Home > anime, blcd > [impressions] Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Episode 01

[impressions] Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Episode 01

My most awaited spring anime series is undoubtedly Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I loved the anime and even rewatched it in preparation for the remake. As I’ve said before, the new seiyuu cast was a bit of a letdown, although since the replacements are wonderful seiyuu, I know the voices are still going to be awesome. What I expected from the new series minus the new voices are better art and effects while hopefully keeping the intensity of the first series as well as its charisma.

After watching episode 1 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, however, I have slightly  mixed feelings with the changes they’ve made to the series.

I was expecting a repeat of the first season’s first episode involving Rozeh, since it’s also the first (or one of the first) scenes in the manga. I was also wondering if they’ll start from the Elric brothers’ childhood, which would be quite a different approach from the first series, which drew in and out of the Elrics’ past as the series progressed. I was wondering if Ed will again be the first to steal the screen XD;. I was pleasantly surprised when Brotherhood started at a pace and perspective quite different from both the manga and anime.

Instead of the usual Elrics perspective, the anime takes off as a third person, more of the military, perspective. Instead of Ed and Al, the viewers are treated first to the military, in the middle of a conversation between King Bradley and Roy Mustang. I’m both pleased and saddened at this, because I haven’t prepared myself yet to see/hear Roy ;_;. I was expecting him to speak towards the end, not at the beginning as the first speaker in the anime. Ah, I still miss Ohkawa as Mustang, even though Miki Shinichirou sounds just as great.

Anyway, the purpose of the dialogue is to make the viewers aware of a certain criminal the military is looking for: a state ice alchemist that betrayed the military and is off to create trouble all over the city, murdering people and making alchemic circles in certain places. The dialogue also inevitably mentioned the Elric brothers who appeared shortly before the opening song plays.

The opening song, “again” by YUI, is a disappointment for me. I guess I’m spoiled by the first series which boasted of upbeat and strong opening songs so I find “again” lame. The vocal is weak, the chorus is upbeat but missing the spunk. The visuals are okay, though, since most of the important characters are shown without apparent spoilers.

After the opening song starts the Elric brothers’ debut as they tried to immobilize the ice alchemist. There’s again, that nostalgic misunderstanding about who the real fullmetal alchemist is, much to the annoyance of the smaller Ed. The dialogues are still candid and humorous at the right times, although some of the effects (like this…bat) are kinda corny :(. The seriousness of the episode could’ve been lightened up in another way instead of that lame bat.

Anyway, the criminal escaped despite the fact that he was under guard, and Ed was in for some teasing by Roy. I’m still not used to this Roy Mustang. He has more facial expressions than Ed, more boisterous and definitely more blatant in teasing Ed. I dont’ know if I could get used to this Roy who is not pretending to be stoically cool. I used to treasure Roy’s semi-stoic nature in the old series and his outbursts and quarrels with Ed became neat treats. But I guess, this change will make the series more amusing (I wasn’t wrong here XD).

It’s around this point when I wonder what is wrong with Ed. The character designs are almost the same from the old series, minus some haphazardly done random people, yet when I look at Ed, I feel something it wrong. I think it’s because of the hair. He has yellow outlines for his hair instead of the black ones, so he stands out and it looks like his hair is off. I look at Riza and her blonde hair, outlined with black, doesn’t bother me :\. It’s weird, okay.

The appearance of Hughes and his family gave a clue on how far this pilot episode is from the  beginning of the timeline, since Elysia is already a kid here. A small moment between Gracia and Hughes, something seen because of the new perspective of the anime, is a soft touch that cushions the violence that would occur for the rest of the episode.

Another surprising appearance in this episode is by Kimblee, who wasn’t even shown in earlier episodes in the old series. His appearance is a refreshing twist, albeit a bit confusing with all the introduction of the characters without even a premise. His voice sounds very much like Hallelujah Haptism from Gundam 00. I guess his new seiyuu, Yoshino Hiroyuki, has a thing for voicing psychos XD;.

As the military continues to chase after the ice alchemist, Roy inevitably meets up with him and threatened the ice alchemist with number and gunpowder. The ice alchemist, though, simply escaped by spraying Roy with water, knowing that the flame alchemist wouldn’t be able to retaliate. The ice alchemist then continued on making alchemy circles all over the city and around the Central base. When he finished, he activated all of the circles and proceeded to attack the city with avalanche-like icebergs which even Armstrong couldn’t destroy.

The rest of the fight scenes were almost predictable. Al’s empty armor was revealed, a short flashback to the Elrics’ past was shown, Ed becomes badass and Al kicks villain off. A slight surprise from Roy Mustang (again) was his suitcase of ignition gloves, in case the ones he’s wearing got wet XD. He successfully melted the giant ice blocks all throughout the city, but the criminal escapes.

The criminal unexpectedly runs to King Bradley, whom he wanted to kill in the first place. As he attacked, however, he was stabbed to death even though King Bradley did not move a muscle. His death brings an end to the attacks to the city and Ed is praised by King Bradley for his ‘performance’.

Towards the end, even more characters is introduced, Lust and Gluttony.

The ending song, “uso (lie)” by SiD, is another disappointment :(. It’s not catchy or appealing, although the chorus sounds okay. The visuals are of Ed and Al drawn like a kid’s drawing and at the end, it’s shown that it’s actually kid Al and kid Ed drawing the scenes. The preview for episode 2 shows the actual start of the series, with young Ed and Al and their mother, and her impending death.

Overall, this series is still amazing, no matter how much I whine about it :D. The improvement in setting design and effects was amazing. The character designs are still so-so, especially when I compare it to the latter parts of the old series. Some polishing is still needed in some characters like Armstrong and Ed (especially Ed), although the chibified ones are cute. The seiyuu cast is also okay, although I still have to say that it’ll be hard for me to get used to MikiShin’s flirty voice as Roy.

The change in perspective gave the series a total makeover as promised and it’s a great treat. The third person POV, away from Ed and Al, gave the introduction to the Elric brothers more suspenseful and gratifying. Roy appearing at the start of the series is a surprise, but quite nice, especially since he’s the most prominent character next to Ed and Al. The comic relief is also good, awkward and even stupid at times (hello, Armstrong’s bullets), but forgivable.

The OST doesn’t impress me much, though. I was hoping they’d choose a more powerful song lineup for the OP and ED and even the inserts. Well, since it’s just the first episode, maybe they’ll grow on me or something :P.

Despite the downside, this series did not disappoint my expectations. Of course, it need not be asked if I’m going to follow this series.

  1. April 29, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Not sure if you’ve figured this out, you probably did…haha

    but it turns out that the first 2 episodes have nothing to do with the story line. It’s complete filler so to speak, showing new people to the series how amazing it is.

  2. May 4, 2010 at 9:25 am

    If you live in Weston Florida and plan on refinancing an existing mortgage or get a new mortgage beware of scam artist Tulio J. Rodriguez. This so called “Mortgage & Finance Specialist” will tell you just about anything to get your business. His group of scavengers “Real Estate Agents and Mortgage Specialists” lie through their teeth to take your money.

  3. January 12, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Pining just seemed inadequate, so innocent and lonely. One did not hold cenz on their tongue to understand and savor the taste of steel because one was pining.

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