Okay, I really have to confess that I almost passed over “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.” Anime News Network gave it a pretty hard review, for the simpler animation style and some goofy, super-deformed drawings.
However, Brotherhood is a big improvement over the original for its excellent story and pacing.
For anyone who doesn’t know the plot of the series by now, the series follows Edward and Alphonse Elric in their quest to find the philosopher’s stone. Alphonse lost his entire body and Ed lost an arm and a leg in exchange for attempting to ressurect their dead mother. Al and Ed are now hoping to find the stone to regenerate their bodies/body parts again.
I’m already salivating over the new version’s change from pop culture phenomenon to an dramatic tale of redemption. Rather than focus on intense orchestral music and extremely fancy fight sequences, the director gave most of his attention to the pacing of the action and the acting tone of the characters.
The result is a true masterpiece: exactly what the original intended to be.
The best improvement takes place in episode three, Ed and Al’s trip to Liore to find clues to the philosopher’s stone. Instead, the brothers discover a fraudulent priest, Cornello, who uses a stone ring to revive the dead with alchemy. Ed and Al head to the temple to ask the priest how to use the stone.
Director Seiji Mizushima does a fantastic job. He never overextends the emotional outrage of the character. In fact, their tone of voice is compassionate and respectful.
The best example is a conversation between Ed and Rose, a believe in the religion of the sun god, Leto. Rose clearly states her religious beliefs in defiance to Ed’s atheist beliefs. Thankfully, even Ed is willing to confess that he wishes to ask for forgiveness for his and his brother’s sins.
The actors pull off an incredible job. They never overextend their emotional dialogue. Anyone would be shocked at how Father Cornello tears apart Rose’s emotions, by asking her to shoot her newfound friends.
It’s a polarizing scene of disgust towards villains who go to extreme ends to eradicate their enemies. This powerful episode took a second version to get the drama right on target, but it sold me over with its heroic characters.
This is just the beginning. The storyline can only get better from here. Stay tuned for more updates to “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” also known as Fullmetal Awesome.
The series is available to watch on YouTube.
Image courtesy of randomc.animeblogger.net