I said in my last segment of Super Subjective Reviews that I would review Aria next. Unfortunately, I still haven’t found the time and the need to finish it. So instead, let’s move on to another one of those iconic anime out there. I present to you: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood!
FMA:B was based on a manga by Hiromu Arakawa insertmanyotherfactsabouttheanimethatyoucangooglehere.
So what did I think about it?
I thought it was terrible! It’s the worst show that I have ever seen… is what I would like to say. To my surprise, FMA:B is the best shounen show that I have seen in my life (not that I have watched many other shounen series, but whatever). If I had seen this as a kid, I may have been reeled to watching anime way earlier than I did. Note that I haven’t watched the first anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist and I don’t think I will anytime soon.
So the deal is, we have the our two protagonists, Edward and Alphonse Elric, with hold on, this may shock any seasoned anime viewer who hasn’t seen FMA yet… PERSONALITY! GASP! Shocking, isn’t it? Anyway, these to boys try to resurrect their conveniently dead mother, but ends up having to sacrifice Alphonse’s body and one of Edward’s legs to the zero-sum game of alchemy. The results of the resurrection attempt were less than savory. Edward then tries to bring back at least his lost brother’s soul, sacrificing an arm in the process in return for affixing Alphonse’s soul to an empty suit of armor.
After getting prosthetic “fullmetal” limbs, Edward is recruited by the army to be a state alchemist, a job reserved for those who dedicate themselves to studying alchemy while serving the nation. While doing his job, he searches for a way to bring back their old bodies that were taken away from them.
And that’s about everything you need to know to get started. Frankly, I was hesitant to pick up FMA since I tend to avoid shounen like the plague, but since I have dedicated myself to watching the more popular shows recently, I figured that this is the one that I should start with (also with a lot of persuasion power on the part of my friends).
What made me like this show? Well, for starters, It is very, very entertaining. Believe it or not, I finished watching the whole of FMA:B in just 4 days. I loved it that much. It had very nice fight scenes and overall aesthetic appeal. But FMA:B had something that similar shounen shows didn’t have: direction. Unlike most other shounen anime, FMA:B knows that it has a story to tell. It doesn’t waste time on things that do not contribute something to world building, character building/development or historical background. You will even find yourself amazed that “filler” episodes aren’t exactly filler.
I guess this is from the fact that the manga has already ended when Brotherhood was made, but it’s still pleasant to find a shounen anime that doesn’t troll you (hello there Bleach, Naruto and One Piece!) or make kids’ games a part of a large scale of glorified nonsense (hello there every single toy advertisement anime!).
Other than these things, FMA:B still keeps the spirit of shounen, an anime that appeals to young children, while being entertaining enough to be appreciated by the veteran anime watcher. I guess the only thing that I would nitpick about is its virtually zero rewatch value. I wouldn’t really want to watch this all over again, but hey, that’s a prime characteristic of a shounen show and I’m completely fine with that.
I’d love to tell you more about this anime, but I wouldn’t want to spoil all of the juicy parts. I say, just watch it and see for yourselves – a shounen with direction, protagonists with personality and hard-earned real power, and a very nice show to look at. I couldn’t ask any more from an anime from a genre that I don’t usually watch.
As of this writing, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of my all-time favorite shows at number 6 with my personal MAL rating of 8. To see my scoring standards, please visit this post. The other anime that I reviewed – Baccano! and Neon Genesis Evangelion got 3 and 2 respectively.
Thanks for reading my review and I hope that you fine readers will tune in to this series of posts.