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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 7, 2012 by  



“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection” features four short OVA episodes that explain some of the history of characters such as Roy Mustang, Maes Hughes and Izumi Carter but also fun episodes featuring Edward and Al.  Plus you get 16 hilarious four-panel comic theater episodes as well!   If you are a fan of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection” is a must-own release!

Images courtesy of ©Hiromu Arakawa/FA Project, MBS. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection

DURATION: 4 OVA’s (60 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 16×9 HD Native, Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV 14

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: May 22, 2012

Originally Created by Hiromu Arakawa

Directed by Yasuhiro Irie

Series Composition by Hiroshi Ohnogi

Music by Akira Senju

Opening and Ending Theme by L’Arc~en~Ciel

Character Deisgn by Hiroki Kanno

Art Director: Takeshi Satou

Art Design: Kazushige Kanehira

Anime Production by BONES

Featuring the voices of:

Rie Kugimiya/Maxey Whitehead as Alphonse Elric

Romi Paku/Vic Mignogna as Edward Elric

Iemasa Kayumi/Kent Williams as Father

Megumi Takamoto/Caitlin Glass as Winry Rockbell

Shinichiro Miki/Travis Willingham as Roy Mustang

Unshou Ishizuka/Aaron Dismuke as Van Hohenheim

Ai Satou/Brittney Karbowski as Mrs. Bradley

Akemi Okamura/Cynthia Cranz as Paninya

Anri Katsu/John Burgmeier as Dolcetto

Atsuki Tani as Berthold Hawkeye

Chika Fujimura/Gwendolyn Lau as Sheska

J. Michael Tatum as Scar

Fumihiko Tachiki as Sloth

Fumiko Orikasa/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Risa (Riza) Hawkeye

Go Shinomiya as Storch

Kikuko Inoue/Laura Bailey as Lust

Wendy Powell as Envy

Join Ed and Al as they chase rumors of successful human transmutation into a web of shocking family drama and lies. Sneak a glance at hidden sides of Winry and Hawkeye’s personalities. Survive the frigid north with a young Izumi Curtis as she fights to gain a deeper understanding of alchemy. Explore the legendary friendship shared by Mustang and Hughes and watch them grow from military school rivals into hardened brothers transformed by the horrors of the Ishvalan War.

 

You thought you knew the whole story. You thought all the tales were told. You were wrong.

 

In Japan, “Fullmetal Alchemist” (Hagane no Renkinjutushi) has been a popular long running anime and manga series created by mangaka Hiromu Arakawa. The original manga series was serialized in Square Enix’s “Shonen Gangan” since 2001, while the 51-episode TV series created by BONES was shown on television in 2004 and was followed by a film to conclude the series.

The popularity of “Fullmetal Alchemist” has led to many novels, OVA’s, drama CD’s, soundtracks and video games and a lot of these releases have been distributed in various countries and its popularity is a testament of how people have come to love the series which has won many awards in Japan including being voted for the #1 most popular anime series of all time.

Despite it’s popularity, the series could have gone on longer but because the anime series was created when the manga was only several years old, the anime series only lasted 51-episodes and there were differences between what the director featured on the anime series and what Arakawa had in the manga.

So, in 2009, a new series titled “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Furumetaru Arukemisuto) was created by BONES and this time around, the series would follow the manga much more closely.  A total of 64 episodes were made, including a film and also 4 OVA’s.  With the series and film being released by FUNimation Entertainment in the United States on Blu-ray and DVD, now the four OVA’s will be available on Blu-ray and DVD in May 2012.

To make sure that there is a difference between this series aside from the storyline differences compared to the original, the staff is different this time around as well as the character designs. The director for “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” would feature the following production team: Yasuhiro Irie (who worked on RahXephon”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “Macross Plus”, “Gunparade March”), series composition by Hiroshi Ohnogi (“Eureka Seven”, “Area 88, “Aquarion”, “RahXephon”, “RIN”, “Skullman”), music by Akira Senju (“Red Garden”, “Mobile Suit Victory Gundam”, “Silent Service”), character designs by Hiroki Kanno (“Angelic Layer”, “Eureka Seven”, “Ninja Scroll”, “RahXephon”) and art design by Takeshi Satou (“Mobile Suit Gundam 00”, “Ghost Slayers Ayashi”, “Please Twins!”).

What is “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood”about?

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is a series about two young alchemist brothers named Edward and his younger brother Alphonse Eric (aka “Al”). Their father left them and several months after their father left, an epidemic hit their village and killed their mother. Grieving and alone without their mother, the two quickly tried to hone their alchemist skills and hope to bring their mother back alive by using a human transmutation (this is illegal and considered taboo by alchemist).

While performing the transmutation, a dark shadow comes and literally breaks apart the body of Alphonse and as for Edward, he is shown “the truth” but in return for doing the transmutation, there is a toll and in this case, he loses his legs and feet and his right arm. And the transmutation to bring their mother fails as Edward was only able to revive a disembodied figure. In a short time allowed before the dark shadow leaves, Edward was able to bond Al’s soul to a suit of armor but there are some consequences as Edward loses a leg and also sacrifices his arm in the process.  And these consequences and guilt have plunged Edward to the lowest he had ever been and now he is determined to help his brother regain his humanity.

