Ratings (of 5)
OP/ED Themes: ♥♥♥♥
All in all, while I still maintain a lot of hope for the series, I'm unimpressed with the handling of the first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. The pacing is odd, and in an attempt to both introduce the concepts to new people AND provide fanservice for long-term fans, the result is a rather jumbled and overly swift mess of characters running in, doing a shtick, then saying something serious, and then departing.
I understand that it's very difficult to deal with having animated the early parts of the series already-- and having done so extremely well. I am disappointed that Bones couldn't find a better way to handle the issue, but again, I'm confident that the rest of the series will probably be fine.
So let's move on to some of the other changes: much of the main cast that you'll note in this episode is the same as the last series, namely Ed, Al, Hughes, and Armstrong. The Fuhrer sounds about the same to me, although it's a different actor, ditto Riza Hawkeye (who only gets a single line in the whole episode, so it's hard to judge that fairly). The new Lust sounds pretty good, too.
No, my one complaint on the cast differences so far is Roy Mustang. Granted, this isn't a huge Roy episode, but so far Shinichirou Miki doesn't offer the confidence and charisma that Toru Okawa managed to ooze into the character's every word. That said, Miki isn't BAD in the role, he just doesn't sound as good so far.
If you've already seen Fullmetal Alchemist and are tight on time, it'd be pretty easy for you to skip this first episode, which introduces an original character and story (albeit a pretty cool one) to allow for the explication of the series without merely repeating the previous anime's introductions. The second episode goes up tomorrow on FUNimation's website at 10am Central time (get it? Like Central City in the series? GET IT?), so fans already familiar can jump on the second episode boat.
That said, if you skipped the first season or have some time to kill, the first episode is very pretty, if a bit too quick-paced and a little on the shallow side. (Like I said, it's hard to blame BONES, even if I think they could have done it better.)