Beginning in Japan in 2001, by author Hiromu Arakawa, Fullmetal Alchemist has become a huge manga and anime sensation all over the world. The series was first adapted by studio Bones in 2003 with a 51 episode run and a theatrical sequel, The Conqueror of Shamballa. The last half of the TV series and the film strayed away from the original material and began to tell its own story. In 2009, Bones decided to revisit the series again, in order to remain much more faithful to the original story in Arakawa’s manga. The result of this was Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, a perfect retelling and an amazing addition to the original series, with something for old fans and plenty for new. Funimation has just released a new collection that contains half of the series in one package in both DVD and Blu-Ray formats.
The first half of this set, is roughly the same material covered in the original series of Fullmetal. The animation is different and there are some new elements, like new alchemists and some more fights, but its generally the same. The major difference between the two series is the lack of character development in Brotherhood. The original series maintained in crafting these characters for an entire season, before they strayed into uncharted territory. With this in mind, Bones decided to breeze through most of this portion to get to new material quickly. Its still very good, but I could see someone not being as enamored with all of the characters that are in the Fullmetal universe. This aside, the new stuff that Bones has done with Brotherhood is a definite improvement. The animation quality is vastly superior in every way and with the inclusion of characters like Ling Yao and May or the battle between Lust and Roy Mustang that were never in the original, Brotherhood manages to be beautiful in every episode.
The Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Collection One retains all of the extra features from the original sets. There’s a few commentaries and textless intro and outro animations and a few trailers for other Funimation properties. If people already have the original boxed sets of Brotherhood, there’s nothing here that you haven’t seen. If you held off or have never experienced this anime series before, this collection is one of the best ways to experience it. A well told story, that is full of action and intrigue is what awaits in this collection from Funimation.