Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Part 1
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Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood faithfully recreates the story from the classic manga - see Fullmetal Alchemist the way the creator intended!
Edward and Alphonse Elric s reckless disregard for alchemy s fundamental laws ripped half of Ed s limbs from his body and left Al s soul clinging to a cold suit of armor. To restore what was lost, the brothers scour a war-torn land for the Philosopher s Stone: a fabled relic which grants the ability to perform alchemy in impossible ways.
The Elrics are not alone in their search; the corrupt State Military is eager to harness the artifact s power. So too are the strange Homunculi and their shadowy creator. The mythical Stone lures exotic alchemists from distant kingdoms, scarring some deeply enough to inspire murder. As the Elrics find their course altered by these enemies and allies, their purpose remains unchanged and their bond unbreakable.
As the television adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa's manga Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) remains one of the best and best-loved series of the last decade, it's surprising Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is not a continuation of the characters' adventures, but a remake. Young Alphonse and Edward Elric delved into forbidden knowledge when they tried to use alchemy to bring their mother back from the dead. They paid a terrible price under the principle of "equivalent exchange". Al was reduced to a disembodied soul bonded to a suit of armor; Ed lost an arm and a leg but has been fitted with the mechanical prostheses that earn him the title "Fullmetal". The brothers wander through a world that resembles late-19th-century Europe, seeking the legendary Philosopher's Stone, which they believe can restore their bodies. Although the series has been expanded to 63 episodes from the original 51, many of the subplots have been trimmed or eliminated to keep the focus on the Elric brothers. Their encounters with Cornello, the corrupt priest in Liore, and the murderous guardians of the sinister Fifth Laboratory are noticeably shorter. Yasuhiro Irie's direction is less dynamic than Seiji Mizushima's, but he has the advantage of stronger scripts that pack a lot of emotional punch. He balances that intensity with broader slapstick, using the simple, cartoony versions of the characters Arakawa draws in comic sequences. Almost the entire vocal cast reprise their roles, including Vic Mignogna as raspy-voiced, hot-tempered Edward. But Aaron Dismuke was cast as Al when he was only 11 and had to rush to complete the original series before his voice changed. His replacement, Maxey Whitehead, sounds too feminine for a 14-year-old boy. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood will delight both fans of the original and new viewers with no knowledge of the Elrics' previous incarnation. (Rated TV PG: violence, grotesque imagery, tobacco and alcohol use) --Charles Solomon
(1. Fullmetal Alchemist, 2. The First Day, 3. City of Heresy, 4. An Alchemist's Anguish, 5. Rain of Sorrows, 6. Road of Hope, 7. Hidden Truth, 8. The Fifth Laboratory, 9. Created Feelings, 10. Separate Destinations, 11. Miracle in Rush Valley, 12. One Is All, All Is One, 13. Beasts of Dublith)
Episode 1 Commentary
Episode 10 Commentary
4 collectible postcards
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To put it simply, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a masterpiece. I have watched many, many anime series, but very few can compete against this show's amazing production quality and high budget. Everything about the show is extremely polished and done very well. All of the characters are multi-dimensional, interesting, and unique in their own way. The world is filled with rich history and described very well that it gives the feeling that the world really exists and has existed well before the events in the show. The soundtrack perfectly fits the anime and is definitely rememberable. The work of the passionate creators shows and really sucks you in, and before you know it, you will be craving for more and more.
One thing that really impressed me was the choreography of the fights. I have been training in martial arts for a long time in many styles including Kung Fu, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kendo, Freestyle wrestling, and more. So, I enjoy watching (and sometimes scrutinizing) fight scenes. Typical Shonen Anime battles (like those of Dragonball Z, Naruto, and Bleach) show characters screaming and attacking with a colored background filled with speedlines followed by a big explosion or dust cloud. But not this show. Every fight is well choreographed and every punch, kick, strike, or explosion is shown with great form. Particularly, the swordsmanship that is shown in later episodes is remarkably well done.
