Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Review
Written By: Artur Galvao
I might as well just come right out and say it — I have never been a fan of Anime. In general, I watch it if it happens to be on, but more for background noise than for the actual plot content. But this series changed my mind about all that. Keep in mind that I did grow up with Anime like DBZ, Yu-GI-OH!, Naruto and Pokémon. This was the first non-shounen anime I watched. And holy shit was it amazing. Lastly this is a review on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood not the 2003 original.
Basic synopsis of this show will contain a couple of spoilers (if you want to go into this show completely dark then do not read this part, just read the next paragraph). The story goes as follows: Two brothers named Edward and Alphonse Elric study alchemy at a very early age. One day their mom passes away from an illness, and, using alchemy, the Elric brothers attempt to bring their mother back. This however fails and Ed ends up losing his left leg and Alphonse loses his entire body during the transmutation. Ed, not content with losing his younger brother due to their mistake, gives up his right arm to return his brother’s soul, which he binds to suit of armor. This is the crappy situation in which we first meet the protagonists, but it works and makes them compelling characters. Our heroes are not these perfect beacons of hope and goodness, they’re just teenagers that did something stupid but with good intentions.
The latter is all backstory; the real story picks up with the Elric brothers trying to find the philosopher stone so they can restore their original bodies. Along the way, Edward becomes a “state alchemist”, someone who is scientist but also part of the military if the state ever goes to war. During the story, we meet other state alchemists and members of the military such as Colonel Roy Mustang, Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, Major Alex Louis Armstrong, and Maes Hughes. My favorite is Mustang because he is one of the coolest and perhaps most complex characters, outside the Elric brothers. My recommendation is to give this show at least 4 episodes and if you’re not hooked by then, it might not be the show for you. I can confidently say that this show is the best anime I’ve ever watched. In only 64 episodes they pack in so much content that re-watching is highly recommended.
What makes this show incredible is the way that the creator Hiromu Arakawa (creator of the manga series), Yasuhiro Irie (director), and Hiroshi Ōnogi (writer for the anime) do not use conventical tropes to tell their story. Instead of the seasonal arc, like Fairy Tail or Naruto, Fullmetal has an overarching plot that always looms over the characters. To understand the series’ arc you first must understand that Hiromu Arakawa took real life inspiration of wars and racial tension to establish the setting of her story. Amestris is country where our heroes are born and inhabit. The country has five administrative divisions: South Area, West Area, North Area, East Area and Central Area. However, the Central Area is at war with the province of Ishval. Ishval is ethnically and culturally diverse when compared the rest of the country as the people there are religious and most of them renounce alchemy. This brought them into many conflicts with the Central Government in the past and has culminates in the Ishval Civil War. The citizens that live in the Central Area are predominantly Caucasian, with Central Area being inspired by European settings and Ishval being inspired by middle-eastern culture. What separates this anime from the rest is that Fullmetal actively proposes a world that is bigger than just our heroes, which is quite unique given that other anime tend to fail so.
With setting, character and story out of the way let’s analyze the art style of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, since a good anime must have good art. After all, it’s hard to watch a series that isn’t appealing to the eye. Fullmetal Alchemist’s art style is wonderful, with characters, objects and transmutation circles that are finely detailed. The colors are bright and cheerful, but when the series grows dark the colors dull and darken to reflect the shift in tone. Facial expressions are superb as they convey how each character is feeling in any given moment. From talking to running to fighting, the animation handles it all successfully.
Lastly the music of this show is all levels of spectacular, from the opening theme, to the endings sequence. My favorite being “Again” by Yui and “Golden Time Lover,” performed by Sukima Switch (I’ll add a link to both openings below). Each do a fantastic job of getting the audience excited for the upcoming episode.
Honestly, I can talk about this show for hours, I just like this shit, man! I look forward to writing more Anime Reviews coming soon to Talkies Network. Also, this my first review so please be nice to me.
Artur’s Rating – 10/10
Whatever it’s fantastic, GO WATCH IT!