“Well Fullmetal, looks like we’ve landed ourselves in a pit of hell.” Roy Mustang
I knew nothing about Fullmetal Alchemist before watching this boxset except that it is widely revered among fans; in fact that’s primarily what drew me into writing this review. Even the cover showing Roy Mustang surrounded in flames is so eye-catching that I felt it was worth looking into. So the first thirteen episodes left me with such an amazing impression; I laughed, I was shocked, and became emotionally down that I could not wait to continue through this second boxset.
While Edward and his teacher Izumi confront the Homunculus Greed in Devil’s Nest, Greed’s Chimaera group escape through the sewers with Alphonse as hostage. However when the state military arrive, Führer Bradley suddenly appears; it seems that he has a dark and secret agenda of his own. For the first time we get to see most of the Homunculi together (Lust, Greed, Gluttony and Wrath) as well as getting a brief glimpse of their enigmatic leader, known only as Father.
Then we get to meet new characters from the country “Xing” who didn’t feature in the original series; May Chang, the young practitioner of alkahestry, and the twelfth prince of Xing, Ling Yao, will both have significant roles to play. It’s rare that an anime can throw together such a large number of characters that I care so much about.
I was not expecting to find comedy in such a stylish, action-based, gory and violent anime; there was a chance that this could ruin it, but instead it’s well-timed and gives the characters so much charm. It’s almost unbelievable how FMA:Brotherhood can be serious at one moment and humorous the next.
Plus the show is so well-paced that it’s never boring. I sat through all thirteen episodes in one day because I was glued to my seat in amazement as to what mythical creatures would be summoned next, how a certain event was planned, or what would be revealed from the past. Fullmetal Alchemist does everything right and I can’t think of any gripes, expect for maybe the lack of a big cliffhanger to make me look forward to the next boxset.
Voice acting is well done by both English and Japanese voice actors who make the viewer so emotionally attached to these characters. It’s also great that we get an episode 14 commentary on disc 1 where Line Producer Mike McFarland and voice actors for Greed (Chris Patton) and Edward (Vic Mignogna) discuss Greed’s character and compare their experiences between the original series and this version. On disc 2 we also get an episode 23 commentary that includes the voice actors for May Chang (Monica Rial), Ling Yao (Todd Haberkorn) and Lan Fan (Trina Nishimura) where they discuss their characters and how they approached them.
New opening Hologram (performed by Nico Touches the Wall) is a J-rock song and the closing Let It Out (preformed by Miho Fukuhara) is a relaxing J-pop number with simple but effective animation to go with it. You can also see both of them textless in the disc 2 extras menu.
Fullmetal Alchemist fans – buy this boxset. Everyone else – research the series, buy this boxset. Trust me, it doesn’t disappoint!