Posted by psgels on 26 April 2009 with categories: Full Metal Alchemist - Brotherhood

Short Synopsis: The Shou Tucker arc, compressed into one episode.
Episode Rating: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
I’m amused at the people who are already disappointed by the new FMA series. I mean, it’s only been three episodes; what did you expect? The new series lacks the novelty of the original, and the series has mostly been simply building up. At the start of the season, did people expect the new Evangelion in only three episodes, or something?

Not that the new series is perfect and all, of course. The producers right now are trying to rush through the first few episodes a bit too badly, and hardly allow for any quiet moments right now, but at least these beginning episodes are a lot more easy to go through than the original series was. There were a few differences here and there, mostly involving Scar: this episode sees him kill off Basque Gran, right after he was introduced, and he kills off both Shou Tucker and his daughter. It’s good, since I never liked that guy anyway.

As for Basque Gran’s death, it was a shame he died so early. I remember his death in the original series as being one of the first memorable scenes, because it was so ironic: here the show was building him up as one of the major bad guys… and then he gets killed off so easily. But I do guess that it makes more sense this way: after all, Scar was a smart guy. Why the heck would he show his face in front of half a dozen officers. It’d be much harder for him to move around that way. Looking back, it was just another cheap trick to get Ed involved with the main storyline.

Strangely enough, this episode also showed that Scar has some sort of inside-knowledge of what’s going on inside the military. Otherwise he would never have known where Basque Gran would be, or where he could find Shou Tucker, right after he created his next chimera. At this point, I can’t remember whether or not the original series answered that question, though.

Normally I don’t mind when the creators of an anime insert their own stuff, insert fillers or go with a different storyline, but in the end it’s all going to depend on their ability to write a good storyline, which for the original FMA unfortunately didn’t go too well at certain times. The first thirteen episodes had their charms, definitely. The small scenes in which we see Scar, right before Ed arrives for the first time in Central City for example were a nice touch, as they showed how Scar was when he just received his arm (either that or my memory is deceiving me again and Brotherhood also had that scene… something must be wrong with either me or the series if I can’t remember a simple fact that happened two episodes ago…).

Anyway… it’s a shame that the fillers of Full Metal Alchemist were all just too formulaic, with dull characters and a predictable role for the two lead characters, with the only exception being the one with the dog and Armstrong’s family; that one was fun, granted. In the second half, the original material improved a lot, and the storyline was really competent, but at the same time it screwed up by trying too hard to make characters from the earlier episodes return, combined with a set of certain other characters that just got on my nerves. But I think that my biggest problem with the original series is that I could never really buy Ed and Al as the two lead characters. That’s why I appreciate Brotherhood’s attempts to make the two of them more likable.

22 Responses

  1. Kim says:

    You don’t even see Basque Gran get killed in the manga at all it is just mentioned and he himself is later shown in flashbacks. And on another note he is not a bad guy in the manga. ;)

    The Scar arm thing should be in this version too but it comes later (it is a bit different in the manga storyline though)

    But I really do like the Nina story. In the original manga it comes after Lior, Youswell and the train story where Ed & Al easily beat the bad guys. Nina was the first time we see that they can’t solve everything and they are very much still children. There is even a line that was unfortunately cut out: after Roy says the state alchemists are like devils Riza says “That is the logic of adults, Ed is still a child”. Another difference between this and the 1st anime is the Nina storyline happens when Ed is 12 in this series and the manga he is 15.

  2. senerikfred says:

    The manga, and I’m pretty sure Brotherhood as well, didn’t have Scar turn up until after he gets back from Lior, and around the Eastern HQ instead of in Central. Also, Scar’s main backstory happened back during the civil war in Ishbal, so there was a while there where he was probably just hiding/sulking in the Ishbal territory before he decided to use the arm to kill State Alchemists(he only started slightly before the time that the series is at now in the manga). And shit, I never realized just how easily he found people. I don’t think the manga ever answered that, either, unless he was just good at observing the military’s activities in the city without getting noticed-which he technically must be to stay in hiding so well, and is understandable since the military did go about exterminating his people for a while.

