I am wondering what is the better overall series FMA or FMAB for someone who has never seen either. Thanks in advance.
Both are good
But if you don't have the time, then the first one will be the best
Well, if you've only got time for one, I'd suggest Brotherhood since it's a grand adventure perfectly told. However, if you can, I'd watch both because the first 30 or so episodes of FMA 2003 make up the first dozen episodes of Brotherhood. There is a ton of character development in those 30 that easily transfers to FMAB. What Dream said is true, too. FMA 2003 approaches the Sins with a greater complexity than FMAB, but I found the earlier story's conclusion is less satisfying. The manga wasn't complete at the time, so the anime creators had to make something up and they did a good job considering, but there were a lot of questions left unanswered. If that's the type of show you like, then I'm sure you'd enjoy FMA 2003. Some anime fans don't like everything explained, and they want somethings left unknown so they can talk about their theories afterwards. But, for me, all I can say is very few animes have given me such a good feeling as the final credits scrolled by as Brotherhood and that's something I will always appreciate.
Oh, and I found the opening and closing music in FMA 2003 to be better than FMAB. It didn't change my opinion of either story, it's just that the credit songs from the earlier show appealed to my tastes in music more than the later show.
I really enjoyed the first FMA series, but I advice you to watch the Conqueror of Shamballa movie after watching the series since it pretty much wraps everything up.
For those who watched the Brotherhood series, is it based off the FMA manga? I havent read the FMA manga so I'm not so sure.
It depends on what you like and what kind of fan you are, really. If you prefer reading manga to watching anime and enjoy action-packed shonen with a lot of fight scenes, you'll probably dig Brotherhood more. But if you're a critical person, prefer watching anime to reading manga, and admire writing and storytelling, you'll probably like the original much better. Why? Because the original is FAR better written, better paced, more thoughtful, and handles the wide swathe of tones a lot better. Brotherhood is great, but the only reason it's great is because it's working with great material (it's a great manga). It's a clumsy adaptation to be sure, but it's certainly not awful. I'd still be cautious in starting with Brotherhood anyway, because the beginning is barely watchable in some parts. But it does get a lot better. It's exciting, emotionally involving, and handles its many subplots well. I still maintain that despite the problems with the original, (and there are, I'm not saying it's perfect) it is still superior, and its accomplishments far eclipse its flaws.
I'd say both. I've yet to see Brotherhood in its entirety, but I love the darker approach it takes on key sections due to the fact that it follows the original manga. The original Anime has its strong points as well though. I'd say start with the original first, take a break and watch something else, then go to Brotherhood.
The first one. I didn't care for FMA Brotherhood. It followed the manga to much.
But thats the best part... If you are having issues finding all the of the manga then Brotherhood is the best one to get since it does follow it almost to the letter, but in either case both are awesome so imo I say watch them both and decide what you like better after.