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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - The Law of Equivalent Anime Quality Exchange

Arnox

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There are SPOILERS in this review. You have been warned.

It is a law in FA:B that in order to obtain something, something else of equal value must be lost. And in FA:B, it's apparent the makers felt they needed to keep that law alive and well during production too since, for all that this anime giveth, the anime taketh away. Or giveth stuff I don't want. Let's make no mistake here though. This anime DOES have a lot to offer. The core ideas behind FA:B have an absolute ton of potential and are a pretty genius set-up for an absolutely bad-ass story and universe, honestly.

In specifics, Ed and Al's backstory is incredible. A part of it doesn't make any sense in terms of jiving with the law of equivalent exchange, but I'm willing to let it slide for the rule of cool. The idea of the homunculi and their respective backstories are also well done. Gluttony and Sloth did receive the short end of the stick in the story department, but I don't think they had very much potential anyway, so it's no real loss. Lust's reign of terror was also sadly cut a little too short. We never really got to see why she is who she is or why she wants to be so... Um... Anti-social all the time. I don't think inflicting massive amounts of pain and death is very "lustful" of her, but you know, that's just me.

I also loved Mustang. Probably one of the least dumb of the cast too (we'll get to that in a bit). Loved that BioShock-style finger-snapping immolation. Not sure if that was a callback to BioShock though. Probably not, but I can hope. Loved the schizo-tech of the limb prosthetics. They seem to fit the universe well for some reason. The Ishvala Extermination is a pretty interesting event to launch off from. The concept of the philosopher's stones being essentially black soul gems is a good one overall. Loved General Olivier (naturally) even if her character is kinda two-dimensional. Loved how the homunculi were intentionally starting civil wars, highlighting how easy the people in the show tend to break down into factions and fight. (GEE WIZZERS, THAT SOUNDS A LITTLE BIT FAMILIAR)

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure there's more I'm missing. So, to summarize the high points, they're really high and I'd be lying if I said they didn't make me a fan of the universe, if nothing else. But now, it's time to move on to the bad...

For starters, what is with shoving chibi art in SO MANY PLACES in the show? They'll even shove it in during times where it blatantly doesn't belong and it will kill any immersion and emotional build-up whenever it happens. Fuck-off, mate. We're watching a show where people burn each other alive during civil wars and kids are getting chimera'd, but we got this weeaboo shit getting crammed in where it doesn't belong? Who thought this was a good idea??? Now, I'm obviously not saying everyone has to be Mr. Broody McEdgington, but I'm asking for maturity here, not darkness. This also ties directly into the second point.

Ed (and kind of Al too) need to and should have grown the fuck up. "But Arnox, they're kids!" Don't give me that. There's child soldiers in Africa far more mature than these two. And while child soldiers aren't exactly role models, my point is that there's no reason why they wouldn't have grown a pair early, especially after what trauma and incredibly hard training they've been through at the start of the show, and especially DURING the show when they get their shit kicked in several times. Despite all that, Ed still acts like a cocky teenager time and time and TIME AGAIN. It's not believable. It's not funny. it's annoying. Stop it.

And now for the third point. Why is EVERYONE in this show so DUMB? Monologing at completely inappropriate times. Not attacking when they should. Attacking when they so obviously shouldn't. Ignoring easy solutions to issues... There was one part towards the end when the protagonists are going through the underground to get to the final level of a basement. Along the way, they meet Mr. Crazed Scientist who's OBVIOUSLY not on their side. He starts monologing as usual. Quick now, what do you do? Do you,

A. Shoot him
B. Burn the chalk circle just below his feet
C. Smash some boulders in his face
D. Stand around gawking at him as he finishes talking and sics his minions on you

Picked anything other than D? Well according to FA:B,



Just... I can't.

The fourth point, although not as big an issue per se at all as the above, is that there are some large inconsistencies with how alchemy works. It's said in the show that, basically, in order to get past a certain power level, you must have a philosopher's stone. Ok, but meanwhile, we see state alchemists play it hard and fast with this rule, creating massively explosive blasts of flame out of literally thin air. Or how about conjuring HUGE HILLS straight out of the ground? But hey, let's ignore that for a second and complain about Ed again. Ok, so he's got this awesome metal arm and leg. And he can clearly transmute its shape freely. Awesome. That means he can easily make projectile-firing weapons from it, right?

... Right?

No, he makes a prison shank.

:risitas:

No wonder why this kid's getting his ass kicked. And it's NOT LIKE WE DON'T SEE THIS EXACT IDEA IN USE EITHER. Early in the show, we see a depraved priest make a LITERAL GE-134 MINIGUN out of his arm. But hey, still not convinced? There's another woman in the show who also has a metal leg prosthetic, and she HAS A FUCKING CANNON built into it.

