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Top Ten Favorite Japanese Animated Shows: #2 Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood

Two brothers try to bring their mother back from the dead, but end up losing Edward’s arm and leg and Alphonse’s entire body. They set out to get their old bodies back with a philosopher’s stone while trying to keep the stones from falling into the hands of the villainous homunculi.

Edward Elric is the older brother and main character. He’s kind of annoying because he is always getting upset about something. Alphonse, his younger brother, is actually a much better character because he is kinder, more mature and more level headed. He’s also stronger than Edward because his soul has been sealed by Edward to a suit of armor, which makes him big and strong. There is a girl the brothers know from back home named Winry who is a mechanic that frequently works on the metal parts for both of the brothers. Mustang is the main character from the military and has his own group of people who work for him. His most loyal follower is Riza Hawkeye who is an expert with fire arms and another one of my favorite women in all of anime. This show has many characters, most of which are pretty well done, but the five main characters are the ones that I have just mentioned.

The villains are pretty good, too. The main villains are seven homunculi, who have been created with philosopher’s stones. Depending on which version of the anime you watch, the original version has the brothers accidentally create one of the seven homunculi while they are trying to bring back their mother. The homunculi are interesting because they are each based off of one of the seven deadly sins and have the powers of whatever sin they represent.

The action is great with all kinds of magical powers, weapons and fighting styles. The humor is good and manages to break up the serious matter of the series. Edward has some funny over the top reactions and his arguments with Winry can be amusing. Some of the characters are pretty comical such as Ling, who is kind of a screwball. Loki is also amusing as a once corrupt government official who is now helping the protagonists, but nobody really seems to care for him.

There are few fan service moments besides Winry taking a bath in one scene and Lan Fan and Riza Hawkeye both conveniently losing their clothes at one time or another because of an injury or some alchemy markings on the back of Hawkeye. However, there are many great women in this series to fawn over. Take your pick, there seems to be one of pretty much every kind of woman in here, whether they be strong like Olivier Armstrong, Lan Fan or Hawkeye or more on the girly side like Winry.

The setting is early 1900s in a fictitious land that is pretty well explored with a cold fortress up north and other lands bordering the country of Amestris.

The music adds drama, but is not particularly memorable. Some of the opening theme songs are annoying. However, there is at least one great opening theme songs called Ready, Steady, Go and one great closing theme song, both of which were done for the original series. One thing to take note is that there are two different series and the newer version called Brotherhood is usually considered to be better despite the original having some good music going for it and more coverage of the animal hybrids called Chimeras led by Greed. Full Metal Alchemist is not considered a classic in the lines of certain slightly over rated animes such as Trigun and Cowboy Bebop, but it is a very popular, fun anime and personally I like this one more.