Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse Elric continue their quest to restore their bodies after a terrible accident involving alchemy. Part three of this series reveals the main antagonist; the history on the tortures in Ishbal and forges more depth into the plot. Striking new characters are introduced, including the ‘Ice Queen’ Olivier Armstrong, as the Elric brothers head north to Fort Briggs, where it is the survival of the fittest.
If you haven’t watched parts one and two of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, then it’s best to go out and watch them as soon as possible. If you’re a fan of the original 2003 anime and are putting off watching this ‘re-make’, then put it off no more. Part two already shows how vastly different the original series is, and it won’t feel like you’re watching the same thing again. Even though part one was probably too fast-paced, the following parts make up for that as you’re plunged deeper into this more intricately woven plot.
Part three of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood contains episodes 27-39 and after the first episode – a re-cap of what’s happened previously – it’s not long before you’re thrown straight back into the action. From here on, the plot gets considerably darker: hostages are used to make sure the Elric brothers and Mustang stay obedient; a main character struggles with a Jekyll and Hyde situation; and Hawkeye gives a gritty re-telling of the horrors of the civil war in Ishbal. However, this part moves the story onto a new location which is that of Fort Briggs up in the northern part of the country.
The thing with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is that it can afford to go on different story arcs whilst maintaining the interest and not deviate too much from the story. In this series, all different parts of the story are linked together in character development and history, which has subtle implications of being important for the final climax. Every point made is significant, and despite a huge proportion of the characters being in the same standard military uniform; somehow each character is different in looks and movements, making this show unique within itself. What may feel like a digression will later make you realise its significance and for that, this anime is very clever in doing so.
This rough northern landscape is the setting of most of the episodes and needless to say the story is just as compelling as ever with a clever balance of important dialogue and stunning action scenes. The animation is simply superb, but if you look past the initial animation of the characters and look in the background you will see every single solider and unimportant background figure differs from each other. The music of the series echoes the striking and harsh land of the north and links nicely with the characters.
In both Japanese and English dubs, there are outstanding performances with notable voice actors on both sides doing a wonderful job at bringing the characters to life and is worth watching in both Japanese and English. The special features in the DVD include two episode commentaries with some of the voice actors from the American cast which are as insightful and entertaining as always. It is worth knowing that unlike parts one and two, part three is not on Blu-Ray after the distributor Manga UK announced they would not release any more Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Blu-Rays in December last year. Nonetheless, the DVD quality the animation is still to a very high standard.
Whether you are fan of anime or a rookie to the anime world, then it’s fair to say that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is certainly one of the best places to start. You will not be let down by the breath-taking plot, the diverse characters and the overall uniqueness of this stunning anime.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part 3 is out now.