FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood is the spiritual squeal to the beloved series FullMetal Alchemist, however this time round the show follows the manga religiously. Does this show surpass it’s past iteration, or does it deserve to be locked away in a suit of armor?
FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood (shortened to FMA:B) takes place in a world where alchemy is common among western civilization and is used by the military to wage wars or solve political problems. The story follows two brothers named Edward and Alphonse that, after failing to resurrect their dead mother using alchemy, travel the world in hopes of understanding the laws and limitations of alchemy. It isn’t long before the two discover the existence of a ‘philosopher stone’, a powerful stone that can disobey the laws of alchemy and create incredible wonders, but at a terrible cost. It’s around the same time Edward enlists into the military, in hopes of learning how to become stronger and create a philosopher stone. Now it’s up to Edward and Alphonse to find a philosopher stone, but their journey may not be as easy as they think.
The show has a serious atmosphere about it, with gripping and somewhat disturbing moments. But there are a lot of jokes and comical moments to lighten the mood. There are points when it tugs at the heart strings, and there are points when it has you crying of laughter, it’s a fantastic mix that’s hard to pull off. What’s great about the story is that it has many twists and turns, it makes you guess what’s next, but just when you think you’ve got your head around everything the show decides to blow you away with more information, making you question everything you’ve seen so far. The show is like a puzzle. A dark, unsettling puzzle that just begs for you to dive deeper.
The characters are a high point in the show. Every character, including the evil ones, is lovable in their own way. The characters adapt and grow over the shows progression and it’s incredible to look back at just how much each character has developed since the beginning. Character development is very difficult to do right in anime, and FMA: B nails it.
The animation for FMA: B is fantastic, It begins by looking like a watercolor painting and slowly changes as the tone of the show gets darker, but it still retains its beautiful paining style. The show is an extended retelling of the first series (simply titled FullMetal Alchemist) but this time telling the story from the manga (book). The animation quality never goes down, and always looks great.
The English dub for the show is one of the best in the anime industry. The show boasts an all star cast including; Vic Mignogna, Maxey Whitehead, Travis Willingham, J Michael Tatum and Troy Baker. All the actors are great at bringing their characters to life, giving each of them distinct and loveable personalities. Considering the characters are the main focus of the show, this is fantastic and makes the show even better.
A reason why many people love FMA: B is because the series features no filler episodes. The show is a complete story with no time wasting; every episode is important and contributes to the story and character development in one way or another. This means that no time is wasted and the show constantly keeps you hooked in what is happening.
FullMetal Alchemist is one of the best animes ever to be made. It’s a dark and, at points, haunting anime that makes you questions many aspects of life. Many people see the show as a perfect gateway anime; we say you should hold off until you’ve experienced some other shows beforehand, begin to understand how the medium works, see what other wonderful worlds there are to explore before coming to this one. Because FMA: B is a true masterpiece that needs to properly be appreciated.
Other anime recommendations
Alchemy and great characters: Baccano
Dark world with secrets underneath while still funny: Tiger & Bunny
Dark and not so funny: Eden of the East
FullMetall Alchemist: Brotherhood is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from Manga Entertainment
This review was previously posted on http://www.marcusbronzy.com/