisitely written (some of the best in any story I've ever seen); e.g. Edward's speech about his existential crisis provided a deep psychoanalytical view into his personality and character. This is amazing character development! However it actually lessens the impact of the narrative and my personal enjoyment of the series because it contrasts heavily with the tone of the series. Right down to the very commercial transitions with the quirky voice-over of the title; every little stylistic choice is presented as a complete antithesis to the themes of the series.
Fullmetal Alchemist should NOT be sugarcoated with a light-hearted aesthetic. This is something I'd hate to say in any other series because pretentiously "dark and gritty" series (*cough* Tokyo Ghoul *cough*) are the bane of my existence but this is the one exception. If the themes of the series are of complex adult issues, why is the tone appealing to childish humour and zany adventurous antics?
With all that being said, I totally understand why Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is considered one of the greatest Animes of all time because it is substantially provocative and extremely complex behind the aesthetics much like many other great Animes like One Piece, Hunter X Hunger, Cowboy Bebop and Dragon Ball.
Personally, it just doesn't work from a narrative perspective because it feels disjointed and unfocused in the way it clashes with stylistic ambiguity. Through this loss of tone, the series becomes a chain of loose threads that are vaguely commentating on the overall themes of the narrative which is why I rated Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and the Manga: 5/10.
If one wishes to obtain something, something of equal value must be given, that is the law of equivalent exchange, the basis of all alchemy, the law that governs the world of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.
Brotherhood follows the adventures of brothers Edward and Alphonse elric , who have commited taboo and tried to transmutate their mother back from the dead. As a result alphonse is left without his body and stuck to a metal armor and ed with a metal arm and a leg thus the nickname fullmetal. Thus the two brothers embark on a quest to find the famous philosopher's Stone that is said
to allow alchemists to ignore the law of equivalent exchange and help them get their bodies back. I will not go into more details because it will spoil the wonderfull story of the anime. Anyway let's get started.
As opposed to it's 2003 counterpart Brotherhood does not have filler episodes or sidestories, the manga being almost finished at the time the anime started. There were a few ovas and specials that came out towards the animes end or after it had finished but I am not counting those.But I have to say they managed to strike a perfect balance. Since it had all the source material it needed the anime does not feel stale,I think it goes on at a great pace and it manages to strike a perfect balance between fights, serious moments, light hearted ones . But if you are a big fan of the 2003 anime you might find this a bit too fast as some of the characters lack the development they had in the first series and you might not feel as attached to them as you were back then. Though personally I loved the pacing, as I never got bored and I got entangled in a wonderfull story that just kept dragging me in.
The art has greatly improved over its predecessor and even now it's way above your usual animes. The facial expressions are great and the battles, oh man they are going to give you a boner, even if you're a girl. Trust me. Though some people might be set off a bit by the fact that the animation style seems to change from battle to battle, but I think that increases it's quality as very rarely you will have the same two characters battling each-other thus each battle seems unique and fresh. I especially enjoy the ones that involve Wrath as man he is a beast.
The sound is great. I have watched the anime in jappanese thus that is the sound version I shall review.Romi Park and Rie Kugimiya reprise their roles as Edward and Alphonnes and deliver a top quallity performance yet again, but the rest of the cast is not going to let you down either as you can feel they actually enjoy voice acting these characters and that they give their all in their performance. Also I swear to god all the openings and endings are epic. I have all those songs on my playlist at the moment since god they are awesome and fit the show perfectly.
I also like the fact they Brotherhood doesn't do something a lot of anime do and by that I mean they do not spoil what will happen in the anime with the intro or outro because they are all custom made and not just scenes picked up from the anime to show off.
Now the greatest strength of the anime are its characters. The original series mostly explored just the two protagonists Edward and Al, but brotherhood manages to show off almost any character they introduce, their motives and their dreams. For example Roy Mustang and his dream to become the next Fuhrer to protect all his comrades or scar's dream first of revenge and later of change. As I said earlier some might characters might feel a bit rushed because of the fast pace of the anime (I'm looking at you hughes and nina) but I assure you it does not draw back from the story one bit as they still somehow fullfill their role.
