Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

I'm just astounded. After seeing the original anime series last year, I never expected it to ever be better surpassed by the upcoming remake titled Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. After seeing it... my expectations were blown out of the water. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood not only surpasses its predecessor, it's also the best series so far this year.
The series follows the journey of both Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers who lose their original bodies after trying resurrect their dead mother via alchemy. Both brothers decide to go in search of a mythical item known as the Philosopher's Stone, a venture that results in the uncovering of many controversial military crimes, the deaths of quite a few people, and the discovery of a plan that threatens everyone in their country.

From the plot description I have just given, many will realize that Brotherhood's plot summary isn't that different from the plot to the first anime series. Upon watching the first 13 episodes, you may even come to the incorrect conclusion that the stories are identical. That isn't the case however, as the plot severely diverges from the first anime series's plot at the 13 episode mark, plus a few details in the episodes before that indicate that the plot is not the same.
This leads me to the weakest aspect of Brotherhood, the first 13 episodes of the show. What makes this part of the show weak is mostly due to the series being tailored for those who have already watched the first anime series, meaning that they rush through the first 13 episodes. While the episodes aren't horrible, as they do at least get rid of all the filler episodes, the fast pace can sometimes undermine emotional moments and really end up screwing up quite a few scenes, resulting in a very sloppy beginning, a huge contrast to the beginning of the first anime series, which was slow, but executed most of the emotional scenes well. A great example would be the scene where an alchemist named Shou Tucker turns his daughter Nina into a chimera. The original anime series made this development occur slowly three episodes after they meet Shou Tucker, the perfect pacing resulting in quite a few haunting scenes. Brotherhood actually makes the mistake of rushing through this scene after we meet Shou Tucker that same scene, as the whole development occurs in one episode, resulting in it to be more laughable than creepy, completely undermining the experience.

Thankfully, it is after the thirteenth episode that the show completely surpasses the original in every way imaginable for the following reasons.

The first reason would be the story, as it is more tightly written than the first anime series. The first anime series had the feeling as if the brothers were just wandering around with no clear goal, making it very easy for pointless filler episodes to appear randomly. This one, the series has no filler what-so-ever, the brother's immediately moving to other places with a clear goal, resulting in a story that isn't dragged out by filler episodes. What I also find interesting about Brotherhood is that while it doesn't have any filler, it is actually 13 episodes longer than the first anime, giving me the clear indication that while it doesn't have any filler, it still has more content than its fluff filled predecessor. Another aspect of the story that makes it superior to the original would be the scale of the plot, as the story takes place in much more locations and has more characters than the first series, resulting in the experience to be quite epic in the later episodes.

The second reason that makes this remake superior to the first, would be the art and animation. While the art is certainly simpler, the animation is outstanding! The original series certainly had its share of awesome action scenes, but the remake presents action scenes that can only be described as insane! Plus, the remake is much more colorful than its predecessor, making for better looking blood, wounds, gun effects and character models.

Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is the best shounen I have ever seen. The fast paced story, absence of filler episodes and interesting cast allows Brotherhood to surpass the original show and even every single shounen show I have seen so far. Definitely give this a show, but only after you have seen the first series, as the experience is meant for those who have watched the first anime series.

Opening 1: Nice song, great use of visuals. A solid opening by all means.
Ending 1: Did they animate this on Drawn to Life? Disappointing!
Opening 2: Much more energetic song! Plus, much more colorful than the last opening!
Ending 2: Again, very disappointing ending song! Better than the first, but still...
Opening 3: Nice use of visuals, but the song doesn't match up to the rest.
Ending 3: Nice song..., but it's a slide show.
Ending 4: Wow! Fantastic! Great song, great use of visuals, also the best opening of the series.
Opening 5: Great song and nice use of visuals. But the somber mood is a bit emo. Otherwise, solid opening.
Ending 5: Good! Great song and nice visuals for a slide show!
Rating: Excellent

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