If you have spent any amount of time on this blog you’ll pick up on the fact I’m a geek and I won’t deny it.
I grew up watching imported anime on Saturday mornings, playing video games, reading fantasy novels, and getting into intense discussions concerning all these with my friends. But, for a while I was not able to watch anime, either due to general busyness or lack of access.
Finally, in the last two years, I have been able to watch these shows again and I have been loving it (sometimes a little too much). And while it is an indulgence, I have used this interest to better my own stories. I use my observations of the animes to hone in on my own characters and worldbuilding. It is a practice that allows me to enjoy entertainment while also utilizing it.
Why Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood?
This leads me to Full Metal Alchemist. Earlier, I discussed Qrow from RWBY on this blog, and well, the RWBY community constantly brings up Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA) references in video comments because his voice actor plays Ed in FMA. So after about a year of hearing how great it was by people with similar tastes, I finally decided to check it out.
The only version I was able to find was FMA: Brotherhood, and while I was hesitant at first because I knew it wasn’t the original anime, after some research I discovered that it is closer to the story of the manga and jumped right into watching it.
I am currently in the middle of the series (so no spoilers in the comments please) and here are the five reasons I am loving it and three things I wish were better. I’m going to keep this somewhat vague as I hate to give away too many spoilers.
- I’m emotionally invested – Ed is actually a decent example of a teenager who is brilliant, but is also not as smart as he thinks he is. He and his brother Al are desperately trying to get their bodies back after a failed attempt to resurrect their mother. This is already a great set up to a story, with a main character driven by pain and a mission of redemption, but the best part is he’s not the only one. As the series progresses we get a glimpse of the psyche behind Colonel Mustang and his assistant Hawkeye.
- Insurmountable odds – Our main characters are up against seemingly all powerful enemies, but even in the face of this there are glimpses of hope.
- Nuanced baddies – Well, not all of them (see below). But there is at least one a couple baddies who seem to have more motivations than their face value.
- Setting – So far there aren’t as many plot holes or super powered heroes as I’ve seen in other anime like Kirito‘s character in SAO (though I am disappointed in a few times where it seems the main characters too easily get out of a tight situation). I consider this a positive. There are also several countries and cultures at play that serve to spice up the main story.
- Complexity – A few episodes in, it became clear the story would revolve around not just the Elrich brothers but also the rest of the cast. I love this sort of story telling where we get a glimpse at the larger chess game being played out instead of a focus on just a couple of characters.
- Winry – I’m annoyed Winry has not played a larger role in the story, though I’m holding out hope that her part will expand in the last half of the story. She has grit but also a soft side, and I’m very interested to see what she would do if she gets caught in a real fight.
- Pacing – There are a few sections of info dumping through flashbacks (most of what was revealed I had already pieced together from the storytelling in the present). There are also several slow sections, which are good for character building, but not the part of the story I’m interested in at that moment.
- The bad guys – There’s a few characters I’m so ready to be done watching: Envy, Gluttony, and Lust this one goes out to you three. They’re more or less the most two dimensional of all the major players: evil for evil’s sake.