The anime lacks a bit in the replay value, as you wil already know all the big reveals which will probably detract a little from the overall enjoyment for some, but I watched it multiple times (around once every one and a half years) and I found it refreshing most of the time.
Also if you want to watch the 2003 series you should do it before you watch Brotherhood for one simple reason. The 2003 anime is also a very solid addition to one's library but Brotherhood is the superior version in all areas and you might not enjoy the 2003 version as much if you watch it after brotherhood. Though if you watch the new series after the 2003 one you will definetly still enjoy it as much, if not even more, as opposed to watching it first.
Overall this will always be one of the most enjoyable animes I have ever watched, excelling in all areas with a very compelling story line, complex characters, astonishing art and epic soundtracks. I wholeheartedly recommend you go watch it right now, it is a classic and a must see for any anime enthusiast out there.
I can't even watch the original FMA anime now that I'm currently watching Brotherhood! This is a NO FILLER anime it gets straight to the point with it's beautiful animation and amazing portrayal of the manga, everything is so different! Emotions are strong and there's more of a connection between characters then in the original anime, you immediately get dragged into this show within the first 5 minuets, this is honestly one of the most spectacular anime's i've ever laid my eyes on, it's definitely one of the best new shows of the last couple years. Its a definite watch, don't miss out!
"We're not gods, we're only human. We can't even save a little girl, so what good are we?"-Edward Elric
Now let's talk about the best rated show on this website. Ever since its release, fans and critics alike have a mixed reaction to the show. Some of them say that the original show is better while others say this is better. I can't see why we can't like both. They each have things that really work about them. I think they are both masterpieces on a entertainment and artistic level. Some moments in the show will make you laugh, then the next question life, and then
cry your eyes out. Some moments in the show are just plain beautiful from the characters, animation, and the really touching moments. There are moments were some of the characters you get attached to die. (Not going to tell what characters because of spoilers, obviously.) A character will get super depressed, and one even almost goes insane. All of these characters express real human emotions unlike some other anime which they express one key emotion. The emotional scenes aren't forced, they have a really big impact on you as a person. You'll start to relate to every character and even question life. Some examples being "What is the truth?" or "Could humans play the role of god?" That's why I love this show so much. You'll start to look at the world in a different perspective after you watch this and the original show. Now shall we get to the review?
Story 10/10 Standout(s) The fantastic end to the series
If you want to know my original thoughts of the story, read my review of the original show. Anyway the end to this anime is one of the best endings I've ever seen in an anime. It was very beautiful and touching. This review is suppose to be spoiler free (In most cases.) So I can't tell you my thoughts of the ending. If you want more in detail of the ending, just ask me. Anyway, I can't talk about much about the story without repeating myself, so let's go to the art and animation.
Art and Animation 10/10 Standout(s) The animation
You can tell that they had a huge budget just by looking at a character. It was very solid and very easy on the eyes. This really shines in the well animated action scenes. They were just plain epic! What I didn't explain in full detail in my review of the original was the character designs. I didn't give enough praise for them, I just said they were creative and expressive, that was it. You can tell which character is who at first glance. That's a really hard thing to do for a 64 episode anime, but this show pulls it off very well. The character's have there own unique features that stand out among the rest. Now let's go to the sound.
Sound 10/10 Standout(s) The dub
The soundtrack really fit in with the anime. I mostly loved the music they played in the action scenes or when there was something bad going on. I found it very unique and weirdly fit with the tension of a scene. For the dub, most people consider it one of the best dubs out there and I don't blame them. The only difference between the dub for the original and the dub for this was Al's actor. Al's original actor, Aaron Dismuke, had too deep of a voice to play Al anymore. So they got Maxey Whitehead to play him. So was Maxey good as Al? She did a fantastic job in my eyes. When I saw the first episode, I thought that was the original actor. That's how good her performance was. If you want me to go in depth about the dub, read my review of the original. Now the one you've all been waiting for, the characters.
Characters 10/10 Standout(s) Every single one of them
This is my favorite character cast in any anime. They were all very entertaining in their own little way. If you want to hear me talk about Ed and Al, read my review of the original show. Let's just talk about Roy Mustang and Maes Hughes.
