Anime Vice News

Epic Moments of Anime: Equivalent Exchange

If something is too good to be true, it probably is.

I’m taking a different approach this time around. I think the line I have between ‘great’ and ‘epic’ is getting blurred so I’ve been experiencing some difficulty. This segment covers moments in anime but when I think about Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood I feel the big ones add up to being really great or awesome. However, when I think of the series as a whole, I find it epic.

Wait, the hero is little blondie here?
Wait, the hero is little blondie here?

Personally, the biggest draw of FMA is the use of alchemy. The precursor of modern day chemistry just fascinates me to no end. The use of it here also happens on various scales so viewers can see anything from changing an automail arm to a blade to eradicating a civilization. Also, come on, gun fights are cool but when you are hurling fire or ice and causing giant explosions you get the ‘awe’ factor. I find it doesn’t get any better when the battles are close-range and hand-to-hand. Let’s not forget how the science was used here to create chimaeras through human experimentation (be it willingly or not). The action is great throughout the show but FMA does not get an approval of epicness from it.

The second tally in making Fullmetal Alchemist epic is the characters. As the series goes on the cast grows and the old ones get better as the new ones are great and interesting to start. You have Ed and Al, the ever-suffering protagonists who want to right their mistakes but have to save the country in the process. Then you have Father along with his homunculi created by purging himself of the 7 deadly sins (Greed, Lust, Gluttony, Wrath, Pride, Envy, and Sloth) who are out creating dilemmas for the heroes and preparing to release utter devastation upon the world. There are far too many members of the Military to list but my favorites are Mustang, Alex Louis Armstrong,Hughes, and Olivier Milla Armstrong (Ed and Al withstanding). I got lots of enjoyment out of Scar as well even though he causes a lot of trouble and Izumi Curtis provided plenty of action and humor as well.

Kids are so evil nowadays.
Kids are so evil nowadays.

The last, and most important, mark that makes FMA epic is the story. The original was fun and interesting but when Brotherhood came along and followed the source material, I can’t help but enjoy it even more. So much deception and plotting makes it difficult for the heroes to piece the puzzle together but the beauty of this anime is everything is explained very well so the viewer doesn’t end up confused at the end. And nothing is more satisfying than a real conclusive ending. Going back to the use of alchemy, much of the story is based around the possibilities of its use for the good and bad of mankind. And despite how Fullmetal Alchemist is said not to be an alternate historical telling of genocidal Germany, I find thinking so to add to the allure.

Now, I know the musical score is separate from the story itself but help but it makes the show that much better. Really good intros and closings and nice touches within the show itself. I haven’t read the manga but I’m sure many can agree it’s a bit of a better ride with the anime. I think it goes without saying the creator, Hiromu Arakawa, made something really special here and BONES did a fine job animating.

To close this out I’ll say I am also one of those who really enjoys the chibi humor used in the show. I found it suiting and it gave a nice break with all the serious stuff.

Since this article covers an entire series, here is a trailer for Part 1 of 5.

But what do you Vicers think? Is Brotherhood just great or do you find it epic as well? Maybe some of you find it mediocre. Let’s hear it in the comments below!

-Will McQuigg ( sotyfan16) is your everyday anime/manga enthusiast. You can also find him on Twitter ( bildo_88).

Lurkeroon Dec. 14, 2011 at 6:20 a.m.

To close this out I’ll say I am also one of those who really enjoys the chibi humor used in the show. I found it suiting and it gave a nice break with all the serious stuff.

This is what I don't. How can you appreciate a break from the serious stuff when the tone of the show is supposed to be serious? A show should either be serious or humorous in my opinion, and the Japanese quirks of having serious overtones and dressing it up with chibi or SD humor messes things up for me. I still enjoy it nonetheless.

Ed was never the hero of FMA for me. It was always the other characters that did much cooler things. Sorta like how I like many characters in Naruto, but not Naruto himself.

