Anime Review: Full Metal Alchemist (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi): Brotherhood (First ep)

If, like me, you were wondering what you will watch on Sunday afternoons now that gundam 00 is over, do not fear. There is a new series of Full Metal Alchemist (FMA) out! FMA is a supernatural anime based around the art of alchemy. This kind of alchemy works around the laws of equivalent exchange. In order to get something, something of equal value must be given in exchange. It’s mega cool though. None of the alchemists make potions and stuff – they all use alchemy to burn each other to death or make massive spikes come out of the ground. It also has quite a dark, serious storyline as well as occasional breaks of comic relief, mainly revolving around how short the main character is. Alchemists can also find jobs in the military, working as state alchemists. The main character is the youngest state alchemist ever.

For those of you who have not seen the first round of FMA episodes, I’ll set it up. Edward (Ed) and Alphonse (Al) Elric are two kids whose dad left home when they were little to go and be an alchemist and do generally bad stuff. He left their mother to raise them by herself, and she died, of course, when Ed and Al were still little. Being good little boys, they decide to take up the art of alchemy and go and train and stuff so they can bring their mother back to life. This (bringing people back to life and stuff) is the biggest taboo of alchemy, which you will be reminded of constantly.

They fail in their attempts and Al loses his body while Ed loses his leg. Thankfully, Ed manages to save his soul by attaching it to a suit of armour by sacrificing his arm (he gets his missing limbs replaced by metal mechanical arms- auto mail). They then go on to try and find a way of getting their bodies back. The baddies are called Homunculus (or homunculi in the plural) and they were made by naughty alchemists who try and bring people back to life.

If you didn’t want to read that or don’t care what happened in the last series, that’s ok. Here is why: this series follows a different story line. It’s like a re-do of the old episodes. It doesn’t continue on from the movie or the last series, which I was worried it would.

If you did watch the last series, here is what not to get confused over. Huges isn’t dead anymore (yay); Mustang has both eyes; Ed and Al aren’t in “shambala”; Al is still a suit of armour; Ed still has metal limbs; and they are still going on about being dogs of the military and the philosopher’s stone…(I know…)

The first ep was like an introduction ep, with all the old characters and the set up for the new story line. It’s about how the military is corrupt and so on. The second episode is a flashback episode, different from the old flashback eps. The third episode is a redo of the first episode of the old series, with slightly different animation.

The animation is different…possibly better. It looks a lot softer than the old series. In the old series, the animation was a lot flatter, if that makes sense. The theme tune is “Again” by YUI. Who doesn’t love a bit of YUI? (It will never beat the first L’arc en~Ciel theme tune…). The end theme is “Uso” by SID.

Watch it if:

    • You liked the last series, but hated the ending.

 

    • You like to mimic cool hand actions like the ones in Naruto, but are too lazy to learn them.

 

    • You like action anime with long storylines that go somewhere.

 

  • You thought Harry Potter wasn’t violent enough.

Don’t watch it if:

    • You don’t like people repeating the same things over again (“we need to find the philosopher’s stone”; “Military dog”; Corrupt military”; “the biggest taboo in alchemy”, etc.)

 

    • You didn’t like the last season at all.

 

    • You don’t like supernatural action anime.

 

    • You get offended by jokes about short people.

 

  • You felt fulfilled by the last series.

I’d give the fist ep a solid 7/10 (that score includes my expectations; 6/10 without my expectations). There is no way it could beat the first series though.

The new FMA series is on NHK on Sundays at 5pm. Subs are streamed online pretty much on any anime download website, veoh, YouTube. I streamed from here: www.watchanimeon.com.

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