On the outside, Roy seems like the calm, collected, and cool guy. On the inside he values the lives of his comrades like Riza Hawkeye and Maes Hughes. If one of them were to die, he would just be sad for the rest of his life. He also has a temper that sometimes gets the best of him. This is a guy you don't want to mess with. He'll burn you to death with his flame alchemy. What makes Roy such a good character is that he'll protect those he values with all his heart. He does have a few weaknesses too, you can't have a good character without his or her faults. Like I said, his temper and the fact that if you were to kill one of his friends, he would vow to kill you no matter what and won't forgive you. He doesn't forgive his enemies that easily. Overall, Roy is defiantly one of the best characters in this anime.
Hughes may seem like the comic relief when you first meet him, but he has more of a personality then that. He is kind, outgoing, and an overall funny person! It's kind of weird how him and Roy get along so well. Hughes is more fun and loud while Roy is more calm and collected. He loves so many people and almost doesn't hate anyone. He loves his daughter and his wife. There's even a few jokes about them in some of the episodes. It feels like his family is the military, his real family, and the Elric brothers. He made a huge impact on the audience for reasons I won't spoil. Overall, a fun guy and a great character!
People who will love this show: Everyone, especially fans of the manga.
People who won't like this show: I don't know who wouldn't like this.
This is defiantly one of the best animated shows of all time. It's amazing how many things you'll learn in this anime. It taught me all sorts of things about life. I am in love with this series. Great anime and deserves a 10 from everyone. So watch it if you haven't.
I was one of those people who thought that FMA: Brotherhood is the second season of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003). FMA Brotherhood has been popping up in Best Anime Lists on Youtube so it piqued my interest.
It follows, or rather it is more parallel with the story in the manga. The art and animation is magnificent, it stayed true to the characters' design but there was a more polished look. The fluidity of the movements during fight scenes are also a feast for the eyes.
I could not find a single flaw in this series (except I that I wanted
more episodes). The characters were all wonderfully written. It's hard to create secondary characters that are as strong as the main ones when it comes to viewers' attachments.
I found myself falling in love with these amazing characters while I was watching FMAB. It didn't matter if the characters were only shown for one episode, I'm looking at you Nina and Alexander. What mattered was the impact those characters gave. (Like a sledge hammer to the heart)
And the story, it's hard to find words to describe FMAB's story. The only thing I can think of is that it's magnificent. It's funny, action packed, mysterious heart wrenching and beautiful.
This is one of those anime that will leave you feeling empty after you finish it. And I mean that in a good way. I've invested so much emotions in this story, in these characters that when it's finally over it left me feeling lost. That is how amazing this is and I'm not just saying that. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is quite a masterpiece in my opinion.
Now, this is a prime example of how to adapt an manga into an anime the RIGHT way. The original Fullmetal Alchemist, though well made and very popular, went into a downward spiral as soon as it diverted from the manga storyline and never seemed to recover. This however, shows that instead of trying to add their own story elements when adapting manga/visual novels etc., sometimes anime producers should just sit back and retell the great story that has already been written in the original.
This anime starts off at a breakneck pace. It shoots entire volumes of the manga in a couple
of episodes. It was to be expected though, as Bones is trying to fit 100+ chapters of manga into a 1-year long series. However, once you get used to it the pacing seems very appropriate for the series and only seems to increase the suspense. While small elements have been omitted from the manga, these are mainly non-essential and have no impact on the story. Yet while many of these omitted elements are comedic in nature, Brotherhood still manages to switch between seriousness and comedy so fast you'll get whiplash. I quite enjoyed this particularly as a sort of trademark of the series. The actual plot-line twists and turns in unexpected ways and keeps you on the edge of your seat, and the climax grips you like no other. Many disregard the plot as being generically shonen, but it is these twists and its exploration into the psyche and motivation of the characters that propel it past this "generic shonen" label.
The art is of a different style to the original FMA. It is a little simpler, and comedic scenes sometimes even stray into an outright chibi style, but this is by no means a bad thing. If anything it is closer to the the style that Hiromu Arakawa draws with in the manga. What its lacking in detail, it makes up for with first-class fight sequences (as to be expected of Bones). The animation overall is quite polished and character movements are very fluid and natural.
