Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) remains one of the best and best-loved series of the last decade, but Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is not a continuation of the characters' adventures: it's a remake that follows Hiromu Arakawa's manga more closely. The adventures began on the dreadful night when young Alphonse and Edward Elric delved into forbidden knowledge and tried to use alchemy to bring their mother back from the dead. They paid a terrible price under the principle of "equivalent exchange." Al was reduced to a disembodied soul bonded to a suit of armor; Ed lost an arm and a leg, but has been fitted with the mechanical prostheses that earn him the title Fullmetal. The brothers wander through a world that resembles late-19th-century Europe, seeking the legendary Philosopher's Stone, which they believe can restore their bodies. Although the series has been expanded to 63 episodes from the original 51, many of the subplots, including the Elric brothers' encounters with Cornello, the corrupt priest in Liore, and their training under Izumi-sensei, are abbreviated or eliminated. Instead, director Yasuhiro Irie introduces the characters from the country of Xing who didn't appear in the first series: Prince Ling Yao, who joins the Elrics, and diminutive May Chang, who befriends Scar. Ed and Al learn that the Alkahestry of Xing operates in ways Amestrian alchemy doesn't, opening the possibility of regaining their original forms without using the evil Stone. But they need Scar, Dr. Marcoh, and May Chang to decipher the research Scar's brother pursued in Ishbal, which means keeping them out of the hands of Fuhrer Bradley and the Homunculi. The darker and more dramatic Brotherhood packs even more of an emotional and visual punch than the much-loved original series. In the wrenching episode 20, Ed discovers that neither he nor Izumi succeeded in transmuting the souls of the dead: his mother and Izumi's baby were always beyond their reach. If some aspects of the story are more unsettling, they're also more satisfying: the artists pull no punches, whether conveying the horrors of the Ishbalan War or the humor of Lieutenant Hawkeye needling Ed for denying he's in love with Winrey. Almost the entire vocal cast reprises their roles, including Vic Mignogna as raspy-voiced, hot-tempered Edward. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood will delight both fans of the original and new viewers with no knowledge of the Elrics' previous incarnation. (Rated TV PG: violence, grotesque imagery, brief nudity, tobacco and alcohol use) --Charles Solomon
(1. Fullmetal Alchemist, 2. The First Day, 3. City of Heresy, 4. An Alchemist's Anguish, 5. Rain of Sorrows, 6. Road of Hope, 7. Hidden Truth, 8. The Fifth Laboratory, 9. Created Feelings, 10. Separate Destinations, 11. Miracle in Rush Valley, 12. One Is All, All Is One, 13. Beasts of Dublith, 14. Those Who Lurk Underground, 15. Envoy from the East, 16. Footsteps of a Comrade-in-Arms, 17. Cold Flame, 18. The Arrogant Palm of a Small Human, 19. Death of the Undying, 20. Father Before the Grave, 21. Advance of the Fool, 22. Back in the Distance. 23. Girl on the Battlefield, 24. Inside the Belly, 25. Doorway of Darkness, 26. Reunion, 27. Interlude Party, 28. Father, 29. Struggle of the Fool, 30. The Ishvalan War of Extermination, 31. The 520 Cens Promise, 32. The Fuhrer's Son, 33. The Northern Wall of Briggs)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Complete Collection Two
In the shadows beneath Central, the Elrics encounter Father, the creator of the Homunculi. His face is familiar - as is the new face of Greed - but his alchemy is unlike anything the brothers have ever seen. As Father's dark plot takes shape, Ed and Al brave the frigid north to meet the top officer of the fortress Briggs: General Olivier Armstrong. With icy nerve and burning intensity, she commands the hardest soldiers in the land. When you witness her leading the warriors of Briggs in battle against the unstoppable, rampaging Sloth, you'll know - the stakes are higher than ever in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Collection 2.