The Anime that Transmuted the world

FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood


Ethan Gray, Staff Writer

I can say in good honesty, that I’ve never seen a piece of media with a better story than the anime Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. 

The story is about the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse trying to get their bodies back after committing the biggest taboo in the world of alchemy, human transmutation, in an attempt to bring back their dead mom. 

However, the show suddenly goes from being about two brothers trying to live normally, to an extensive web of characters thrust into saving the world. The diverse and colorful cast of characters need to save the world from amazing villains that range from corrupt religious and political figures, to powerful immortals.

The show has a beautiful art style that makes the fight scenes look incredibly fluid. The show has great brutality that makes the fights and injuries incredibly convincing and scary, as you hope that your favorite character doesn’t get hurt.

One of the most brutal ways of fighting is when the alchemist uses transmutation directly on their enemy. A good example of this is shown in the video below.

The shading in this anime is immaculate. In moments where our beloved characters are having fun, the shading gets bright and vibrant. The fun and vibrant colors in cheery moments, makes you almost forget the suspense of the show, and like you are watching a fun comedy anime.

But then suspenseful, or dark moments happen and the coloring looks dull and almost dead. It really helps you sympathize with the characters in dark moments, when the actual shading is dark, and the contrast between the shading in different story tones really furthers this effect.

If it wasn’t for the gradual change in character designs, the main character, Edward, would be a lot less convincing. Seeing him go from a tiny fifteen year old who is just starting to see the world, into a more bulky teenager who looks like he is in good athletic condition, makes it feel like you grew with him, and what he does by the end of the series is much more believable.

Edward Elric is one of the lesser characters development wise. In my opinion a good example of the amazing characters that Hiromu Arakawa can write is the colonel and flame alchemist, Roy Mustang. In the beginning of the series Mustang is a noble soldier who loves his crew more than anything and aspires to become the next Fuhrer, so that he can make up for the war atrocities that he had to commit with his alchemy.


However, after a dramatic and heart wrenching turn of events, he loses his sight of his noble goals. He becomes so revenge driven that he forgets his aspirations and becomes almost negligent to his crew. This is shown symbolically and literally, and by the end of his arc, it becomes intertwined with many other characters.

Personally, my favorite character is the underrated, crimson alchemist, Solf J. Kimblee. Kimblee is a psychopathic war criminal that enjoys causing pain. However, in an odd contrast, he is very down to earth and smart. On multiple occasions he challenges the morals of characters and is a catalyst for character development. And what I like the most is that he never really picks a side, he is just on the side that can cause pain.

When Kimblee once heard a military sniper talk about how much she hates that she takes lives, he asked her, “Can you honestly tell me in that split-second when you take down an enemy you don’t allow yourself to feel the slightest tinge of satisfaction and pride in your skills”(episode 30). The sheer horror on her face as she couldn’t morally agree with him, but knew he was correct gave me chills.

Brotherhood covers many heavy topics that will make you reach for a blanket because of the chills you will get. One of the events that really set up the story is the Ishvalan civil war, where the nation of Amestris stepped in and proceeded to massacre the majority of the Ishvalan people. This is a big building block for the series as there are later revenge plots, damaged mental health of characters, and you also later learn the motive behind the slaughter.

The show also goes into human and animal testing alchemically, which leads to one of if not the most iconic anime scene of all time. With a view count of 1.1 million on youtube, this bone chilling scene has become a staple of anime, through the shading brought up previously, and the incredible voice acting. In this scene you can really hear the pain in the characters voices, and it also sets to differentiate Ed and Al.

The moments in this show are utterly amazing. Most of the awesome moments are propelled because they stem from each character arc, and are a culmination of the entire character’s build up.

The only complaint I can think of for this show is that the beginning was done poorly. Because there are two shows, FullMetal Alchemist which came out in 2001, and FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood which came out in 2009, the beginning of the 2009 version has a rushed and sloppy start. Both shows have the same beginning and the animation studio making Brotherhood expected that you had already watched the 2001 version. Therefore the first episode drops you into the thick of it because they expected viewers to be nostalgic and would want to see their favorites in action again. After the first episode, the next few episodes are just incredibly rushed because the story of them was expected for you to already know.