Before I start this review, I’d like to say Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of the best anime I’ve watched in a long time and has won a well-deserved spot in my top 3 anime series. It’s so great in fact that I was rather heartbroken after finishing the entire anime and left wondering what to do with myself. Now that I can’t unwind to some alchemy and homunculi getting their butts whipped. But sure, it’s not all bad. This gives me the perfect opportunity to find another great anime to get my teeth sunk into. So, without moping over anime heartbreak any further, I bring to you the last in this series of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood reviews.
Providing a spoiler free description of part 5, is kind of hard to do. So, all I will say is a lot of arse kicking and deaths occurred in part 5 and a few awesome Armstrong moments. As for the ending, you’ll be happy to hear it was very satisfying, unlike a lot of anime that are ruined by very poor no-questions-answered and everything-in-the-air endings. Though, the ending is a little sad (Glob Envy nearly broke me) it still leaves you with a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside.
The best thing about part 5 and the whole anime in fact, is how the plot unravels, twists and turns right in front of the viewer’s eyes. It’s extremely hard to be bored while watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It completely captures your attention, while having you on the edge of your seat, screaming for more and dying to find out how everything will end. For me at least the plot wasn’t that predictable. Although I could predict somethings (final correct prediction count-24 out of 46 predictions), there was a lot that took me totally by surprise and when making prediction it was very hard to pinpoint exactly what was going to happen. Making this anime a truly exciting watch.
Second to the plot, the characters are Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood next greatest aspect. Despite it incredibly large cast, most characters are very well put together. Some have very unique personalities and/or design, that makes them stand out from the others. Some also have little quirks that make them very entertaining and others are just so relatable, that you couldn’t help but get emotionally invested in their story. At times, your heart will break for certain characters, at other times you’ll find yourself cheering them on and on the other side of this, you’ll also find yourself wishing for a horrific death to be brought upon particular characters (*cough *cough Kimblee).
Glob, I hope this isn’t too dark to have in this review.
Even the villains, you can kind of feel sorry for and relate to, at points in the show. Though, they are still monsters, they have very understandable motives for their actions. Some just wanted to please their father and are like lost little children and others just wanted to fill a void in their heart and feel whole. Things most people can at least sympathise with. The point I’m trying to make here is, that on top of its great storyline Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood characters make the anime a real emotional roller-coaster to watch.
In addition to an exciting plot and excellent characters Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has a lot of little tiny things that bring the anime to whole other level of enjoyment. These include its very cute chemistry references, clueless and hothead Ed moments, a great soundtrack, dramatic Armstrong moments and fun little animations that provides comic relief. The voice acting is also something that rises this anime to other level. However as good voice acting is something that is expected from an anime as popular as this one, I won’t lengthen this post any further by going into great detail. All I will say is, that it really sucks you in and can cause you to be captured in the moment, quite often in the anime.
Like all well balanced reviews, we’ve come to the negatives of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. To be honest, I really had to put on the surgical gloves, get out the nit-comb and start some thorough nit-picking, to come up with some negatives for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. One these being, that in the English dub version Al is very obviously voiced by a woman. Considering he spends most his time as a suit of armour in the anime, this could become annoying or confusing for some viewers. Personally, I had no problem with this and thought his voice was very sweet and made him very loveable. However, some viewers might not feel the same, it really depends on personal taste.
While we’re in the business of nit-picking, I suppose you could class Colonel Roy Mustang as a negative. He’s a bit of an annoying, arrogant character. Although you can admire his daringness and awesome fire alchemy, for the most part his character is a bit too full of himself and a tad self-centred. He didn’t seem to give much thought to what would happen to his men, if he got caught snooping and seemed shocked when they were punished for his actions. In true blunt Irish fashion, one could say his head was a little too far up his own backside, making him a rather dislikeable fellow.
But wait we’re not finished yet, there is still more nits we can pick in this anime. A little juicy one being, we don’t see enough of that cute little panda Shao May. Shao May just suddenly fades into the background and we don’t see anymore of their adorable panda Kung Fu (hmm… wonder if Shao May is related to Po the Dragon Warrior) or hilarious, yet mildly evil panda logic. Considering how intense this anime gets at times, some Shao May cuteness could have been put to good use and eased the heaviness.
Speaking of heaviness, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood can be really sad, at times and hit you right in the heart. Especially, part 1 of this anime and when it comes to characters background stories or their deaths. It can be incredibly heart wrenching to watch and may be enough to make the more sensitive of us cry. However, this anime uses comedy very well to keep the show becoming extremely depressing and never really leaves you feeling gloomy for long.
A few other things you could argue as negatives, is the length of the anime and gross giant Envy’s animation. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is 64 episodes long, so is a huge commitment to watch from start to finish. I finished this anime wanting more, so in my opinion its worth it. As for Envy’s animation, it is kind of poor when he mutates into giant gross monster Envy and his movements look very unnatural. However, considering how long ago this show was made (2009-2010) you can somewhat forgive this. Also, you never really find out what that thing made from performing Human Transmutation actually is (or maybe we do and I’ve forgotten, because the show is that long. Let me know in the comments, if you know what that creature was. Not knowing is kind of bugging me).
Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an absolutely unbelievably great anime. It has all the features that make an anime incredible and then some. It’s the kind of show that will remind you why you love anime in the first place and why you got into it. Great storytelling mixed with amazing characters, really cool action scenes, shock and tragedy, topped with a sprinkle of comedy to prevent things getting too much, makes for one hell of a show. Unless you really nit-pick (like I did. Apologies for that, I really went to town on this anime), there isn’t much you can fault the anime for. So, for those reasons if you haven’t seen Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood yet, I would highly recommend placing it on top of your to watch list. Although, it is on the long side it’s completely worth it and you’ll most likely love every minute of it.
Rating: 5+/5 (It’s just that good)
Yeah, I wasn’t going to end this review series without Chibi Armstrong.