Both Edward and Alphonse join the Amestris military and through their investigations, Edward wants to use this opportunity and help his brother regain his body back, despite a magnificent evil group lurking behind the background of the Amestris military.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection” features the following characters:

  • Edward Elric – The oldest of the Elric brothers who manage to survive a transmutation and managed to bond his brother to a suit of armor just in time. In the process, he lost his legs and his right arm in which his childhood friend Winry has created metal prosthetics known as “automail”. He is also quite short but also very destructive as he is skillful with alchemy and the fact he survived a transmutation shocks the military. Working as a State Alchemist in order to find a way to bring his brother’s body back and possibly getting his own body back.
  • Alphonse Elric – Al is the youngest brother of Edward who was bonded to a suit of armor. Almost invulnerable and very strong. Often mistaken as the eldest because of his size.
  • Roy Mustang – The Lt. Colonel of the State Military who wants to become the next Fuhrer of Amestris. He is the one who discovered Edward and Alphonse.
  • Winry Rockbell – A childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse. She is also very gifted in technical and mechanical things. Often is the person who repairs Edward’s automail (metal prosthetic limbs). And always arguing with Edward, but its quite obvious that she cares about him.
  • Maes Hughes – An old friend of Roy Mustang’s who tries to help him with his goal to become a Fuhrer. He works in military intelligence and has a loving wife and young daughter. A family man, he lets Winry stay with them when she is in town.
  • Riza Hawkeye – Roy Mustang’s most trusted subordinate.  The voice of reason and excellent in using firearms.
  • Izumi Hartnet/Izumi Curtis – The teacher of Ed and Alphonse Eric who helped them hone their alchemy right after their mother died.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection” features the following four episodes (each episode is about 15 minutes each) on one Blu-ray disc. Here is a basic summary of each episode:

  • OVA EPISODE 1 – The Blind Alchemist – Edward and Al visit a blind alchemist who was rumored to have pulled off a perfect human transmutation.
  • OVA EPISODE 2 – Simple People – With Edward constantly breaking his automail during battle and having Winry fix them, the Elric brothers decide to give Winry a present each time she does have to fix them.
  • OVA EPISODE 3 – The Chronicle of Teacher – The history of Izumi Hartnet and her training and first encounter with Sig.
  • OVA EPISODE 4 – Yet Another Man’s Battlefield – The story of how Roy and Hughes met each other back in military boot camp.

VIDEO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition and because this is an OVA, productions on OVA’s are much better than their television counterpart.  Backgrounds are much more detailed, colors are vibrant and for the most part, the series looks fantastic on Blu-ray.  I didn’t see any compression artifacts and even during scenes with a lot of red or amber, I didn’t see any banding issues.

AUDIO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Overall, the 5.1 lossless soundtrack sounds very good and there is a good amount of surround usage and its much more immersive than its Japanese lossless counterpart.

The Japanese lossless soundtrack is still good, especially if you have a receiver in which you can change the setting to stereo on all channels. I do prefer the Japanese lossless soundtrack in terms of acting. For example, the scene where Edward is screaming in pain after performing the transmutation is incredibly acted by Romi Paku, Vic Mignona did a good job but I felt Romi was much more emotional and you can hear that pain in his voice. But the English lossless of course, has a much better sound overall. So, it all comes down to preference.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • FULLMETAL FOUR-PANEL COMIC THEATER – (40:30) A collection of 16 fun and hilarious four-panel comic short stories which are essentially parodies of scenes from the “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” TV series.
  • TRAILERS – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

EXTRAS:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection” comes with both the Blu-ray and DVD edition of the OVA’s.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVA Collection” is a fun collection of short OVA episodes and with both the TV series and film being released by FUNimation Entertainment on Blu-ray and DVD, at least it gives fans more episodes to watch.

Prior to watching these OVA episodes, I was curious if they were going to be crazy like the previous series, “Fullmetal Alchemist” and its OVA’s.  But essentially what we have with these OVA episodes are actually storylines that reveal the past of other characters.

Primarily for the third and fourth episodes feature the history of characters.   We learn how Izumi (Edward and Al’s teacher) and Sig met and what she was doing before they met.  And also a fascinating episode involving Roy Mustang and Maes Hughes.  Two very good friends who were not as close when they first met.

But the other two episodes are just as entertaining but “The Blind Alchemist” definitely had some surprises as Ed and Al encounter another person who tried to use human transmutation, while “Simple People” actually show the emotions that Winry has towards Edward, but also a little of what Risa may have towards Roy.

While “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” (the TV series) is based on the manga series, these OVA’s are standalone and are not based on the manga.

As mentioned, I wondered if there would be any craziness featured on the FA:B OVA series like the original series OVA  release which dabbled with super-deformed characters.  And sure enough, fans will get a taste of that craziness with the 16 Four-Panel Comic Theater presented in the special features of the Blu-ray and DVD release.

Overall, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection” has a good balance of humorous and serious episodes but for the most part, with the series completed and the film having been released in the US, this is essentially the final release for “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” on Blu-ray and DVD for now.    And if you are a fan and have watched every TV episode and the movie, then more than likely, you will enjoy this Blu-ray and DVD release of these OVA episodes.

Recommended!

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