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J!-ENT/FUNIMATION “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD” CONTEST (CLOSED)

May 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

J!-ENT teamed up with FUNIMATION for a special “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD” CONTEST AND THE LUCKY WINNER OF THE CONTEST IS:

Miguel Torres of Odessa, FL

Miguel has won the following:

  • The complete set of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” (Your Choice: Blu-ray or DVD)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos Blu-ray+DVD Combo-Pack
  • A signed Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos poster signed by the director and producer and cast members from the film.

TO ENTER THE CONTEST (CONTEST IS CLOSED):

You must be a resident in the United States.

To enter the J!-ENT/FUNimation “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” Contest, send us an e-mail (click here) or e-mail contests@j-entonline.com and let us know why you love “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” or “Tell Us How Big of an Anime Fan You Are”.

  • Please make sure to include your name and e-mail address, so if you win, we can contact you.
  • The contest will end on May 31, 2012 and the winner will be contacted on Friday, June 1, 2012.
  • Your contact information is safe and is only for contest purposes only.  And that is only in order to contact the winner of the contest.

Winner will have 96 hours (3 days) to reply with the address of where contest items will be shipped (shipping must be in the United States, not out of the country).  If there is no reply from the first winner draw, J!-ENT will select another winner.

DISCLAIMER:

J!-ENT has not received any compensation from FUNimation for this contest post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.

J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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

May 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“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!

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

July 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” ends with part 5 and what a thrilling, pulse-pounding finale it came to be!  Action-packed, battles galore, the ending is much better than the previous series!  Highly recommended!

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

TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part Five

DURATION: Episodes 53-64 (300 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: August 2, 2011

 

Originally Created by Hiromu Arakawa

Directed by Yasuhiro Irie

Series Composition by Hiroshi Ohnogi

Music by Akira Senju

Character Design 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

The Flame Alchemist’s rebel army pushes the forces of Central to the brink of collapse – until the enemy’s fallen leader returns to take control. As mortals and monsters wage war, young Edward and Alphonse Elric must face a cruel being with the unholy power of a god. After endless adventures and countless struggles, the boys find the fate of the world in their weary hands. When the Gateway closes and the circle is complete, who will be left alive to celebrate the astonishing sacrifices made?

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” ends with part 5 and what a thrilling, pulse-pounding finale it came to be!  Action-packed, battles galore, the ending is much better than the previous series!  Highly recommended!

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. Currently there are over 60 episodes that have aired in Japan and the series is still ongoing. Also, unlike the previous anime series, this series would be created in HD (540p). The first 13 episodes of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” would feature its first 13-episodes covering the first 26-episodes from the original anime series but from that point on, the series becomes a whole new storyline which features more characters and for the most part, something new and different for the viewers, especially fans of the original series.

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 be 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!”).

“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. And these consequences and guilt have plunged Edward to the lowest he had ever been.

Meanwhile, a military figure named Roy Mustang has come and is shocked to see that Edward was able to survive a human transmutation and also anchoring his brother’s soul and thus gives Edward a chance to join the military to fight with them but at the same time, gaining access that may give Edward a chance to bring his brother back to life and also his own body as well.

With this opportunity, this gives Edward a chance to repair what he did wrong and help his brother. But as they investigate on how they can get their bodies back and investigating what is known as a “Philosopher’s Stone”, an unknown group is out there, observing his every move and willing to kill in order to get to Edward.

In part two of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, we learn that Bradley is a homunculus and that the homunculus may have infiltrated the State Military.

In part three, Ed and Al continue their search of how to get their bodies back but meanwhile, Scar tries to find out the truth of why the Ishvalans were massacred. Meanwhile, Ed and Al find themselves in the North needing Olivier’s help but can they divulge the information about Bradley, the Fuhrer is a homunculus? Meanwhile, Ed and Al find themselves teaming up with the people they have been against.

In part four of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and division in the State military have been drawn as information of Bradley being a homunculus is now known and a war between the rebellious members of the State Military led by Mustang take on the homunculus.

And here we are with the final volume of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”.  It’s an explosive finale as we get to see Mustang vs. Envy, Scar vs. Bradley, Armstrong vs. Sloth and a whole slew of surprises that will definitely be quite exciting for the fans who have stuck with this series since the beginning.

Will Elric get Al’s body back?  Will Elric get his limbs back?  Will the military be able to defeat the Homunculus?

