WARNING! This post contains spoilers from the first 10 episodes. That is all I’ve watched so far. I please ask that you refrain from mentioning spoilers in the comments from any further episodes, for my own sake, and for other readers.
Normally I wouldn’t review a show until I’ve finished at least 1 season or something, but I thought I simply had to. Because I love it so much! I am very new to the world of anime, and I never want to leave. This is about the 5th anime series that I’ve watched. So I am definitely not an expert or anything. Just a fan.
First a brief outline of the show. The main characters are two brothers- Edward and Alphonse (Al) Elric . They are Alchemists, which are kind of magicians, in a way.
‘Alchemy is the ancient metaphysical science/mystical art of manipulating and altering matter by using natural energy. This act is known as “Transmutation.’
Here is a quote from the show-
“Alchemy’s law of equivalent exchange: In order to obtain or create something, something of equal value must be lost or destroyed.”
This line comes before the theme song in the show. It is how alchemy works. But if you think about it, it’s really deep, like could be some kind of wisdom for life? I don’t know. that’s just a random thought for you, aha.
When they were young, they tried to resurrect their mother from the dead. As you might think, it all went terribly wrong. Edward lost his leg and Al lost his whole body. Edward managed to tie Al’s soul to a suit of armour by sacrificing his arm. So Al is not dead, he can move and talk etc., but he has no real body. and now Edward has ‘auto mail’, like a metal robot arm and leg. Still, neither of them are whole. During the story, they are trying to find the Philosophers’ Stone, so they can regain their bodies.
By the way I am watching the subbed version. (The Japanese with English subtitles.) Just so you know. I do this the most of the Anime’s I’ve watched. I just think that because it’s the original version, its better? Sometimes the translations aren’t as precise with dubs, and something might be lost. Plus I don’t mind reading subtitles. And I just love the way Japanese sounds! It’s so pretty and cool. It is my dream to one day learn Japanese, but I doubt it’ll ever happen. It looks really difficult. Anyway, I’ve got nothing against dubs. There are many good and bad points for both. I’m not going into a sub vs dub argument here. No no. Enough of that.
First of all, I love the theme song! And the whole animation sequence that goes with it. As well as the song with the credits at the end of the episode. How is it that basically ALL anime shows have amazing theme songs!? do you think so? It’s like a requirement of anime. I love it.
One thing that surprised me about Fullmetal alchemist, is that it has really affected me at an emotional level. Many aspects of it are really harrowing, there is a deep theme of loss, I think. The brothers have lost their bodies, their mother, their father, their freedom, their friends…and are fighting to regain at least some of that.
There was one episode in particular really pulled at my heartstrings. Episode 7. One word- Nina. The couple of episodes she was in, you couldn’t help but love her. she is adorable and optimistic and she loves her new playmates, Edward and Al. But it quickly all turned horrific. Her father needed to create a chimera* with the capacity for human speech, as he had once done in the past. Then rumours surface about the disappearance of his wife around the same time he created the other chimera. You see him becoming more desperate and less sane. Edward and Al walk into the room and see that he has done it. He has succeeded in creating a chimera. Then Al asks where Nina is. And the horrible realisation comes to them. You feel yourself throughout the episode coming to this conclusion, along with Edward, but not really wanting to believe it. I was silently chanting ‘No no no. This can’t be right.’ Then we know. Her father transmuted her and their dog, and turned them into the chimera. It was so horrible. The confusion of this creature, as it didn’t know what it was, how it recognised the brothers and then that voice. Chills. It was terrible. Her own father had taken his innocent little girl and done something completely unnatural. I was disgusted with this man. And you could see the distress and sadness and then anger in Edward. he starts, quite rightly, beating him up. Then later, she/it wanders into the alley and meets a strange man. He strokes her briefly and then we wonder what will happen next, whether he’ll try to change them back, let them go, or keep it as a pet. But I was not prepared for what I saw. As the camera angle revealed the large blood splatter against the wall, I actually let out a shocked disgruntled gasp/sob and tears spilled over my face. I felt exactly as Edward did, when he saw it and was banging his hands against the wall, desperately trying to bring her back.
Buuuuuut that was one episode that really got to me. It’s not all so haunting and heavy like that, don’t worry! There are many humorous and light moments as well. Like the running joke about Edwards height. And the relationship between the brothers is great. I love how it gives you only a glimpse of their origins in the first episode then goes straight into the story/action. And they seems really cool. Then it goes back to the beginning once you’re invested and intrigued and tells you how they began. At first I was confused at the 9 episode long flashback or so, but quickly got my bearings. I like how you see the journey they went on, and everything they had to face.
Al in himself is a heart-breaking character. In the promotional pictures for the show, this guy in a huge suit of armour looks intimating and badass, but when you watch it, it’s totally different. Because you hear his voice. His voice is that of an innocent child. As he has no body, I guess it is only natural that in these years, his voice would not break and mature. So he is left with the voice of his child-self. The resulting effect is jarring but I think its effect is definitely intended, as a constant reminder that he lost his physical body.
Both are very skilled alchemists, but Edward is the obvious stand out and main character. Of course, the name of the show is referring to him. His title- the Fullmetal Alchemist. His devotion to his brother and his determination to regain Al’s body are his very best qualities. His character design is also very cool. Is it weird to say that I find a presumably 15 year old cartoon attractive? Yes? Oh well. Aha.
While FMA is really good, there are some better Animes. Just slightly. Some episodes are not as good as others, but I still enjoy it very much. Nice action scenes, character building, and so on. would definitely recommend. Loving it so far, can’t wait to watch the rest!
*weird creature monster thingy.
p.s I am watching fullmetal alchemist before fullmetal alchemist brotherhood, because that’s the order they were made, and how I was recommended to watch it. Of course I plan to watch that one after. People say that one is better but I don’t know yet. We’ll see.
What do you think about Fullmetal Alchemist? Do you love it? aha. Leave your thoughts in the comments below. And I would love any recommendations of other anime or TV shows.
I hope you enjoyed this post.
Thanks for reading.