I’ve been putting of writing this article for a long time now, not because I didn’t want to do it or I couldn’t find what to write about, it’s actually because this Anime is so great and there’s so much to talk about that I don’t know where to start and I’ll probably end up writing the longest post ever on this Blog.
Besides probably Rurouni Kenshin and Evangelion this is one of my favorites all time Anime because of it richness and its complexity, it’s the kind that gets your attention because of the Story then because of the Characters which you really start to appreciate deeply. I’ve only watched both Anime versions but haven’t read the Manga (that’s OnsRohl territory jeje) but to be fair we should have a look at about Full Metal Alchemist as a whole.
There’s a Manga of about 27 Volumes was serialized by Monthly Shōnen Gangan which happens to be owned by SQUARE-ENIX and had a span from August 2001 to June 2010, a couple of years later in October 2003 Bones adapted the Manga into a 51 Episodes Anime which caused te storylines of both works to start alike but to deviate at some point, since the main story driver was the Manga and the story wasn’t ready yet. With the story line settled by Bones almost over it was concluded with a Movie named Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa in July 2005. When the Manga was close to end FUNimation started a second Anime version from April 2009 to July 2010 this second Anime was almost completely faithful to the Manga, finishing with a second Movie set in the same storyline of the second Anime and licensed by FUNimation in July 2011.
With curiosity satisfied and having all knowledge of the entire Fullmetal Alchemist material in Manga, Anime or OVA lets look at the Anime version, my impressions and their differences.
To make things short lets refer from here on to the First Anime as FMA and the second one as Brotherhood, let me start saying that I liked very much both versions, specially because none were lengthy which is an attribute I don’t like in Anime, when they’re over 52 Episodes it’s almost certain you’ll get a lot of filler episodes or the story will be stretched over what it feels natural to a good story, however I really loved how FMA started and I feel the characters were better introduced, losing Hughes as soon as the episode 11 in Brotherhood was really shocking specially if you have FMA in mind, perhaps to people who followed the Manga this would have not been an issue but that’s not my case, to that point in the Anime things felt familiar and a bit rushed and is where Brotherhood starts to deviate from the FMA story and apparently start to get closer to the Manga. The surprise was that it wasn’t exactly rushed when you finish the story and look back at it, the thing is it’s so much richer and has to cover so much more material that now makes sense, there’s a lot of incredible characters that you don’t get in FMA like Olivier, Ling and way more complex and cooler characters for Roy, Riza, Scar, Hohenheim and even Bradley.
To point out a few differences between the two Animes FMA starts with the Lior scenario and then backtracks to the Elric brothers childhood and takes it from there until the conclusion of its story while Brotherhood starts with a State Alchemist “Terrorist” act against the government they represent and then goes through the Lior incident and follow its story to its conclusion aswell. WE now have a better defined world with Brotherhood where you get even a map describing everything in detail for Amestris and how it’s distributed and controlled in 4 districts, also Resembool and Ishval locations and of course Xing the Chinese like county that only gets mentioned and referred.
Over all is a soul driven Anime with Characters that like I said earlier you really get to appreciate in a whole new level, FMA has a very open Finale that doesn’t even close exactly with the Shamballa Movie, on the other hand Brotherhood does a very nice job closing the story not necessarily as you wanted it but it’s certainly closed, there are a lot more of differences and stuff we can talk about the Characters but it’s so extense that it deserves a section for it so click on the next Pane.
The Characters are many and complex on their own, many of them didn’t even need the support of another character to develop and are fairly strong in their own, of course there’s some complementation starting for the obvious Ed and Al interaction but at some point they even get separated to develop their own stories, we have aswell Roy and Riza but lets look at them specifically:
- Edward Elric
- Alphonse Elric
- Roy Mustang
- Riza Hawkeye
- Olivier A.
- Ling Yao
- Tim Marcoh
I know we are talking about Fullmetal Alchemist, so we are supposed to talk a lot about the Elric brothers, however the focus of this article is to stand out differences between the two Animes so I won’t be talking much about what wasn’t basically the same.
Edward is about the same Character we knew in FMA, key differences are in FMA they wouldn’t get separated not only physically but emotionally aswell Ed even gives up his life for Al’s in the end, in Brotherhood they get very apart emotionally speaking by the end of the story until they are finally reunited, in FMA and Brotherhood Edward despises his Father for leaving though in Brotherhood by the time he learns the truth he gains some respect for the man. For me Edward was way better in Brotherhood, he takes the decision to forget everyone even his brother at some point to serve Greed and eventually accomplish his goal, he remains reckless and very visceral in the moment he has to make decisions.
