Netflixing: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

in tv •  last year 

In an austere and unforgiving world such as ours, rarely does anyone get the chance for a do-over.

Even when such a do-over would be the best possible outcome, people are hesitant to make such a move. Consider Star Wars, for example.

The moment Disney obtained the rights to the franchise, their first move should have been to remake the prequels. Because it doesn't make sense to put a new floor on the house if the foundation is cracked.

Yet that apparently did not occur to them, and they went a different way. A lot of people don't like the end result, and others have mixed feelings about it, yet the real problem, I would argue, was not anything in the movies themselves, but the fact that the franchise was already broken when they got it. Yet they refused to repair those problems before forging onward.

Japan Shows Us the Way

Yet, rare as they are, occasionally a do-over will actually grace the world. Japan is a lot better at this than most western countries. They learned that the Dragonball Z filler episodes were a mistake, so they created Dragonball Z Kai, which removes them. They sometimes re-engineer shows to make them more cohesive, removing episodes from canon or retconning faulty storylines.

They are even known to go back and re-animate episodes of anime, to make them look more polished for the DVD release.

And while this approach has its drawbacks (look no further than the Star Wars Special Editions to see movie revisions gone wrong) it can, in the right hands, be used to repair and even enhance the viewer experience.

Take, as an example, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

A Triumphant Comeback

The original Fullmetal Alchemist anime was...a beautiful wreck.

What started with such well paced character development ended with a phoned-in explanation that didn't make a lot of sense and was not emotionally satisfying.

Yet that was the series I watched first. I had been told, by unreliable sources, that the first series was actually the better of the two. I must conclude, therefore, that these unreliable sources had not watched FMA:B beyond the first part.

The show is divided into five parts, and the first is definitely the worst. Part 1 of FMA:B is dedicated to recapping all of the opening storylines found in the earlier series. These recaps take the form of brief, bare-bones depictions of the events, and do not serve the story well.

In the future, it may be possible to improve Fullmetal Alchemist anime further by combining the earlier episodes of FMA with everything in FMA:B from part 2 onward. As it stands now, FMA:B oddly requires the viewer to already be familiar with FMA in order to get the full experience.

However, there can be no question that FMA:B is the better series overall. A bad beginning can be overlooked, but a bad ending can not be forgiven.

The Story

Once upon a time, two boys find themselves living out a tragedy as their mother succumbs to an unknown disease.

Using the science of alchemy, which they learn partly from their estranged father's books and partly from a stern teacher, they endeavor to bring their mother back to live by transmuting her back together from basic materials.

The process, as you already know from the earlier series, goes horribly wrong, with the older brother losing his right arm and left leg. The younger brother, likewise, loses his entire body and becomes little more than a wayward soul which gets attached to a conveniently adjacent suit of armor, allowing him to live as a kind of animated shell.

The boys, in an attempt to recover their lost body parts, decide to undergo an intense study of alchemy in the only way that is available---by joining the military.

After a number of adventures, it becomes apparent that someone is trying to stop them from attaining their goal. These are the homunculi, a mysterious race of almost-humans who serve a dark purpose.

Up until now, this is the same story in both versions of the anime. Where it differs is in who the homunculi are working for.

The Villains

In the original anime, they're working for some old crone who selfishly wants immortality.

Dante is such a lackluster villain, with such poor motivations, that it's easy to write her off entirely. And I do.

I am reminded of a quote by an obscure filmmaker of decades past:

The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture. ALFRED HITCHCOCK
A story shines with the strength of its villains, and the original FMA anime simply didn't have a good one. Her plan was half baked. Her relationship with the protagonists (and with Hohenheim) was weak. And her sway over the homunculi was utterly inexplicable.

Brotherhood, on the other hand, gives us a far more menacing adversary, in the form of "Father".

This baddie has already reached immortality, and is now in search of something greater. He is the embodiment of scientific inquiry into the nature of the divine, and the reasoning for his control of the homunculi is both clear and reasonable.

And the final confrontation with him is an intense battle that brings together all the various heroes to contribute in a single glorious battle for the fate of the world.

Whereas Dante met her end in an elevator...with none of the heroes present.

The Other Characters

As stated above, one of the things the original FMA does better than FMA:B is the early character development.

But that's not to say that FMA:B doesn't develop some of the characters better.