The characters on both sides really caught my attention as one of this series' strengths. It boasts a diverse range of characters, all of which have considerable substance and a distinct purpose in the storyline. The Homunculi especially turn out to be completely different from the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, and more awesome in my opinion. Edward and Alphonse are still the main focus of the story as they quest to find the Philosophers' Stone and restore their bodies, but now Winry also takes a more central role along with Ed and Al's father, Hohenheim. There is also a host of new characters which didn't feature in the first anime adaptation, including a few from the mysterious country Xing and a new main villain. Being completely faithful to the manga, all the characters' separate journeys and origins are told in much greater detail. Each character's values and beliefs are tested almost to breaking point as the story reaches its later stages, providing a somewhat surprising and refreshing depth to the cast.
The one thing I initially disliked about this series was the soundtrack, which lacked substance and was very repetitive. The first opening was brilliant, one of the best I have seen, but the background music was lacklustre. However, as the series went on more music was added and the soundtrack began to add a great atmosphere to fight scenes and dialogue alike. The voice actors also really show their ability throughout the series and seem very well suited to their roles. With such an all-star cast of voice-actors you wouldn't expect any less.
Overall Bones has done an awesome job surpassing its previous effort and faithfully retelling the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. Enjoyment wise, you'd be hard pressed to find a shonen anime that will entertain you as much as FMA Brotherhood. Truly a great anime, there's no other way to describe it. A must-see for people new to anime and hardened otakus alike. Overall score: 9.4/10 (rounded to 9).
Story: Well this story is nothing short of amazing. It is so entertaining, and just interesting to watch. The comedy, and action are outstanding. It all blends in perfectly. Some moments are more breath taking than others, and I mean that in two ways. 1. The comedy often had me in tears, and breathless because of how hard I was laughing, and 2. Heart filled moments just hit you like a damn bus. 10
Art: Oh my god the art is great. I am sure there were some flaws, because there are flaws in everything, but honestly if there were flaws I never caught them. The
character design is great, but even just the scenery is fantastic. 10
Sound: The ost for this show is perfect. The voice acting for it is also perfect. I don't think I have watched another anime where I love the Japanese voices and the English. Fantastic job from everyone. 10
Character: Oh my god again perfection. The characters are all great. You basically grow up with Ed, and Al. There physical, and mental transitions are so subtle that you really feel like you are watching them grow. Some anime have time skips where they just skip like seven years and then just throw you in, but not This anime you watch them grow it is amazing. 10
Enjoyment and overall: My enjoyment is through the roof. FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood is a masterpiece that I think is going to stand the fates of time well. I was never bored like I am with some anime. I was always hooked. My enjoyment and overall score are both 10.
If you haven't watched this series I really really really recommend you dive in, and just let it hit you all at once.
This review is only meant for those who haven't seen the original anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist.
What can I say about this show? I never even tried to follow the original anime.. I knew it was a big success and has a lot of followers everywhere. But it just didn't catch onto me like it did with so many others. With this renewed version, which follows the manga storyline a lot more precise than the first version, the team behind FMA: Brotherhood did a fantastic job.
The characters are instantly attractive.. what I mean with that is they are very well portrayed as people,
unlike so many other anime shows. The story is also instantly compelling.. it drops you right into the world of FMA and does a thorough job of explaining to you how things work. And as far as I've seen, the story never gets repetitive or old. As soon as you finish one episode.. you'll force yourself to watch the next.
The voice actors are another major plus. The sheer talent of many of them is just unbelievable. I especially liked the fact that the voice actor who did (among others) Kira/Yagami Light's voice in Death Note, Mamoru Miyano. Does the voice for Ling Yao, which makes his character even more intriguing.
If FMA Brotherhood keeps up this kind of pace, quality and plot development, then I'm definitely going to add it to my 'All-time-favourite-anime' list.
A must see!
There isn't much more I could say with all the praise it already has, but I truly believe that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood deserves every bit of it.