This is the way that Hiromu Arakawa had wanted “Fullmetal Alchemist” to be, how it was meant to end and what a thrilling conclusion right to the final episode!

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” 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.
  • Alex Louis Armstrong – A strong arm alchemist who is extremely strong and hulking in size but also very sensitive.
  • Izumi Curtis - The teacher of Ed and Alphonse Eric who helped them hone their alchemy right after their mother died.
  • 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.
  • King Bradley – The head of the State Military and King of Amestris who has a major secret.
  • Riza Hawkeye – Roy Mustang’s most trusted subordinate. The voice of reason and excellent in using firearms.
  • Jean Havoc - One of Roy Mustang’s subordinates who is exceptionally trained in firearms.
  • Lin Yao – A prince of Xing who is trying to find ways of immortality in order to prepare for his goal as Xing’s future emperor. An excellent swordsman.
  • Lan Fan – Lin Yao’s bodyguard and a skilled fighter willing to protect her boss at all costs.
  • May Chang – A young princess of Xing who goes to Amestris with her panda Xiao Mei. She has the power to heal and also manipulate energy.
  • Olivier Mira Armstrong – The older sister of Alex Louis Armstrong who leads the Brigs Fortress and protects the country from Drachma. She is cold, distrusts people and inpatient. She believes in “Survival of the fittest”.
  • Miles - A man who is quarter Ishvalan and wants to change the country’s perception towards Ishval.
  • Buccaneer – A huge man who has two different pieces of automail (the latest type of automail which makes Winry so excited when she is around him).

The Homunculi

The main antagonists which consist of artificial humans who are trying to create the philosopher’s stone and has become a major thorn in the military’s side. They are hard to defeat as they can regenerate.

  • Father – The main antagonist who is the creator of all homunculi. For some reason, he looks like Hohenheim and has interest in Ed and Al.
  • Lust – A homunculi who is a sexy woman who can use her fingers to become weapons and grow to larger lengths and cut through anything.
  • Gluttony – A homunculi who likes to eat people or anything. He has powerful jaws with acidic saliva.
  • Envy – A homunculi who can assume any appearance and makes him infiltrate the military HQ quite easily and is known to create and instigate major problems.
  • Greed – A homunculi that craves money, women and worldy possessions. After being killed by Wrath, Lin Yao who is searching for immortality wants to become the new Greed.
  • Sloth – A large muscular man who has great speed and strength for his size. He has been digging beneath Amestris and ends up inside the Briggs Fortress.
  • Pride – A homunculus using the body of Selim Bradley, the adoptive son of King Bradley, He uses his shadows to kill.

VIDEO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Part Five” is presented in 1080p HD 16×9 via a HD native source. It’s important to note that although the conversion was made to 1080p, I’ve read that the actual Japanese original masters were created in 540p. With that being said, this is a TV series and one can’t expect OVA or film quality but I manage to compare the DVD and Blu-ray version and the Blu-ray looks much more colorful, much more detailed and looked much better and more colorful than its DVD counterpart.

I did notice edge enhancement and I’m sure the conversion of a 540p source to 1080p possibly led to the jaggies that can be seen at times. Granted, I’m a bit picky when it comes to video quality but the fact that this is created by BONES (a busy anime production company) and the fact that this is not an OVA or film, for a TV series, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” looks very good. Granted, it’s not uber-vibrant but there is a good amount of shading, detail, blacks are deep and overall, I felt the Blu-ray looked much better than its DVD counterpart.

AUDIO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Part Five” 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. There is quite a bit of action in this second volume, plenty of battles are featured and many episodes that utilize the surround channels.

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 especially during the more emotional moments in this second volume (which there are many). But I’ve watched the series in both Japanese and English and for the most part, both are well done and similar to “Dragon Ball Z” and “One Piece”, the English dub has caught my attention and this time around, I was watching many of the episodes in English. But both voice acting are well done.

Subtitles are in English.

NOTE: You can not use your audio button to switch from Japanese to English and vice versa while watching the series. You will need to press your guide button to switch to another audio. Also, you can not optionally remove English subtitles unless you choose the English lossless soundtrack. So, for those who want to watch the series in Japanese with no English subtitles may be disappointed by this.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Five” comes with the following special features:

  • EPISODE 64 Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer and voice of Havoc) and Maxi Whitehead (voice of Alfonse) and Vic Mignona (voice of Elric).
  • Outtakes – (7:33) Outtakes by the English dub voice talents from the entire series (Note: there is profanity in the outtakes).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs – The textless opening and two ending theme songs.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

The final episodes of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is finally here.