InfiniteGeasson Dec. 14, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.

Ugh, the use of the word "epic" needs to stop.

Turambaron Dec. 14, 2011 at 11:04 a.m.

@InfiniteGeass said:

Ugh, the use of the word "epic" needs to stop.

I maintain my right to use the term epic as a description of scale and scope.

kashif1on Dec. 14, 2011 at 12:19 p.m.

@InfiniteGeass said:

Ugh, the use of the word "epic" needs to stop.

Its full metal alchemist, there are few better places to use it. Especially with brotherhood, an anime with amazing set pieces.

Actually that's probably the biggest difference between the two animes, the first one was a much more restrained kind of awesome while brotherhood can best be described as epic.

Vaizon Dec. 14, 2011 at 2:27 p.m.

I always felt the first FMA Anime stayed more grounded in a believable reality (aside from, you know, FREAKIN' MAGIC.) and relied more on existential and philosophical questions to drive the story. It focused on issues like what it meant to be human, and whether equivalent exchange was really a truth. In contrast, the manga and Brotherhood are more of a grand adventure story, spanning a much greater scope, though having at times much shallower themes. I'd describe them both as epic, but in their own ways.

Aetheldodon Dec. 14, 2011 at 3:32 p.m.

I never cared much for FMA .... they tell me this remade is cool , but so they said about the regular FMA and I just couldnt like it

Kingfalconon Dec. 14, 2011 at 4:07 p.m.

I watched FMA years ago and loved it. Do you guys think I could (and should) hop straight into Brotherhood? I've been away from anime for a few years, but would like to find something good to sink my teeth into.

DoctorWelchon Dec. 14, 2011 at 4:20 p.m.

This show is really amazing, one of my favorites. I will say it takes a while to get good, but when it does its amazing. Right up until Hughes gets killed the show is too cheesy and seems almost for kids with all the weird humor and the boilerplate motivations for the characters, but once Hughes gets killed you see that the show is going to take a turn for the better and it never looks back. It gradually gets better and better until I couldn't stop watching. I watched the last two parts in only a few days because it was so good.

As I said before, the humor is kinda childish and annoying in the beginning and there are too many cheesy "I'm never gonna give up" monologues made by Ed. But after the show kicks it into high gear the "cheesy" parts and the humor are nice little breaks between the action that help develop the characters in some really nice ways. I also really enjoyed the whole relationship between Ed and Winry both in how it was developed and how it turned out. The relationship was a bit childish, but it was appropriate for the attitudes and ages of the characters to behave that way. It didn't seem forced, too focused on, or too left out, its was the perfect blend of being touched on enough to make the viewer care, and also not being focused on so much that it seemed annoying or forced.

However, the best part of FMA is how the story and the characters are complex and yet perfectly explained while being unique. I am the kind of person that can often times guess what is going to happen to the T in many movies and this story kept me guessing. I was not sure how the end was going to turn out until it actually ended. There was a great sense that things may not end perfectly for our heroes, and that the end may truly not be happy. I also loved how it kept you guessing and wondering what the fuck was going on the whole time until those flashback episodes, and when it eventually did explain everything it was extremely clear and precise, but that the same time extremely exciting and not cheesy at all. Often times shows or movies that have a lot of mystery within them tend to purposefully give shitty explanations as to not reveal their story as "lame" or stupid (ex. Lost), but FMA had and amazing story with amazing background and also did an amazing job of explaining those things to the viewer.

Overall this is one of my favorite anime series ever (if not my favorite) and it is the series that I am using to introduce my girlfriend to my "guilty pleasure" of anime.

The_Desert_Tigeron Dec. 14, 2011 at 4:44 p.m.

To me when something is described as "epic" usually refers to the scale and scope of said thing. In regards to FMA and Brotherhood the term epic would describe Brotherhood much better than FMA. On the topic of which is better between the two? I'd have to go with Brotherhood, easily, for me it's a much much better series. The original FMA anime while good really falls apart for me in the latter half of the series.

spilledmilkfactoryon Dec. 14, 2011 at 5:45 p.m.