Alphonse has changed very much, it’s a more independent and resolved character in Brotherhood he even gives his life up for Edward to end the main conflict, gladly he gets rescued and we get to see them reunited. He’s also smarter resolving on his own all his particular arch and even learning Xing’s Alchemy techniques which allows him to do remote Alchemy. in FMA we get to explore a bit the conflict of Al’s past but in Brotherhood it’s really well done to the point as a spectator even you get to doubt, as I said haven’t read the Manga and this was starting the parts that were already different from FMA.
Other than that this time around in Brotherhood Al’s final journey and his conclusion was very nice, not like in FMA where he even loses the memories, which allows his relationship with an Ed that’s actually part of the Universe by the time Al regains his body in Brotherhood that can’t happen in FMA. Somehow this Al looks more mature and even deals with his existential questions more maturely, aswell as the Chimera incident with Bradley is better driven.
Van Hohenheim keeps being key to the development of the series and the conclusion but the character is more complete now, in Brotherhood we are given a look back at how he is, why he left Trisha and the kids and how it’s all kinda his fault which is why he ultimately feel responsible and take the resolution on himself, probably my favorite Episode of the whole Brotherhood Anime is “Dwarf in a Bottle”, in the FMA Anime he was Al’s, Ed’s and Envy’s Father alongside a Character made only for FMA named Dante created all the plot twists so a Philosopher Stone was created and both would keep on living forever, while in Brotherhood he was a Slave without any name or Education that “donates” blood to the original Homunculi and give life to it, which is why eventually it takes a corporeal form that looks like him and is why they’re linked.
This makes the character this time around much more interesting to the point you even get to like him, he leaves his family to protect them and to ultimately save the world, which really made him noble is the fact he choses to live as a mortal and have a family even though he’ll loose them eventually him being inmortal and stuff, and that final scene in Trisha’s grave is probably one of the most touching and shocking moments ever in an Anime for me.
In an Anime Top 10 Toughest Characters Roy must be somewhere around, the great deal is that what makes him so badass is how resilient and determined he is, at first it’s the same Roy we met in FMA who is Hughe’s best friend and to whom he swore and oath of leading the country in the right direction after the Ishvalan war, but then we get this spectacular twist when he “kills” Maria and you can’t get to process what just happened just to find out he had it all planned and he actually saved her none of this events are depicted in FMA, but then to realize he was played all along and that he has to deal with his team getting disbanded just to overcome at the end with an even more clever startegy and team loyalty is just plain awesome, to top that he finally gets to avenge Hughes in Brotherhood was a climax, that last fight with Envy is just pristine if you thought the Roy Mustang you met at FMA was badass you haven’t start to know this guy.
The relationship with Riza is really a plus this time around aswell though wasn’t much different than the original depiction in FMA her becoming his eyes when he loses his sight was incredible and a perfect retributuon that feels natural and not forced retribution for doing the last sin to save her. He’s probably the best leader I’ve seen in an Animated series. That ultimate loyalty to his fallen comrade (Hughes) after the conclusion and that resolution to achieve what they promised each other to honor his dead is also great, I could even watch an Anime series based on just both of them and Riza of course. Ultimately the fact that he doesn’t get to be Fuhrer just yet and he still have to work his way to it is a better ending in Brotherhood that he becoming The Fuhrer in FMA after slaying Bradley.
This was probably the most surprising change when compared to FMA if you don’t count the new characters, Riza is as badass as she needs to be to match Roy’s own badassery (lol, as if my english wasn’t bad enough now I’m making words) she is also now several times more complex and have a twist that’s both important to the plot and the relationship with Roy, now she’s the Daughter of the former Flame Alchemist but was also the last documentation of that craft, being so powerful her father trusted only her to carry that legacy and her being unable to become an Alchemist it was tatooed in her back, on FMA he was just support to Roy, now she’s Roy’s everything, it’s thanks to her that he’s able to become the Flame Alchemist. It’s also her the one that brings him to balance and not let him fall to dark and primal emotions when he’s about to kill Envy just for revenge.
If all that wasn’t enough she started as a Sniper in the Ishvalan war, sure she doesn’t have powers and all that but she’s a killer aswell and wants to be redeemed somehow, that added more depth than you could expect to the character, now when you think she can’t possibly top herself then you realized she endured Roy burning out part of the tatoo on her back so that Roy would be the last Flame Alchemist.
