Why Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood remains a classic

Warning: This contains spoilers for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is arguably one of the best animes for both new and veteran anime viewers. But what makes this show a classic?

A few years after the original Fullmetal Alchemist animated (2003-2004), Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009-2010) published. Unlike its predecessor, Brotherhood followed the manga entirely. On the other hand, Fullmetal Alchemist deviated from the manga that ran from 2001 to 2010. Despite the differences, both adaptations have their strengths. Despite it, fraternity remained a classic, in part because of its association with manga.

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The characters (and development)

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood contains some of the best anime characters. They are realistic in the way they present and develop throughout the series. Every character makes mistakes and grows, no matter how important (or unimportant) their role is. But even minor characters who make brief appearances on the show are never truly insignificant. Each character has a role and unlike many other one-dimensional characters in anime, they seem fairly complete.

Perhaps one of the main characters in a series is Edward Elric. Along with his younger brother, he embarks on a journey to restore Al’s body and solve the problems they caused in a weak moment of grief. Ed is a relatively small teenager (who is always made fun of) but what he lacks in size he makes up for in temper. Unlike his younger brother, Ed is loud, assertive, brave and stubborn. However, he is also understanding and loyal, and compassionate in his own way. In addition, he is intelligent and although he makes many mistakes on the show, he quickly learns from them. His growth throughout the series is constant, which is what makes him such a great protagonist. It’s also worth noting that the anime’s art shows her physical maturity in subtle ways.

Meanwhile, Alphonse, the younger brother, experiences his own internal conflicts throughout the series. As a result of the human transmutation incident gone awry, not only does he lose his body, but his soul is trapped in a towering suit of armor. Al is so excellent as a deuteragonist because, although he appears huge due to the armor, he’s actually still a little boy of fourteen and wants to be seen as such. The dichotomy between Al’s physical size and his compassion and good heart works well enough to balance drama and comedy. Due to his size, he is often confused with Ed’s older brother, which becomes a running joke throughout the anime. Aside from the two main characters, Maes Hughs and Greed are among the best (and perhaps most popular) characters.

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Maes is a standout character who was killed off too early in the series. A military officer and veteran of the Ishval War, Maes is loyal, trustworthy, analytical, and serious about his work. However, that’s only half of what makes him so popular with fans. Behind this meticulous professionalism hides a warm and benevolent personality with everyone. Maes is a great guy who cracks jokes at the right time, as well as a family man who gushes about his wife and daughter and deeply irritates his peers with endless gossip about his family. Unfortunately, his death is of paramount importance to the story and future events, largely due to how popular he is with other characters and viewers.

A member of the Seven Homunculi, Greed is one of the most notable anime villains-turned-heroes. Greed, named after one of the seven deadly sins, appears early on as charismatic and quite arrogant. Interestingly, he almost doesn’t come across as a notable villain compared to his brother Lust, who exudes importance from his first appearance. However, that’s one of the things that makes it so intriguing. Although the anime depicts him as a villain, he’s not quite the same as his Homunculus siblings. He is quite carefree, despite his mean nature. As the series progresses and Greed possesses Ling (and becomes “Greedling”), Greed gradually encounters humanity. This is important because it makes him want to befriend Ed and other people while also accepting his greed for being wanted. Greed is a great character because he doesn’t blindly follow father like his siblings, which suits his personality considering he’s greedy and therefore almost selfish.

The overall story

A difficult part of world building is creating an intriguing story and well-rounded characters while maintaining a sense of realism. It is something Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (and probably even the original FMA) does it so well. This series successfully balances comedy and drama, which isn’t entirely common. Ultimately, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood remains a classic as it establishes an engaging story with realistic and likable characters that only enrich the experience.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

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