The suspense. The action. The characters. All three elements excel in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, an anime series that explores the mysteries of alchemy and it’s characters. Edward Elric, the youngest alchemist to become a state alchemist, seeks to find the philosopher’s stone, an object that he hopes could potentially restore his brother’s original human form. It is found that Alphonse Elric, his brother, had his body lost in a botched human transmutation to revive their mother, with his soul bound to chainmail armour.
Meanwhile, “Father”, their enemy, cleanses himself of his seven sins: Gluttony, Pride, Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Envy and Lust. He sought to make himself perfect, but in the process loses his own humanity. The seven sins manifest into his servants, but each of them undergo human development in the process, with all of them having one unified goal to serve their “Father”. However, Greed defects from his creator and joins the Elric brothers in search for power. Together, they work to stop Father from taking over the world through alchemy. In the different arcs of the anime, the Elric brothers and their friends bond together to fight against the different personifications of Father’s Sins, only to realise that the different sins symbolise their own insecurities as well, giving them an opportunity to accept and embrace their own sins in the process.
Heart-wrenching scenes in the anime series explores the deep complexities of human nature, from the need to sacrifice lives in order to save their own, to paradoxes where the characters find that the sins are a part of themselves and how they should embrace them. Throughout the anime, viewers find that they can relate to the feelings of the characters, ranging from humiliation from failure to the incessant feeling of desperation. The action scenes in the anime, fitted with the beautiful composition of music truly create a sense of excitement and awe that can only be rivalled by the best movies in the world. Each episode felt like 5 minutes as opposed to 45 minutes: The content that has been packed into each episode satisfies the viewer to no ends- each meaningful hug, each torturous cry, each beaming smile; all of them contribute to the meaning that the anime hopes to bring underlying the surface. The tension between each character and their struggles mimic real life, but they each give us a sense of hope that we could potentially overcome each challenge if we chose to.
This anime provides comfort to the general audience; with so many things happening in the world, it is astounding to think that all these elements of humanity can be combined together in a symphony of character development and design. The art styles complement all the action that happens in the movie and I am fairly certain that most people who watch the anime will relate to the characters in a way that no other anime can replicate. I implore you to give this anime a watch, especially if you are a fan of fantasy and action anime. This is one of the few anime that has really been ingrained into my mind, with lessons that you can take away and apply in your life.
Yeo Hui Min Mandy