“Fullmetal Alchemist” has Come in Many Forms

From manga to an anime, each with its own unique style and story, the series features two brothers trying to rebuild their lives and bodies after neglecting the laws of nature.


Anime and manga are slowly becoming more popular outside of Japan as time has progressed.

Anime — short for animation — is Japanese animated productions usually featuring hand-drawn or computer animation.

I find giving this form of animation such a significant name is suiting of it since it is very unique in its look.

There are many styles of anime but there are three defining attributes that make anime unique.

Anime usually consists of large-eyed characters, over-exaggerated emotions or actions and the attention to detail in the way the animation is drawn.

Modern manga has the same defining attributes as anime but is in a different medium on paper with still images.

Cartoon Network hosts several hours of anime on Saturdays known as Toonami.

I first watched  “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood” on Toonami but it currently no longer airs.

So, on to the plot: What would you do to bring your mother back to life? Would you give an arm and a leg or even your entire body?

That is exactly what the Elric brothers do.

In an effort to bring back their mother, who they lost at a young age, the Elric brothers resort to alchemy, the transformation of matter.

The brothers gather all the ingredients and draw out the transmutation circle to create a new body for their mother.

What they don’t realize is that they are about to break the ultimate taboo, trying to bring someone back to life.

The first and most important law of alchemy is the law of equivalent exchange, which states that in order to gain something of value something of equal value must be lost.

In their effort to restore their mother, both brothers are critically injured.

Alphonse loses his entire body and Edward loses his leg.

Edward frantically tries to find a way to bring his brother back.

In a last attempt, Edward bonds Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armor by offering up his arm in return.

Both survive the incident but at a cost.

Edward had his arm and leg replaced with what is known as automail, an armored prosthetic that can be customized to each user.

Years later the brothers begin their journey to find what is called the Philosopher’s stone, a stone that can break the laws of alchemy and possibly restore their bodies.

Along the journey the brothers encounter many new friends and foes, even discovering a conspiracy that becomes the focal point of the entire show.

As strange and serious as this story may seem, it also balances out with comedy.

Fullmetal Alchemist” was adapted to an anime series titled, “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood,” or referred to by some as “Brotherhood.”

There is, however, another version of the series titled, “Fullmetal Alchemist,” the original anime series was released while the manga was still being written.

The title, “Fullmetal Alchemist,” comes from the name that Edward Elric is given when he passes his state alchemy exam to become the youngest alchemist of the military.

I watched the original anime series as well as “Brotherhood” and comparatively both are good in their own right.

Each episode held a unique or meaningful addition to the story, leaving little room for any fluff to be placed in it.

“Brotherhood” has a side story that does not fit in the series easily.

The side story in “Brotherhood,”  known as “The Sacred Star of Milos,” gives a compelling and well-written account, but does not properly fit into the timeline of the series.

“The Sacred Star of Milos” could have never been created and the series would still be able to continue without its addition to the story.

Returning to the main story, “Brotherhood” maintained the fundament look that was drawn in the manga.

The manga uses only black ink when illustrating the story, leaving readers to imagine the colors that the characters and the environment have.

In “Brotherhood” the animation is colorful with detail to match that which was shown in the manga series.

From what I have read of the manga and watched of “Brotherhood,” the anime series does a good job of covering all the major plot points throughout the series.

Granted, some parts may be more embellished in the anime compared to the manga, but the reason is that the animation can fill in the blanks that were left in the panels of the books.

Another difference between the manga and anime is that the characters are given a voice to match their attitude and appearance.

The voice actors for the English version of the show are amazing and are cast in their parts perfectly.

Although I find the anime to be one of the best series I have ever watched, there is one thing that takes away from it, time.

Each episode runs at around 22 minutes, and there are 64 episodes in all.

Overall the series takes about 25 hours to watch, just a little over a day if you sacrifice sleep.

I watched the series to about the 23rd episode where it stopped, and then I wondered why week after week was filled with reruns.

After doing some research I discovered the show was on hiatus due to a critical issue, it was in the middle of translation.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I discovered this show was planned to conclude after 41 more episodes were translated and voiced over into English.

My luck hadn’t run out after discovering this, I found the remainder of the series on Funimation’s website ready to be watched.

The only issue at hand was that the remaining episodes were in Japanese. Fortunately the episodes had English subtitles.

While watching the episodes I had to bounce back and forth between the action and the dialogue.

For the most part the subtitles made sense for what they were worth, but from time to time a word or two would be thrown in that did not make any sense.

I was able to finish watching the series in no time.

When I was done I felt satisfied but also disappointed that I wasn’t able to experience the show in English instead of having my attention divided on the subtitles.

I have recently gone back and watched the remainder of the show in English and found it just as, if not more, enjoyable as when I had watched it before.

I can honestly say the show has to be on my top three for best animes.

So if you are interested in watching, visit “Brotherhood” on the Funimation website.

Be warned the show can be very addicting to watch, especially now that you have every episode at your fingertips.

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Donovan Correll

Donovan Correll

Donovan Correll, a junior Communication Studies major, is a staff writer for MBU Timeline and reporter/anchor for MBU Timeline-Broadcast.


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