You see new versions of comic book storylines all the time from Batman to Spider Man, but how many times do you see the unrelated second season for a manga franchise? Fullmetal Alchemist, unlike other manga series that have been turned into anime, was actually very different from the rest. Even though the original series lasted for 51 episodes and a movie, it only took the first seven manga volumes of material for influence. The result, despite still being superb, was actually quite different from where the manga version went where things like the true nature of the Homunculus and the actions of certain characters were severely different. In that respect, it’s no real surprise that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was created in order to provide an anime with the “real” story straight from original author Hiromu Arakawa. But now that Brotherhood finally ended with the full retelling of the manga after 64 episodes, in what aspects was it better or worse than the original FMA that was already beloved worldwide? Keep in mind that this is all my personal opinion and I’ll be referencing major plot points of each, so spoilers ahoy!
Which had the best beginning? (the events before Hughes' death)
Winner: The original Fullmetal Alchemist
Which had the best middle? (the events after Hughes' death)
Which had the best ending?
The whole parallel universe was basically begrudgingly accepted at first, but utterly despised all these years later. In contrast, it's hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't be utterly satisfied with the ending of Brotherhood. I t held onto the depiction from the manga even in the final image of a pleasing photo album epilogue, meaning that Bones actually were able to tell the full story, even when the manga ended just one month before the anime. Everything came together in the end with all the surviving cast with a big smile without any of the beloved characters being royally screwed. Arakawa showed that there truly is something to the "And they lived happily ever after" kind of the ending without having to be "original" and make the audience feel like crap. So while the first Fullmetal Alchemist took the mature themes too seriously that led to a despised finale, the version that Arakawa was set to make was beautifully poetic in its execution that'll set the standard for other anime endings for years to come.
Winner: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood