Tom's Final Thoughts on Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

After getting his mitts on the Volume 5 DVD set, Tom reflects on this mammoth epic of alchemy, homunculi and chibi.

Video posted by Babylonian on Aug. 16, 2011

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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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Beomooseon Aug. 16, 2011 at 11:27 a.m.

Thanks for the great series, Tom!

sotyfan16on Aug. 16, 2011 at 12:01 p.m.
Why did they give you the DVD and not the BD? But good to hear some more thoughts and about the outtakes. I'll definitely be watching those when I get around to buying Vol. 2-5 on BD.
 
By the way, I think you're beating me in the number of free things from FUNi.
Nightwolfon Aug. 16, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.
@Beomoose said:

Thanks for the great series, Tom!

metalsnakezeroon Aug. 16, 2011 at 1:41 p.m.
I think you are taking the romances of the series a little too much. It isn't like they are too afraid to get intimate it just there no point to it and not every relationship need to have them kiss to show that they love each other. I think you misunderstand the scene with Ed and Winry near the end, where Ed confess his love to her by saying it in terms that is comfortable for him (which is equivalent exchange).
 
Anyway glad you did like FMA. Looking forward to whatever you are going to watch next.
FoxxFireArt moderator on Aug. 16, 2011 at 1:48 p.m.

Good to hear your voice recovered, Tom. Still, feelings such envy for the cool stuff FUNimation sends you.

The whole Fuhrer title didn't bother me at all. The creators were just using a European culture for the series. If anything. This series felt closer to WWI era Germany. You may notice that none of the characters in this series really had Japanese names. It was all European or Chinese.

I will agree that chibi is overused at times in the series. It tends to kill the dramatic mood that is being set in places.

The lack or romantic closer is kind of irritating. I think that has more to do with the cultural issues in Japan. There was just so many scenes that I wanted Roy to just grab Riza and kiss her.

Once again. Anime is not comics. They don't really drag all these series out. Yes, they may make more movies after this next one, but that's it. The story is over. Unless Arakawa makes an extended story, which I seriously doubt she will. This is done. They are always ending series and new stories take their place.

This second series go, because the first anime made up it's own crazy ending that had nothing to do with the real story. That's because the manga was still being produces while the anime was running. You had an anime that was weekly, and a manga that was published monthly. It's only natural the aver take it. They weren't going to be able to tell the true ending, so, they made one up. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood was an anime that was specifically designed to be released and end at almost the same time the manga was to end. There really is no reason for another FMA anime series one follows the manga so closely.

While Japan may keep Dragon Ball movies, none of those have any level of canon to them. They are basically novelty items. The actual story has been long over. These new anime releases aren't really new. They are just re-releases. Such as with DBZ: Kai, where they are just cutting out the filler and putting it on Blu-ray.

There is the Evangelion Rebuilds. These are being made, because the director only now has the technology to really put out the product that he wanted, due to technological and budgetary issues of the time. They know that they shouldn't release the story, so, they developed it into something new.

thekokapellion Aug. 16, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.

That's something I've always noticed about romance in anime, especially a shonen like FMA.  Either you have Western animation, in which characters meet, fall in love and live happily after about three days, or you have Japanese animation in which they jerk you around and build up the relationship but never really confirm it.  Either way you get two really unrealistic extremes.   
I really do think the original series handled the humor much better.  The problem I think with the first few episodes of Brotherhood is that they repeat everything the original did (only not as good in execution) and they're not as engaging unless you're a fan of the original.  But if you're new to the franchise you might not as enjoy them as much either, because again, the first series did the initial half better.  I'm not dissing Brotherhood, I really enjoyed it.  I think the time it really shines is when it starts to deviate from the original and do its own thing instead of trying to outdo it. 
No_name_here staff on Aug. 16, 2011 at 11:54 p.m.

@Nightwolf said:

@Beomoose said:

Thanks for the great series, Tom!

YOUKNOWITGUYS!

No_name_here staff on Aug. 16, 2011 at 11:56 p.m.

@sotyfan16 said:

Why did they give you the DVD and not the BD?

I don't have a Blu-Ray player. I think that whole business is a scam, anyway. Nobody ever looked at a DVD and thought the picture quality wasn't good enough.

By the way, I think you're beating me in the number of free things from FUNi.

You're on their press mailing list?

No_name_here staff on Aug. 16, 2011 at 11:59 p.m.

