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Fullmetal Alchemist Review

by: sothis
October 25, 2004

story 10/10

Fullmetal Alchemist screenshot Full Metal Alchemist takes place in a world that seems similar to our own, but not as technologically advanced. Trains and steam powered engines are used a great deal, and the science of alchemy is far more prevalent than machines of our time. In alchemy, there is the rule of equivalent trade: you must give something of equal value in order to get something. And above all else, human transmutation is against all rules of alchemy, and does not work... or so it seems. Rumors have it that the Philosopher's Stone can give the alchemist the ability to even raise the dead, but it is long since sought after and never found. Enter Al and Edward, two young boys who attempted this heinous act once their beloved mother died. The act failed, causing Ed to lose his arm and leg, and Al to lose his body, trapping his soul in the body of a machine. Full Metal Alchemist follows Ed and Al as they search for the Philosopher's Stone to get their bodies and lives back... and that's just the beginning.

Full Metal Alchemist is, in a word, brilliant. It's hard to explain exactly why it was so good, so you'd probably just have to see it for yourself. There is a perfect blend of comedy, action, intrigue and excitement all in one. Filler episodes are wonderful and fly by quicker than a bullet train. I never at any point in the series was bored, even for a second. In the beginning, there are a great deal of mini-arcs that deal with events in a certain town or location, but all are still somewhat involved with the main plot. Once the end of the series rolls around, you realize that all of these seemingly unconnected events or places really ARE connected, or come back into play somehow. This comes down to FMA's epic nature at heart, and maybe that's why it was so good, who knows.

FMA is an extremely dark series, with plenty of very messed up scenes and ideas. "Wow" came to mind many a time when something gruesome happened yet again, and this continues throughout the entire series. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way (with one really major one near the end), most of which will surprise you and catch you off guard. There is also a plethora of character development and characters in general, all of whom have a rich background and history. The empathy we feel when a character is killed, for example (or hurt in any way) is present throughout the entire series because of how well the character interactions were presented in tandem with the plot. Truly, there aren't enough good things I can say about the story... it reels you in in the first few episodes and holds on tight till the final act (which is a very beautiful yet open ending, setting itself up nicely for the movie). There are barely any series I see that make me want to watch the next episode so badly, and this is one of them, for 51 episodes in a row. A 10? Can't give it anything less.

animation 10/10

The animation style for FMA was superb, and held a perfect balance of serious scenes and comedic chibis. Let's face it, the comedy played a big part in the series, and comic relief was badly needed in harsh scenes. The longest running joke was Ed being called short, and his irritation always manifested itself by him turning chibified for a few minutes. Whereas this would annoy me in most series, it seemed totally appropriate in FMA. Colors used were incredibly bright and vibrant, and character designs looked, well, normal for a series in this time period. The alchemy was definitely the most impressive part, showing us beautiful special effects and sequences. I believe a bit of CG was used, and was seamless, but I could be wrong on that point. Backgrounds were gorgeous, monsters were creepy, and the violence and disturbing parts were animated in a very... well... disturbing fashion as well. I can't think of anything that could have been done better in this case. Fantastic.

sound 10/10

There are barely any series that I see that make me want to get the soundtrack, and this is one of them. There was a piano tune in the later half of the series that was haunting and gave me chills every time it was played. Every piece fit the series in some way, from the upbeat lighthearted tracks to the moody depressing ones. Orchestral music dominated the series, mostly piano and violins.Even the intros and outros (except the last two outros, which were pretty terrible) shone. I don't usually rate the music score on the intro/outro, which is why this still gets a 10. Flawless music all the way around, and enchanting enough to make me want to buy the soundtrack, which is a really big deal in itself.

