Apr 20, 2009
Aceofplaces (All reviews)
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.