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Watch & Learn: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood #1

You conjured this one up too!

 Disarmed and... dislegged?
 Disarmed and... dislegged?

Ah-ha! So this is who all those kids in red at Anime Expo were dressed up as.

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST BROTHERHOOD was, indeed, the other show in addition to GURREN LAGANN that you Anime Vice lunatics wanted me to watch and learn from. As I said yesterday, I’ll be switching the shows on a daily basis to move things at a different pace. And it so happens that GodLen just posted his take on the series, as well.

 You know he's flustered when his hair starts falling like that.
 You know he's flustered when his hair starts falling like that.

Let me start by saying that this must’ve been one difficult show to pitch. Imagine yourself at a party, trying to explain your big idea about these two kids who’re alchemist magicians in a steampunk version of Austria. Oh, and one’s got a cybernetic arm while the other a ghost in a hollow suit of armor. This is supposed to be Austria, right? Maybe Prussia. Is it supposed to be a fascistic in advance, too? I don’t think “Führer” is a Germanic title. It was a name for, Hitler, alone, like Generalismo and Il Duce.

I suppose that’d be another part of the show that’d be difficult to explain.

Conceptually, it’s interesting to see alchemy explored here. I saw a museum exhibit about it once that made the whole school ripe for dramatization. An approach to chemistry that got chemical properties kind-of right, like Aristotlean physics got gravity kind-of right. I wonder if they’ll ever have carmot show up in this.

This feels a lot more like a kids show than anything I’ve watched for this column, so far. That’s not neccessarily a knock. I preferred the subtlety of the water-based deaths; they were more effective being implied than shown outright in gory detail. Still, about the kiddy elements… you’ve got plenty of “super deforming” for moments of embarrassment and slapstick, the fights were video game-style (with the announcements of new attacks and what not) and I’m sure Edward being mistaken for the younger brother is going to be a running gag akin to Buster and Babs Bunny insisting they’re “no relation.” Something tells me it’s going to be a loooooong time, if ever, before these kids get their bodies back, too. Though, I’m hoping that Armstrong relishing every chance to rip his shirt off for these kids doesn’t turn into a running gag, though. Otherwise, the Eldred brothers might want to be more cautious of him than the water alchemist.

 

   
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. HYBRID BASTARDS! is available  here and UNIMAGINABLE is available here for pre-order on Amazon.com. 
 

sickVisionz moderator on July 8, 2010 at 10:46 p.m.
It'd be pretty cool if you watched this one and the original at the same time.
FoxxFireArt moderator on July 8, 2010 at 11:24 p.m.
Doing two series at once, Tom? 
 
I watched the first series of this anime. I have yet to watch a single episode of this series yet. While I really enjoy the first season. I was terribly disappointed in the finale. The movie that was made that was suppose to make up for that ending. While entertaining from several historical standpoints(I really enjoy history). That too was just as disappointing. I find it irritating how anime series always seem to need to have an angst filled ending. When I watch a series for a long time. I want closure. I want a real "end".

I heard the movie was even being shown in some history classes that were studying pre-WWII.
 
I didn't really feel the need to spend more time watching a new version of the older series. Investing more time and emotion into the story. Only for yet another bout of disappointment.
I'm still not sure if I want to watch this series. I may skip out on this set of Watch & Learn. Though, I'm betting that opinion is in the minority.
chellysaidwhaton July 9, 2010 at 12:27 a.m.
trust me, it becomes less and less like a kid's show as it goes.
its funny but it crosses the creepy line often. i adore it and as i was watching it, it left me with a @_@ face. it's pretty fantastical but it is worth watching
chellysaidwhaton July 9, 2010 at 12:30 a.m.
@FoxxFireArt: yes, the ending to the original series was incredibly unsatisfying as was that horrible movie. all that emotional investment and for what!? but brotherhood, ohhhh brotherhood. the ending was posted this morning and i could NOT wait until i got home from my day to watch it. the shows go the same route for the maybe the first 10 or so episodes, and then things change and just keep going with the awesome. it ended at 64 episodes so that's quite a commitment, but i have to say that it's worth it. but, you don't have to if you don't want to. free will is awesome :]
sotyfan16on July 9, 2010 at 1:15 a.m.

It's been a while since I watched the original FMA but Brotherhood follows the manga and I've read multiple praises so I'll watch it, too. This first ep seems to be more action-filled than I remember so that's a plus. Ed and Al went through unimaginable pain tampering with the taboo art of human transmutation and them being so damaged makes them interesting characters. That, and although they want to find a philosopher's stone to get their bodies back they don't get in a big hurry. They take their time as they gather information on their journies. 
 
