The main title protagonist.
As mentioned in the last post, my review today is for the recently concluded Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime (simulcast in Animax Asia just like Tears to Tiara – actually quite a lot of recent anime titles does nowadays). Also in the same post, I mentioned that this anime, and Winter Sonata, are the candidates that may be able to dethrone the current ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ holder Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Unfortunately, this anime failed to do it. Therefore, Winter Sonata is the only 2009 anime I have left in my queue that has the likeliest possibility and bestest potential to become the newest ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ in the future.
I do have more 2009 anime titles in my queue such as Bakemonogatari, the second season of Haruhi Suzumiya, Aoi Bungaku, Seitokai no Ichizon etc., but unless they spring a nice surprise to me the way Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei did back then, their chances is basically nil. Coming back to this review, while this anime failed to get the ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ award, it doesn’t mean I have stumbled upon a new Macross 7. This is still a very good anime; read on to see what I think of it.
And this is the main protagonist sidekick a.k.a. little brother.
In a fictional world where alchemy actually works, two siblings tried to misuse the said alchemy to try and revive their dead mother. Predictably, they failed but they get away with it lightly (only losing a couple of limbs and a full body, while in our world they would have been burned alive on the stake). To atone for their sins, they set on a journey to find the way of restoring their body parts to original again, while saving the world in the process.
A disclaimer: I have watched the first iteration of this series a few years ago before this blog was created, and I also have read the manga too. Unlike the first series, this new reboot stay more faithfully towards the manga version. Some early parts of the manga that was also reproduced in this first version of this anime (only the first half of that anime is canon) has been abridged or omitted altogether, but when the part of the manga that wasn’t animated in the first series comes in episode 16 or 17, deviations become far rarer.
OK, unlike many of the votes casted in the ANN page of this anime, personally I think the original storyline seen in this anime is only at the same level as the one you can see in Märchen Awakens Romance, and not more. This may be heresy, but I think the original anime, as a whole, also has better storyline than this original reproduction of the manga. This anime is purely an unadulterated conservative shounen title all the way to the ending just like Märchen Awakens Romance and unlike the edgier first Fullmetal Alchemist anime. But the fact that this anime rarely deviates from the manga saves this anime from the abyss of ordinariness.
With rare deviations from the manga (and basically none from episode 16 onwards), the pacing of this anime is picture-perfect. With rare deviations from the manga (and basically none from episode 16 onwards), the story development and the flow of the plot is simply flawless. In other word, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has the best ever presentation for an anime based from a manga. Apart from a recap episode, this anime doesn’t have fillers or useless episodes. Each episode will advance the story, and each episode with see character developments. This anime is on par with Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is this aspect, and where this anime really shine.
With rare deviations from the manga (and basically none from episode 16 onwards), character developments in this anime is very good all around even with a huge roster cast. The big episode count really help too. The best character I liked the most is the homunculus Envy; the homunculus group is really the biggest beneficiary of having the anime sticking up with the manga while the two main protagonists benefits the least.
I wonder if Japan will do more reboots of past series that was already aired. Some titles like Hellsing and Claymore could do with a treatment like what this series has.
This is the main protagonist's woman.
This anime has good character designs overall. Lack of black hairs (and gazillions of blondes) are overlooked due to the setting of this anime. A positive point for this anime.
And this is the main protagonist's pet puppy. And they are very similar indeed.
Many of the voice actors/actresses that features in the first series doesn’t return in the reboot. Some characters are affected negatively because of it, such as Envy, but those cases are exceptions in otherwise solid voice acting gigs in this anime overall. I only singled out Envy because in his case, the voice acting regressed significantly. His voice actress in the first series is so much better than the one in this anime. A positive point for this anime.
This is the best character in the series, facepalming himself because his voice actress in the reboot series is vastly inferior compared to the one in the first series.
The OST in this anime is just as good as the one in the first series, but you cannot say the same thing about the OP/ED themes. The first series has at least 4 good OP/ED themes but this anime only has the 2nd ED theme to show for it. 1 out of 10 themes, that’s a huge fail rate there.
This anime is another title that used the abhorrent blurry animation technique I have mentioned in Monochrome Factor and Nabari no Ou, And this anime seems to use it outside battle scenes too, especially in the latter part of this anime. Even Monochrome Factor and Nabari no Ou doesn’t do that. One point is docked off the final rating of this anime because of this. This is a pity because otherwise, the animation in this anime is very good overall, even in fast-paced scenes.
Choreography in battle scenes are mixed bag; the ones that doesn’t involve alchemy (read: all of the Fuhrer President King Bradley battles) are great while the vast majority of battles that involves alchemy (read: battles that includes the two main protagonists) are almost below average. In fact, the highlights of the ending arc are the two duels that King Bradley is involved in. Those fights are worth the price of admission alone.
The directing is flawless, but if following the manga storyline is the paramount goal of this anime, then you really have to try to screw-up the directing of this anime. This anime is a rare example of where the manga writer is actually the de-facto director of this anime.
And I don’t even mention the ridiculously fake-looking rain effects in this anime. Someone in Japan has to learn from Mister Makoto Shinkai before being allowed to animate again.
8 out of 10. The journey ends here, hahahaha! Therefore Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei will still retain the ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ title for the time being. Meanwhile, the selection for the first ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title holder will commence right after this. From the shortlist of eight 2010 titles, one will be chosen to be listed at the right sidebar of this blog. The 2010 titles are, in no particular reviewing order, Nodame Cantabile Finale (S3), Ookiku Furikabutte S2, Mayoi Neko Overrun, Hakuouki, Angel Beats, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, B gata H kei and Working. Which anime will come first, the answer will only be known in the next post.
And this is the main protagonist, in a pinch and is about to be beaten to a pulp.