-

Anyway. Conclusion time. How would I rate this show? Well, considering the massive roller-coaster of quality we're getting here... I can only give it a solid 6/10. It's definitely better than average with fucktons of potential, but its problems just hold it back way too much to really achieve anything higher than that. My suggestion? Remake it again, and do it properly this time, and you could have one of the absolute greatest animes of all time.
 
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Gauche

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For starters, what is with shoving chibi art in SO MANY PLACES in the show? They'll even shove it in during times where it blatantly doesn't belong and it will kill any immersion and emotional build-up whenever it happens. Fuck-off, mate. We're watching a show where people burn each other alive during civil wars and kids are getting chimera'd, but we got this weeaboo shit getting crammed in where it doesn't belong? Who thought this was a good idea??? Now, I'm obviously not saying everyone has to be Mr. Broody McEdgington, but I'm asking for maturity here, not darkness. This also ties directly into the second point.
Source material

Ed (and kind of Al too) need to and should have grown the fuck up. "But Arnox, they're kids!" Don't give me that. There's child soldiers in Africa far more mature than these two. And while child soldiers aren't exactly role models, my point is that there's no reason why they wouldn't have grown a pair early, especially after what trauma and incredibly hard training they've been through at the start of the show, and especially DURING the show when they get their shit kicked in several times. Despite all that, Ed still acts like a cocky teenager time and time and TIME AGAIN. It's not believable. It's not funny. it's annoying. Stop it.
They read books hard and were left on an Island for a while while sparring with each other for kicks. Teacher aside, it wasn't really hard training. Al did kinda just die as a kid and got soul trapped. Developing maturity when you're still a kid would be unnatural really. He should be going crazy
being deprived of senses and never pooping, kids gotta poop.

A. Shoot him
Tbf it never did work

Ok, so he's got this awesome metal arm and leg. And he can clearly transmute its shape freely. Awesome. That means he can easily make projectile-firing weapons from it, right?

... Right?

No, he makes a prison shank.
He is anime Batman
 

gaijinkaiju

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Ed (and kind of Al too) need to and should have grown the fuck up. "But Arnox, they're kids!" Don't give me that. There's child soldiers in Africa far more mature than these two. And while child soldiers aren't exactly role models, my point is that there's no reason why they wouldn't have grown a pair early, especially after what trauma and incredibly hard training they've been through at the start of the show, and especially DURING the show when they get their shit kicked in several times. Despite all that, Ed still acts like a cocky teenager time and time and TIME AGAIN. It's not believable. It's not funny. it's annoying. Stop it.
Maybe because he is a cocky teenager?
Also I wouldn't use child soldiers as a comparison. At all. They're not brave because they've had to grow up, they're brave because they've been told if they eat human or do drugs, they'll be impervious to bullets. They don't know better, they're impressionable not mature.

Monologing at completely inappropriate times. Not attacking when they should.
Eh, that's just a shonen thing, get used to it. And if you think that's bad, go watch naruto with his talk-no-jutsu.

That means he can easily make projectile-firing weapons from it, right?
what's he going to make the bullets out of?

If you want an anime you might enjoy more, might I suggest Redo of Healer?
 

Arnox

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Ok, but two things. First, that stuff works better on the page than it does in video. Second, just because the author put it in doesn't make it a good idea. lol

They read books hard and were left on an Island for a while while sparring with each other for kicks. Teacher aside, it wasn't really hard training. Al did kinda just die as a kid and got soul trapped. Developing maturity when you're still a kid would be unnatural really. He should be going crazy
being deprived of senses and never pooping, kids gotta poop.
Let's go through what Ed and Al have already experienced right when the show starts. They,
- Had a father who left them very early in their life
- Lost their mother to the plague
- Studied alchemy to an obsessive level
- Almost died of hunger and had to learn self-sufficiency by themselves
- Completely botched their transmutation and made an abomination
- Had Al almost die completely
- Had to (very very painfully I might add) sacrifice Ed's arm and leg just to get Al's soul into a suit of armor
- Had to endure a year of incredibly hard and painful retraining and acclimating for Ed to finally be able to use his metal arm and leg with consistency, speed, strength, and full range of motion
- Had to be knowledgeable and skilled enough to pass state certification

And now, you're telling me that after going through ALL that, he's still not gonna act more mature for his age?

Yeah, I thought about this later after I submitted the post. This brings to mind a funny but true scene from The Dark Knight though.

Copycat: What gives you the right? What's the difference between you and me?
Batman: I'm not wearing hockey pads.
If you really are going to commit to the Batman philosophy and way of life, then you also need to commit to Batman levels of raw dedication, skill, and professionalism. Ed doesn't have any of that. Just his teenage naivete and a bit of alchemy and fighting skill. And because of this, he often fails and gets shrekt.

