The second anime, the original story, comes to an end. The journey has been a long one, the battles intense and the characters firmly rooted into our minds. As the final battle comes to a close, can Ed and Al return to normal, along with saving the country? The battle of the alchemists versus the Homunculus is about to get messy.
Over the final twelve episodes, eleven of them largely centre around the big final battle which was has been going on since Part Four. The happy more relaxed nature of the series understandably has no place in this bloody fight, which is a shame as the constant barrage of battles and shocking revelations can get a little tiring. It isn’t so bad when a battle is in full swing, but there tends to be half an episode of haphazard fodder fighting to show this is not just a two-man job. It does give a sense of scale though and the big battles which do take place are fantastic. King Bradley taking out a tank single-handily then going through a further five key characters is an incredible feat and the other Homonculi are just as durable and dangerous. It is a time for the side cast to shine, Fullmetal stuck to wander pipes until he can take the pole to the finish line.
It isn’t all about the fighting however, Fullmetal Alchemist is still a series with some smarts. In between the glorious animation, the evil Father’s plans are finally revealed and it all comes down to human desires.To see the monstrous Father and his children all end up having the human wants that they on the surface despise creates a grim sense of irony. If they could only open up their feelings and none of this would have happened! But when you have a want, a want you can’t have, of course evil will settle deep within. Ed and Al must overcome this and it all ties in perfectly with their quest to return to how they were. The original series went for a bitter-sweet ending, Brotherhood goes for a full-blown emotional discharge of happiness. The final battle may not be quite the crazy one on one epic some people tend to like, but the teamwork led frenzy against the increasingly pathetic Father has a meaning which would be lost if it took the former route.
Brotherhood ended up being a great series with few faults. Thanks to the original series initially covering the source manga material, Brotherhood can seem to retread too much ground, but once the two series walk different paths they end up being strikingly different series. The original lingers on despair, the new holds its hands out for hope. Both have interesting ways of dealing with the hunt for the Philosopher’s Stone and it can be hard to decide which one ups the other. It seems in the end of all things, the two versions of the same story are both worthwhile, both with their own faults and qualities. Brotherhood is closest to the author’s original intentions, but the world happily caters both. And you should to. Don’t even think about equivalent exchange.