Anime Review: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
Director: Yasuhiro Irie
Distributor: Aniplex USA, formerly Funimation Entertainment
Released: November 18th, 2018 again on blu-ray
Runtime: 825 minutes
Availability: In Print, buy on RightStufAnime, streaming on Crunchyroll, Nefltix, Hulu
Fullmetal Alchemist is a Japanese Anime based on the manga series, Fullmetal Alchemist written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. It has just finished airing in Japan and has brought the stunning series to a proper conclusion after ten years of incredible storytelling.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the anime adaptation and tells the story of two alchemists, Edward and Alphonse Elric. In the world of Amestris, alchemy is the science that they study and when their mother Trisha becomes sick and dies, they decide to bring her back to life using alchemy, disobeying the taboo that forbids the use of alchemy on humans called Human Transmutation. The attempt fails and Ed loses his right arm and left leg while Alphonse loses his entire body. Ed uses alchemy to bind Al’s soul to a suit of armor and Ed joins the State Milady as a State Alchemist so that he will be able to search for a way to get his body restored along with his younger brother’s body back from the other side.
This Anime Has An Amazing Story:
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood had a lot of expectations behind it. The Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) was very successful and fans were very excited because Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood would be following the original source material written by Hiromu Arakawa.
The story is so interesting because of the Elric Brothers, Edward and Al, and their journey to restore their bodies. It’s one that connects to a wide audience, the story, the characters and the themes are what makes the anime memorable.
The story is one that I connect with a lot because I had to relearn how to walk, so I could relate to Edward learning how to walk on his prosthetic leg.
I also love the themes about family and trying to change a country after a civil war I also love how all the characters receive development over the series and there are a lot of characters in the anime that come in and out of it and are all relevant to the plot.
And while it as centered on the Elric Brothers despite being called “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, they are still integral to the series.
The story is one of my favorites because it covers a wide variety of topics and does it in a respectful manner and the writing of the story is fantastic!
Hiromu Arakawa makes you care for all the Characters:
The anime is based on Hiromu Arakawa’s manga, and one of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s greatest strengths are the writing and that the author makes every character important to the story.
Not only is every character important to the story, but the audience cares about the characters, and that’s because of the excellent writing by the original creator that was adapted by Studio Bones. This franchise has some of the best writing in it and it isn’t my favorite anime franchise for nothing!
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part 5 Trailer:
The Animation is a little dated, but still Fantastic:
The animation of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is animated by Studio Bones, and it still looks fantastic. It’s so strange because the anime is eight years old now but it doesn’t look that old, although I do think that Hiromu Arakawa’s humor isn’t as funny compared to the manga, because in the manga you’re looking at a still image, in the anime when it moves it doesn’t seem as funny by comparison.
The fight scenes are where the animation really stands out as alchemy makes the fights very interesting. Because there are various types of alchemy that alchemists use in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood it means that many fights will be varied and different from each other.
I also like the art style and character designs, but I like the 2003 character designs a little more, but Brotherhood is still great.
I love the backgrounds and scenery in the anime; all the various landscapes look fantastic and make the world feel alive.
The animation will repeat some animation techniques for the fight scenes but I didn’t notice it too much towards the end of the anime. It still looks really great and is an exciting anime to experience.
Audio and Subtitles:
Japanese (Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix) (Reviewed)
English (Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix)
English (Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix, Go90) (Reviewed)
Both English and Japanese Dubs are Amazing!
The Japanese and English dubs for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood are both fantastic, so either way, you’re in for an amazing experience. I watched the Japanese dub when they were simuilcasting it back in 2009 and it was great.
The Japanese performances are amazing so if you prefer watching Japanese over English it’s still a fantastic voice cast so no matter what language you pick you should enjoy it.
The English dub is also amazing as they brought back most of the original English cast from 2003. If a character had their voice actor replaced, they chose excellent actors to replace them.
It doesn’t matter which audio option you choose, you’re in for a treat.
Are you going to watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood?
The Music Is Excellent, but can’t Surpass the 2003 Anime Series:
The music in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood composed by Akira Senju is fantastic and I love it, but it’s just not as good as the original 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist music by Michiru Oshima.
The soundtrack for this anime is excellent and fits the scenes that the soundtrack is used in, but I just enjoy Michiru Oshama’s music more than Akira Senju’s. It’s still a soundtrack that I found to be an enjoyable part of the anime.
The openings are, "again" by YUI (episodes 1-14), "Hologram" by NICO Touches the Walls (episodes 15-26), Golden Time Lover" by Sukima Switch (episodes 27-38), "Period" by Chemistry (episodes 39-50), and "Rain" by SID (episodes 51-63)
The endings are, "嘘 - Uso (Lie)" by SID (episodes 1-14), "Let it out" by Miho Fukuhara (episodes 15-26), "Tsunai Da Te (つないだ手; Tied Hands)" by Lil'B (episodes 27-38), "Shunkan Sentimental" by SCANDAL (episodes 39-50), and "RAY OF LIGHT" by Shoko Nakagawa (episodes 51-62), the last two episodes resue some of the openings.
The Anime Suffers from Bad, Uneven Pacing:
Fullmetal Alchemist has two different adaptations, even though this one follows the manga and is almost 100% faithful to the source material, it still has its own problems that stems from the fact that there is a previous series that was made in 2003.
The first series adapted the first six volumes in about 28 episodes, give or take some filler that had to do with when the story diverted from the manga.
The second series, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood tries to condense these manga based episodes from 28 to 14, unfortunately, the beginning feels very rushed and if you’ve seen the first series, you can see how badly the 2009 series butchers the pacing of the same material, although it does get better once they get passed episode 15, the pacing does get better, but the need to rush through previously covered material really does hurt the anime, because it expects you to have seen the previous series.
They wasted an hour of the anime on filler and a Recap!
The anime starts off with a filler episode that didn’t even happen in the manga, and they didn’t even start with the human transmutation like the first series.
They also didn’t include Ed’s opening monologue, “There’s no such thing as painless lesion, they just don’t exist.” I’m disappointed that it was not included in episode 2 because the manga begins and ends with this opening monologue and it makes me sad that they didn’t begin with it, or use it early on in the series.
They also wasted an episode with recapping the series, and this anime doesn’t even feel like it needs a recap episode.
They also cut a lot from the adaptation regarding the Ishvalan War of Extermination so it’s not a complete replacement for the manga. There are also scenes that are in the manga that never made it into either adaptation.
What Does Work:
What doesn't Work:
Good story, world-building
Bad, uneven pacing
Good English and Japanese dub
Final Grade A+:
Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise are my favorite anime franchise out of all of them I have ever watched, beating out many wonderful franchises I’ve enjoyed, Cowboy Bebop, Fate/Stay Nightand Trigun, and other anime series that I have enjoyed throughout the years. It’s the anime franchise I always come back to.
Although this anime isn’t perfect, it’s still a wonderful series that is a part of my favorite anime franchise. I love everything about it and it’s easily accessible to newcomers when it comes to anime and it can appeal to a wide audience.
I a series that will touch your heart and keep you entertained, it does everything an anime should do and it’s well worth your time, it’s one that you should buy, but because it’s out of print, the price has skyrocketed so if you can find a DVD or blu-ray copy at a reasonable price you definitely should get it for your anime collection.
Both anime series are available for legal streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll. It will be re-released on blu-ray November 20th, 2018 at $99.98 per box set in two sets.
You can also read my review for the Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 series if you want to.
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