Now that the Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood TV series has been fully released and the Milos movie, we have one last release in the form of OVAs. Normally in my experiences with these, they can provide some back-story or be very entertaining (however some can be awfully forgettable.) Thankfully these OVAs are, for the most part, worth your time.
Since there are four OVAs and each one is quite different from the others, I decided to review them separately, so here are my thoughts.
Episode 1: “The Blind Alchemist”
In this episode, Edward and Alphonse receive word that an Alchemist named Jude has also performed human transmutation in the past; both of them decide to give him a visit and when they meet him, they find out that he’s blind. We find out why he performed the forbidden ritual and also see if Edward can try and find a new clue to getting Alphonse’s body back.
While I was interested in finding out why Jude had become blind, this was very reminiscent of some of the first episodes of the TV series, as it is very light-hearted at the start and then becomes serious. It’s something I’ve become accustomed to and it didn’t really have the same impact; still it was interesting enough to sit through.
Episode 2: “Simple People”
This episode focuses on the young Winry before she goes travelling. Edward keeps getting his auto-mail broken and heading back to Winry’s house to get it fixed. She is bribed by both Edward and Alphonse, who offer her earrings, which remind her of the first conversations she had with Hawkeye.
While this gives a bit of backstory to some of the characters, this is the weakest OVA of the bunch; its light-heartedness is well done, but the short action scene isn’t enough to be fully entertaining, so it’s certainly not bad but a little disappointing.
Episode 3: “The Tale of Teacher”
This is the story about how Izumi Curtis survived a whole month at Briggs Mountains, which some might recognise from the TV series. It’s a tale of surviving, hunting, and beating up bears – what else could you ask for?
Seriously though, this is a great and often humorous OVA. It’s fun to see Izumi develop her survival skills and the end we get a funny short on how she meets her husband; great stuff!
Episode 4: “Yet another Man’s Battlefield” –
Lastly is a look back at both Roy Mustang’s and Maes Hughes’s past and how they both met at the military camp when they were eighteen years old. They start out as rivals but it’s when they help a bullied Ishvalan recruit named Heathcliff that they become friends. However something comes back to haunt them during the Ishval Civil War.
This is perhaps the best OVA of the bunch; it expands on the friendship between Mustang and Hughes and shows how they became so close, while also adding more on what they went through during the Ishval Civil War.It’s very well done.
Each OVA lasts around fifteen minutes, so although short, they’re worth your time. That’s not all you get though, you also get sixteen episodes of Full Metal Alchemist: 4-koma comic theatre. These short 2 minute episodes are not animated and focus on the main scenes of the FMA Brotherhood series, giving each a funny punch-line; for the most part, they’re really amusing and it helps that it’s all fully dubbed and the team put a lot of effort into it, so it’s worth checking them out.
The animation looks great when it comes to those few action scenes. Both the Blu-ray and DVD have the same features and extras (however they don’t have the same title screen) and the voice actors in both Japanese and English dubs again put in a great effort.
Even though it’s an OVA collection, Fullmetal Alchemist fans should enjoy the last bunch of content that the anime franchise has to offer.