While Mustang, Hughes, and other military members get more attention in the original (to the detriment of the Elric brothers, even), Brotherhood gives some much needed fleshing out to Scar, Hohenheim, and others who were neglected by the earlier attempt.

All of the Homunculi, except for Lust, are better handled here than they were in FMA. Hawkeye is given her own backstory. And we get an entirely new delegation of characters from the country of Xing, who have come to Amestris hoping to find an alchemical method of saving their emperor's life.

And, though I already mentioned Scar, I need to point out just how much better he is in FMA:B. In the original series, he felt like he had accidentally wandered in to the story from a different show. Here he is integrated far better, and has more to offer.

The Humor

One of my biggest shocks, when transitioning from the old to the new series, was how much more "cartoony" Brotherhood is than the original series.

In a lot of anime, it's not unusual for characters to symbolically change form based upon their current emotional state, becoming "chibi" versions, or having their eyes light up with fire, or having their teeth get sharper.

These are not meant to be interpreted as literal changes to the characters physical forms, but as changes to the way they are perceived by other characters.

Yet the original FMA did not have a lot of this. It seemed to go out of its way to avoid it, whereas FMA:B used it as often as any typical anime. The difference was striking. And I feel like the latter series benefits from a better sense of humor and from not taking itself so seriously.

My Judgment

Fullmetal Alchemist:Brotherhood is a better anime and a better show than the original Fullmetal Alchemist.

Though its a shame that you have to watch the earlier series in order to truly "get" the later one.

Even with its many improvements, it's still not my favorite anime, but it's a solid piece of work that deserves appreciation. And the fact that Netflix gives us both versions is testament to the platform's commitment to bringing Japanimation to a broad audience.

Give it a watch. It's an enjoyable ride.

Previous entries in the Netflixing series:

Past Years

TV Shows

  • The Joel McHale Show, with Joel McHale
  • John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid
  • The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 4
  • Trollhunters, Season 3
  • Aggretsuko
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4
  • Trollhunters
  • Round Planet
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 3
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 2
  • Kakegurui
  • Planet Earth II
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 2
  • Revolting Rhymes
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 1
  • The Polka King
  • Little Witch Academia
  • Movies

  • Coco
  • The Iron Giant
  • Jaws
  • Phantom Boy
  • The Boss Baby
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
  • Strictly Ballroom
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    It's a Cartoon typed series! I will try to watch it, but personally I hate that kind of anime series! Anyway I just finished watching TrollHunters S3 and Coco! Both are good, specially COCO! I could get a chance to watch these Movies and TV series due to following your Judgement of those reviews!
    Great work bro, please keep it up! It's really useful to me to get an idea about what to watch in my limited leisure time!


    Really good review man i mean very solid ideas, i would like to read a post about the dragon ball saga because i love that saga and you are a analytical writer. Regards

    The wonderful cartoon series and great writing experience. it is good work
    Thanks @talanhorne
    Have a great day

    Great review about Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Amazing Netflix TV series. Really you doing very good job.Thanks for sharing with us

    @talanhorne sir
    When people started clapping their hands together and went about making giant structures from pebbles, I stopped trying to fully understand it and just enjoyed the pretty lights...

    Brotherhood cleared things up a bit, but ultimately it still makes no sense to me. In Amestris, alchemy is basically the manipulation of energy from tectonic plates I think, or rather it was supposed to be if Father hadnt been the creeper in the basement. In other places like Xing though its the manipulation of nature energy or something which is why they viewed it as magic.

    If it goes that route, then it might make more sense why certain alchemists are better than others since they might have a higher ability to manipulate the energy and such.

    @talanhorne sir....
    I can't even watch the original FMA anime now that I'm currently watching Brotherhood! This is a NO FILLER anime it gets straight to the point with it's beautiful animation and amazing portrayal of the manga, everything is so different! Emotions are strong and there's more of a connection between characters then in the original anime, you immediately get dragged into this show within the first 5 minuets, this is honestly one of the most spectacular anime's i've ever laid my eyes on, it's definitely one of the best new shows of the last couple years. Its a definite watch, don't miss out!
    thank u sir...

    @talanhorne sir...
    FMA Brotherhood is an anime that needs no introduction. This is the highest rated anime on all of MAL. This is the anime that the current generation of anime fans holds above all others as the greatest single anime EVER made! In the following paragraphs, I will be reviewing this legendary series and discussing whether or not it truly deserves this title.
    wel done and perfect work sir....