    And I think getting confused about details is understandable when you’ve seen pretty much the same stories as these early episodes four times.

  3. Kim says:

    Oh as for how easily Scar finds the state alchemists you know I do not think that is mentioned specifically in the manga. I know state alchemists are well known by name even to the general public so I would guess that is how Scar gets information on them. I guess sometimes he also just gets lucky and runs into one as he roams the city. We see Scar’s successes not his failures basically.

    On another note as for the pacing I actually think it was very good in this episode going by the flow of the manga. It was definitely rushed in episode 2 & 3. But in this episode they only adapted 1 chapter. In episode 2 & 3 they tried to adapt two chapters into 1 episode and it doesn’t work very well.

  4. Patrick Monti says:

    Well if people don’t like the new FMA is probably because it was new at the time and much darker than the new version. The new version is breaking the mood all the time with those stupid misplaced jokes. That’s my opinion of this new version at least. I seriously think they should have waited 5 to 10 years to make this, it’s too soon to make a new version of an anime like this.

  5. K2 says:

    The pacing is getting better. Feel like they’re starting to tell a story than summarizing them now, which is good.

    I’d love to hear what you found more likeable about the Elric brothers this time around than the first version. I also thought their personality are very different. But hearing from you, who never read the manga, pointed out this fact in a few episode is interesting.

  6. UmbrellaMan says:

    It is hard for me to say at this point if I like this take better than the original. I haven’t read the manga, so I’m hoping that this story (as it develops) with be new to me. The only flaws that I’ve noticed (like Patrick said) are the jokes and the animation attached with them. I don’t mind humor in a serious story, but it shouldn’t be so blatant that it takes you out of the action and story. I find them to be jarring. I loved the original, and I hope that this series, if not an improvement, will at least be comparable to it. Only time will tell.

  7. Windspirit says:

    Well, it’s not because of the story that those who don’t like it… don’t. It’s because the director fucking sucks and the whole mood of the show has completely changed. I swear I felt like watching Bleach sometimes. There was humour in the manga too, but the dosage was much better (Arakawa has proven long time ago that she was a great storywriter).

  8. edward says:

    so far i think they are adapting the manga very well. starting with ep 2[origin story.] adapting chapters 23-24. ep 3 adapted chapters 1 and 2. and 4 skipped to chapter 5. cause chapters 3-4 were filler-ish. its almost adapted frame by frame with the manga.

    so any criticism on the humor and jokes is none of the animators fault. its taken directly from the source. [the angles identical too] starting next ep the differences between the first anime and this one will start getting more apparent

  9. senerikfred says:

    It IS Brotherhood’s creators’ fault that the humor is so out of place. Arakawa set up the humor in a way that works well in a manga format, doing a direct insert of that into an anime doesn’t work nearly as well. Not coming up with a way that works better animated is just lazy.

  10. minion says:

    Agreed with Windspirit and others, the director completely ruined the sad, gloomy and gothic atmosphere Full Metal Alchemist had! Now, it feels like your generic shounen anime, like Bleach and Naruto! >:(

  11. narkins says:

    honestly I thought this episode was excellent. It stuck to the story line of the manga, though i don’t really get what people are complaining about with the jokes. Afteral there wasn’t a single short joke and the messing around with alexander and Nina is important as it gives the viewer an emotional attachment to them.

    Honestly there have been pacing issues and in some of the earlier episodes the constant joke were a bit grating I agree but what were people expecting? Perfection is a a aim not a reality

  12. Kim says:

    honestly I thought this episode was excellent. It stuck to the story line of the manga, though i don’t really get what people are complaining about with the jokes.

    I agree I might be able to understand the complaints about the jokes in the last two episodes (but I think the real issue with those was the pacing issue which did not allow enough time for the emotional scenes to sink in) but there were not that many jokes in this episode at all. I remember a few when Ed & Al were playing with Nina but that only contrasts well with what happens later. And the actual emotional scenes were not rushed at all.

