Whether you are new to anime, or you are a seasoned veteran but have never seen the series; I highly recommend the show Fullmetal Alchemist to anyone who wants an amazing anime to either start, or add to your list of favorites. This series has an outstanding plot that has landed it in countless ‘top 10 anime series of all time’ lists. The character development is so thorough; you may actually find yourself upset if something were to happen to one of them. With a total of 51 episodes, a concluding movie, and my favorite award winning voice actor Vic Mignogna, this series is my personal all-time favorite, and I hope it will be yours too.
The series starts off with a little character introduction, naturally, of the protagonists: Edward and Alphonse Elric; two brothers whom you shortly learn have nothing but each other.
It all begins when the pair of young brothers, eager to commence a complex experiment involving a large circle with specific, detailed markings within it. The older brother, Ed, activates the circle with his younger brother, Al, and narrates while you watch them seemingly pleased, so far. Ed begins to describe the experiment as Alchemy, a “science of understanding the structure of matter, breaking it down, then reconstructing it as something else… to obtain, something of equal value must be lost” as it is the “law of equivalent exchange”. Immediately following the explanation of this law, the cheery mood completely changes.
The once positive Ed instantly shows terror on his face as his ‘perfect’ experiment is about to become the most traumatizing moment of his life. After a brief cut-away to a dark, stormy night sky, you return to the room with Ed, now severely wounded and alone. You see Al’s clothes through the mist. He calls out to his brother, to no avail. And just when things seem to have taken a turn for the worse, there is a sign of hope, as Ed looks upon his ‘creation’ potentially pleased. But within the circle is a grotesque silhouette of a demonic looking creature, clearly, not the results the boys were looking for. You are quickly led to believe that the two have dabbled with a very dangerous art.
Though the introduction to the series is very dark and gory, the show itself is rather comedic a lot of the time. I think it has a perfect balance of seriousness, action, comedy, and gore, which makes it simply amazing. The plot truly begins on episode three, where Ed and Al are young; it shows their background and the show continues from there with a jump of a couple of years to when they are teens. The first two episodes take place in a desert where the teenage brothers are on official military duty. These episodes throw you right into the action and world they live in, which, as far as technology goes, is around the early 1900’s, but with the mysterious science of Alchemy. In fact, the theme of Alchemy references an actual science practiced hundreds of years ago; but obviously, it was unsuccessful for us…
Anyway, if you do watch anime and you have not seen this show, shame on you! And as a side note, there is actually a spinoff series called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
This series isn’t a sequel, or a side story, but an entirely new storyline. All of the classic characters are there, with the introduction of some new ones. If anything, Brotherhood may actually be better than its predecessor, in my own opinion. Currently, there are only 26 episodes dubbed in English, however, all 64 episodes are completed in Japanese with English subtitles, if you don’t mind the voices. In the English dub, many of the original voice actors have returned, thank god.
You don’t necessarily need to watch the original series before checking this one out, as the stories aren’t dependent on each other; but I do recommend watching them in order. That being said, I really hope you enjoy this outstanding anime as much as I do!