Most Animes with such high budgets start out very well and slowly spiral downward in terms of production quality and refinement. However, in this series, it's just the oppisite. The show starts out with very high production quality and ends with near anime movie-like animation and sound. I don't want to give any plot details away, because it's a work of genius with many twists and turns and enough events to bring out a variety of emotions. Pardon me for my vagueness; I just don't want to spoil anything for you! So, go out and watch it!
Differences Between Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
I will be short and to the point without giving away any plot spoilers.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an alternative version of Fullmetal Alchemist. Both the 2009 Brotherhood series and the 2003 original series are adaptations of the Fullmetal Alchemist Manga created by Studio Bones and licensed in the USA by Funimation. The first 30 episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) correspond to the first 15 episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009). FMA continues on to create its own anime-created ending after episode 30, whereas FMA: Brotherhood continues following the manga storyline to the very end. In a sense, it's two different stories that start similarly and share many of the same characters.
The 2003 series was created when the manga was about one fourth of the way done. The original series (2003) followed the Manga for the first 7 manga volumes, then when on its own path around episode 30 in the anime. The 2003 series has its own ending which is different from the manga. The 2003 series also included anime adaptations of some of the stories in the FMA novels. The movie Conqueror of Shamballa follows immediately after the 2003 series, but has no connection to the manga or the 2009 Brotherhood series.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is another anime adaptation of the manga, however it more closely follows the manga right to the very end (manga chapter 108/volume 27). Since Brotherhood has more manga to work with, it moves at a faster pace than the original 2003 series and has a larger world with more characters. The series also has 64 episodes (split into 5 parts), which is 13 more than the original 2003 series which had 51 (split into two parts). Brotherhood has no connection with Conqueror of Shamballa, but it does have its own movie in the works called "The Sacred Star of Milos" which will be a side story.
I highly liked the original, but this just blew me away. It's absolutely incredible in my opinion, and I recommend this over the original. You do not need to watch the original 2003 series to understand Brotherhood or vice-versa (actually, it may be even better for you that way.) If you did watch the original series, you have a bit of a headstart since you already are introduced to the characters - just try to push the events after episode 30 out of your head. Honestly, it's easiest to think of FMA (original) and FMA: Brotherhood as completely different shows with different stories that just have the same beginning and share many characters.
If you have any further questions about the product itself, differences between the 2003 and 2009 series, or anything else, please ask me in a comment. I check the comments of all my reviews every few days and would be happy to answer any questions.
The world of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood takes place in an alternate early 20th century europe and Alchemy is used as a major part of the world's science. The story follows brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, two alchemists in the military who're set on a personal journey after an amchemy accident steals Al's body and leaves Edward with missing limbs. We also get introduced to other characters in this world including the Elric brother's allies (like the adorable mechanic, Winry and their comrades in arms Roy Mustang and Alex Louise Armstrong) and antagonists (the Homunculi and the terrorist Scar) and even characters that seem unrelated that get tangled up in the brother's quest.
This first boxed set of the anime covers almost the exact same ground as the first twenty five episodes of the original series, though much more condensed. By episode 11 things start heading in a different direction and by the second boxed set Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood becomes it's own show.
The big difference between 'Brotherhood' and the original 'Fullmetal Alchemist' is the pacing. The writing is very sharp compared to the first series and never drags it's plots out (which are actually a lot more interesting and rewarding than the original) but that also doesn't leave a lot of time for character development, at least not at first. The original show let us slowly warm up to the characters that inhabit this world and let us care about them at our own pace. The plot-centric approach in 'Brotherhood' might have viewers wondering why they should care about certain characters. Don't get me wrong, everyone is complex in their own way but the warmth takes some time to shine through. It'd be interesting to hear what someone who's never read the manga or seen the original show thinks of these characters.
Even with it's similarities and differences from the original show, 'Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood' is one of the best anime's running. There are some spotty bits in this first collection (the show hits it's stride in the next set) and some fans might still prefer the first show but I think any anime fan will get a kick out of this slick, complex and rewarding remake!
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