And what an explosive final volume it turned out to be!

If there were two words that came to mind after watching “Part Five” it would be the words “Kick Ass”.  Because there is a lot off butt-kicking in this series.  You want to see Mustang go all out, oh..well, wait until you see the battle between Mustang vs. Envy.  And you can learn how his anger has to be tempered but also getting to see that caring side that he has towards Risa.

Another butt-kicking moment was to see Armstrong vs. Sloth but also seeing who else comes to the rescue to battle Sloth.  One of the coolest and also more hilarious moments of the series.

You get to see one of the coolest fighting moments in the series as Scar takes on Bradley.  And of course, it doesn’t end there.  Every character gets into the action and the battles are pretty significant, bloody but also…as mentioned, “Kick Ass”.

But most importantly, unlike the previous series, we do get a conclusion to what happens to Elric and Alfonse.  And for me, this is how Hiromu Arakawa ended it, had wanted it and I would take this ending over the original series anyday.  It was well-done, well-written and from beginning to end, I felt the series was much better executed.

As for the Blu-ray release, PQ and AQ is good and voice acting for both lossless soundtracks are well-done.  This time around, I found myself more comfortable listening to the English dub track and this is coming from a guy who prefers to watch anime in Japanese most of the time.  But both are well-acted and fans should not have a problem with either.  As for the special features, we get an audio commentary with English voice talent Maxi Whitehead (Al) and Vic Mignona (Elric) to discuss their feeling of working on the series and how they felt about the series vs. the original version.  And we also get a gag reel of all the outtakes during the making of the series.  Plus the usual trailers and textless opening and ending themes.

I was able to compare the DVD and the Blu-ray release of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and the artistic backgrounds and its details are much better looking on Blu, the colors are more cleaner, sharper and more colorful on Blu and for the most part, for a TV series, I’m quite content with the PQ. I felt the black levels were good and again, for a TV Series released in 2009, the picture quality is good not great (it’s not 1080p) and there is a hint of edge enhancement but it’s still pretty good. And in this part four, you also get two audio commentary as well.

Overall, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” was fantastic from beginning to end.  But this final part V pretty much validated for me that I preferred this version over the original.  The story and battle sequences were intense but for the most part, I felt that “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” story-wise was very appealing, exciting and addictive.

I know there are some who are very hooked on the original that they didn’t want to try “Brotherhood” but I highly recommend giving this series a try since this series, an adaptation of the manga series that is very faithful to Arakawa’s work, unlike the previous series which creators had to come up with a different storyline because the manga was not completed at the time.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” ends with part 5 and what a thrilling, pulse-pounding finale it came to be!  Action-packed, battles galore, the ending is much better than the previous series!  Highly recommended!

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

January 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” part three continues the action and excitement of the previous two volumes.  Also, introducing viewers to Olivier Armstrong and also storylines that revolve around Riza Hawkeye, Scar and a few others.  Definitely put this series high on top of your anime on Blu-ray to buy list!

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

TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part Three

DURATION: Episodes 27-39 (320 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: December 28, 2010

 

Originally Created by Hiromu Arakawa

Directed by Yasuhiro Irie

Series Composition by Hiroshi Ohnogi

Music by Akira Senju

Character Design 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

In the shadows beneath Central, the Elrics encounter Father, the creator of the Homunculi. His face is familiar, but his alchemy is unlike anything the brothers have ever seen. As Father’s dark plot takes shape, Ed and Al brave the frigid north to meet the top officer of the fortress Briggs: General Olivier Armstrong. With icy nerve and burning intensity, she commands the hardest soldiers in the land, leading the warriors of Briggs in battle against the unstoppable, rampaging Sloth.

 

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. Currently there are over 60 episodes that have aired in Japan and the series is still ongoing. Also, unlike the previous anime series, this series would be created in HD (540p). The first 13 episodes of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” would feature its first 13-episodes covering the first 26-episodes from the original anime series but from that point on, the series becomes a whole new storyline which features more characters and for the most part, something new and different for the viewers, especially fans of the original series.

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 be 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!”).

“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. And these consequences and guilt have plunged Edward to the lowest he had ever been.

