CCY has thrown down his Twelve Moments of Anime gauntlet, inviting others to join him everyday until Christmas in recalling their 12 favorite anime-related things of the year. Today? Moment #11.
Brotherhood, the latest Fullmetal Alchemist adaptation was the show that didn’t need to be. The original adaptation had aired just five years earlier. And for many of us, it was even newer than that. And it’s not like it needed a new adaptation. The original is one of the most high acclaimed animes of all time – beloved and revered by many. It’s not like Peter Jackson remaking the crappy cartoon version of Lord of the Rings. It’s like a new director telling us that there’s going to be a completely new and different release of the Fellowship of the Rings coming this Christmas. Entertaining? Yeah, probably. Necessary? No way.
So I decided to watch with reservations. I was sure it was going to be a good series, but I wasn’t sure that it would be able to stand out from the shadow of the original. And for the first thirteen or so episodes, it didn’t. It was a poor man’s version of the original. It rushed through scenes we had seen, and dulled the punch from powerful scenes like Shou sacrificing his daughter or Hughes being murdered. And on top of that, it inserted the Soul Eater style random humor into all the worst spots. But it troopered on. And around the 14th episode, the story struck off in a different direction featuring characters and locales totally absent from the first. It started feeling like a more worthwhile show. But I still had that nagging thought in my head: Brotherhood is entertaining, but totally unnecessary.
That is until we hit the 19th episode. Like the riots in Lior, or the massacre in Ishbal, sometimes it just takes a little spark to create something bigger. In this case, just a little bit of flint and transmutation circle made of blood to create a raging blaze.
And this is where I stopped thinking that Shinichi Miki isn’t a bad Roy, but no Toru Ookawa. That Brotherhood is fun, but keeps pulling its punches. That it’s good, but still in the shadow of the original. Roy’s "seal it with fire" is the crowning moment of an episode that kicked off a long stretch of some of the most gripping, on-the-edge-of-your-seat episodes that I’ve seen. Had I the chance, it would’ve been prime marathoning material.
Will I consider Brotherhood even better than the original when it ends? We’ll see. But either way, I’m glad it exists, and I can surely say it’s a show that’s worthy on its own merits.