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Greetings! Railgunfan75 here with my first anime review on Mad Maz reviews! I am excited to be contributing to this site and I hope that you enjoy my content.
When I watch an anime, tv series, or film there are two things which I look for. I look for an engaging and memorable story and I look for characters which you root for and can relate to. My thoughts on a series usually center around whether these two elements are present in the media or not. When watching the subject of this review, I had heard many positive things about the series and was hoping that it would live up to the hype. Did the story and the characters make this series one I would enjoy? Did this series live up to the hype? I can honestly say that my answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes. So without further adieu here is my review of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
The premise of this series is likely to familiar to many of the readers of this site, but I shall give a summary for those who are not familiar with the series. In addition there will be minor spoilers in this summary- so be forewarned. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood follows the story of two brothers -Edward and Alphonse Elric. Living in a small village in the country of Amestris, the brothers experience tragedy at an early age. After being abandoned by their father, the brothers lose their mother to an illness. The brothers who have innate skills with the practice of alchemy decide to hone their skills and become alchemists with The purpose of attempting to bring their mother back to life. However, such practices usually come with a steep cost. When the brothers attempt to bring their mother back to life, the attempt fails horribly. Edward loses an arm and leg and Alphonese’s soul is now bound to a suit of armor. The story of FMA Brotherhood follows the story of the Elric brothers as they travel the country on a quest to restore their bodies to normal. During their quest, they discover that all is not what in seems in their home country and the cost of restoring their bodies might be too great.
*Note* I have not read the source material or have seen the original Fullmetal Alchemist so I will not be providing any sort of comparison to these media in this review.
This series comes with a great deal of hype and I must say it doesn’t disappoint by any means. In fact this series in my opinion is one of the rare cases where the series quality exceeds the hype that it receives. I was hooked from the first episode.
The main characters of Edward and Alphonse have all of the characteristics that well rounded protagonists should have. These characters were well written and were very easy to root for throughout the series. Despite their trials, in many cases they put others ahead of themselves.In many cases they interrupt their quest to help those around them. These are characters which have taken the many negative experiences that they had and turn that into positives not only for themselves but for the people around them. In addition, the two brothers’ personalities compliment each other quite well with Edward being quick to anger and walking around with a chip on his shoulder to Alphonse who is in many cases the calmer character who provides the voice of reason. The two brothers are one of the reasons in which I think the characters and series is so popular. You have protagonists which grow immensely throughout the series which in many anime does not happen particularly amongst male characters.
While I am on the topic of characters, it must be noted that Brotherhood has one of the best set of supporting characters in any anime. From recurring characters such as Mustang, Hawkeye, Winry and Scar to those characters who appear in only one episode, each character is given a complete personality. Since the case of characters is quite large, discussing all of them in this review is not possible. Considering that the cast of characters is quite large, this is an amazing feat and another high point of the series.
The overall plot of this is very well executed. The overall feel of the plot changes from the first half to the second half of the series. The early episodes of the series greatly focus on the Elric’s quest to restore their bodies while the by the second half the focus shifts to the underlying conspiracy and villains of the series. The interesting thing about this progression is that the events of the early episodes have a great bearing on the later half of the series. So even though the greatest conflicts of the series don’t occur until the second half, there is plenty for viewers to enjoy in the first half of the series as well. The plot does a great job of gradually building up to the climax at the end of the series and includes many well timed and executed plot twists. The cliffhanger endings were also well executed. The episodes never ended at a frustrating point, but I always wanted to watch the next episode regardless. The series has an overall serious tone but also has plenty of comedic and lighter moments particularly with the interactions between the characters. There is great balance between the drama and comedy in the series. Because of this the series is very easy and pleasurable to watch. Also the ending of the series is very satisfying as you are not left with any burning questions. You are left satisfied with the events that unfolded. You want to see more of this world simply because you enjoyed the ride so much. Overall, the plot was very well done.
I also must make a quick note that the series does a great job of establishing the setting for the series. The world of FMA Brotherhood is very well fleshed out and the audience is not left with those annoying questions about the world you find in many other series. So much background is given concerning the country of Amestris and the world that it resides in that you can simply focus on the events that are transpiring and understand easily how the plot reaches certain points.
The voice acting and soundtrack are top notch in this series. In terms of the voice acting, I must say that a superb job was done by all who were involved. Because the characters are so complex and convey a wide range of emotions, it would take great effort to voice The English dub is a must watch for this series and the theme songs and soundtrack not only fit the series well, but are a pleasure to listen to. In addition the theme songs are quite pleasurable to listen to with “Again” by Yui being the hands down favorite of this series.
In general, this series just does so much right, with an engaging story, great setting, and superbly written characters. There are many things which this series does right and very little that it does wrong. Because of this, this series receives a GOLD ranking with a strong recommendation to buy. This series was my first venture into the universe of Fullmetal Alchemist and it has inspired me to check out the other media related to this universe including the original anime series and the manga. This series has my highest recommendation and is without a doubt a must watch for any anime fan.
So until next time, this railgunfan75 signing off!