@metalsnakezero said:

I think you are taking the romances of the series a little too much. It isn't like they are too afraid to get intimate it just there no point to it and not every relationship need to have them kiss to show that they love each other. I think you misunderstand the scene with Ed and Winry near the end, where Ed confess his love to her by saying it in terms that is comfortable for him (which is equivalent exchange).

Eh, it's kind of like setting up a duel between Wrath and Scar for 60 episodes and then cutting away while they're trash talking each other pre-fight and coming back when it's done. Gets the point across, maybe, but it sort-of absentmindedly frustrates audience expectations.

No_name_here staff on Aug. 17, 2011 at 12:12 a.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

Good to hear your voice recovered, Tom. Still, feelings such envy for the cool stuff FUNimation sends you.

My throat was so medicated after Comic Con.

Also, I just received another package from them. Expect a lot of videos coming.

The whole Fuhrer title didn't bother me at all. The creators were just using a European culture for the series. If anything. This series felt closer to WWI era Germany. You may notice that none of the characters in this series really had Japanese names. It was all European or Chinese.

It's not as outrageously distasteful as, say, HETALIA, but everybody involved in this show would have to be incredibly dense to not realize the connotations of their allusions.

Once again. Anime is not comics. They don't really drag all these series out. Yes, they may make more movies after this next one, but that's it. The story is over. Unless Arakawa makes an extended story, which I seriously doubt she will. This is done. They are always ending series and new stories take their place.

This second series go, because the first anime made up it's own crazy ending that had nothing to do with the real story. That's because the manga was still being produces while the anime was running. You had an anime that was weekly, and a manga that was published monthly. It's only natural the aver take it. They weren't going to be able to tell the true ending, so, they made one up. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood was an anime that was specifically designed to be released and end at almost the same time the manga was to end. There really is no reason for another FMA anime series one follows the manga so closely.

While Japan may keep Dragon Ball movies, none of those have any level of canon to them. They are basically novelty items. The actual story has been long over. These new anime releases aren't really new. They are just re-releases. Such as with DBZ: Kai, where they are just cutting out the filler and putting it on Blu-ray.

There is the Evangelion Rebuilds. These are being made, because the director only now has the technology to really put out the product that he wanted, due to technological and budgetary issues of the time. They know that they shouldn't release the story, so, they developed it into something new.

Maybe a couple gaiden movies then, or what have you. The further I get a long with this stuff, the more I find that you've got look at things for by their basic definitions instead of saying "well it's different" because of certain circumstances. Even if they're called "re:builds," those movies are still new material with the EVA brand on them (with toyetic new plug suit characters and Evas to launch new figurines) that's continues the story (albeit in a zigzag fashion) because there's continued demand after a long-form series, two movies and however many manga volumes. Likewise, it doesn't matter if BROTHERHOOD's technically a reboot that's stricter adaptation of the manage - - it's still a long form series that's follows-up another long-form series because of popularity. Whatever shape it takes, I'm sure Square Enix is going to let the FMA brand lay when it's been doing gangbusters business for the past decade.

No_name_here staff on Aug. 17, 2011 at 12:15 a.m.

@thekokapelli said:

That's something I've always noticed about romance in anime, especially a shonen like FMA. Either you have Western animation, in which characters meet, fall in love and live happily after about three days, or you have Japanese animation in which they jerk you around and build up the relationship but never really confirm it. Either way you get two really unrealistic extremes.

That's an astute way to break it down.

really do think the original series handled the humor much better. The problem I think with the first few episodes of Brotherhood is that they repeat everything the original did (only not as good in execution) and they're not as engaging unless you're a fan of the original. But if you're new to the franchise you might not as enjoy them as much either, because again, the first series did the initial half better. I'm not dissing Brotherhood, I really enjoyed it. I think the time it really shines is when it starts to deviate from the original and do its own thing instead of trying to outdo it.

You know, you're likely on to something here. I wanted to quit watching the series after the first batch episodes precisely because of the chibi.

rubberluffyon Aug. 17, 2011 at 12:48 a.m.
@thekokapelli said:
The problem I think with the first few episodes of Brotherhood is that they repeat everything the original did (only not as good in execution) and they're not as engaging unless you're a fan of the original.  But if you're new to the franchise you might not as enjoy them as much either, because again, the first series did the initial half better.
Brotherhood actually follows the beginning parts much closer to the manga (minus the somewhat pointless train chapter).  The Tucker episode alone is almost a 1:1 chapter:episode translation, while the average for episodes is 1.5 chapters per episode.   The 2003 series changed around the timelines, added a bunch of filler bits and changed how events played out.  So how did the 2003 series do them "better"?    As someone who only cares about the manga/Brotherhood, the beginning of Brotherhood is fine to me.
 
