Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood — Final Thoughts

Hagane no Renkinjutsushi – Fullmetal Alchemist
鋼の錬金術師 FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood — Final Thoughts

Fullmetal Alchemist: BrotherhoodI don’t remember exactly what drew me into the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime series, but I did love it despite some flaws in in. It wasn’t until after I finished watching that anime series that I learned that it pretty faithfully followed the original source manga for about half of the anime series before branching off and making up its own story and ending. So, when an opportunity came to watch a new anime series that promised to be faithful to the original Fullmetal Alchemist manga, I was on that like white on rice.

Fullmetal Alchemist: BrotherhoodBecause the first several episodes cover the same ground as the first anime series, the production team made a decision to fly through this material as fast as possible. I understand why they did this — fans of the original anime might be bored with seeing the same stuff again and thus tune out the anime before it gets to the new stuff. However, I think that was the WRONG track to take.

Fullmetal Alchemist: BrotherhoodI don’t know about the rest of you, but if I’m going to take the time to buy a series or movie (whether anime or not) on DVD/BD, it isn’t so I can let it sit on a shelf and collect dust. I buy it because I liked it enough to where I would want to rewatch the movie or series in its entirety. I could say a similar thing about Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Knowing that I would be getting a proper anime adaptation of the original manga, I’d have no problem getting back up to speed by watching the early storylines flow normally.

Fullmetal Alchemist: BrotherhoodIt is my opinion that most anime fans of the original series and the manga would be of the same mindset. They wouldn’t mind seeing the original stories, even if they are repeats. Besides, done properly, Mei Chan’s introduction as well as Loki’s story would have been included. Instead, to accommodate speed, those are missing elements. Fortunately, once the anime moved into new materials from the manga, the pacing slowed down to a more reasonable pace and worked quite well.

Fullmetal Alchemist: BrotherhoodStill, these are small complaints in what is an otherwise fairly well executed anime adaptation of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. Not having read the manga, things were always a surprise to me, sometimes in more ways than one. That is the main strength of this anime. In addition to really good character, the story is very engrossing. Further, there are moments of foreshadowing or other table setting done at times which sometimes take episodes to pan out. Fullmetal Alchemist: BrotherhoodSometimes, the table is set and then we are shown to another room, where we forget about the table having been set until we are led back to the dining room to go, “Oh yeah. It is dinner time, isn’t it?” As such, this anime never failed to surprise me once the story moved into the new material that hadn’t been used in the original anime.

Fullmetal Alchemist: BrotherhoodThe strong writing comes from manga-ka Arakawa-sensei, who clearly knows how to spin a yarn. That said, many kudos have to be given to the anime production team for wanting to follow the source manga so closely, right down to the final episodes, which aired very shortly after the manga ended. Frankly, I wish all anime adaptations of manga or novels were done this well, working closely with the original author. I much prefer to see a faithful adaptation rather than something just made up.

Fullmetal Alchemist: BrotherhoodDoes Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood have legs to be rewatched? I would say so. Although it clocks in at a hefty sixty-four episodes, the story is so well written as to provide rewatch enjoyment. Plus, now that I know the story, rewatching the anime from scratch will let me see all those clues and moments that I may have missed the first time around. Further, unlike the first anime series which grew very dark, Brotherhood never does forget to bring in the comedy to keep things from getting too dark. That helps a great deal, considering how dark this anime could get otherwise.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
In the end, we have a well executed adaptation of the original manga series that for me, makes the original FMA anime unwatchable. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has great action, a great story, some really good characters, and some really funny moments to balance the darker ones. I wish all anime adaptations of manga were this good.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

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4 Responses to “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood — Final Thoughts”

  1. Mikoto says:

    Couldn’t have said it any better myself. I preferred the manga in the past, yet still used to love the first anime due to its own merits. Now that we have this excellent adaptation in our hands, I can’t bring myself to watch the first anime anymore despite the good things about it. I don’t hate it… but I would rather watch this superior version rather than the 2003 version.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The original anime is a hell of a lot better than Brotherhood! How dare you.

  3. Rhuen says:

    Yeah this one kills the original anime, and I have to say the flash summary from the start actually kept me from dropping it until the new stuff. I feared it would have been like Kai or Hellsing Ultimate where the differences were subtle. or just edited.

    This one makes more sense on what is going on, and we manage to avoid the contradictions behind the purpose of seeking out the brothers and the stones. and the Homunculi actual stay homunculi. In the previous series they were more like Dopplegangers than Homunculi. Plus no alt earth or erased memories, bonus.

  4. arimareiji says:

    FWIW, I think they were being reasonable to be worried that if they didn’t zoom through the beginning, it would never be bought as a rewatchable series because everyone would have tuned out. Kindofa Catch-22. Even as it is, I know they lost short-attention-span fans who thought “Boring, same story.”

    But yeah. This one could have definitely used more Mei. (^_~)

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