The pacing is phenomenal; filler is minimal to nonexistent and every episode serves as another step forward. I know a few people who thought that the first few episodes were not explanatory enough, but one of the great things about it is its lack of unnecessarily long narratives; it gives you just enough background information without petulantly walking you through it.
FMAB is also one of the only anime that I prefer the dubbed version over the subbed. The voice
actors are fit fantastically in their roles, and the openings and endings were, for the most part, great. The animation was gorgeous as well, especially in action shots.
But I think the most important thing to be taken into account is the plot and characters. At its center, FMAB is about two brothers who have just enough flaws for you to emotionally connect with them, but not so many that it crosses the boundary into overly annoying. The length (64 episodes) allows for steady character development, whether it be for the better or worse. Even the villains have some sort of depth without making it seem like a rushed pity backstory. It can sometimes have crass humor (which serves surprisingly well as comic relief), but it is also harshly realistic; good people die and there isn't always a good reason for it.
So go watch it! I hope you'll love it as much as I do.
I have followed both the anime and manga of FMA for years, simultaneously. The first anime adaptation was satisfactory, but left a bad aftertaste.
Enter FMA: Brotherhood. Now this is a spectacular adaptation worthy of the manga; this is the epitome of a masterpiece anime. The series is just the right length; the storyline never drags, or falters. Although FMA:BH is strung together with an incredible strong plot, the characters are the real highlights of the series; the majority of the cast is thoroughly fully fleshed out with dilemmas worthy of our attention. And while author places nearly all major characters in perilous decisions, and they
oftentimes follow through with these heinous choices, one cannot help but offer up sympathy to these fictional characters. There were many times where I frowned upon some of their judgement, but I often found myself contemplating: Could I have made a better decision if I were in their shoes?
The Elric brothers are amazing protagonists to follow in this splendid coming-of-age story. In the end, many of my values in regards to adults, decisions, and moral choices were uprooted, and I find myself realizing that more and more, life is less black and white, but moreso filled with shades of grey.
Definitely watch this series. Might I add, some of the soundtrack borrows from classical pieces such as Chopin's Etude Op.10 No.3, which only made the emotional scenes hit me *that* much harder.
This anime is going in the All Time Favourites List along with the other classics, you know like one piece, naruto, bleach, dbz and all that stuff.
I'm not comparing with them though. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (FMAB) is not exactly like them. It is not the usual 'go on an adventure' type with dozens of episodes and fight scenes that all look the same. FMAB is more story-oriented and tactical.
First, the story is very well wtitten and everything is properly planned out and coincides with each other bringing out every element in the right manner at the right time. The concept is really good with the
right blend of fantasy and reality.
Although the brothers are the focus of the show, each and every character has a role to play and help develop the story accordingly and develop themselves as well. This keeps the viewers alive to every character.
The soundtracks are soo cool. You would love atleast 4 of 'em.
I am not bothered by animation/art, but it is really good though.
I also liked the fact that there were some great statements and quotes about life, you know.
Not to mention, FMAB is one hilarious anime!! Then a little bit of drama and a little bit of a romance here and there gives it a proper outfit. I could recommend any type of person to watch this anime. For me it has become one of the classics
I saw this show when I was small and liked it instantly. Because I didn't see it properly I saw it again, and boy, was I glad I did! I loved every bit of it. Now I wouldn't say it doesn't have flaws, but why be a nit-picker when it is so enjoyable. No anime is perfect to everyone's mark afterall, eh
I'm going to be completely honest here... this is my favorite anime I have ever seen. Why you ask? Simple: (besides a few irritations) there is nothing wrong with this show.
