Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 3

With the important parts of the back story out of the way last time around, it's time for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood to get on with the business of the start of the Elric brothers journey proper, as they make their way to Lior to investigate the strange goings-on there.

Of course, if you're familiar with the original series then you'll know this particular episode all too well - From "Father" Cornello, a man of miracles who promises that he can even resurrect the dead through to Rose (she of the gorgeous hair), one of his most devout followers in the hope that he can bring her dead lover back to life. Naturally, Ed and Al are most interested in how the Father performs his miracles, as it becomes clear that this is simply alchemy of some kind, but without a transmutation circle and seemingly without any equivalent exchange. In the brother's mind that can mean only one thing - This man possesses the Philosopher's Stone.

As it's been so long since I watched the original Fullmetal Alchemist series it could be my mind playing tricks on me, but it seemed that this new treatment of the whole Lior plot had a much more explicit focus on religion versus science than the original, arguably taking on an even more atheistic stance than its predecessor. That aside, the main check boxes of the story were all there as I remembered, although this time around the series seems far more happy to descend into comedy even at what would otherwise be more serious moments - A little light-heartedness is never a bad thing, but I can't help but worry that Brotherhood is overdoing it rather and losing some of the impact of its story-telling as a result. This comical turn also extends to the animation, which also frequently switches to a more comical styling which jars occasionally.

At this point in time it's still far too early to get a real handle on what Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is hoping to achieve in comparison to the original series, and watching it remains rather an odd experience as everything feels so different yet so similar much of the time. As of right now, I'll have to admit that if I had to choose between the two my vote would go for the original series, but then again it's always impossible to say whether I'm looking at that show through rose-tinted (or should that be Rose-tinted?) glasses. To me, Brotherhood is still feeling a little rushed in place and entirely to flippant in others, which is taking the sheen from what would otherwise have been a solid start to the series for me. I certainly don't want to write this show off, but I'll be the first to confess that my skepticism towards it is very slowly growing week on week.


Anonymous said...

Nah, this is not the real meat of FMA yet. If they follow the manga then the real story of FMA is much more interesting.

tango said...

I remember watching the series a few years ago and loving it, although as the series progressed the show went to a fine mixture of seriousness and comedy to downright depressing. It wasn't until a friend urged me to read the manga (after incessant praising and telling me how different it is) that I came to know what I was missing out on.

If this brotherhood series follows the manga, then it shouldn't be too bad. There's a shift in the emphasis on certain themes and emergence of concepts that totally diverge from the first anime as well as a more balanced approach in terms of comedy and seriousness. BTW have you noticed the appearance of two eyes in the previous episodes?

Comparisons to the first series is inevitable and some do prefer how the former handles it but do give this second series a chance (so that you can see how awesome the original manga storyline is, and appreciate the appearance of certain new characters) until the Greed Arc where the main differences really begin to emerge.

Anonymous said...

I would say at least wait until Brotherhood starts diverging from the original anime before making any definite opinions on it as obviously with the faster pacing, all the previously shown stuff won't be as good as the old one (especially since the change in VA and how all the plot twists are for the most parts known)