Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood review

Well folks, Grand Theft Auto V is very nearly upon us, and I wanted to get a review done before I lock myself in my room with a supply of beans and canned peaches and waste many, many hours of my life mowing down pedestrians and other goofy shenanigans. Accordingly, I wanted to review something I’ve been meaning to talk about for a long time – something very special to me.

You see, part of what I love about anime is how original concepts for shows are. This time we have a show about a diminuative young warrior with the power to control metal and his love interest with bangs in her hair.

Dear readers, this is Seikon No Qwas- DAMN IT.

Yes, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. They say that in the world of anime, you generally belong to one of three fandom camps: Bleach, Naruto or Fullmetal Alchemist. Personally, I’m deep in the FMA camp, and I’m going to try to tell you why – and it has nothing to do with those other shows having a bazillion episodes each, honest.

The series has a pretty deep and complicated plot, so I’ll keep things condensed in an attempt to avoid spoilers. Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric are talented alchemists suffering from Absent Father Syndrome living the life of Riley in the country of Amestris – “Alchemy”, in the Fullmetal Alchemist universe, is shorthand for elemental magic, by the by – until their mother tragically dies in a nonspecific plot plague.

Being the incredibly talented pre-teens that they are, they decide to use their alchemical powers to bring dear old mum back to life. But…

Oh, God.

Oh, GOD.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Sure, they’ve committed a crime against nature and the ultimate taboo of alchemy, but Ed gains the ability to perform alchemy without drawing a circle, and Al a cool new body!

Oh, yeah. Right. The whole ‘psychological and physical trauma’ thing.

It also attracts the attention of the Amestrian State Military, who are interested in recruiting Ed and Al as state alchemists, granting them a wage and research funds in order to find out how to get their original bodies back – because although having a metal arm and leg and a personal automail engineer in your childhood friend is super awesome, it doesn’t quite compare to the fleshy goodness of actual limbs.

So everything seems simple enough, right?

Turns out that massive, earth-shattering conspiracies are afoot, involving horrifying and charismatic artificial humans, blood sacrifice and a series of events that could destroy the entire world.

And that’s not even taking into account the often heart-wrenching side stories the brothers find themselves part of, but the less said about them the better. Let’s just say the impact needs to be experienced, not read off some dumb nerd’s blog page.

So what can I say in this review that won’t give away the deep and nuanced plot? Well, for starters I can big up how gorgeous this series is, from the snowy marshes of the north to the ornate urban environments of the Amestrian capital. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is clearly the product of many, many talented individuals working in unison to create something truly special. Of course, words cannot begin to describe the series’ beauty, so have a bunch more images and soak it in.

Whoops, how did that get in here?

The characters, too, are top notch, thanks to creator Hiromu Arakawa’s fantastic writing. I’d like to put in a special mention for the Homunculi, a group of artificial humans (named after the seven deadly sins, no less) who are up to no good. Saying too much about them would be a spoiler, but let’s just say that an androgynous shape-shifter is equal parts charismatic and scary, and certainly makes for memorable viewing.

Playful facade, lethal hairstyle.

And what better way to conclude than to make mention of the ones responsible for such memorable characters – the utterly stellar English dub of this series, which stars some of the biggest and best voice actors in the business. Maxey Whitehead, Travis Willingham, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Caitlin Glass, Monica Rial, Laura Bailey and too many more to fairly credit give it their all and create an aural experience that is truly special. But of course, that experience is completed with the voice of Edward Elric himself, the intensely talented Vic Mignogna. And no, I’m not biased towards Vic Mignogna’s work because I met him and I’m totally not going to put a picture of me meeting him below.

meetingvicCAGIFIED

I’m also not going to comically replace my own face with Nicolas Cage’s. No siree.

He said he liked my shirt. :3

Anyway, it feels a little redundant to end this with a rating out of ten – you already know that I like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. Like, a LOT. THIS IS A RECOMMENDATION. So instead, I’ll leave you with this wonderful piece of advice, from the mouth of Ed Elric himself.

“There’s no such thing as a painless lesson – they just don’t exist. Sacrifices are necessary, you can’t gain anything without losing something first. Although… if you can endure that pain, and walk away from it, you will find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Yeah… a heart made fullmetal.”

NOT GUILTY

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