I liked the first FMA and yes the ending wasn't completely satisfying but it left you wondering what was next (in which case a second season with a complete ending). I feel Brotherhood, and the original FMA, have the right mix of story, action, and comedy to suit themselves.

metalsnakezeroon July 9, 2010 at 4:42 a.m.
And so your journey begins.
sickVisionz moderator on July 9, 2010 at 5:52 a.m.
I thought the ending to the first series was pretty good.  It didn't wrap up every conceivable plot point or issue that the show brought up but it left me satisfied and felt like a proper conclusion.  It's like the Matrix 1; they didn't show Neo destroying all the machines but to me it perfectly wrapped up the story of the film.
Helloson July 9, 2010 at 8:05 a.m.

It does get a tad bit darker as it goes on. :P
blaakmawfon July 9, 2010 at 8:13 a.m.
I've heard a lot of hype about this show, but the kid stuff always puts me off. I'm okay with the occasional comic relief, but when it is done too much I lose interest.
Ninja_Novaon July 9, 2010 at 9:26 a.m.

I hated the ending for the first series, but Brotherhood's ending is incredible and complete. :D 
The first series was good...I just didn't like the ending. Brotherhood has a lot of drama and will get a lot less childish as you continue.  
ninjadude853on July 9, 2010 at 10:57 a.m.
my favorite version always has and will be the original manga, but both the anime series are good, honestly, i like the original anime better, because it becomes its own story
Necrotoxinon July 9, 2010 at 11 a.m.
Kid stuff... just wait till you actually get further into the show. 
zaldaron July 9, 2010 at 11:41 a.m.
@chellysaidwhat said:
" trust me, it becomes less and less like a kid's show as it goes. its funny but it crosses the creepy line often. i adore it and as i was watching it, it left me with a @_@ face. it's pretty fantastical but it is worth watching "
Yup the first version was a kids show but this one...not so much...about episode seven I think is where it makes a turn and becomes very dark.  I actually voted against this one because you said you didn't want something dark this really doesn't fit.  Oh and the shirt thing..yeah running gag..
Gaseroon July 9, 2010 at 11:53 a.m.
I really hated all the kiddy gags in FMA Brotherhood. The problem is: it's an anime, so I knew what I was getting myself into. Every time Ed overreacted to someone calling him short or small I cringed because I figured a character like him would be much more mature than that for his age.
 
It's all good though because the series eventually focuses more on plot and the climax commences. I haven't seen the final episode yet because I am watching the official subs on Hulu, but what it's leading up to seems to be a grand finale.

Though, I’m hoping that Armstrong relishing every chance to rip his shirt off for these kids doesn’t turn into a running gag  

You can cross that off your list. But Armstrong definitely makes up for his gimmick. I found him rather funny as a character.
 
Also, you are crazy for thinking FMA was hard to pitch. We are talking about anime here. Have you not heard about Strike Witches?
Roldanon July 9, 2010 at 1:12 p.m.
Gurren Lagann's more kiddy then FMA <.<... yeah the show's incredible (especially the last 10 episodes) and the country they live in is suppose to be Great Britain.
BigChiefon July 11, 2010 at 6:25 p.m.
The first episode was alright, but it felt like they were trying to cram way too much information and references to running jokes into a single episode. Also, I absolutely cannot get used to Al's new voice actor.
D34dM4non July 11, 2010 at 9 p.m.
the original FMA anime was one of the first anime that i had watched regularily. i really liked it, but the ending and the movies were sub-par, at best. i watched the first couple of episodes of this and really liked it, too. prbly go back and finish it. 
 
Also, Bradley's full title (at least in the manga) is "Fuhrer President King Bradley." i know it doesn't really change the fact that Fuhrer's not really a title, but it's prbly there to tell us that this dude is evil. The Armstrong shirt ripping is a very prominent running gag throughout, and at one point even formed a friendship with another who also ripped his shirt off to show his muscles. Oh, and the country they're in is called Amestris
 
@ninjadude853 said:
" my favorite version always has and will be the original manga, but both the anime series are good"
i couldn't agree more
Catolfon July 13, 2010 at 7:26 a.m.
I stopped watching brotherhood until everything stopped being the same (cause I was just watching it all over again from the origional) once that changed however it get's really good. I wish I would have watched this one over the origional.

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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