(Spoilers ahead, you have been warned)
Part of me almost feels like putting FullMetal Alchemist at this rating is cheating. FMA is an absolutely fantastic franchise with two spectacular anime adaptations that could be considered the very top of the medium. The franchise is filled to the brim with amazing and deep characters, beautiful and tragic fight scenes, and a gripping, compelling story that tells the lengths humankind will go to in order to make things right. FMA is a franchise that has held a very special place in my heart for a very long time. Fun fact, FullMetal Alchemist used to be my favorite anime before I watched Madoka Magica and started getting deeper into the medium. For good reason, I absolutely adored this series as a child and Brotherhood brings the original manga to life in a faithful adaptation that is as special a journey as its popularity among the fandom builds it to be. There are so many things I adore about FullMetal Alchemist that it’s hard to even begin.
The story of FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood follows the two Elric brothers in their journey to find the mythical Philosopher’s Stone in order to gain back what they lost from attempting the forbidden taboo of alchemy, human transmutation. The journey sees the two brothers traveling all over the country of Amestris, following leads of the stones and doing battle with the mysterious Homunculi and uncovering deeply-buried secrets about the Amestrian military. Along the journey, the Elrics meet with a plentiful cast of interesting characters from the uptight, serious Roy Mustang to the flamboyant masculine Alex Louis Armstrong to even the young princess of the neighboring country of Xing, May Chang. There is a wide array of characters to fill out the cast, but the anime shines just as much in its production. FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood highlights the very best Studio Bones has to offer, bringing absolutely gorgeous animations from the chaotic fight scenes to the gentle scenes in between, and Masafumi Mima and Akira Senju bring out a score that rivals the best the medium has to offer. FMA: Brotherhood is high-quality in every aspect the show has to offer.
Favorite Episode: Episode 54, Beyond the Inferno
I had a really hard time between choosing between this and Episode 19, with one of my favorite Roy Mustang moments in his fight vs. Lust. However, I had to pick this episode for a particular reason: Envy’s death. The death of Envy, one of the homunculus threatening the fate of Amestris, should come as a moment of triumph and victory. However, Envy’s defeat at the hands of Mustang and Hawkeye was bittersweet, with Envy beginning to break down after being spared by Mustang. The monologue and scene that follows is one of my favorite scenes of the entire series for doing something that I had barely thought possibly, making me sympathize with a soulless being. The scene preceding Envy’s ultimate demise is almost tragic as Edward understands Envy and talks about why the homunculus hates humans, resulting in Envy committing suicide by ripping out his Philosopher’s Stone. It was a scene that was oddly tragic and heartwrenching for being that of a villain’s and it was a scene I felt was executed perfectly.
FullMetal Alchemist is a very special series for me and has been for a very long time. The 2003 anime was one of my first introductions to the more serious side of anime, having mostly watched things like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and the like beforehand. It’s a masterfully-crafted tale of personal redemption and trying to do right by one’s self, accompanied by a completed vision of a pre-modern world mixed seamlessly with the almost magical at times concept of alchemy. The franchise was one of the things that originally tuned me into anime as a very young age and, to this day, stands as one of the franchises I hold closest to my heart.