The story follows two brothers who live in a corrupted country in a world where alchemy is possible. After their mother dies, they try to perform the ultimate taboo of alchemy: human transmutation. The transmutation backfires and the younger brother (Al) loses his entire body and the older brother (Ed) loses his left leg. In order to bring Al back, Ed sacrifices his right arm to bond Al's spirit to a suit of armor. Now,
with Ed having a mechanical arm and leg, and Al having a suit of armor for a body, they are willing to join the corrupted military in order to find a way to bring each others bodies back to their original form. Now tell me that story doesn't seem awesome to you? Story: 10/10
The animation is simply fantastic. Since FMA:B is considered to be on the more "shounen" side of anime, animation is key to it's success. And, boy did they hit the nail on the head with the beautiful animation. Art: 10/10
The dub is absolutely amazing! FMA:B has arguably the best dubs ever made. It is one of the rare instances where the dub is just as good as the sub, so watch it either way! As for the sound track? Oh my gawd... you haven't experienced true awesomeness until you've heard FMA:B's main theme! Not to mention that every single opening is absolutely breathtaking. Sound: 10/10
One of the things that makes FMA:B so awesome is that everyone has a purpose behind their actions, and there is no such thing as a "dull" character in this anime. Even the biggest antagonist have a goal they are trying to accomplish, making even the biggest villains lovable. Characters: 10/10
There is never a dull moment in FMA:B where they just sit around doing nothing. There are rarely ever any filler episodes (if any at all), leaving the show to become full of wonderful twists and turns that will drag you in right away. Enjoyment: 10/10
Does FMA:B have some flaws? Yeah, I guess. However, most of these flaws don't exactly work against the show as a whole. One of FMA:B's biggest flaw is the first ten or so episodes. It's not that they aren't interesting (trust me, they are) but rather they often can't tell when to be serious. However, even this flaw is something that anyone can look past, since the show itself is so enjoyable.
To recap, FMA:B is nothing short of a masterpiece. The story is touching and sends a meaningful message. The art is breathtaking, and makes the action scenes that much more awesome. The soundtrack is a masterpiece in itself, and the dub is critically acclaimed as one of the best dubs ever. All the characters have so much depth that it's impossible to hate a single character of this anime. Finally, the anime was just flat out enjoyable from start to finish, grabbing the viewers attention from episode 1 and becoming more and more interesting as the show progresses. Overall: 10/10
Ah, Fullmetal Alchemist, what an amazing ride through the world of alchemy, I'm not surprised at all it is #1 on MAL, since it also is, and probably will be, at least for a long time, #1 on my list.
If you're reading you probably came here looking to see if you should watch this anime or if my opinion is the same as yours, and please do not forget what this is, MY review.
Let us start with the best: The story - 10/10
Fullmetal Alchemist:Brotherhood's plot is the most incredible thing I have seen in an anime, seriously, If i could, I would go and
meet Hiromu Arakawa and thank her for having an amazing imagination and ability to create and draw this masterpiece. You may be thinking "Another fanboy, better find a real review", and well, maybe you're right, but I have to praise what deserves to be praised, and this certaninly does.
Sure you can say the first episodes were a bit rushed, but wouldn't people still complain if they had slowed it down instead? For me the pacing of the story felt natural and that they did not need to waste the beginning of the series explaining the story since it is slowly explained as the anime progresses.
The Art - 10/10
Sometimes an anime can feel a little off when the art style does not please our eyes, even though the story is actually good, but this is definitely not the case. The art style is really enjoyable and I just loved those round faces!
The fight scene, don't even get me started! The animation is gorgeous and Bones sure knows how to deliver well-animated fights with amazing angles and details that really make the watcher enjoy what the're watching.
The Sound - 10/10
I can tell you this: I have every opening on my cellphone and I regularly listen to the ending songs and background music when I feel like listening to those serene and beautiful soundtracks or the epic songs from the several fight scenes. The voice actors did an amazing job with every single character, and even though I did not watch the dubbed version, I did watch a couple of bits on youtube, and it sounded pretty well too. I don't think there's much else to say here, top notch as always.
The characters - 10/10
The second best thing about Fullmetal Alchemist is it's characters. Every single character has a completely different personality and exceptional development, each one having their different reasons to act the way they do.
Even the villains are awesome, with their dark stories and troubled personalities that make our heros' journey be long and troublesome. It also has the best main villain of all time from any anime I've seen so far, that's a +1 right there.
Enjoyment - In case it's not obvious by now, 10/10
I enjoyed every single episode from this amazing series which left me sitting on the edge of my seat with all the plot-twists and cliffhangers that followed the previous one, that with the awesome animation quality by Bones, beautiful soundtracks and lots of relatable characters with funny, troubled, brave and heartwarming personalities.