How cool is this Character! all I have to say about Olivier is completely related to Brotherhood since she’s not part of the FMA Universe, if you thought Roy was determined he’s nothing compared to Olivier, she’s incredible the way she deals with General Raven is both completely unexpected and really clever, she doesn’t beleive or rely in nothing but her team, she doesn’t even trust her brother in fact it’s like she almost despise him, she considers him weak and not worth of the Armstrong name, but in the end he gains her respect.
Sadly she only uses a sword and no power or more depth than her sword, her attitude and her witt, which is there but you really noticed it when she plainly tells she killed Raven to take his place at whatever the government was doing it was brilliant and bold, the fact she can run against Roy to become Fuhrer just adds more awesomeness to her character.
Hail the Queen of the North Olivier Stark … I mean Olivier Armstrong!
Well Scar is mainly just Scar in both Animes, in FMA he sure does look younger than in Brotherhood but like all the other characters they have things in common and things that differentiates both Scars, the main similarity is that Kimblee was somehow involved on the death a lot of Ishvalans and hence his family, though it’s more evident in Brotherhood as you can even watch the event, so for that reason he swears to kill every State Alchemist until the death of his family is avenged.
About the differences FMA’s Scar dies making a Philosophers Stone and his arm, which in both versions it’s actually his brother’s arm, was meant to hold souls and to eventually create a Stone, in Brotherhood his arm is the destruction arm of his brother and he eventually gets his brothers notes to make a creation arm, with both he kinda controls every aspect of alchemist and it’s the product of his brother research on ancient alchemy maybe related to Xing, he doesn’t die in Brotherhood and end up working for Olivier under the orders of Miles, and the fact he’s the responsible for Winry’s parents now adds a noteworthy depth to the character which is the breaking point in his redemption when he realizes and accepts what he did and Winry is able to help him, a thing he wasn¿t able to do about his people and family.
This is one of the more unexpected characters, sure you might be wondering why I choose to speak about a character like ling and why didn’t do a Kimblee post, if I did an entry for each character this entry on the blog would probably never end jeje and to be honest I’m just talking on those I felt were awesome in Brotherhood and tat I also like.
Ling is remarkable for a couple of things at least for me, the first one is that he doesn’t strike you like a strong (in resolve or phisycall strength) character at first glance, but he gets to develop as strong as it needs to be to overcome Greed’s (a Homunculi) will, and he even matches a couple Homunculi’s strength like Envy and Gluttony, if it wasn’t for him, Edward would have never survived inside Gluttony or escaped Envy.
His loyalty to his country is kinda the annoying thing about the character but near the end he manages to even consolidate all the clans and in theory be a more balanced emperor of Xing, I know I’m not talking about her but Lan Fan kicks ass to, so I had to mention her somewhere in this entry, I mean he ripped her own arm to distract Bradley.
Oh boy, this is going to be lenghtly but we must treat the Homunculi, since almost all of them have differences from FMA and Brotherhood I’m going to just pinpoint the important things.
The first difference is just general, in FMA everytime someone commited the ultimate sin in Alchemy which is Human Transmutation a Homunculus is made, that’s why Trisha gets a Homunculi look a like, on Brotherhood they were all originated by the original Homunculi called Father using one of his emotions on each, for example Greed is the original Homunculi’s actual greed personified on Greed the Homunculi.
Lust, it’s a very nice character but in Brotherhood she dies way too early while in FMA she dies almost at the end, in Brotherhood Roy dispatches her by burning her until there’s no way she would keep regenerating herself in FMA she’s Scar’s brother love and Edward kills her.
Greed, is well pretty much Greed in both and his arch is not that different, in FMA however he’s killed by Edward, he’s pretty much a good guy in both stories, in Brotherhood he gets to die twice, the first form because Father kinda melts him into a stone the second time also at Father hands but this time after he gets absorbed out from Ling and fights Father.
Gluttony is a weird character and probably the one I like the less, in FMA he actually doesn’t die, he dies along with Wrath in Conqueror of Shamballa Movie when he creates a portal that absorbs everything, and is in both stories kinda stupid and not reliable on his own. Brotherhood has a more interesting form him to play since we get to see how he is a portal, he gets to die by Envy when he eats him to get his powers.