Meanwhile, a military figure named Roy Mustang has come and is shocked to see that Edward was able to survive a human transmutation and also anchoring his brother’s soul and thus gives Edward a chance to join the military to fight with them but at the same time, gaining access that may give Edward a chance to bring his brother back to life and also his own body as well.

With this opportunity, this gives Edward a chance to repair what he did wrong and help his brother. But as they investigate on how they can get their bodies back and investigating what is known as a “Philosopher’s Stone”, an unknown group is out there, observing his every move and willing to kill in order to get to Edward.

In part two of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, we learn that Bradley is a homunculus and that the homunculus may have infiltrated the State Military.

In part three, Ed and Al continue their search of how to get their bodies back but meanwhile, Scar tries to find out the truth of why the Ishvalans were massacred.  Meanwhile, Ed and Al find themselves in the North needing Olivier’s help but can they divulge the information about Bradley, the Fuhrer is a homunculus?  Meanwhile, Ed and Al find themselves teaming up with the people they have been against.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” 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.
  • Alex Louis Armstrong – A strong arm alchemist who is extremely strong and hulking in size but also very sensitive.
  • Izumi Curtis - The teacher of Ed and Alphonse Eric who helped them hone their alchemy right after their mother died.
  • 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.
  • King Bradley – The head of the State Military and King of Amestris who has a major secret.
  • Riza Hawkeye – Roy Mustang’s most trusted subordinate. The voice of reason and excellent in using firearms.
  • Jean Havoc - One of Roy Mustang’s subordinates who is exceptionally trained in firearms.
  • Lin Yao – A prince of Xing who is trying to find ways of immortality in order to prepare for his goal as Xing’s future emperor. An excellent swordsman.
  • Lan Fan – Lin Yao’s bodyguard and a skilled fighter willing to protect her boss at all costs.
  • May Chang – A young princess of Xing who goes to Amestris with her panda Xiao Mei. She has the power to heal and also manipulate energy.
  • Olivier Mira Armstrong – The older sister of Alex Louis Armstrong who leads the Brigs Fortress and protects the country from Drachma.  She is cold, distrusts people and inpatient.  She believes in “Survival of the fittest”.
  • Miles - A man who is quarter Ishvalan and wants to change the country’s perception towards Ishval.
  • Buccaneer – A  huge man who has two different pieces of automail (the latest type of automail which makes Winry so excited when she is around him).

The Homunculi

The main antagonists which consist of artificial humans who are trying to create the philosopher’s stone and has become a major thorn in the military’s side. They are hard to defeat as they can regenerate.

  • Father – The main antagonist who is the creator of all homunculi.  For some reason, he looks like Hohenheim and has interest in Ed and Al.
  • Lust – A homunculi who is a sexy woman who can use her fingers to become weapons and grow to larger lengths and cut through anything.
  • Gluttony – A homunculi who likes to eat people or anything. He has powerful jaws with acidic saliva.
  • Envy – A homunculi who can assume any appearance and makes him infiltrate the military HQ quite easily and is known to create and instigate major problems.
  • Greed – A homunculi that craves money, women and worldy possessions.  After being killed by Wrath, Lin Yao who is searching for immortality wants to become the new Greed.
  • Sloth – A large muscular man who has great speed and strength for his size.  He has been digging beneath Amestris and ends up inside the Briggs Fortress.
  • Pride – A homunculus using the body of Selim Bradley, the adoptive son of King Bradley, He uses his shadows to kill.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Three” features episodes 27-39 on two Blu-ray discs. Here is a basic, spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 27 – Interlude Party – An episode summarizing what took place in episodes 14-26.
  • EPISODE 28 – Father - Hohenheim faces a demon identical to him.  Lin is turned into Greed.
  • EPISODE 29 – Struggle of the Fool – Father creates a new Gluttony.  Bradley threatens Ed that he will kill Winry if he quits the military.
  • EPISODE 30 – The Ishvalan War of Extermination – Marcoh tells Scar the reason why the Ishbalans were killed.
  • EPISODE 31 – The 520 Cens Promise – Scar, Marcoh and the others leave town, meanwhile Roy tries to get some help.
  • EPISODE 32 – The Fuhrer’s Son – Ed and Al meets the Fuhrer’s adopted son Selim where they meed Bradley’s wife.
  • EPISODE 33 – The Northern Wall of Briggs – Ed and Al make their way to Briggs in hopes they can find May.
  • EPISODE 34 – Ice Queen – Ed and Al meet Olivier, the Ice Queen of Briggs.
  • EPISODE 35 – The Shape of This Country – Olivier and her crew try to stop Sloth anyway they can.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 36 – Family Portrait – Hohenheim reminisces on the day he left his family and why he did it.
  • EPISODE 37 – The First Hominculus – Riza finds out that Bradley’s son Selim is the first homunculus known as Pride.
  • EPISODE 38 – Conflict at Baschool – Scar vs. two chimeras named Jerso and Zampano.  Scar takes Winry as a hostage.
  • EPISODE 39 – Daydream – We learn the reason of why Scar took Winry as a hostage.

