Anime Review: Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood

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Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy

Creator/Studio: Himoru Arakawa/Bones

Distributor: FUNimation, streams on Hulu

No. of Episodes: 64

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 10/10

Summary: Edward Elric is the “Fullmetal Alchemist.” When he was a boy, he and his brother Alphonse attempted the ultimate taboo when they dared to resurrect their dead mother.  As a result, he lost his arm and nearly lost his brother.  He and his brother now search for the fabled Philosopher’s Stone to reverse these effects.  Hot in pursuit are a group of homunculi led by the enigmatic Father. This is a retelling of the original series, adding in material that was not included in it.

Review: Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood is probably my new all-time favorite anime series.  It is an excellent cast, including originally manga-exclusive characters; action; and great writing.

Edward Elric is my #1 hero.Think about this–he has lost so much–his mother, his arm, his brother’s body–yet he still fights. He eventually realizes that no one should have the Philosopher’s Stone, and this causes him to change his goal: to right the wrongs caused by those who would use it for evil purposes.

Alphonse is practically Edward’s moral compass: he does what he can to assist his brother and keep him on the right path.  But is he a true person, or just a suit of armor with false memories? These questions plague an otherwise kind, innocent, and scared boy.

Winry is Ed’s girlfriend.  I enjoy their relationship. It’s probably one of the most realistically handled romances I’ve seen.  She tries her best to be a shoulder for Ed and Al, encouraging him on and repairing him both mentally and physically.

Roy Mustang, Ed’s commanding officer, is just pure awesome. Nothing stops this guy. I love how he plans everything out with precision, even willing to use his own officers like chess pieces to achieve his goal to usurp the evil government.

The villains are equally as intriguing.  Not only are they patterned after the seven deadly sins, but when you think about it, their powers make sense.  Gluttony has an insatiable appetite and can eat anything! Lust uses her beauty to entice others to do her wishes.  Greed’s body is an impenetrable shield, allowing him the best way to protect his possessions–and to him, that’s everything and everyone.  Sloth is big and fast–the better to finish assigned and bothersome tasks.  Envy can change shape, allowing it to obtain what it desires. I can’t tell you about Pride and Wrath because they are walking spoilers.

The new additions are very welcome, even if you haven’t read the manga.  (I haven’t) I especially like Lin, who values his bodyguards so much, he gets angry at them when they put their lives on the line for him.  He does not want to deal with the grief that would result from their loss.

My sole complaint is that the first 16 episodes feel as though they are moving too quickly and don’t let the story breathe.  I understand that the team wanted to quickly go through what the original anime had established, but I still think they could’ve spent a little more time on some material.

Bottom line–whether you’ve seen the original or not, you should certainly watch this series.

Sub/Dub: I prefer the dub. Ed’s Japanese voice just doesn’t sound right to me.

 

Music/Score: While I like the original’s music better, this version’s music is pretty good.

Violence: (6/10) The series is far from needlessly violent.  I felt it showed us how the villains considered those underneath them nothing more than fuel for their schemes.

Language: (3/10)

Sexuality: (3/10) Some mild references, but not much else.

Nudity: (3/10) Winry’s outfit does show her midriff, but I feel her proportions are far from exaggerated and I think her outfit is actually rather modest.  Lust does show a little bit of skin, but I think it helps define her character.

Religion: (5/10) Alchemy is treated as an actual science rather than a form of magic.  While Edward scoffs at the idea of religion when he encounters a corrupt cleric at the beginning of the series, it should be noted that he is far from an example of the correct way for a Christian to behave.  What I like best about this story is its overall theme of sacrifice: are there things that are worth sacrificing for a cause, or are there limitations? Especially good is the idea behind the taboo on human transmutation: that nothing is more valuable than a soul.

 

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  1. #1 by L on March 29, 2014 - 4:15 am

    You put your age rating as 13+, but I know I’ve seen it rated R elsewhere. Am I correct in guessing that yours are based off of having watched them?

    • #2 by rocklobsterjwt on March 30, 2014 - 1:14 pm

      Yes. I base my ratings both on what the distributor says and my own opinion on the content. Most of the time I do agree with what they say.

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