Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Trailer: English dubbed version
- What it’s about: The magic of alchemy makes many things possible, but there is one ironclad rule: for everything you gain, something of equal value must be sacrificed. Edward and Alphonse Elric made a mistake in their youth and paid a horrific cost. Now they seek to regain what they lost by searching for the mythical “Philosopher’s Stone”, an artifact that nullifies the rule of “equivalent exchange”.
- Why you should watch it: For one, it’s the highest-rated anime series of all time. An expertly woven story of sacrifice, love and duty, populated by a wide cast of interesting and memorable characters, Fullmetal Alchemist blends action and humour with a deep plot in a fully-realised fictional world. At the same time, it has a surprising depth of philosophical discussion going on under the surface, with characters acting out their roles in line with specific 19th century intellectuals
- Caveats: The humour leans heavily towards slapstick and super-deformed “chibi” characters. While the primary and secondary cast are all well-developed, there remain a significant number of one-note side characters that pop up repeatedly, testing your patience with how far the writers are willing to stretch a single joke.
- Themes: Sacrifice, family. Different readings of human ethics and morality, from the Darwinist Briggs soldiers to “Father’s” Nietzschean self-aggrandisement as he ascends, to the Elric Brothers’ more Humanist philosophy.
- Similar works: The original 2003 adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist is an obvious choice. While set in the same world and given the same start, the two stories deviate wildly after a certain point. It also spends a lot more time on the first act of the story, fleshing out many incidents that Brotherhood glossed over in the interest of time.