characters 10/10

I honestly can't see how anyone could think the characters score should be lower than a 10. All the characters, even the secondary ones, were developed extremely well. Al and Ed, obviously, had the most revealed about their pasts and motivations for the future, but even the bad guys and non-important folk seemed to have twists and depth attached to them in some way. We see characters grow close and drift apart. We see characters born, and characters die unexpectedly. We see masks cast aside from familiar faces, showing us that what the people we thought we knew, we really didn't at all. Everyone has layers that are peeled back and shown to us slowly... and in general, it was done in the most effective way possible.

overall 10/10

I can't say enough good things about this series, but I feel like watching it for yourself would make you understand why I gave it a perfect score. Everything about the series is flawless, from the epic and involved story to the pacing and mood, to the music and animation and depth of characters. It really is rare for a series like this to come along that not only succeeds at keeping your attention for 26 episodes, but for 51. What are you waiting for? Check this out as soon as you can.

Anime Info

Once upon a time, two brothers passed the happy days of their childhood by studying alchemy, which is governed by the equal transfer principle: an eye for an eye -- you can't get more than you give. But these brothers tried to defy that law, and a horrific accident resulted. Now, the older brother, Edward, is called the Full Metal Alchemist because of his metal limbs, and the younger, Alphonse, is a soul without a body, trapped within the confines of an automaton. Together they search for the power to restore themselves, to find the lives they lost so long ago...


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About the Author

sothis's avatar

sothis

My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

More Reviews

comments

MaatiSan avatar MaatiSan
Aug 19, 2009

10/10 means this is the perfect anime, and one of the best ever made.  Although FMA was good, really I don't see how it could rank higher than 8/10. 

Animation quality at most times although vibrant very vague 8/10, Main characters are developed, but sub characters are sterotypical losers look at Armstrong - Typical Gay He-man nice guy, Roy Mustang - Cool collected skilled, all the sub characters just portray a sterotype to a T 7/10.  The story is good, but it has many holes, and the end is very inconclusive 8/10.  When the sound track is good it is epic, when it is bad it is annoying it shares this complaint half and half.  The voice actors however are superb in most cases 9/10 sound.  Overall should definately be an 8/10, this isn't the pinnacle of anime although it shines in many areas.

Xapphire13 avatar Xapphire13
Jul 31, 2009

GreenRaven,

The Star of David is extremely well placed and should not be seen as offensive. Here is a quote from one of the symbolic meanings of the symbol:

"Made of two interlocking triangles, this symbol represents the union of opposites.  The top point of the triangle symbolizes fire and the downward triangle symbolizes water.  Alchemists believed that if two opposing forces were joined, in shrowded terminology, transmutation occurs in which ”common metal” is transformed into gold.  This is of course analogous with man’s philosophical allowance of the combination of opposites thus enhancing his path to enlightenment. This symbol has long been used by alchemists as a protective, magical emblem"

As you can see that as the anime is about alchemy, the star of David is the perfect symbol to use.

Steve,

sakura4 avatar sakura4
Jul 27, 2009

that's not true bogcom.

the fullmetal alchemist brotherhood series i find are not suitable for a younger audiance. at least not the original one. sometimes it can get gory.

the brotherhood series follows the original path of fullmetal alchemist but this time in a different angle. you get to know more about the elric brothers and the whole story in it's self

the brotherhood series switch from humor to gory and bloody pretty fast. one minute ur laughing about some silly joke and the other ur faced with blood :s not for kiddies thats for sure.

the americans probably did the same thing to the brotherhood series as in shaman king. they tore up a perfectly good anime to make it more kiddie friendly >_<

daloser30 avatar daloser30
Jul 20, 2009

ive watched the whole entire series and it was great but its not the best i wouldnt give it a perfect score but definatly a 9/10 i thought the ending was both unfofilling and confusing leaving alot of questions.

default avatar Bogcom
Jul 17, 2009

I have to issue a warning: there are two version of fullmetal alchemist out there

One called fullmetal alchemist: brotherhood

and one simply called fullmetal alchemist. 

Try to avoid the brotherhood one, i don't know the details but it seems US has rehashed the show to suit a younger audience (aka its for kids) 

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