[RR] Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood Review
“We became absorbed in the science that made you feel like you were magic.”
Over the years, anime has general issues like these, a plot which strays from the original plot from the manga or fillers. The first season of Full Metal Alchemist, fell to ruin with this particular issue. It, although was quite good and popular at the time, went downhill after the plot was switched from the original one. Now this sequel, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is meant to be a remake of the series which will focus more on the manga’s plot.
What is Full Metal Alchemist about? Just like its predecessor, the story is about two young alchemists, Edward Elric and Alphonose Elric who are brothers. After the death of their mother, they performed a forbidden human transmutation in an attempt to revive their mother. It proved to be a failure though as Edward’s limbs got removed and Alphonse’s body got taken away during the transmutation. Alphonose almost died until Edward attached his brother’s soul to a large suit of armor. To get back what they had lost, the brothers embarked on a journey to find the Philosopher’s Stone that is said to amplify the powers of an alchemist enormously.
Anime tends to have a lot of fillers indeed and all these fillers usually serve the purpose of dragging the main plot. This issue is nowhere to be found on Brotherhood though. The pacing is just so very fast some time is needed to get used to the constant information feed. It slows down a little at around 15 episodes but overall, it is still very fast. Sometimes, an entire volume in the manga could be shown in just a few episodes. However, most, if not all of the important scenes are still there. Only a few unimportant elements are left which have little or no impact on the story. People who are new to the FMA franchise won’t missed out anything watching Brotherhood.
With topics about magic, alchemy and science, the plot is no doubt going to be a bit very intriguing and there are also many plot twists along the way which keeps you on the edge of your seat and the suspense just keeps you wanting for more. I believe the storytelling is overall, excellent. It has a stable, yet fast pacing. No time is wasted in introducing the brothers, the settings and the premise of the plot.
Another noteworthy thing is that Brotherhood is well balanced in both seriousness and comedy. Arakawa Hiromu knows when is the perfect time for drama, and when is the perfect time for humor. The perfect blend between the two is another highlight of the show.
The character cast in Brotherhood is very diverged, even more so then the original FMA. We have the two brothers, Ed who is more short tempered, and Al who is more matured. Then we have Winry, the automail mechanic, the fire alchemist Mustang, the avenger Scar and so on. The latter two especially, are developed into more epic characters here. Ed and Al’s brother, Hohenheim, and Winry both have more active roles here too, though Winry’s presence still gets overshadowed easily..
Aside from the original characters, there were also a bunch of new characters which were not available in the original FMA. The most notable ones are Ling Yao, the prince of Xing and a new character from the Armstrong family, Armstrong Olivier Mira. These two in my opinion, has become one of the best supporting characters in the series. There is also an addition of a new main antagonist who has a connection to the Elric brothers’ father.
Most of the characters served a purpose and all of them are needed to progress the storyline. Developments are shared equally among the characters, even the supporting cast. Aformentioned, Ling Yao is definitely one of the best and the focus on his developments make it look like he is actually one of the main cast itself. With Ling Yao’s ambition, he was still able to had his body remain intact when after the incident with Greed. He still managed to even verbally pwn him too. That takes skill!
While Brotherhood is certainly a good-looking anime, it’s visuals are almost above average. The backgrounds are quite vivid and detailed though nothing more noteworthy. The more superior part of the visuals had to be the animations though. Battle scenes are very smooth and is one of the best part of the shows. What’s more, the battles don’t last as long as The Big Three so I’m sure shounen fans who prefer short battles would love them.
Brotherhood uses a lot of orchestral pieces and they set up the right mood indeed. Even during battles, the rock music that shounen shows tend to favor so much is absent. This is another unique element of Brotherhood. It’s ultimately the voice acting though that is the more superior part of the audio department. The seiyuu displayed emotions with their voice acting and none of them makes the characters feel unnatural. Some seiyuu worthy of mention with their skills include Miyano Mamoru, Kugimiya Rie and Romi Paku.
Most of the time, it’s best to just be faithful to the manga and Brotherhood easily proves this. Bones is quite successful in retelling the story of Full Metal Alchemist and overall, had done quite a fabulous job at that too. With thrilling storylines, great characters and beautiful animations, this series is a masterpiece.
This review is part of the
Reviews Recollection Project.