 
Re: romance 
The end scene with Ed/Winry is completely fine because it keeps with their characters.  Ed is a bit of a geek.   It also isn't like romance was some huge part of the story anyway.
Arakawa has said in interviews that Roy and Riza can't be together because of military regulations regarding relationships.  I believe she also said she might make an extra chapter regarding the two of them, but she is also working on her current manga, so who knows if she will.  She did make that extra chapter about what happened to Al's armor, though.
 
Re: "chibis"
I feel like I'm the only person who wishes more of the humor in the manga had been kept in Brotherhood.  And because of that the manga will always be the definitive version to me.
sotyfan16on Aug. 17, 2011 at 1:28 a.m.
@Tom_Pinchuk:
I guess you're right but I feel so much more comfortable with a BD. If an anime has a BD copy then I get it instead of the DVD.
 
But I totally wish I was on their mailing list. I just got some free stuff from touring the facility and interviewing a National Sales Manager. I even met Chris Sabat while he was dropping off some DBZ Kai demos (back when it was first being worked on for dubbing). I also met Adam Sheehan, FUNi's resident con-goer.
FoxxFireArt moderator on Aug. 17, 2011 at 6:21 a.m.

@Tom_Pinchuk:

The Eva Rebuilds are a separate matter, because they are are coming form the series original creator. This is more than just a branding issue. This is what the director says he always wanted to do, but was unable due to technology and budget. Which rings true when you have watched some of those later episodes with awkward stills of looking at nothing with dialog.

You can't really call FMA: Brotherhood a reboot when it's closer to the original story. That would more imply it was that anime that came first. You more look to the first series as a loose adaptation. It would be more fair to call the Evangelion Rebuild a reboot. Seeing how they are taking this opportunity to add to the story.

Square Enix has plenty of other successful manga to work from. Soul Eater being one of them. They even have their own magazine that them serialize manga in. If they really want money off of FMA, there are less expensive ways to do that than produce new animes and movies. Merchandising is huge over there.

" Also, I just received another package from them. Expect a lot of videos coming. "

Dude. Rub it in why don't you?

Dunchadon Aug. 17, 2011 at 10:05 a.m.

Just finished watching this myself. The plot definitely made a lot more sense this time around - there was a clear explanation for everything. I can't say I remember the original all that well anymore, but I got left with a feeling that this version of Ed was a lot more useless. He felt almost unnecessary as far as the overall plot - whenever he discovered something, someone elsewhere also discovered the same thing. Even the final fight ended the way it did because everyone else, for some reason, decided to take a break and just cheer for him.

As for the humour in the series - I didn't find it funny at all and it felt out of place. All that horrific stuff happening and then suddenly Ed raging on about somebody calling him short - it was just so clumsy that it made me gringe.

The relationship stuff was on par with what I've come to expect from anime. If the series doesn't center around the relationship, then it's very unlikely to get much attention. At least we got enough to see that Ed and Winry did end up together - it's more than what you expect from an anime of this type.

Overall, I'd say it's a decent series and I'll give it special kudos for the unique and interesting "magic system".

No_name_here staff on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:17 a.m.

@FoxxFireArt said:

@Tom_Pinchuk:

The Eva Rebuilds are a separate matter, because they are are coming form the series original creator. This is more than just a branding issue. This is what the director says he always wanted to do, but was unable due to technology and budget. Which rings true when you have watched some of those later episodes with awkward stills of looking at nothing with dialog.

You can't really call FMA: Brotherhood a reboot when it's closer to the original story. That would more imply it was that anime that came first. You more look to the first series as a loose adaptation. It would be more fair to call the Evangelion Rebuild a reboot. Seeing how they are taking this opportunity to add to the story.