The original FMA is still my favorite anime of all time. I haven't seen Brotherhood but I've heard great things

SilverZeoon Dec. 14, 2011 at 6:29 p.m.

FMA's Sloth and Warth as MORE interesting than Brotherhood's Wrath and Sloth....

echoechoon Dec. 14, 2011 at 6:36 p.m.

@Lurkero said:

How can you appreciate a break from the serious stuff when the tone of the show is supposed to be serious? A show should either be serious or humorous in my opinion, and the Japanese quirks of having serious overtones and dressing it up with chibi or SD humor messes things up for me. I still enjoy it nonetheless.

I'm the same way -- I appreciate serious stuff remaining serious. A little dark/black humor for a chuckle here and there is fine, and I'm even fine with some of the more lighthearted fare if the episode has room for it, but throwing the chibi stuff at the screen so often just completely kills the mood for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first FMA series, and thought its decisions for when to break out the chibi-style humor were much more conservative, which meant it was far more tolerable.

When I sat down and watched the first episode of Brotherhood, though, I was immediately turned off by how in-your-face they were with the humor, like they were pandering, and I haven't gone back since. I fully intend to watch the series at some point, but that is how off-putting it was for me.

DoctorWelchon Dec. 14, 2011 at 9:51 p.m.

@Kingfalcon said:

I watched FMA years ago and loved it. Do you guys think I could (and should) hop straight into Brotherhood? I've been away from anime for a few years, but would like to find something good to sink my teeth into.

In my opinion I think Brotherhood is way better than FMA. It's faster paced with a better overall story and more interesting character development, but that's just me.

takashichea moderator is online on Dec. 15, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.

@SilverZeo said:

FMA's Sloth and Warth as MORE interesting than Brotherhood's Wrath and Sloth....

I so agree with that. I mean the concept of making Homunculus is far more interesting in the first FMA. I don't mind an anime deviating from the manga's story line as long as it gets interesting and good.

Scar was more epic in the first one, and for some reason, his looks in brotherhood is more older and not that good looking. It's too bad that the first one's ending was shoddy than the second one.

The second FMA had more and better female characters.

zaldaron Dec. 15, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.

No time to read all the comments here so I will just say...epic all the way...one of my favorite anime shows. Dark when it needs to be dark, and humerus when it needs to be humorous (I mean even Shakespeare had humorous characters in his serious plays...what would hamlet be without Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?...yes I just referenced Hamlet in a post about anime that alone should tell you how epic this series is)

EightBitshikon Dec. 16, 2011 at 9:15 p.m.

I really loved the first series and I have to admit I haven't checked out brother hood. The main reason was I was so sad when FMA ended, I enjoyed it more then any other series even if I found others to be better something about it just made me love it more so I took it to heart when I couldn't watch anymore. I hated the ending of the series and the movie kind of made up for it though it still left me saying aww I would of done it this way. I think I'll find brother hood and watch it now.

Orbitz89on Dec. 28, 2011 at 6:33 p.m.

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood is all kinds of awesome.. it is both great and epic.

Neuroticon Jan. 6, 2012 at 12:20 p.m.

I try and avoid using the word 'epic' now even if I am referring to the scope and size of something. FMA:B is a great series and I say that having only seen 5 or so episodes of the first series, when it still hadn't deviated from the manga. I appreciate the fact that the first FMA is so well-loved despite it deviating from the source material (something which can easily put off many fans) but I don't feel compelled to watch it. Brotherhood gave me enough of that world and those characters to satisfy me.

Dig Deeper into Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the second anime series based on Hiromu Arakawa's original manga. Edward Elric with his brother Alphonse failed to resurrect their mother. Now, they travel across the country with their alchemy to restore their bodies as they hunt for the mythical Philosophers Stone and correct their mistake.

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