Overall - 10/10
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was an amazing experience that managed to surpass it's other version's "awesomness" and show us what anime truly is about, and that's how it managed to reach my #1 spot, truly a masterpiece that won't be forgotten anytime soon, at least by me it won't. :)
To this day my writing is influenced by Fullmetal Alchemist. I read the manga about ten years ago, but I still remember most of the characters by name. The author's vision and its execution were not without flaws, but the overall end result was sheer brilliance. The themes of loss, sacrifice and transformation are seamlessly integrated into the plot and character backstories.
What makes this story exceptional is how universal its subject matters are. Everybody goes through growing pains, but in the case of the Elric brothers Edward and Alphonse, their transition into adulthood is nothing short of hardcore. The boys lost their mother, who they
literally tried resurrecting, but in addition to failing miserably with the alchemical ritual, Edward lost two limbs and Alphonse his entire body. Turns out, despite the sheer magical potential of alchemy, it can't be used to bring people back to life.
There's a good reason why Fullmetal Alchemist has few peers. A story like this is impossible to create unless you've survived fucked up shit, possess the social support and intelligence to make sense of it and have the skills as a storyteller to convey those experiences. The author clearly thinks ill of shortcuts to personal growth (miracle cures, religion, etc.), evidenced by the first episode alone.
It seems obvious to point out the inspiration to this series is human darkness - even ethnic genocide makes it into the plot. It's astonishing how deep Fullmetal Alchemist goes with its harrowing concepts, yet rarely feels depressing. The characters talk about their emotions, then keep pushing forward, make new allies and grow as people. To be fair though, they don't actually get many chances to lament their misery, because the intense plot constantly whips them forward.
The main mysteries involving the plot are discovered shortly into the series, but the bad guys quickly clean house and cover everything up. This killing creates an incredible tension that sets the pace for the entire rest of the series. Not only that, but on many occasions the episode's cliffhanger is just brutal, reminiscent of Attack on Titan. Friendly advice: DON'T watch this series before bed, make the time to binge it!
The cast of characters is varied in genders, ages and body types. Their designs are focused and simplistic, though not without depth. Unlike how females are often drawn in anime, in Fullmetal Alchemist they look nice, but not overtly sexualized. There's also just about no fanservice. Even some of the evil characters are surprisingly humane, which indicates the author's ability for deep empathy. That's a real feat, considering the eyes she has for true darkness.
"You have to believe in yourself. Because if you don't believe in yourself, you will not only bring down yourself, but also many others that believe you and depend on you."
It may not be a quote directly cited from the series, but it is one of the things this series has taught me. This show was great from start to end, and despite knowing some spoilers beforehand, it still delivered to a 10 out of 10 rating - something that's not usually happening for a shonen anime because they tend to overuse a certain trope.
To kick off, I have been fairly reluctant to watch Fullmetal
Alchemist: Brotherhood, because I have already seen the first series before the remake happened, and I was afraid that half of the anime would be the same as season 1, but since I heard it had rave reviews, I have put it in the corner of my plan to watch list anyway. Some long time after that, I heard the threat that many anime sites are going to be shut down, and I panicked by mass-watching anime and reading manga. Fullmetal Alchemist was one of the anime I started to watch during that period.
The story was admittedly a little predictable. But that might have been because I saw the first season, and a few spoilers on what happens ahead, or it might have not been. Despite the fair predictability, the anime has still delivered a great dose of tension, drama, fun, light-hearted moments to not make me burst out in tears from the heavy dramatic ones, and also action - thus I believe majority of the viewers would enjoy. If anyone is discouraged by the 64 episodes, just start slowly, you'll notice it will consume you in no time, because this anime is one of the few that are neither rushed or way too slow-paced.
Some people say D.Gray-man sneaks around seinen territory, but not nearly as much as this anime. The plot gets into a fairly dark theme at times, sometimes even gets slightly into political matters... and the art matches it well. The colors are not very vibrant, which might have taken a toll on the character designs - then again, this toll has made the characters even more believable and gave distinctive features to them and their descendants.