"Reboot" is honestly just sneaky double-speak for "remake," but if there's any difference between the terms, it could be that a reboot starts a whole series over and with an adaptation hewing closer to the source material. Hence BATMAN BEGINS and CASINO ROYALE are ostensibly reboots. Although, if you really tear down the semantics, they're still just Batman #5 and Bond #21. All I'm saying is that if a 51-episode FMA series is followed by an even bigger 64-episode series, it's still a follow-up regardless of the particulars. If we saw a new DEATH NOTE anime come out that was longer and even more faithful to the manga, it'd still be DEATH NOTE #2 for all intents and purposes. I could very well be proven, but I'm just saying that my hunch is that Square Enix is a business and they're not going to walk away from something that sustained popularity for 115 episodes without trying to dip into the well again.

thekokapellion Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:34 a.m.
@thekokapelli said:
The problem I think with the first few episodes of Brotherhood is that they repeat everything the original did (only not as good in execution) and they're not as engaging unless you're a fan of the original.  But if you're new to the franchise you might not as enjoy them as much either, because again, the first series did the initial half better.
Brotherhood actually follows the beginning parts much closer to the manga (minus the somewhat pointless train chapter).  The Tucker episode alone is almost a 1:1 chapter:episode translation, while the average for episodes is 1.5 chapters per episode.   The 2003 series changed around the timelines, added a bunch of filler bits and changed how events played out.  So how did the 2003 series do them "better"?    As someone who only cares about the manga/Brotherhood, the beginning of Brotherhood is fine to me.    
I did say that I really enjoyed it, didn't I? And it's one of my favorite mangas of all time.  I'm not dissing it, I'm just saying that the original had a lot going for it that some people found they couldn't appreciate as much in Brotherhood.  The fact that it follows the manga closer doesn't automatically make it better, either.  It might even make it harder to enjoy because as a fan you've already seen the first few episodes done better in the manga and in the original.  What I had loved about FMA was the characters, and in Brotherhood the characters became short joke and exposition spouting plot devices who move from story point to story point.  But I'm not saying it's not good, just that the beginning is a little iffy for some people, as the writing quality dropped somewhat.  The original isn't perfect either, but it did have some really great writing. 
FoxxFireArt moderator on Aug. 17, 2011 at 1:34 p.m.

@Tom_Pinchuk:

Yeah, I agree with that. "Reboot" is just another word for "remake". It's just a sort of example how a phrase can take on a new life in a culture, such as "sick" or "cool". "Reboot" in comic terms almost means now, "Oh Crap, we wrote ourselves into a corner.". Only now, "Reboot" has developed such negative connotation that they are once again trying to rebrand the name. As we are seeing in DC's overuse of the word "revamp" for their New 52 line. They use this to try and imply that they aren't 'rebooting', but when you see how much they are changing things in many series. It obvious that it's a 'reboot'. I wouldn't be surprised if we hear the word "revamp" coming from Marvel in a few years.

With Death Note, that series was very lucrative. So many years later, you don't see them remaking the anime or some expanded story. Not even anime movies. They made a few live-action movies. You could point to the Death Note live-action Hollywood is making that may or may not happen. But that's a better example of Hollywood just trying to make money off something popular.

The Highschool of the Dead anime series did very well in Japan. Poeple are clamoring for a second season, but the manga it's based on went on hiatus. The first season summed up the events of volumes 1-4, but there are now only 7 volumes worth of content. They could just make a second season and make up a different ending, but they seem to be waiting on the original series.

How many people do you believe want another season of something such as Gurren Lagann or FLCL? Still, they haven't even tried.

thekokapellion Aug. 17, 2011 at 4:03 p.m.

Baccano! is what NEEDS to have a second season.  True, it did wrap things up well, and it's better that it ends strong than going on longer than it needs to.  But with the brewing sub conflicts and the books (which need to be translated and bring them over here) it could definitely use a second season.  I am making a demand! People, buy the DVDs so we can have a second season! And thanks for the compliment, Tom.  I recommend that you also watch the original and/or read the manga if you are ever so inclined.  The original is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, (it has a few plot cheats) but it did a lot of great things and was able to stand on its own apart from the manga.  They avoided the traps of filler arcs and back-wrote so they could create their own story. 
Superevil225on Aug. 17, 2011 at 8:30 p.m.
You have a really nice voice on a side note.
I couldn't agree more. The chibi and the fear of cooties made it almost childish, but the content was mature. Probably because the 3 main characters (ed, al and winry) are all young. It would make sense, although after a while it gets a bit annoying.
 
Glad you liked to show. It's one of my favourites, and it was one of my first manga. Loved the Brotherhood anime. it would be interesting, now that you know the real ending, to hear your thoughts on the first FMA anime.
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