Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (2009)

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Review

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Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Review

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a 2009 sci-fi adventure anime series directed by Yasuhiro Irie. It is regularly cited as one of the best anime shows ever.

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Like I always say –

if you can’t find a door…

make your own

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Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Review

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First and foremost, this is certainly a very good series with quality writing and characters. However, I still found it to be overrated and that is for two reasons. One is that it has way too many characters and most do not get their proper due. And the other is that the mythology of the show is so fascinating that it is unfortunate how it was never utilized in the best way possible. So critics and audiences saying it is the best anime ever is definitely going way too far.
I will now touch upon each and every character and thus I will comment upon the storyline as well. I wasn’t a fan of Edward Elric. He is such a frustratingly clichéd anime shõnen protagonist who never is particularly likable. So I liked the decision to have a vast amount of episodes without him. Alphonse Elric is a bit too good, but much more likable and sweeter than his brother. They aren’t the most memorable characters, but their sibling relationship is moving and quite well established.

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Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Review

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The villains are excellent and most of the homunculi posed genuine threat to the heroes. Their goals and manner of speaking very cartoony in a typical shõnen manner, but they were memorable and powerful enough that I deem them successful. Lust disappointed me a lot, but Greed and Envy are phenomenal villains and of course Gluttony was a lot of goofy fun.
Their father’s story is emotional and well executed, especially the ending. Scar is great too, I really liked his backstory. I liked Izumi as the fact that the brothers’ sensei is a woman was refreshing for this series. Both Roy Mustang and Riza Kawkeye are a good duo and they have their moments, but they were admittedly a bit boring, at least they were to me.
The Armstrong siblings are superb! She is a tough female character and he is such a wonderfully goofy and very likable dude, their bickering relationship provided the finest laughs of the entire anime. May Chang is cute as is her panda and to me all of the other characters were too forgettable or dull to talk about.

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Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Review

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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has 64 episodes total which is actually a pretty low number for this usually excessive genre. But that was still too much for me personally and surely some episodes were weaker than others and some were even detours. But some were also rushed as the pacing of the show is all over the place.
I loved the story. The alchemy and the entire approach with it is very intriguing plus its sacrificial component provided the emotional support for the series, not to mention that it raised the stakes significantly. I really admired some of its sophisticated themes as it deals with a lot of political and social issues with the most prominent being war, discrimination, brotherhood and genocide.
By portraying imaginary countries, the anime managed to become metaphorical and imaginative at the same time. I loved the attention to detail that went to into this production as the world building, history, flashbacks and many groups are well explored. I love shows that feature many different groups of protagonists and antagonists on a quest, this time it was for the philosopher’s stone. But the problem of too many characters and not enough time still remains and I was definitely disappointed that we didn’t see more of the magical elements as they were quite intriguing. Alchemy was underutilized severely.

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Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Review

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As for the action, I liked it. I didn’t love it as it doesn’t contain enough unforgettable and amazing action set pieces, but the fights were still pretty good and entertaining. The animation is excellent – the character design is quite interesting and of course the detailed, meticulous approach that went into creating this world is noticeable from the beginning and quite admirable.

So in the end, I liked Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood quite a bit. It is an entertaining, at times funny and genuinely well told and even sophisticated story populated by some highly likable characters and a good set of villains, but it still isn’t great and is frankly overrated owing to too many characters, not enough alchemy and overly rushed pacing.

Worst Episodes: The Promised Day, Upheaval in Central and The Return of the Führer.
Best Episodes: Daydream, Emmisary of Darkness, The Other Side of the Gateway and Journey’s End.

My Rating – 4

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