Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of those anime that I have heard tonnes of praise for.
I have seen many people name it their favourite anime so I had to check it out to see if it lived up to the hype that was being presented.
For those of you who do not know, Brotherhood is actually a remake of the earlier Fullmetal Alchemist anime.
Both are based off the manga written by Hiromi Arakawa (also known by her pen name Hiromu Arakawa), but the first Fullmetal Alchemist came out while the manga was still in its early stages so had to take various liberties with the story.
Brotherhood was made years later and aimed to adapt the source material more faithfully.
Based on this and the fact that, as I said, many people consider this their favourite anime, I decided to watch Brotherhood rather than the first adaptation.
Brotherhood is set in a world where alchemy, a form of magic that relies on the law of equivalent exchange, is an established fact.
The story follows the adventures of Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers trying to get their bodies back, which they lost (Al fully, Ed partially) after attempting the forbidden act of human transmutation.
In regards to the quality of the show, I will say it is a bit of a slow burn… but when it gets going it grabs on tight and never lets you go until the very end.
I was quite surprised how engaged I became with this anime considering how I thought the first few episodes were nothing special.
This is not to say these episodes were bad but they were not really drawing me in to the point that I felt I had to watch the next episode.
The first episode especially left much to be desired.
It went by way too fast, introducing us to so many characters and attempted to start a political theme right from the get go, when I barely knew how its political system worked.
I do understand why this first episode felt rushed though, because the makers of this obviously knew that people who watched the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime would be watching and already knew this stuff, so they decided to go through it quickly.
Like I said, these initial episodes are not bad and they do have the occasional gem shining through.
The fourth episode, An Alchemist’s Anguish, has one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen in an anime and needs to be seen to be believed.
Then there is episode ten, Separate Destinations, which is a real tear-jerker.
After this, it is not long before Brotherhood quickly becomes a very engaging anime with great story telling, pacing and character development.
I was especially blown away with the character development, as my two favourite characters, Greed and Hohenheim, originally felt very one note but by the end of the series they were some of the most well developed characters of the series.
Then there are the plot twists, with one in between episodes 30 and 40 leaving me very surprised.
When I first started watching the anime I alternated between the sub and dub but the dub was so great that I changed to just watching that.
The sub was still great and well acted but I enjoyed the dub a whole lot more.
The animation and music are likewise great and the episodes also got better and better as the show went on, my favourite of the bunch probably being episode 40, Homunculus (The Dwarf in the Flask).
After all of this, it was not long before I was binge watching the entire anime.
After every episode I wanted to know what would happen next.
This all builds to an absolutely incredible final act of the series, with brilliant episode after brilliant episode, the final five of which had me glued to the screen.
These five episodes made me cry at least three or four times both out of sadness and happiness.
However, even though I loved the way the series ended, I do have to say, I was a little bit disappointed by it as well.
There were quite a few minor plot points about certain characters that were never fully resolved by the end and I really wanted to see what would happen with those.
It may have been because they had a limited time frame with the episode lengths and, if so, I wish they had extended the final episodes so we could see those plot points resolved.
Otherwise, I loved Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
It might be slow a slow burn at first but once the story really gets going you will be hooked.
I would recommend this to anyone who has not seen it, even if they typically do not watch anime.