The soundtrack matches the mood of the anime in all possible moments. Violin is used for several melodies of the soundtrack, which make a perfect match for the dark theme of the anime. As for the openings and endings, they consist of catchy songs, which serve as a great introduction/outro of the episodes. I also have no remarks to the seiyuus, as they did a fairly well job to match the characters' profile.
With matching art and matching voice actors, it is possible to admit the fact that the profile of the characters is constructed to be fairly believable - they have their ups and downs, and it is possible to tell where the characters "got that attitude from". Their reactions are also believable; they do not overreact as much as it happens on other anime of this genre. I would cite a few examples, but I'd prefer to avoid any spoilers so you see that for yourself.
With all that overall, Fullmetal Alchemist:Brotherhood was a very captivating and enjoyable show, captivating me enough to take much breaks than most anime I have watched. I believe the masterpiece rating is indeed deserved for this one, although I wouldn't quite recommend it for starting audiences, as it would make their expectations of other anime series too high... then again I'm just kidding! You probably won't regret watching this one whatever audience you are from, but I can't tell you that for sure - you'll have to see for yourself.
I'll start this by saying that despite being an adamant fan of Fullmetal Alchemist for a couple of years now, I've never managed to finish the first anime series. I've remained caught up with the manga as much as possible, however, and I'm very excited at where this series is going to go.
Fullmetal Alchemist, as I'm sure you know, is the story of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse. Their story begins a number of years before the actual start of the series, with the tragic death of the boys' mother. Edward and Alphonse, child prodigy alchemists at the time, form a pact to resurrect
her. Extensive alchemical training finally culminates in the most important experiment of their lives; the forbidden practice of Necromancy. But something goes wrong.
Edward is forced to stare in horror as his brother is decomposed before his eyes. He is then whisked away to a mysterious location, where a strange entity reveals to him what the experiment lacked; the Philosopher's Stone. Edward is then returned to his home, where he discovers his brother still missing and his own leg gone. In an act of desperation, he sacrifices his own arm in order to preserve his brother's soul into a suit of armor. Events thereafter eventually culminate in a new mission for the Elrics; to procure the Philosopher's Stone and use it to recreate their own bodies.
Sounds like heavy stuff, right?
One of the best things about this series is that it manages to provide some great humor that actually fits quite nicely into its overall dark premise. There are some definite lighthearted moments, but never at the cost of plot, and they never take away from the genuinely touching or tragic scenes. The story itself is very enjoyable, and tends to explore some very deep themes, such as the ethics of resurrecting the dead and the effects of war on individuals and societies.
Storyline aside, this series is visually stunning. Every cell of animation is detailed enough to almost seem like live action, and the characters themselves, based closely on manga author Hiromu Arakawa's original designs, are positively beautiful in motion. Some may be slightly bothered by the atypical face structures, but I find that they range between unnoticeable and and an improvement over the original series'. The movement is fluid and natural to the point that the opening alone should be enough for any animation enthusiast to be satisfied.
Characters are very entertaining. The very best, as I can assure you from following the manga, are a bit down the road, but the cast as of two episodes in are more than enough to tide anyone over. Roy Mustang is the perfect blend of snarky and serious, with a bit of eccentricity thrown in that any fans of the original anime series should be well familiar with (Tiny Miniskirts will almost assuredly make an appearance in this series once more,) and Edward Elric's familiar short temper, large ego, comedic frustration and occasional moments of genuine caring blend together in what is shaping up to be even better than last time.
One interesting thing about this series is the very first episode. It chronicles the events of an incident in central involving Isaac McDougal, a State Alchemist turned rebel after the Ishbal War, also known as Isaac the Freezer for his water-based alchemy specialty. This was never a part of the original Manga, and indeed only invented to keep audiences from experiencing Deja Vu from the first series. However, it is of such high quality and entertainment value that calling it filler would be downright unfair. It sets the stage for the rest of the series wonderfully and lets you know right away that you're in for a wild ride.
In short, this is a series to stick with. It's already fantastic, and I can assure those of you who have never read the manga that it only goes up from here. A definite 10/10.