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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood? More Like Gunmetal Biochemist: Fatherhood! - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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June 30th, 2013


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10:50 pm - Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood? More Like Gunmetal Biochemist: Fatherhood!
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has a fervent, devoted following, and, my God, it's easy to see why.

A simplistic blurb describes the series as about two brothers who, after having failed to resurrect their mother through alchemy and paid a heavy price, go in search of a way to restore their original bodies. When I say this it not even the half of it, I am not exaggerating in the least, but since I knew almost nothing of the series going in, I don't want to delve too much into plot details, as I took great joy in watching the story expand and grow.

Perhaps the best way to recommend this series is to compare it to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Alchemy resembles bending, as alchemists manipulate rock and steel and fire in combat. Like Avatar, FMA tackles genocide, but it also examines the lasting effects on both the survivors and the perpetrators. The show has badass female characters aplenty—"badass" does not always mean "good at fighting"—and although some of them have romantic plotlines, the romance never diminishes them as women; in fact, they are usually protecting their male love interests. Honestly, I boggled at the introduction of each new amazing female character because each one was so different and interesting, and they were all in this one show, when some shows can't even manage to get one interesting female character. And, just like fan-favorite Toph isn't introduced until a third of the way into the series, some of the best characters in the show aren't introduced until later, and it never feels like new characters are simply being added to fill time: each character has a purpose. In fact, each character has his or her own agenda. Even the "good guys" comprise characters who are not necessarily in it for the same goal, and the "bad guys" don't all march to the same drum either. Hell, some characters switch sides. The amount of character depth in this show is astonishing, given how many characters there are; it would be so easy to make them all one-dimensional, but no one is a cardboard cut-out. It also has a good sense of humor, with many amusing running gags and exaggerated, clever reaction sequences.

Season two of A:TLA is one of the best seasons of television I've ever seen. Amazing characters, interesting villains, moral greyness, and, most importantly, incredible narrative momentum as it hurtles toward the finale with plot twist after plot twist.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is 64 episodes of that. It would regularly cause my brain to melt into a puddle of capslock. But in addition to being a rip-roaring story, it's packed to the brim with thematic content and emotional resonance. Fathers and sons, brothers, love, friendship, guilt, regret, greed, redemption, the role of the military, national pride, national shame, revenge, forgiveness, power, humanity, immortality, life, death, and so on.

Even though I spent this entire review comparing the show to A:TLA, the truth is that I have never seen a show quite like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It's fucking amazing, and I already miss all the characters.
Current Mood: hothot
Current Music: Miranda Sound - The Lull of Youngstown

(27 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:enchanted_sea
Date:July 1st, 2013 06:01 am (UTC)
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TOKEN COMMENT.

No, really, though, I'm so glad you enjoyed the show so much! :D NO ONE IS EVER PREPARED FOR FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST. I can't wait to see Mark's brain melt.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 1st, 2013 06:03 am (UTC)
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THANK YOU!

I am really excited to see Mark's brain melt. I had no fucking clue what I was getting myself into, which is why it was hard to write this review since I don't want anyone to know too much about what they're getting themselves into. Just watch the show and be blown away.
[User Picture]
From:cosmob
Date:July 1st, 2013 06:16 am (UTC)
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I'll be watching this with Mark, so I'm not reading your review right now; however, in place of a token comment (which I see has been taken care of), how about some leprechaun gold?

This leprechaun gold will disappear in 30 seconds
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 1st, 2013 06:26 am (UTC)
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Goooooooooooooooold!!
From:ext_2045749
Date:July 1st, 2013 07:02 am (UTC)
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Comparing FMA:B and A:TLA = automatic win. I love both those shows so much.
[User Picture]
From:wolfpilot06
Date:July 1st, 2013 08:47 pm (UTC)
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I've actually not watched FMA:B yet, but the original FMA anime series and the manga series are one of my favorite series of ALL TIME. Like you, I was constantly astounded and amazed by the depth of characters, the moral issues and ambiguity that the show frequently approached, and the complex, yet not gratuitously so, storylines, and the sheer love the show/manga inspired. I really should watch FMA:B, 'cause I hear it's amazing, but I fell so much in love with the original FMA series (which is only 26 episodes long, and deviates from the manga series, but in a way that's still pretty satisfying on its own) that I'm reluctant to give its successor a chance haha.

