Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood Collection 1 Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.6
Video 8.3
Audio 8.3
Special Features 7.8
Total 8.5

Distributor: Icon
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Reviewer: Ho Wong
Classification
: M15+

8.5


Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood Collection 1

“Man cannot gain anything without first sacrificing something else. To obtain anything, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s Law of Equivalent Exchange”. Thus begins Full Metal Alchemist - Brotherhood, an anime based on the Full Metal Alchemist manga.  The plot revolves around two young brothers, Edward and Alphonse.  Edward is a State Alchemist, having been awarded the title by the state, due to his prodigal powers of Alchemy.  He goes by the name Full Metal Alchemist.  His body was partly destroyed (and Al’s body was completely destroyed) in an Alchemy experiment to bring their mother back to life.  Edward replaced his body parts with metallic ones while capturing Al’s soul in a suit of armor.  Their quest is to search for the Philosopher’s stone, hoping by harnessing its power, and reclaiming their bodies.  In addition to this, a mysterious man known as Scar is hunting the State Alchemists one by one....

FMA : B is at times rather dark. Dark as in how Alchemists stride through the dark cities and shadowy buildings.  Dark as in story elements involving manipulating dark arts in order to play with life and being. Dark as in characters who are flawed, who sacrifice values in order to attain the forbidden.  I found the plot involving and captivating, the battles between Alchemists as they created weapons and propelled objects fashioned out of the elements extremely satisfying.  There also is a lot of humour with Edward always teased about his size and Armstrong, another State Alchemist, who is very camp and seems to take his clothes off at every instant.

FMA : B is not the first anime based on the manga.  The series has been done before with a lot of the same voice actors returning for this remake.  The original series, in the later episodes, diverted from the manga but FMA : B is advertised as being true to the manga complete with twists not appearing in the original series.  I haven’t seen the original but from all accounts, this series is faster as they try to rush through to the part where the original deviated.  I don’t mind, the episodes seem quick paced, full of action and human emotion.  Fans of the manga who decried the original’s detour from the manga, rave about the pace, as this series blasts through entire volumes in a wink.  I agree - why make up original story elements when there is a perfectly good story already written?

The video, for bluray, did not seem to be as sharp as I imagined it could be.  As if put through a filter, this may have been done for artistic reasons but it didn’t detract much from the stylish, detailed renderings.  The audio is 5.1 Dolby HD English and 2.0 Japanese.  I generally find animes more enjoyable with the audio in Japanese so I do find it disappointing not having a similar high definition audio Japanese track and not taking full advantage of the sound stage.
The features included on the blu-ray are slightly disappointing - the first disc has a commentary with a few of the american voice actors who relive old memories of the original series and even admitting they haven’t watched this particular series.  Not having people closely associated or immersed in the production is a serious downer.  An interesting tidbit gleaned from the commentary is the use of “the bowl”, when Al’s voice is recorded using a metallic bowl next to the mic in order to simulate being inside a suit of armour.

FMA : B is a great series which should appeal to anime aficionados.  Those who have watched the first series may find the first episodes a bit slow as you will be going through old ground but this is a superior retelling of the story.  Readers of the manga will appreciate the authenticity of this version.  All in all, well worth viewing.






 
 



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