Full Metal Alchemist anime -- original vs Brotherhood

HareBrain

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Has anyone else seen both versions? Which do you prefer? It's been years since I watched either, but I think I prefer the original, which is perhaps surprising given that the second half of the story was not written by the original creator and veered away from the manga. The plot of Brotherhood seemed much more complex and fiddly, and though I enjoyed watching it, in my head after all these years it's kind of dissolved into a muddle, whereas the original series still seems quite clear. The original also seems to have been more interested in character relationships than plot ideas: the relationship between Hohenheim and Dante, which had no real equivalent in Brotherhood, felt quite powerful. It also had a brilliant soundtrack (which I often play to myself when writing). It has to be said, though, the ending was odd, and there were several "standalone" episodes that could have been ditched.

Anyone else feel the same, or different?
 

Lenny

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It's been a while since I watched either, too, but I think I prefer the original - whilst I can remember the end of FMA:B, and can't recall how the original ended, whenever I think of FMA it's almost always the original that I picture (though there are bits of FMA:B that have stayed with me over their original counterparts - e.g. the events at Castle Bla... er, the ice wall fortress).

I can say with certainty that, to the point where the two series diverge, I prefer the original. FMA:B just seems rushed (it takes, what, eight episodes to the couple of dozen in the original?).
 

Khalid M

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Overall I prefer Brotherhood because of characters I grew attached to and the grand finale, but the original is still very good and, back in the day, I found the turn of events near the end quite bold and the conclusion rather satisfying. I didn't mind the filler episodes as they were really entertaining.
 

Thrice Great Hermes

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I think that the original had better animation at least I preferred the style, but Brotherhood is the better story.
 

hopewrites

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I watched the original first (binge style, two days I think, if not one.) So was a tiny bit confused by Brotherhood when I dove straight there ready for it to be a continuation rather than a retelling. Ditched 2-3 episodes in.

Thoroughly enjoyed the series! More than my BF probably thought I would when I was complaining that I couldn't find an anime to watch and he set me down to watch it. I think he thought I'd doze off after an episode or so, and I remember him laughing that I was watching the sub with half an eye battling off sleep to keep going.
Must have been two days because I had to back up about 3-4 episodes tocatch what my body was trying t sleep through and I wasn't letting it.
 

Mythopoet

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What you have to understand is FMA is a manga by Hiromu Arakawa. While she was still writing the manga, an anime production was started. Since the manga story wasn't anywhere near completion, they had to decide how to handle the anime. With Arakawa's blessing they produced an anime original ending written by the anime staff. It was sh*t.

After the manga was finally completed, due to its immense popularity, a new anime production was started, this time with the goal of faithfully adapting the manga. Thus FMA:B was made and it was awesome.

I originally watched the '03 adaption and then Brotherhood back to back. There was zero question that Brotherhood is the far, far superior story. The character arcs are more complete (also there are more and better characters), the plot makes more sense, the setting is more thoroughly explored, the themes are more meaningful and the ending is far and away more satisfying. Just everything about it is better except maybe the soundtrack. I will allow that the soundtrack for the '03 version was stellar.

So, if you only intend to watch one FMA then, for the love of good storytelling, watch Brotherhood. If you've already watched '03 and don't feel like watching Brotherhood then please for the love of good storytelling do yourself a favor and watch Brotherhood anyway. It's one of the best anime series EVER created.
 

Mythopoet

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You talked me into giving it another go!
Hurrah!

Just keep in mind that the '03 series and Brotherhood both cover the same material up to a certain very important death and because the '03 version did cover this material (up to the point that it had no more manga material to adapt) very well, Brotherhood doesn't spend as much time on it as '03 did. But once you get past that point Brotherhood is very different.
 

Steven Sorrels

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Hurrah!

Just keep in mind that the '03 series and Brotherhood both cover the same material up to a certain very important death and because the '03 version did cover this material (up to the point that it had no more manga material to adapt) very well, Brotherhood doesn't spend as much time on it as '03 did. But once you get past that point Brotherhood is very different.
I agree. I much preferred Brotherhood's second half over the '03 version. What they did with the Homunculi was a much more interesting take, and Hohenheim's involvement in the events that transpire (both in the past and present) make way more sense than whatever the hell they did the first time around. Plus, that finale. Whew!

Enjoyed the original, but can't watch it now after being ruined on Brotherhood! lol
 

hopewrites

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What would you guys say is a good mix for the best story line?

First X number of Original episodes then last number of Y Brotherhood, sort of deal?
 

Steven Sorrels

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What would you guys say is a good mix for the best story line?