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's also one of my favorite shows, like A:TLA, so you and I, we are on the same wavelength here. :)

**Wolf**
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 1st, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
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The people I watched FMA:B with seem pretty united in their opinion that it's superior to the original series, which would make sense since it follows the manga more closely (for instance, I've heard the Death Note anime is great for as long as it follows the manga and then there's a quality drop). I don't know if I'll watch the original series, but I do want to read the manga sometime.
[User Picture]
From:umadoshi
Date:July 2nd, 2013 11:23 pm (UTC)
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The original FMA anime is good in its own right, and some of the things it does differently are genuinely interesting (which...is rarely the case with anime based on still-running manga), but FMA:B is still much better, despite the pacing at the beginning being kinda wonky. I gather they were figuring all that material had been covered in the original anime and only required a quick refresher.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 2nd, 2013 11:30 pm (UTC)
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Rizaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
[User Picture]
From:umadoshi
Date:July 2nd, 2013 11:35 pm (UTC)
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FMA and its glorious, badass, complex women! (The absence of Olivier Armstrong in the original FMA is a sad thing.)

(But the real lesson of FMA in all its forms? Al has a KITTEN IN HIS ARMOR, thus invalidating all arguments ever.)
[User Picture]
From:chasethestars
Date:July 6th, 2013 03:39 am (UTC)
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I really liked the backstory of where alchemy comes from in the original, but I think I enjoyed the characters more in FMA:B, like Greed.
[User Picture]
From:beeker121
Date:July 3rd, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
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Yay! Having seen both versions I'm still not certain which is my favorite, they're both fascinating and so good. I may have to go be amused at Mark along with others.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 3rd, 2013 10:32 pm (UTC)
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I cannot wait for his brain to melt for weeks.
[User Picture]
From:chasethestars
Date:July 6th, 2013 03:40 am (UTC)
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I am replying here instead of FB so I can use userpics. Not that I really have anything to contribute than what was already said. But userpics. Congratulations, I haven't used a specific userpic in probably years and now I am. Though... these aren't as good as I remember them being.
[User Picture]
From:chasethestars
Date:July 6th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC)
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and also Avatar userpic. Speaking of, when does Korra come back?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 6th, 2013 04:16 am (UTC)
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No one knooooooooows.
[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:July 6th, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC)
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And hasn't that been the lather, rinse, repeat of that series, if ever there was one.
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From:chasethestars
Date:July 6th, 2013 03:44 am (UTC)
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Also, the fact that I actually have userpics for this shows how much I love FMA. <3<3<3<3<3

I'd say it's in my top 3 animes so I'm glad you love it too :D
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 6th, 2013 04:16 am (UTC)
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Awwwww, that icon is too adorable.

What are the other two?
[User Picture]
From:chasethestars
Date:July 6th, 2013 04:23 am (UTC)
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Bleach and Evangelion.

And A:tLA which I don't consider an anime because it's not Japanese, but some people seem to. So throwing that in there anyway.

I also recall enjoying s-CRY-ed and Paranoia Agent yeeeeeeears ago, but I don't remember much of either right now.

Edited at 2013-07-06 04:25 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 6th, 2013 04:15 am (UTC)
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I'm so inspirational.
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From:thetheatremouse
Date:July 8th, 2013 03:45 am (UTC)
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Did you watch this series dubbed or subbed? And do you have a preference (I mean specifically for this series, not in general)?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 8th, 2013 03:54 am (UTC)
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I watched it subbed, which is what I generally do.
[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:July 9th, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
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So I started watching it on hulu (not plus) and it was dubbed, and that was fine with me because it was free, and then four episodes in it switched to subbed, which was...not a bad thing, but confusing?

I am also looking forward to Mark's brain melting.
[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:July 31st, 2013 04:41 am (UTC)
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AAAaahhh. Now my brain is melting! And the theme song abruptly changed mid-series? And. And...melted.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:July 31st, 2013 06:04 am (UTC)
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The theme song changes a few times! Your brain will melt more times.
[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:August 1st, 2013 02:34 am (UTC)
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Oh, I know. When it happened the first time I googled it. But I do expect to melt repeatedly. I'm only on episode 21!

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