When I recommend an anime to someone, the one that’s always on the tip of my tongue, ready to go, is Fullmetal Alchemist. Then I hastily add that he or she should watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. “Make sure it’s Brotherhood.”
Soooo. . . what’s the difference?
My sister originally recommended that I watch FMA, adding, “But watch Brotherhood, not the original!” Of course, my question was “What’s the difference?” She vaguely told me that the plot was deeper and better in Brotherhood. I took her word for it and devoured all sixty-four episodes in a week. It was honestly the best anime I’ve ever watched, in my humble opinion.
Recently, I watched the original FMA. I was surprised at how much they differed from each other. There are major points in each that the other leaves out. Okay. Let’s start.
First off, Brotherhood is a lot longer. The plot extends further and has more characters and altogether more fleshed out. The original anime feels filler-ish for a while in the beginning, while Brotherhood jumps into the larger plot quickly.
Fullmetal Alchemist left me feeling kind of let down at the end. It was almost a cliff-hanger ending, in that you don’t really find out what happens. The climax appears in an instant and vanishes quickly, leaving the audience with a brief summary that basically said, “and things are more or less back to normal, except for [spoiler].” Things were wrapped up in a movie released later called “The Conqueror of Shamballa.” It was extremely frustrating and a little depressing. On the other hand, the ending of Brotherhood was totally perfect. It fit really well and was satisfying. Of course, not everything turned out peachy, but it worked.
According to my sources, the original show was made while the manga was still being released, and thus, the direction of the plot was unknown. This is why it turned out the way it did, sort of splattered all over the place, without seeming to have a driving point or plot arch. Brotherhood was made later, and thus the plot was spread out logically in a way that ran smoothly, climaxed properly, and came to a logical and satisfactory ending.
Conclusion? Watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.