    Although I am nervous about the next episode because they are again adapting 2 chapters into one episode.

  13. kagura says:

    I’ll probably never understand people praising the previous FMA series. For me, a die-hard manga fan, it was terrible in so many ways, that I’m amazed I actually even managed to make it through all those 50 episodes, plus equally or even more terrible movie. The mentioned “sad, gloomy and gothic” atmosphere was, among other things, pretty much what ruined the first FMA for me.

    The atmosphere of the current series is much more similar to manga (including all the “jokes” – they were actually taken straight from the manga, so I don’t understand where all that complaining comes from). Sure, I agree, the first episodes weren’t that great (there was a few things I’d have done differently), but I had more fun watching them, than I ever had watching the previous FMA. I’m sure that from now on it’ll only get better.

  14. Loba says:

    As much as I had bashed the second episode, I say this episode was pretty well done with the jokes added liberally at the right time unlike the first two episodes. I thought the scene where scar managed to kill off the general was lame. Do you ever find a general walking down the street alone? No way man. As for why scar was able to locate alchemists, just like any other kidnappers, he most likely camped, waited and striked those who bore the state alchemist watch(in this series, there are two kind of uniforms, dark blue and light blue to indicate the difference in rank).

    The original anime indirectly shows that the alchemists who attacked ishbal were quite famous and well known, that’s probably how scar was able to recognise them with edward being the only exception due to him being famous because of his reputation.

    As for this series…scar may have a insider like what you said or he could just be very adept at tracking down the households of alchemists. Brotherhood doesn’t have the scene of emo scar, he was justice reincarnate in this episode =)

    I thought the writers were trying too hard in the first two episodes.

  15. Kim says:

    The original anime indirectly shows that the alchemists who attacked ishbal were quite famous and well known, that’s probably how scar was able to recognise them with edward being the only exception due to him being famous because of his reputation.

    Like I said above State Alchemists are in general well known by name to the general public, even ones who did not take part in Ishval like Tucker. That being said some are more famous then others, Roy for the part he played in Ishval (which will be expanded on in this series) and Ed for being the youngest state alchemist for example.

    Scar would know Tucker’s name and then he could easily find where he lives. It’s not like Tucker’s address would be a state secret. As for Scar arriving the same night as Nina it’s just a coincidence.

    As for Gran walking by himself well the point is with his skill he doesn’t think he has anything to fear. State Alchemists are considered human weapons. The idea that Gran would not walk alone makes no sense. And even if word of Scar reached state alchemists well again at first they probably did not take the threat seriously. What could one man do against a state alchemist?

  16. Mumei007 says:

    At the risk of whipping a dead mule, I’ll say it again – the pacing sucks.

    I’m pretty sure you’ve heard all this before but it really ruins the mood of the story. And I thought the Lior arc was done better in the first series. Well I can certainly sympathise with the creators who really need to get to the point where the first series diverged from the manga. Perhaps the pacing will then slow down a bit and Brotherhood can become a lot more bearable.

  17. senerikfred says:

    Agreed about the ‘sad, gloomy atmosphere’ being a flaw of the first anime. It was TOO emo, and Ed cried too much. The manga is indeed much more of a shounen, but it’s far from typical-the plot moves forward steadily, the humor is good and varying, the characters all get to develop and play a part, and while Ed has some overly-perfect qualities, Arakawa makes sure to point out often that he’s really not the strongest in the story or anything, and as with my last point, he certainly isn’t the one to do everything important. What’s so much better in the feel of the manga is that the characters do indeed get a lot of crap slung at them, but their world isn’t all bad, either, and they’re strong enough to overcome their misfortunes and fight to attain happiness.

    In the words of Al in a recent chapter-“Why do I have to make a choice? Can’t I save the world, AND get my body back?” Ultimate happy end=best end, as proven in E7 and Princess Tutu. Sure there are still bittersweet aspects to the characters’ lives, but they can sure as hell achieve enough to be content.

