I've seen a lot of movies, watched a lot of tv series, played a ton of amazing games.

And across all of that, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood ends up as one of the best experiences I've had, across all media.

To say that it's one of the best tv series you've never heard of will have anime fans frothing at the mouth. I'm fairly new to anime, I didn't really even know what anime was. Having watched a few series I would define it as something like American cartoons, only not episodic, with true story arcs and changing characters and scenarios with a definite end in sight. They are often more intelligent, deeper and fully formed, you also have a sense of progression with the characters. It's not like a reset switch is hit at the end of every episode which can happen with US series. But being Japanese the storytelling can often not flow properly or be slightly... weird to us westerners..... sometimes offputting or boring.

FMA is not that. FMA Brotherhood is blatantly brilliant.

FMA was actually only the second anime series I ever started watching, quite randomly, it's like being new to gaming and starting with the best game of all time. Lucky me. What I noticed when researching anime to watch online was that FMA was a regular in nearly every top 10 anime list I could find. http://thevgpress.com/forumtopics/can-anyone-recommend-some-good-anime-series_2498_1.html&perPage=20#comment166863 and usually in the top 3.

So here is the low down on FMA. There are two series. Full Metal Alchemist was first series then Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood came along. But they are both based on the same source material. When FMA was being made the manga was not complete so it veered off in its own direction. So imagine both series as two cars on the same road, then they come to a fork in the road and go off on different journeys. FMABrotherhood is accurate to the manga and totally awesome. FMA is great too but not as good. If I was new to it I would watch FMA first then watch Brotherhood after, because Brotherhood is sooooo good it will make everything else seem ordinary. There are also two movies:

Conquer of Shamballa which follows on directly from the end of the FMA series. It's pretty eh, feels completely different from Full Metal Alchemist in general, non-canon just some way for someone else to make money on it.

Movie 2 is the Sacred Star of Milos, that was great and was somewhere between Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood and a Studio Ghibli film crossed with it. It was based on the original manga writers work, like Brotherhood was. It's fairly removed from the main storyline of both shows, but I would watch it after everything else for the sake of familiarity.

Comparing both FMA series, FMA starts slower and you get into it. Brotherhood comes out with a bang, then follows the same path till the fuhrer enters the picture and the story grabs you by the balls and never lets go. It also has superior production values. You know the stories of Brotherhood and FMA diverge when it comes to the island in FMA and when the fuhrer does some crazy shit in Brotherhood.

Brotherhood, hits the ground running, getting into some epic stuff that it took the original series a while to get into. That said, without the background knowledge from the original series I would probably have been fairly lost starting Brotherhood. The original eased you in slowly like an old man into a warm bath, Brotherhood starts out like a rocket. Brilliantly they have used the same English voice actors so the familiarity is there and I'm not annoyed by a change. The production values are higher in Brotherhood.

Initially Brotherhood seemed quite strange watching it after FMA, there is a lot of crossover with the original series, it's like watching the same thing in a mirror with tiny differences here and there. The original series was a bit better in some aspects, slower paced so the story revelations were more rewarding. In Brotherhood they just dive straight into it so it will probably be more appealing while the first is a slow builder. The original series seemed a bit better fleshed out, but in retrospect it only fleshes out the smaller things that aren't really that important to the overall story. For completionists though, there is filler here, extra stuff you wont see in Brotherhood and it's well worth checking out FMA in its own right, as a great series.

It also feels like more of a journey in some ways for Ed and Al as it picks up early and shows them becoming state alchemists. There are a few revelations that aren't successful overall and the final confrontation is nowhere near epic enough but there is some other great stuff in it I won't spoil for people. It's definitely worth watching both but Brotherhood will make FMA seem a bit disappointing if you watch it before FMA.

Brotherhood is another story.... once it gets going it's like an unstoppable freight train of awesome that never stops. It builds and builds and builds to an ending so suprising, exciting and enjoyable that I literally forgot to breathe. I had to physically remind myself to intake air during the penultimate episode, was leaning up off my bed. I would equate the series to the epicness of Lost if you ever made it through that series to the end. The only difference with Brotherhood is that it's almost a perfect series. In most tv shows live action or animated there is some redundancy there, some episodes that are average or not worth bothering with, badly written etc. Brotherhood feels like everything is just.... perfect.

It's such a good series that I won't even recomend you rent it. I would say you should buy the whole series on Bluray stat, then sit back and have the ride of your life.

Here's a fan made trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn1cDfaMoLg

And don't worry, there's a very good english dub too.

Posted by gamingeek Tue, 20 Aug 2013 15:56:50 (comments: 14)
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Tue, 20 Aug 2013 16:13:57
One thing I also love is how the story at its heart begins with the relationship between two very identifiable brothers. But by the end there is a huge amassed collection of characters you are rooting for, tooth and nail up to the end. And even though not all characters get the same treatment, they all feel like you know them, each is individually, the character designs and voice acting are all superb in this respect too.

To truly get one of the minor characters: Yoki, check out FMA mining episode.
Wed, 21 Aug 2013 01:42:42
Wed, 21 Aug 2013 01:43:44
Just kidding! I really need to watch FMA one of these days.
Wed, 21 Aug 2013 03:17:42

I think I saw the first few episodes and it was shit (not just in terms of ground textures, but everything). Does it get better? I might be thinking of something else like I was with SEL (though I had seen some of it; just not the part I thought, and I thought it was pretty boss at the time, not awful...but I digress.)

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 10:59:19
You might have seen the original FMA which is slow burner. It doesn't help that they fudged the episode order in the first 6 or so episodes. It starts in Liore with a confrontation, but then after that story is done, it moves on in the next two episodes, to the ACTUAL start of the series. Don't know why but if you rent FMA original series look at the episode order online first and make sure you've got it right. It should start showing Ed and Al being sent to Liore.

As for FMA Brotherhood, it gets great about 14 episodes in or so. You'll know what episode it is because it heavily features the Furher and gets better from there.

I know it sounds weird to recommend watching the lesser original series first, but Brotherhood will make watching the original series afterwards less enjoyable.
Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:31:00

If I watched it, episodes were probably out of order as it was a pretty confusing/stupid start.

I'm definitely interested, but you're asking for 50 hours of commitment. Nyaa

Wed, 21 Aug 2013 13:24:52
Foolz said:

If I watched it, episodes were probably out of order as it was a pretty confusing/stupid start.

I'm definitely interested, but you're asking for 50 hours of commitment. Nyaa

Well you could head straight to Brotherhood, I just checked, it starts getting good at episode 14 and up. Each episode is only 20 minutes long so it's only 4 hours approx, to see if you like it.

I also just checked the episode listing of the original FMA and it seems the episode order I watched it in was right, so they just organised it badly because after the first two you see what happened before the first two episodes. Which is quite befuddling and makes it seems like it's in the wrong order.

I would also recommend Avatar the Last Airbender in series order, it eventually becomes a great series too. The sequel Legend of Korra so far is just okay.

Fri, 23 Aug 2013 10:13:40
Sad, as I expected only anime regulars read this blog. Would have been nice to introduce regular people to a top notch series, but I guess interest in animation is lower.
Sat, 24 Aug 2013 02:03:34

I think I have that series around my house. Might be a good idea to dump them episodes on XBMC and start watching them. Of course I have to find it first.

Sat, 24 Aug 2013 02:04:46

I really dug the original FMA so I wonder how much of an improvement this one can be.

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