The Homunculi Unleashed
Part Two of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is what the fans have been waiting for. This is finally the point where the original “Fullmetal Alchemist” parted company with the manga and went off on its own story, but here with “Brotherhood” there is the chance to do it right.
“Brotherhood” was a pretty bold experiment. The first Fullmetal Alchemist anime out-paced the manga, and had to invent new storylines and resolutions separate from Hiromu Arakawa’s intentions. This in not unheard of in Japan. The same thing happened to Negima! which leads to a drastically different storyline in the manga and the anime. But with “Brotherhood” they decided to go back and re-make the series from the beginning, produced by studio Bones with new directors, character designs and overall look while keeping the story in-line with what was going on in the manga.
Part 1 of “Brotherhood” was good, but a little too rushed. They were basically covering ground that had already been covered in the first anime, and it isn’t until Part Two that the story gets to break free and develop according to plan. It shows in the quality and attention to character development in Part Two.
Part Two contains episodes 14-26, covering volumes 8 through 13 of the manga. There is too much going on here to give a full synopsis, but there are plenty of surprises in story for the Elrics as they encounter foreigners from a distant country who use alkahestry, an alternate form of the more familiar alchemy used by the brothers, and more secrets of the Philosopher’s Stone are revealed. The highlights of Part 2 are in episode 19, when the power of the homunculi Lust is finally unleashed for an action-packed showdown with Roy Mustang, and the heartbreaking episode 20, where Edward discovers some harsh truths about his transmuting the souls of the dead.
I don’t know if you have to choose, but I am enjoying “Brotherhood” more than the original “Fullmetal Alchemist” anime. The stories are deeper and more complex, and the animation style is more luscious and colorful.
If you haven’t given “Brotherhood” a shot, here is where it really shows itself to be more than a re-do of “Fullmetal Alchemist.” Give it a try!