Welcome to this week’s N00b reviews! After discovering Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime on Netflix and then binge-watching the first season over the weekend I have decided to look at the manga series to see how the two compare. Similarly to previous manga I have looked at I won’t be reading all of the chapters released (as I don’t have the time!) but instead up to sensible story arc to finish on.
Fullmetal Alchemist is a manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa that tells the tale of two brothers: Edward and Alphonse Elric. They are on a journey to find the Philosopher’s Stone in order to restore their bodies after they perform ‘Taboo’ Alchemy to bring back their dead mother. Consequently, Edward loses his leg and Alphonse loses his entire body. Sacrificing his right arm, Edward fuses Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armour. They believe the Philosopher’s Stone will act as a catalyst to restore their bodies.
Compared to some of the manga I have already looked at in the N00b reviews series I found Fullmetal Alchemist‘s artwork style very cartoon-like but that again made me concentrate harder on what was going on in the story rather than being distracted by the intricate illustrations. This is especially helpful with the story being so complex!
What I liked:
Whilst the story’s tone is quite dark and gritty there are also comedic moments to lighten the tension. There are also very heartwarming sequences that really make me feel and care for the two brothers. I also liked the fact that the villains were named after the seven deadly sins: Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Pride, Wrath, Greed and Sloth.
So, as you know I mentioned that I liked FMA because it was funny I think these panels explain the comedic values perfectly and the ‘sparkles’ in Alphonse’s eyes are so cute, which is weirdly human considering he is basically just a suit of armour physically!
What I disliked:
One of the things anime is often criticized for is having too many filler episodes that don’t contribute to the story’s progression, and whilst I didn’t necessarily find this was the case with the manga there did seem to be a couple of sequences that weren’t completely essential to the main story arc and just filling time instead.
How does it compare to the Anime:
It is interesting to note that there are two different anime series’ based on the FMA manga; one that relies on the manga heavily for reference (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) and one that deviates away from the manga and has a completely different ending (Fullmetal Alchemist).
Once again, I have fallen in love with manga! One thing I particularly enjoyed about Fullmetal Alchemist were the moments of brotherhood that were shared between Edward and Alfonse. For example, when they are reminiscing about the fights they had when they were younger (like most siblings do, fighting over toys, etc.) or the willingness to die for each other.
This made the characters more believable and as an audience we could really empathize with the way they were feeling and they motives behind their actions even if we didn’t necessarily agree with the method.
Above all I’d definitely recommend giving the manga a read and watch the Brotherhood anime if you enjoy it as it does rely heavily on the manga for source material.
Written by Jess Harcastle, Marketing Whizz-kid for Cosmic Anvil.