      ·  last year (edited)

    At the end not only Japanese learn from their mistakes.
    While reading this story about those two boys trying to bring back their mother, at some point it reminded me something . And then you mentioned “Alfred Hitchcock” and his stile. Usually if the original is outstanding it’s very hard to keep up with the following series. However, there are many exceptions, especially when the original is not that exciting just like in this case.
    Interesting review as always! And good luck with your publication! It’s amazingly hard to believe how long is it taken my. Well, it is what it is. There is another writer I follow talking about his publication taking too long as well.

    @talanhorne, You given excellent review of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood movie under Netflix series. It's great anime movie and time to watch. Definitely need to find these movie.

    A fine review, my friend and Fullmetal Alchemist:Brotherhood certainly deserve our attention to the viewing, although I'm not a big fan of the Japanese anime, but overall a pretty decent job. Thank you @talanhorne

    I love to watch best anime selections of movies. This one is best for me. I totally read your judgement as well. There are included awesome characters. Excellent writing @talanhorne.

    Hello @talanhorne,

    Extraordinary good & professional writing about the Netflix Animation series. Incredible judgment (conclusion) provided at the end. Thank you.


    Great and amazing post @talanhorne. Nice content and Awesome article. Amazing Netflix TV series. Great review about Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    Have a wonderful day! ☺

    Congratulations @talanhorne
    Now you are in the MinnowsPower Loyalty Member List...!!!

    Exceptional review of Netflix Anime Show 'Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood'....!!!!

    100% Upvoted by @MinnowsPower

    Brotherhood is a nice story tale entire best anime movie. I'm enjoying to read your description. I recommend brotherhood wanna good one for every anime seekers.

    another impressive work, well reviewed & concluded. excellent write up & your skills perfectly revealed here. hope to watch this animation series. thank you & good luck for your publications. @talanhorne

    reteemed & upvoted

    The good tv review. such a really like this. good work @talanhorne

    Another great review.... I am really very like this Netflix review....I think Fullmetal Alchemist is a nice Netflix tv shows .... I will try to watch it . Thanks for sharing this excellent review.

    Excellent writing & outstanding brilliant review. Good post with valuable judgement.

    Was looking to check out something new and here comes you post at the right time thanks for sharing your review on this one :)

    @talanhorne - Sir I think this show is need to come in 3D look & some funny characters of cartoon should neglect Sir... Nice review Sir... I hope my kid would like it...


    Well explained about Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I haven't doubt it's un-success one. Not a perfect one. But 85% better story to myself. Appreciate your high value introduction.

    Another very good & talented review which can prefer by Netflix. Nice to read this professional work. Thank you.

    This is really this tv story. best writing &good post .@talanhorne

    If I'm honest, I don't tend to enjoy really hyped up anime as much as everyone thinks I should. This however, is one of the two exceptions (the other one being Steins;Gate). Its just a great show with great story, great setting and characters. I couldn't recommend this anime to anyone enough (I've gotten 3 people to watch this show and they all love it) and is easily my favourite anime. Its a show I will never get bored of, no matter how many times I watch it. P.S Period (OP4) is my favourite anime opening ever and I don't think thats gonna change anytime soon, even though Again was the OP that got me to watch the show in the first place.

    A bad beginning can be overlooked, but a bad ending can not be forgiven.

    That’s very well said! I would prefer great ending and bad beginning just because great beginning would raise the expectation Ben higher for the end.

    goes horribly wrong, with the older brother losing his right arm and left leg. The younger brother, likewise, loses his entire body

    Wow 😱, that definately went wrong.
    Great review with positive judgement!

    It is interesting tv series and for your good efforts. .you are very good at writing articles.
    100% like and resteem

    I was able to enjoy this anime last year and I really liked it a lot. Despite having so many years is still a classic along with many other series, in addition to the plot and the theme different from the usual.

    "Exchange Equivalence" is the popular phrase itself, and how Edward and Alphonse begin their journey to obtain the philosopher's stone. To get things, you must sacrifice something with the same value. I saw the Brotherhood only, skipping the first one because they told me it was much better and more faithful to the manga.

    Hello @talanhorne, this kind of films leave teaching, for example, the Elrich brothers, they knew that they were not right, and yet they assumed it very well.

    wow .. you got inspired writing this post. If you doubt there is nothing better than watching a good anime and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is very fun to watch.