I wouldn't use child soldiers as a comparison. At all. They're not brave because they've had to grow up, they're brave because they've been told if they eat human or do drugs, they'll be impervious to bullets. They don't know better, they're impressionable not mature.
While that is true, that isn't the kind of child soldier I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind who have no choice but to take up arms and defend their families and/or their homes.

Eh, that's just a shonen thing, get used to it. And if you think that's bad, go watch naruto with his talk-no-jutsu.
lol Man, I really don't like this kind of argument. We should be striving to excel, not just to be good enough. And I can't believe this is a shonen series considering the subject matter.

what's he going to make the bullets out of?
He can just transmute them out of the earth. If that's not possible though for whatever reason, he can still just bring along some magazines/rockets/grenades from the armory.

If you want an anime you might enjoy more, might I suggest Redo of Healer?
It's got "harem" as one of its descriptors though. lol
 

Houseman

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creating massively explosive blasts of flame out of literally thin air.
His gloves make the spark. All he's doing is concentrating and moving around oxygen so that it becomes easily combustible.

Even with EE, moving stuff around is essentially free. You can take iron out of the ground and make a spear out of it, or move it to form a hill, or form projectiles out of it like Armstrong does. That's just moving what's already there, and it's not terribly complex, so it doesn't cost a lot.
 

Gauche

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Let's go through what Ed and Al have already experienced right when the show starts. They,
- Had a father who left them very early in their life
- Lost their mother to the plague
- Studied alchemy to an obsessive level
- Almost died of hunger and had to learn self-sufficiency by themselves
- Completely botched their transmutation and made an abomination
- Had Al almost die completely
- Had to (very very painfully I might add) sacrifice Ed's arm and leg just to get Al's soul into a suit of armor
- Had to endure a year of incredibly hard and painful retraining and acclimating for Ed to finally be able to use his metal arm and leg with consistency, speed, strength, and full range of motion
- Had to be knowledgeable and skilled enough to pass state certification

And now, you're telling me that after going through ALL that, he's still not gonna act more mature for his age?
I don't get how parental figures being gone would make them more mature. They lived in a cottage on a hill and read all day. They never did a hard days work in their life. Had their food cooked for them. Ed would fight with granny for calling him short. They succeeded with the transmutation albeit with unexpected results. Al did die. Ed lost his leg for it, crawled over to the armor and gave up his arm to soul trap Al. All that studying gets put to waste as having "seen the truth" Ed can now transmute without drawing a circle. He was guaranteed to pass the state certification as the Homunculi had it set up to find their sacrifices.

Hardest thing he had to do was make a fire and not be a cripple in a world of nerve prosthetics.
Big whoop.
 

Arnox

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His gloves make the spark. All he's doing is concentrating and moving around oxygen so that it becomes easily combustible.
Well... I would say that oxygen itself doesn't actually burn, contrary to popular belief, but I guess it doesn't actually matter as he might just be doing a simple transmute from air to something like nitroglycerin. That would make some sense.

You can take iron out of the ground and make a spear out of it
Oh sure, you can pull iron from the ground, but good luck getting those individual particulates to bond without tons of heat to get them to be hot enough to fuse together. And that is also assuming you can get the requisite amount of iron from the dirt to make the spear. Nevertheless, that is still small fish compared to,

move it to form a hill
Consider the weight of all that earth. And then consider the big ass construction vehicles we have to use just to shift around all that dirt. And then consider that the alchemy they're using not only shifts all that dirt but shifts it at an incredible speed. Where is all that energy coming from?

Ignore that it's perfectly wholesome and exactly what you're looking for


I don't get how parental figures being gone would make them more mature. They lived in a cottage on a hill and read all day. They never did a hard days work in their life. Had their food cooked for them. Ed would fight with granny for calling him short. They succeeded with the transmutation albeit with unexpected results. Al did die. Ed lost his leg for it, crawled over to the armor and gave up his arm to soul trap Al. All that studying gets put to waste as having "seen the truth" Ed can now transmute without drawing a circle. He was guaranteed to pass the state certification as the Homunculi had it set up to find their sacrifices.

Hardest thing he had to do was make a fire and not be a cripple in a world of nerve prosthetics.
Big whoop.
I think you're focusing too much on one or two things and not seeing the entire picture here. And Ed has gone through a ton of things that most kids have never and, with some of these things, will never go through. But hey, even if we put all that aside, how come he doesn't grow up some during the course of the show with all the crap he sees and goes through?
 