VIDEO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Three” is presented in 1080p HD 16×9 via a HD native source. It’s important to note that although the conversion was made to 1080p, I’ve read that the actual Japanese original masters were created in 540p. With that being said, this is a TV series and one can’t expect OVA or film quality but I manage to compare the DVD and Blu-ray version and the Blu-ray looks much more colorful, much more detailed and looked much better and more colorful than its DVD counterpart.

I did notice edge enhancement and I’m sure the conversion of a 540p source to 1080p possibly led to the jaggies that can be seen at times. Granted, I’m a bit picky when it comes to video quality but the fact that this is created by BONES (a busy anime production company) and the fact that this is not an OVA or film, for a TV series, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” looks very good. Granted, it’s not uber-vibrant but there is a good amount of shading, detail, blacks are deep and overall, I felt the Blu-ray looked much better than its DVD counterpart.

AUDIO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Three” 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. There is quite a bit of action in this second volume, plenty of battles are featured and many episodes that utilize the surround channels.

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 especially during the more emotional moments in this second volume (which there are many). But I’ve watched the series in both Japanese and English and for the most part, both are well done and similar to “Dragon Ball Z” and “One Piece”, the English dub has caught my attention and this time around, I was watching many of the episodes in English. But both voice acting are well done.

Subtitles are in English.

NOTE: You can not use your audio button to switch from Japanese to English and vice versa while watching the series. You will need to press your guide button to switch to another audio. Also, you can not optionally remove English subtitles unless you choose the English lossless soundtrack. So, for those who want to watch the series in Japanese with no English subtitles may be disappointed by this.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Three” comes with the following special features:

  • EPISODE 28 Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer and voice of Havoc) and voice talents Wendy Powell (Envy) and Kent Williams (Narrator/Father).
  • EPISODE 36 Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer and voice of Havoc) and voice talents J. Michael Tatum (Scar), Stephanie Young (Olivier) and Phil Parsons (Buccaneer).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs – The textless opening and ending theme songs.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

The last volume of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, it was an emotional but action-packed volume that will literally win you over to the series and may even make you forget how the previous “Fullmetal Alchemist” series was.  The third volume features episodes 27-39 and showcases more battles between the Elric brothers and the homunculus but most of all, seeing them team up with Scar.

And as the suspense continues with Roy Mustang trying to uncover more details of the homunculus infiltration into the military, one character that we are introduced to, that was an interesting addition to the series is Olivier Mira Armstrong, older sister of Alex Louis Armstrong and if you thought Alex was tough,  his sister Olivier is not just tough, she’s a no-nonsense, impatient, cold, kick-ass character!

The Briggs storyline was actually fun to watch, despite Ed and Al being limited as Olivier and the others don’t quite trust them (as the two have to hold back information from Olivier). Another storyline which I found very cool in this latest volume of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is more character development for Riza Hawkeye, her past and if anything, giving viewers a more intimate side of the alchemist.

Overall, I really enjoyed part three of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and how well-paced, how action-packed and how much deeper the episodes were. This latest volume was quite addicting and I definitely enjoy how the series has continued to grow and improve with each episode.

As for the Blu-ray release, as explained with my review for the first volume, some people may have issues that this series is not true 1080p but created in 540p and then upscaled to 1080p. As many Japanese companies are going through cost-cutting situations due to their economy, we are going to see some anime released in 4:3 instead of widescreen and we are going to see Japanese companies not taking advantage of true 1080p and focusing on creating anime series in 540p. It’s the nature of the industry right now and if we want to support anime, we’ll need to support them even during these tough times.

