Full Metal Alchemist or Brotherhood?
August 4, 2013 7:31 AM   Subscribe

If I can watch only one Full Metal Alchemist series, which should it be?

I've seen the first half of FMA, and very little of Brotherhood. My girlfriend wants to watch one of the series. Should we pick one, or the other, or watch some of both? I suppose if yall insist both are mandatory, we could make time for both. My understanding is that Brotherhood covers some of FMA, but then gets different (better?)
posted by Jacen to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you have to choose one I would say Brotherhood as it is the one that follows the manga from beginning to end. The first FMA series has a different plot line as the episodes were being produced faster than the manga itself. Both series are great, and I recommend watching both if you have the time for it.
posted by Shirley88 at 7:44 AM on August 4, 2013

I adored the original anime and lost patience with the manga's plotline but ymmv.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:46 AM on August 4, 2013

If I had to pick one, I'd choose Brotherhood. I really disliked the ending to the first anime and thought the Conqueror of Shamballa movie that they used to conclude the story was terrible. Brotherhood covers the same amount of story from the first anime, but in about half the amount of time, if I recall correctly. So, the first 13-15 episodes might seem like retread, but after that it'll be stuff you've never seen before. The first anime diverges from the manga right around the point that you stopped watching.

(One note, I'm not sure how you're watching them, but I've heard the version of Brotherhood on Netflix has some serious subtitle timing issues, just FYI. Maybe they've fixed it by now.)
posted by Kosh at 8:30 AM on August 4, 2013

Nthing Brotherhood. Once the original series ran out of manga to adopt, it got pretty dicey.
posted by Aznable at 9:16 AM on August 4, 2013

Brotherhood, for the reasons cited above, and because my daughter thought it was better.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:32 AM on August 4, 2013

The original has a great beginning and a bad ending. Brotherhood has a crappy beginning and a great ending. It's hard to pick one to watch, but if I had to go back and only pick one, I'd go with the original, because the world building in it is so fantastic. It really pulls you into its setting. They just didn't know how to end it, because the manga was only half written during production.
posted by zixyer at 9:33 AM on August 4, 2013

Definitely Brotherhood. Hits most of the same plot points (so watching both, like I did, is a bit of a slog) but is just all-around better.
posted by signsofrain at 10:16 AM on August 4, 2013

I...well. Adding another Brotherhood echo here, I guess. It has considerably more appealing animation, minimizes the bad slapstick "humor"/short "jokes" and has a much, much more coherent world. I didn't really like what I saw of the original series, but I'm enjoying Brotherhood quite a bit. It's good light fantasy stuff that reminds me of older Squaresoft games and His Dark Materials.
posted by byanyothername at 10:41 AM on August 4, 2013

My friend has watched both and I haven't watched either. She prefers Brotherhood as a better anime, but says that the original series is interesting in its own way. Being the completionist, I've decided to watch both in the order they were made, and that's really what I'd do in your position.

An analogy she uses often is that if FMA is Hellsing, then Brotherhood is Hellsing Ultimate. Take that for what you will.
posted by Senza Volto at 11:26 AM on August 4, 2013

I haven't seen much of the original or read the manga, and I saw all of Brotherhood and I loved it.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 11:30 AM on August 4, 2013

I have the manga and have seen both anime series (and both movies FWIW). I agree with Shirley88 and Senza Volto's friend. If I had to choose, I'd choose the second series because it follows the manga story, but I think the ending of the first anime series was well done, too.
posted by misozaki at 4:27 PM on August 4, 2013

I loved the original series and really disliked Brotherhood. It's a little difficult to explain why without getting into spoilers. Although FMA may have gone overboard trying for emotional resonance, I preferred it to all of the action movie cliches and convenient failures in Brotherhood. FMA's melodrama worked more for me than Brotherhood's celebration of militarism.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:32 PM on August 4, 2013

My husband and I recently watched FMA (me for the second time, he for the first) and loved it, and we're about halfway through Brotherhood now and loving it. We both tend to feel that we're getting a slightly more complex emotional journey in Brotherhood, and the production values are better so it's nicer to watch.
posted by telophase at 11:35 AM on August 7, 2013

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