    Beautifull post dear I like this type of stories .
    Thanks for this beautifull post

    wow amazing post really nice post..

    Thanks for the very large review, thanks to him you can decide for yourself whether to watch a movie and waste your time. Thanks again .

    Your letter so interesting and well said there. Netflix currently being like as king of best movie series. I don't watched before Galavant. But I looked Games of thrones. I think Galavant was like as Games of thrones movie. Yeah. Galavant can find their rank.

    I feel fmab was a good anime cause it was a anime that really got you pumped up and there could have like ten more seasons and no one would care and it's not like Naruto where I was just waiting for it to be over no offense to people who like naruto

    Watching the hero and the villain develop along parallel lines that eventually converged added a layer of depth to the entertaining story. It was one of many unexpected aspects. Neither Galavant or King Richard were solidly good or evil. Galavant was mostly decent but also self-centered and occasionally obnoxious. King Richard ordered executions but was insecure and wanted to be liked. You ended up rooting for Richard just as much as Galavant and felt sympathy for him. That's not usual for the bad guy in standard fairy tales.
    Wel done and perfect work by @talanhorne sir..

    i like anime very much and i am the big fan of anime.
    thanks for sharing

    Thanks for the review, I always listen to your recommendation, it most clearly gives an idea of the film.

    Well analyzed and a thoughtful insight about the anime, the anime is a bit interesting and thrilling to watch and it keeps someone gluecto his screen to be entertain also

    My favorite anime ever, as much as an otaku I am, i have explored through plenty of animes. Nothing tops this in my opinion! Definitely reccommend this!!

    I have watched so many anime and other animated movies.
    The Best One so far is #ONEPIECE and #DRAGONBALLSUPER.
    The Review on Full-Metal Alchimest is very good all the complicated things are said in such a short and understandable manner.
    I hope you watch other anime too and give your review.

    Just got a glimpse of this anime and totally haven't watch it yet but hearing and watching all of these op's, it felt nostalgic and heart-warming.

    Also. I absolutely love the fact that all the characters (Especially Ed and Winry) seem to age during the events of Brotherhood. It really gives life to the anime and just makes it so much better. (Turns out not drinking the milk paid off for Ed)

    My favorite thing about the Elrich brothers is that even though they messed up and lost part of themselves, they still picked themselves up and keep pushing on. That is true determination.

    You are very correct in saying that and you have great depth of knowledge and understanding in this field. I am gonna watch it as well.

    Steem on...

    Once again amazing reviews from you sir,feeling blessed with your blog posts i love your work a lot @talanhorne

    my friend is really amazing, thank you for sharing your post to us all hope you are healthy always and always in the protection of god almighty amin.teman kalo no time please visit my blog.

    i am going to watch this so amazing

    netflixing-fullmetal-alchemist-brotherhood Surely is an interesting thing,
    i will watch it on day,
    Thanks for sharing.

      ·  last year (edited)

    It's great comment man. But you forget to click upvote to @talanhorne's post. Why you should bad habit again. I guess you don't like to solve your worst habit. Someone after inform will be good. But you saved your SP??????

    The best review sir,love your posts a lot,thanks a lot for sharing.

    Wonderful blog post great review @talanhorne,you are my favorite.

    very intiristing

    Awesome blog post sir love these cartoons thanks a lot for sharing,have a great day.

    Awesome review @talanhorne this is what makes your blog so special.

    @talanhorne sir Galavant is a huge hit so it will face some issues.Huge hit means a lot of money and where money is involved there you can't do much.Look at all the hit's like game of thrones,crown,stranger things this all are big hit.

    Wonderful review @talanhorne i love these cartoons you have shared and your journey is really amazing.

    I stopped after watching 1st few episodes of the season 1

    while will get to see it again I suppose !

    This couldn't have been an easy series to distill into one movie, but even so, the thinness of the plot doesn't do justice to the characters or the jaw-dropping visuals and design.

    Such a quality blogpost from you is good to have amazing people around us,upvoted and resteemed.

    I've been a fan of trollhunters since season 1, just started watching 3rd season and i am enjoying it at most.
    ##For the glory of merly, daylight is mine to command.

    This is processional and interesting review with hopefully Tv cartoon series . thanks for sharing.

    I have seen few of the anime but not this one. I will keep it in my watch list.