I figure every fanbase loves discussions pondering “hypothetical fans” who could come into their world without the usual preconceptions. Will an eager novice who’s somehow never seen a LOTR movie, nor even heard of Tolkien, be able to appreciate or understand the new HOBBIT flick, for example? Will they have a completely different read on the saga if they use the prequels as their starting point? Hearing out differing angles on the things we’re so familiar with (and have been so enthusiastic about for so long that it’s almost second nature) is always fascinating.
Well, if this portion of W&L has been an ongoing experiment to determine whether or not BROTHERHOOD ruins the original FMA series for new viewers... then the findings are most definitely proving positive. We’re half a regular-length-season into this iteration and, so far, it’s doubled-up on anything I disliked in BROTHERHOOD and filled it into the gaping hole left by the absence of everything I did like about that show.
The Ed/Mustang bout does approach the bar set by the numerous spectacular duels in BROTHERHOOD, but the motivation for it is so flimsy, I can't even remember it whilst typing this. And that’s really the issue here, as I’ve often repeated. There's none of the grand, epic sweep and direction of BROTHERHOOD. This is exactly as meandering and aimless as you’d expect a show spinning wheels whilst waiting on source material. Worse yet, it’s killing that time with a bunch of slapstick histrionics that just aren’t funny. I love lowbrow, physical comedy as much as anybody, as long as it’s actually funny - - and these shenanigans definitely aren't.
Is that unfair to the merits of the show whose original success allowed BROTHERHOOD to happen? Probably so. But these are just the honest circumstances. When I started my “experiment,” I was hoping to get farther into this, but it’s becoming a bigger chore with each successive episode. Re-visiting YU YU HAKUSHO last week, and being reminded of what a good shonen looks like, is making me even more inclined to just seek out some other show.
Yes, it did take a few episodes for me to warm-up to BROTHERHOOD, but I don’t recall it taking this many. I'm going to give this an episode or two to win me back, but I'll be actively looking for a replacement in the meantime. There are already a few good candidates...