First X number of Original episodes then last number of Y Brotherhood, sort of deal?
I do have to say that I very much enjoyed the episode in the original series where you get to see Ed's Alchemist Final Test. It's a shame they didn't include that in FMA:O
 

EJDeBrun

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Please Please Please watch Brotherhood. For story sake. The original manga is epic and amazing and Brotherhood does a pretty good job of following the storyline. But with a caveat. For some bizarre reason the animation production company decided to NOT redo the first episode. I guess because the original was so iconic. So I do recommend watching the first episode from the original series and then moving on to Brotherhood.

Also they cut out the incident with the mining town for some reason. Considering Yoki, I'm not sure about that decision.

Quality wise, the animation is much higher quality in FMAB and the voice actors are the same.

For hopewrites. You'd watch 1 from the original FMA and then go from there for the rest of FMAB. There will be some repetition. And the Youswell mining town is so messed up in the FMA series it's not really worth hunting for to put into FMAB.

I'm only hung about the Youswell thing because it was treated as a throwaway but actually proves to be important later and I feel like it really affects the... totality of the series since everything is so well laid out, but such is animation productions made before the original series isn't finished. At least they did make Brotherhood in the end!

PS: Sorry, I'm new here but I had to chime in about this. FMA is one of my all time favorites. (the manga. The other media forms just never quite reach the quality of the original.)
 

E.Maree

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I watched the original and then Brotherhood, and that's the route I'd recommend. Both versions are really skillfully done, and amazingly fun. But the original has the better lead-up to a huge and very memorable tragedy at the beginning of the series, and Brotherhood speeds through that same scene without anywhere near as much impact. Brotherhood has a much better second half, and particularly the best ending.
 

Amelia Faulkner

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It really is a shame that, when making Brotherhood, they decided to shortcut the first story arc up to and including Very Important Death. I know they felt they'd covered it all in the original FMA, but Brotherhood could have been a much more solid series if they'd started from scratch and stuck more closely to the manga in the beginning, instead of adhering to their original first episode for FMA.

Because of the shortcutting, you also don't get the full whallop of Very Important Death. It isn't the gut-punch that it was in the manga and the original anime.
 

Enforcer Productions

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I've watched and loved both, but for me, I've got to go with Brotherhood! For starters, I felt the ending was far more satisfying in Brotherhood. Also, Hughes' death scene had to be one of the more heart-wrenching death scenes in an anime for me!
 

Shuffle093

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I have recently re-watched both and for me its Brotherhood.

not to say that i don't love them both and the fact that the plot differs is even better for me as it can feel like watching two different shows with the Characters that you know and love. i liked the concept of parallel worlds in the original but the Homonculi being the seven deadly sins didn't really make sense to me in the original whereas brotherhood explained it well and revealed some startling truths about the true nature of those emotions.

Envy's death in particular was an emotional roller coaster as I started to find myself empathizing and really feeling sorry for the horrible mass murderer.
and of course Hughes death, crushing in every version.
 

Penny

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Brotherhood definatley had a much more solid story, although the start of it feels abridged and cut down, you could probably watch like the first half of the 03 one and then start watching brotherhood at the divergence point and it would still work.
 

Amelia Faulkner

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Brotherhood definatley had a much more solid story, although the start of it feels abridged and cut down, you could probably watch like the first half of the 03 one and then start watching brotherhood at the divergence point and it would still work.
This is pretty much what most FMA fans recommend.
 

HareBrain

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Updating this with my recent experience.

I originally watched the '03 adaption and then Brotherhood back to back. There was zero question that Brotherhood is the far, far superior story.
Having just rewatched the '03 version and then the second fifth of Brotherhood (and reminding myself of the rest), I've come to the opposite conclusion. The first had some plot flaws towards the end, and the basis of Brotherhood's plot was more coherent. But the ideas in the first were much more interesting and human and allowed for more ethical conundrums. Plus the animation was better, the music *leagues* better, and the emotion landed better -- the first series made me cry several times, but almost every time Brotherhood went for an emotional moment, it felt so forced it made me wince. (I could easily have pushed Winry under a bus.) And all that chibi nonsense (if that's the right word). In the original it was infrequent and tolerable and sometimes funny; in Brotherhood it was pulled out at every opportunity, and just annoyed me.

I guess this shouldn't have surprised me, as I gave up on the manga too. But it did surprise me how much worse Brotherhood appeared just after watching the original. I first watched it with a gap of several years and it seemed OK.
 

HareBrain

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Well, this is embarrassing. I decided I might as well keep going with Brotherhood for a bit, and it turned out that from pretty much the episode after I wrote the previous post, it starts to ditch all its flaws and gets really good.
 
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