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FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST #13 - - Watch & Learn

Don't watch this if you started with BROTHERHOOD. Just... don't.

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...

Watch this episode, "Flame Vs. Fullmetal" here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 7, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.

Just skip ahead to the differences. You're watching the like the first 8 episodes of Brotherhood dragged out to like 20 and filled with the bad type of filler that, like you say, feels meandering and like they're stalling for time.

Eventually the anime team says screw it and comes up with their own story that kicks into high gear and that's where and what most people who like the original series more than Brotherhood will point to as why they like it more.

ComicMan24on Jan. 7, 2013 at 3:35 p.m.

Well as someone who has watched this vesrion first and then Brotherhood, Brotherhood can also get quite boring at first too. IIRC, it starts getting interesting after the first 15 episodes or so. And have to agree with sickVisionz that the show really picks up later.

AgentJon Jan. 7, 2013 at 3:53 p.m.

The next two episodes won't change your mind. You have more than ten episodes until that memorable Hughes event (episode 25), and things will be about the same until then. Covering those twelve episodes in a chunk or skipping ahead to that point is probably the only way you stick around. The biggest thing you will miss is much more fleshing out of Hughes' relationship with the boys, and the relationships they make with others. After that, the boys meet up with Izumi, during which things start to diverge.

Kino88on Jan. 7, 2013 at 6:09 p.m.

dear, Tom save your self the trouble,

cause it only gets worse.....

that crap with the so called bad guy Dante..... Lame

Lurkeroon Jan. 7, 2013 at 6:56 p.m.

i was actually surprised that you were willing to watch the beginning of the original FMA anime, Tom. I is well known that criticism does not favor FMA over Brotherhood. Skip to the differences and see if you are interested in seeing what the series turned into when the manga wasn't far enough ahead.

jj_jacksonon Jan. 8, 2013 at 11:09 a.m.

I'd have to agree..youd probably need to skip to see the differences. However even later on this version is still litered with filler soo...I watched this version first. I can say it has more emotion than brotherhood i felt the hughs blow way more in this version..buut..i still prefer brotherhood over this version..same with hellsing and hellsing ultimate..it just has the authors true intentions in the story soo i prefer the source material.

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