Envy is my favorite Homunculus, in FMA he is Ed’s and Al’s brother, and is the product of Hohenheim try at reviving his eldest son, which adds a very nice twist, he also doesn’t get to die in FMA, he rather turns into a Dragon and then gets killed by becoming a portal Hohenheim made with his energy to return Ed to his world, in Brotherhood he’s incredible though, he’s I think the last Homunculus to die not counting Father, and he dies because he commits suicide at the thought Roy and Riza defeated him so easily and considered him an inferior Homunculus, that confrontation between Roy and Envy is the best part of the Anime for me. oh Also in Brotherhood he’s the key that starts Ishval’s war, he’s the soldier that shoots the kid.
Sloth is the only one that is actually way more interesting in FMA than Brotherhood, in FMA she’s the product of the Elric Brothers human transmutation when they tried to get her mother back, she took the identity of the soldier that supposedly started the Ishvalan war by shooting a child, she can transform herself into water and other than that the most particular aspect is that she’s not lazy at all, Edward kills her after she instinctively couldn’t kill him. The Brotherhood Sloth is a Hulk that is lazy and just want’s to sleep so he does his work quick to get rest quicker, he’s pretty strong though and has a lightning fast move that almost defeated the Armstrong brothers, he eventually dies of exhaustion, he dissintegrates after receiving non stopping attacks from Sig and Alex (Sig is Izumi’s husband).
Wrath, here’s the second big change between FMA and Brotherhood in Homunculi, in FMA storyline, he’s the product of Izumi’s attempt at Human Transmutation, somehow he gets Ed’s arm and leg and that’s why he’s able to use Alchemy, he dies sacrificing himself when Gluttony made a portal that abosrbed both in Conqueror of Shamballa. in Brotherhood this Homunculus is actually Fuhrer Bradley! in this version unlike all the other Homunculus he was originally a human that was raised to become Fuhrer and merged with a stone made by Father, he’s the only one tat survived the process, because of this he’s also the only one that gets old and is actually mortal in that sense. He’s incredible and really really powerful this time, he can see everything and plan ahead with his superior witt. He is dispatched by Scar and one of the best moments in the Anime.
Pride is the big change and the most powerful in both animations, in FMA he’s King Bradley, he also like the Bradley character in Brotherhood has the ability to age and the all seeing eye, he’s killed by Roy Mustang in his Mannor topping the best moments of FMA at least for me, Roy was brilliant then. in Brotherhood he’s the oldest Homunculus of about 300 years old, he’s powered by light so he can lurk in the shadows, if there’s no shadows he can’t move, this guy is like an army by himself but eventually Ed finds his weakness and kills him near the end of Brotherhood.
Father, well finally the original Homunculus and not much is told about his origin, except for the fact that he is alive because of the Van Hohenheim blood contribution to his Master experiments, he starts as the Dwarf in the Flask in Xerxes, but after tricking everyone but Van Hohenheim he gets freed and his appearance, his ultimate goal is to become a perfect being which is why he started to make the Homuculi, to get rid of the useless emotions, he’s not part of the FMA storyline.
I had to eventually end talking about characters so I made a decision to talk only about 10 of them (Yeah I know I cheated making a Tab for all the Homunculi), choosing this last one was a tough decision but well I think Marcoh deserved the post, first because in FMA he is killed and his important role doesn’t get to be really explored and because in Brotherhood he does not only live, but he redeems himself and shows how powerful he actally is.
In FMA it’s clear his research is the key to the Philosopher’s Stone and that remains key in Brotherhood the main difference is that he gets killed by Scar in FMA and he gets to help Scar understand Scar’s Brother research to understand what was going on and to ultimately make the “Creation” arm. The cool thing is we get to see him fight! the way they defeat Envy is just sick, you got to respect the guy from then on until the conclusion of the Anime where he gets kinda important as the authority and probably the only one that could heal Roy’s vision and Havoc’s legs.
What impressed me the most and was the fact tha made me decide to put him on this list is how he embraces all the wrong he has done and just like that he lets Scar deform his face more as the punishment he deserves than the actual purpose that was to disguise him until they got to the north.
Ok so after a really long post lets settle this with a little Opening and Closing that were awesome from this Anime:
Melissa by Porno Graffiti
Ready Steady Go! by the Legendaries L’Arc en Ciel
Rewrite by Asian Kung Fu Generation
Again by Yui
This is probably the best media that came from the first Anime, I belive in that aspect it’s way better tan Brotherhood, I mean I only remember the first Brotherhood Opening jeje.
Fullmetal Alchemist OST Brothers
Well I hope all of this was to your liking feel free to drop a line or two with your thoughts =)