Full Metal Alchemist ♠ The Two Animes

Elric brothers
Image by valiant ho via Flickr

Full Metal Alchemist is one of the longest running animes of our millennium — it finally finished its manga run last year and it had also finish its 2nd TV series, which was based on the original manga last year as well. I have only read the last issue of the manga when the penultimate and ultimate finale was at hand. I was introduced to FMA by the first TV series and I really enjoyed it so I was enthusiastic and euphoric when the 2nd TV series came out and Thanks to Allah Almighty that I got to see Brotherhood too [at least some of the EPs on Animax] Well, I thought that both animes had their ups and downs — THIS IS A SPOILER ISSUE SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED AVOID READING THIS SERIOUSLY!

First up I thought the ideological and philosophical base of FMA: Brotherhood is very strong so the manga is very good at portraying that. However, I think in some ways the deviations of FMA first anime series offered a new dimension to the FMA story and I think the anti-climatic nature of it was actually a good thing. Brotherhood also entails a lot of other things that I liked — the homunculi Envy and Pride are very sinister and have many layers to their personality also Dr. Marco does not die out easily in the 2nd TV series and I like that he and Yoki are able to redeem themselves as well the people of Ishval.

However there were some perks that the first series had

  • Protagonists — Is it just me or is the 2nd TV series Edward Elric a pain? I think they toned down his jerk like behaviour in the first TV series and made him more “heroic” as in humble and angsty. In the 2nd TV series he is so over-egoistic that I seriously got irked by him many a times.  The character is more matured in the first TV series but not really that in the 2nd. Also his overconfidence makes Al more likeable. Though I must admit I like the sleeker character design of Ed with the colour of his hair more prominently nicely illustrated in Brotherhood. I just think the Ed of the first series and even the movie was better in terms of character. There was something about him more akin to human and more polished. Many might argue that hubris is the 2nd Ed’s fault and that is just as heroic — true enough but in actuality I find him more annoying with his egoisms than the first TV series Ed nervousness and lack of not always knowing what to do.
  • Antagonist — the primary antagonist is Father in the original manga and the 2nd TV series but Dante in the first TV series. Both are more or less alike and both are very affiliated with Ed’s father. I liked Dante more in some cases though I must state that Father is cool too. There is not much of a difference in them except probably execution. If one thinks about it  Dante is power-hungry like Father, however, Father works more on proving himself. The antagonistic Father is a homunculus rather than Dante who is not. Father wants to prove to himself in a way that he can be more than just a “dwarf in a flask” but Dante is just a power-hungry human being who thinks she’s more. In the end she does not wish to prove anything to anyone especially herself as she already thinks she is the best. This makes her hate Ed’s dad as he obviously thinks otherwise. Dante also has a nerve of using Ed’s mom as an underling. But both are just empty beings in the end not able to do anything but manipulate others for their own gain.
  • The Homunculi — Obviously The FMA homunculi differ in personalities, agendas and even gender in both animes. Sloth was a woman in the first series as she was the incomplete human born out of Ed and Al’s desire to bring back their mother: as Wikipedia stated that  even the method of creation of homunculi differ in both animes. Well, obviously in the first anime any failed human transmutation (which was almost all of them) that survived would become a homunculus and in the second anime (which was using the original origins from the manga) the homunculi were the extracted portions of Father who was homunculus himself. I think I like both ideas a lot but I did like female Sloth better than the Sloth who is the huge muscle bound guy. Ironically, the female Sloth is the perfect example of “idle mind is the devil’s workshop” because though she is not physically active as the other homunculi she does do a lot of damage behind the scenes while the huge guy does the same he is not really as conniving as the female sloth but in actuality is more passive than that and dumb but has a lot of strength.  I like Envy of both versions but I will not lie the Envy adaptation in the first series has a lot more personal dimensions and more likeable but Envy is a cool homunculus. I am, however, not happy with Lust’s brief screen time in Brotherhood or Greed’s men. I like Marta and her involvement with Al and Lust’s prolonged appearance in the first anime so I was disappointed when she gets killed too easily. The best is Salem as Pride in Brotherhood: he is the only homunculus left alive in the end and his connection with Wrath’s wife keeps him alive. Like Envy in the first series, who is very close to Dante, Pride is very close to Father as he resembles more of Father than the rest.
  • New Characters — Ok, Olivia Armstrong is REALLY AMAZING and I loved her and Izumi Curtis as the best female characters but I won’t lie their designs kinda got to me at times (is it just me but Izumi was not drawn as amazingly as she was in the earlier series). I loved all the characters of Xing but really thought that Lin becoming emperor a bit too stereotypical. I missed Frank Archer though the sociopathic weirdo from the first series. I liked the old general and the other Ishvalens who carried out their respective missions in the second series. From the first series I also missed the Trigum brothers.
  • Rose and Winry — I liked it when Chezka was with Winry in the first series going on solo missions together and stuff. Rose’s cool bronze skin colour was made fairer and her pinkish hair darker. I liked the darker of the hair but I love Rose better as a beautiful bronze skinned lady. Winry is so annoying in the second TV series and I’m sorry if you like Winry and Edward together but I hated their coupling. Winry had so much spunk in the first series but she was a stupid Damsel in the second; nothing but a silly girl with just automail mechanics added on for fun. Complete character assassination.
  • Epilogue — though the final battle of the original manga and second series was way cooler than the first TV series I hated the conclusion of Full Metal Alchemist in the original to some extents. In many ways the first TV series echoed the epilogue in the original as in a way Ed could no longer use alchemy. I know the original wanted to show that Ed realized that there were more things in life than alchemy so he gave it all up (which in my opinion was a cruel sacrifice in some ways) but he gets to continue something finer in the first TV series in the alternate Earth but in the original its so redundant with him marrying and having kids. I mean I wanted him to have kids and marry but then it was all like ok whatever now I won’t do anything else. I loved he got married and have kids but I wanted his journey to continue in some way but staying with Winry and becoming boring was silly. I guess I would have liked it if he did some other stuff.
Well, of the two animes these were my likes and dislikes.
On a side note my favourite coupling is with Noah and Ed and yeah I liked Alphonse Heiderich ^_^
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