  18. Kim says:

    @ senerikfred:

    Wow you described what I love about the manga so perfectly. There were some things I enjoyed about the 1st anime but I feel it relied a bit too much on angst. If we can make people sad than we can forgo real character development.

    But in the manga while there are sad moments the characters are constantly moving forward and not giving up. The manga is just so much more positive in its overall message and I prefer it in every way.

    And as you said Ed is an important character but he is certainly not the only important character or the strongest. Every character in the manga has their moment to shine.

  19. Mei says:

    The dog scene and Armstrong’s family aren’t anime-only fillers. The manga artist of Fullmetal Alchemist draws some omake (funny short comic strips somewhat related to FMA) and/or side-stories at the end of every volume. Those two scenes were adapted straight from the omake and side-stories. Those and the miniskirt scene, and the Edward vs. Mustang fight. I wonder if those will still make it into the Brotherhood series.

  20. ceillon says:

    Funny, but I think that the manga feels flat compares to the anime and which I admit is typical of the shounen genre. And I don’t know how you can really say that the emotional quality of the original FMA was its flaw, it’s the opposite in fact. What actually separates FMA from the animes like Naruto and Bleach is the atmosphere. That characteristic of FMA actually helps it be distinguish from the multitude of shounen anime out there, which resulted to it’s success. The problem right now is that Brotherhood is showing signs of a completely forgettable series and and the reason for that is it’s lack of emotional impact on it’s audience. FMA was memorable because it was depressing, it was memorable because it was tragic, it was memorable because it was brutal, it was memorable because it was bloody and it was memorable because the ending was bittersweet.

  21. Mumei007 says:

    Is it just me or did Nina only call Edward onii-chan in the end? My friend was watching the subbed version on Animax and he asked me why the “chimera suddenly called Edward brother”.

  22. Travis says:

    there is nothing appealing to this new FMA series it sucks. there is no emotion and nothinng pulls me into it.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:37 PM)
    Well finally found that spider on a web right outside the bathroom window:
    It’s gotten way larger and seems to be prospering outside, so I decided to let it be instead of bringing it back in the house. Not to mention that I’m a bit intimidated since old Shelob’s a jumpy little fucker. Well hopefully she’s the type of arachnid that knows how to hibernate, cuz winter’s coming in fast.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:15 PM)
    It’s specially hard to like something that was somewhat made out of spite over the fan criticism of 2.0 becoming ‘too cliche and positive’, even psgels was irked by the overall tone that he thought didn’t fit the series. So Anno went and did a 180; for better or worse. I personally liked it and believe that you can’t have a Eva redo without mindfucks, but I think it all hinges on what the last movie accomplishes to do.
  • jerkocaust
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:14 PM)
    Isnt ninjarealist the one writer who disappeared for months after he got into an argument in the comments lol
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:09 PM)
    @Aidan: you don’t say? I thought we all agreed on everything and just circle-jerked? learn something new every day.
    I wouldn’t expect anything else, since there are a very few positive reviews of 3.0 that are beyond fanboy level of criticism.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:40 PM)
    And by that I mean the bluray release by funimation is coming out and you can finally own it =P
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:33 PM)
    Wait… 3.33…I misread.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:27 PM)
    @Bam: The dvd release for Eva 3.0 is February 2 next year.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:27 PM)
    @bam, if I wrote a review of rebuild 3.0 it would be pretty harsh.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:23 PM)
    I am somewhat disgruntled that there isn’t a review for the last two Berserk movies tho; psgels seemed quite the Berserk fan. He was also warming up to the Evangelion rebuilds but went on permanent hiatus right before the third film came out. I don’t wish a review of 3.0 on anybody tho, since most’ll be pretty hard-pressed to write more than two paragraphs about it.
  • bundleofsticks
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 06:48 PM)
    Also would people really be interested in a blog that only reviews old anime not many people watch anymore? Its better to review new shows

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