While only 100 minutes and four episodes of animation, The Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVA Collection contains everything that was great from the original series and something that was missing from new Brotherhood TV series of Fullmetal Alchemist. Each episode is adapted from certain bonus chapters that Hiromu Arakawa made in different guide books that weren’t in the original manga. All of the episodes have different main characters and offer up some very different types of stories. Whether its Izumi Curtis’ fabled training in Briggs mountain to another look of the Elric Brothers examining a case of ”successful” human transmutation, each episode brings something else to the table that make them an absolute joy to watch. With the extras that Funimation included in the set, this collection rivals the original Premium OVA Collection and deserves to be in anyone’s collection that is a Fullmetal fan.
What made me enjoy this set so much was the fact that every single episode gives a bit of insight into the characters, something that was missing from Brotherhood. There was so much of the actual manga that was left out of the original show and yet it managed to make us care about all of these characters. In Brotherhood, Maes Hughes is treated as a mere plot point, a means to catapult the show into overdrive. Seeing him in the fourth episode with Roy Mustang explaining his mind state and reasons in the midst of the Ishvalan War, reminded me of why I fell in love with him in the first place. The second episode is about earrings and hair styles on the surface, but both of those things have meanings to the characters that have them and give quite a fine display at how character development is one of the most important and strongest aspects in storytelling.
The only extras included on the discs are trailers and the fantastic 4 panel comic strips that are a blast, from start to finish. At the end of every manga tankobon, Arakawa would draw silly 4 panel strips that sprinkle comic relief at the characters and various situations. Whether its shedding light on the real reasons on why Tucker’s wife left him or the problem Dolcetto has being a half dog chimera, the 4 panel comic strips are a real treat and contain some impressive comedic material.
Even though this set only contains about a third of material, in comparison to the original Brotherhood sets, there’s a whole lot to take away from. There’s depth, humor and overall quality in this second offering of Fullmetal OVA’s. It’s a perfect addition to the Brotherhood series and rewards the viewer that has grown to love these characters over the last few years that both Arakawa and Studio Bones have presented to fans all over the world. Highly Recommended!