Houseman

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Well... I would say that oxygen itself doesn't actually burn, contrary to popular belief, but I guess it doesn't actually matter as he might just be doing a simple transmute from air to something like nitroglycerin. That would make some sense.
The wiki says "When attacking, Mustang raises the density of the oxygen surrounding his target to a level at which it becomes volatile and creates narrow pathways of oxygen between himself and his target through which he can direct the ensuing flash fire that blossoms from the spark of his gloves"


Oh sure, you can pull iron from the ground, but good luck getting those individual particulates to bond without tons of heat to get them to be hot enough to fuse together.
That's why it takes a bit of extra material as tribute.

Consider the weight of all that earth. And then consider the big ass construction vehicles we have to use just to shift around all that dirt. And then consider that the alchemy they're using not only shifts all that dirt but shifts it at an incredible speed. Where is all that energy coming from?
The extra dirt that gets eaten up as waste.

But hey, even if we put all that aside, how come he doesn't grow up some during the course of the show with all the crap he sees and goes through?
Because he wouldn't be a fun protagonist if he was all mature.
 

Arnox

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That's why it takes a bit of extra material as tribute.
I don't think that is a good explanation. If that was true, then technically philosopher's stones aren't needed whatsoever because you can get practically unlimited energy from dirt or whatever else is around you.

Because he wouldn't be a fun protagonist if he was all mature.
How do you figure that?

What was your favorite OP?
OP? Original Poster? Not sure what you mean here.

Well if that's they way you're going to be i'll just keep my 10/10 recommendations to myself then
Tell you what. If someone donates $1,000 to Sanctuary, I'll watch the cringiest hentai ever that is requested and write an unironic detailed review. lol
 

Arnox

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The opening to the show, the opening song.
Pretty generic, to be honest. Animes generally always seem to have these kinds of songs in their openings. In fairness though, maybe it's a cultural thing.

EDT: Looking over my music collection, I think Breaking Benjamin's Dance With The Devil would be a perfect fit, melody and lyrics wise, or at least something a lot like it.
 
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Houseman

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Vendor-Lazarus

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I always watch a new OP and END at least once. I had to refresh the memory though. Thanks Houseman.
Best FMA OP in order: 1,4,5,3,2
Best FMA END in order: 3,4,5,1,2
 

Arnox

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There are like 5 different OPs and EDs. There is not just one "opening song".

Please tell me you didn't skip them.

I'm not sure if you're really properly qualified for this


Properly qualified for what? Reviewing anime songs? Probably not. lol All I know is I listened to about 10 seconds of every OP and then I skipped them after that. Yeah, I probably didn't give it a chance, but there's a few things to keep in mind.

1. I really didn't like the first OP and that set a bad precedent.
2. They're all in a foreign language, and it irks me a bit when I can't understand what they're saying. I can get past it for sure if the song is really good, but
3. Giving a lot of the OPs a full relisten, I don't agree with the melody direction for many of them at all, even if the melodies in a vacuum are fine. And the few that do kind of fit could be a lot better. I stand by my earlier song recommendation.

Another thing. I said it before a million times and I'll say it again. I don't have much patience at all for the typical anime stuff. Many people aren't bothered by it or even like it, but unfortunately, I'm not like that. Not sure what else to say.
 

Niggerman

Watch the 2003 adaption. Much more mature than the original work and a better soundtrack. The antaganist is more believable than father. The final arc of FMAB while cool, was just a jrpg fight with someone wanting to be god.
 

Vendor-Lazarus

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2. They're all in a foreign language, and it irks me a bit when I can't understand what they're saying. I can get past it for sure if the song is really good,
Yours weren't subbed? Get another release ,)
 

Arnox

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Watch the 2003 adaption. Much more mature than the original work and a better soundtrack. The antaganist is more believable than father. The final arc of FMAB while cool, was just a jrpg fight with someone wanting to be god.
I was going to do that but then I heard that the original FMA was a lot more morbid.
 

Drathnoxis

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It's polite to listen when someone is talking to you! I don't know where you learned manners if you think it's acceptable to just attack someone when they are speaking.

I agree that the chibi slapstick could have been toned down a tad. It tends to turn people off quite a bit, and doesn't really fit all that well with the show. That sort of thing works better in comedy anime like Nichijou or One Punch Man where it can be used to good effect. FMA:B is more like ATLA it has comedic elements and isn't above some lighthearted fun, but is generally more grounded and the art style should have stuck to that.
What was your favorite OP?
Far and away the first. I love how it ramps up the intensity partway through the song, and really just feels right for the show. The others are all decent and I'd rate them pretty evenly, except for the 5th which is slow and boring and sucks. As for the endings I really only liked the first and the fourth, which are the only ones I have on my ipod.
 

Houseman

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My favorite OP and ED are both 2. I probably still have a lot of the full song memorized. I think I still have it in my phone.
 
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