If you watched the original “Fullmetal Alchemist,” you may have been disappointed with the ending. The animation studio produced episodes too quickly for the source material to catch up and an ending was fabricated.
Fast-forward six years later and a redone version, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” is made. It is the definite version with the already beautiful animation completely redone in HD, a new orchestral soundtrack and a storyline that now closely matches the source material.
One of the central themes of this anime is that of Alchemy’s First Law of Equivalent Exchange, which is exactly what it sounds like.
It is with this knowledge that the main characters, the Elric brothers, try to bring their dead mother back to life.
Their attempt fails and the transmutation circle drags the younger brother Alphonse’s soul into a void.
Edward, the elder brother, quickly amputates his right arm and binds his brother’s soul to a suit of armor. Oh, and did I mention they’re only 10 and 11 years old?
Three years later, Edward is now the youngest State Alchemist in history which also makes him a ‘dog’ of the military. However, Edward also now has access to the military’s extensive library and finds a clue to restoring his brother back to his body. That clue is the mythical Philosopher’s Stone that allows the user to ignore the law of equivalent exchange.
In Edward’s down time between missions, he journey’s with his younger brother Alphonse, now in a hulking, empty suit of armor, to follow any leads on the Philosopher’s Stone. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one looking for it, and conflicts like terrorism, revenge, power, and corruption all seem to follow in the stone’s path.
Other themes also are explored such as dogma, love, family, childhoods, human experimentation, government and military controversies, mystery, forbidden knowledge and much more that makes this anime surpass the typical fare.
Every character also has a tragic backstory that makes each one feel indispensable.
“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” excels in so many categories including an excellent English dubbing that is typically sub par in most other animes.
There are five seasons, four of which can be viewed on Netflix. The ending will leave you satisfied and will hopefully stay with you as it has with me.
Do yourself a favor and give it a watch.