But with that being said, I was able to compare the DVD and the Blu-ray release of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and the artistic backgrounds and its details are much better looking on Blu, the colors are more cleaner, sharper and more colorful on Blu and for the most part, for a TV series, I’m quite content with the PQ. I felt the black levels were good and again, for a TV Series released in 2009, the picture quality is good not great (it’s not 1080p) and there is a hint of edge enhancement but it’s still pretty good.

Overall, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” may not please the diehards who have loved the original anime TV series but the fact is, we are getting a series that is now closer to the manga series and also more episodes than the original release. Not to say one should forget the original series but in a way, the “Fullmetal Alchemist” brand has moved on to bigger and better and the FMA: Brotherhood series is much more consistent to what the creator, Hiromu Arakawa intended.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” has the making of a great anime series and part three continues the excitement of the previous two volumes.   Definitely put this series high on top of your anime on Blu-ray list!

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

August 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” part two is another fantastic volume featuring more action, more humor and also its fair share of heartbreaking moments.  This is definitely an addicting series that continues to get better and better and I can’t wait for part 3.  Highly recommended!

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

TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part Two

DURATION: Episodes 14-26 (320 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: August 24, 2010

 

Originally Created by Hiromu Arakawa

Directed by Yasuhiro Irie

Series Composition by Hiroshi Ohnogi

Music by Akira Senju

Character Design 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

The path to the Philosopher’s Stone now enters unfamiliar territory, as the Elrics face exotic strangers who use alkahestry, a version of alchemy native to the distant kingdom of Xing. As insight is gained into the secret world of the Homunculi and their enigmatic creator, Lust feels the fires of Mustang’s rage in battle – and the outcome of the clash will shock you. Winry endures the trial of her life when new horrors of the Ishvalan massacre are revealed.

 

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. Currently there are over 60 episodes that have aired in Japan and the series is still ongoing. Also, unlike the previous anime series, this series would be created in HD (540p). The first 13 episodes of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” would feature its first 13-episodes covering the first 26-episodes from the original anime series but from that point on, the series becomes a whole new storyline which features more characters and for the most part, something new and different for the viewers, especially fans of the original series.

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 be 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!”).

“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. And these consequences and guilt have plunged Edward to the lowest he had ever been.

Meanwhile, a military figure named Roy Mustang has come and is shocked to see that Edward was able to survive a human transmutation and also anchoring his brother’s soul and thus gives Edward a chance to join the military to fight with them but at the same time, gaining access that may give Edward a chance to bring his brother back to life and also his own body as well.

With this opportunity, this gives Edward a chance to repair what he did wrong and help his brother. But as they investigate on how they can get their bodies back and investigating what is known as a “Philosopher’s Stone”, an unknown group is out there, observing his every move and willing to kill in order to get to Edward.

In part two of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, the story begins to focus on the military encounter with the Homunculi, the investigation of Hughes death and Winry coming face-to-face with the murderer who killed her parents.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” 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.
  • Alex Louis Armstrong – A strong arm alchemist who is extremely strong and hulking in size but also very sensitive.
  • Izumi Curtis - The teacher of Ed and Alphonse Eric who helped them hone their alchemy right after their mother died.
  • 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.
  • King Bradley – The head of the State Military and King of Amestris who has a major secret.
  • Riza Hawkeye – Roy Mustang’s most trusted subordinate.  The voice of reason and excellent in using firearms.
  • Jean Havoc - One of Roy Mustang’s subordinates who is exceptionally trained in firearms.
  • Lin Yao – A prince of Xing who is trying to find ways of immortality in order to prepare for his goal as Xing’s future emperor.  An excellent swordsman.
  • Lan Fan – Lin Yao’s bodyguard and a skilled fighter willing to protect her boss at all costs.
  • May Chang – A young princess of Xing who goes to Amestris with her panda Xiao Mei.  She has the power to heal and also manipulate energy.

The Homunculi

The main antagonists which consist of artificial humans who are trying to create the philosopher’s stone and has become a major thorn in the military’s side.  They are hard to defeat as they can regenerate.

  • Lust – A homunculi who is a sexy woman who can use her fingers to become weapons and grow to larger lengths and cut through anything.
  • Gluttony – A homunculi who likes to eat people or anything.  He has powerful jaws with acidic saliva.
  • Envy – A homunculi who can assume any appearance and makes him infiltrate the military HQ quite easily and is known to create and instigate major problems.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Two” features episodes 14-26 on two Blu-ray discs. Here is a basic, spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 14 – Those Who Lurk Underground – King Bradley takes on Greed, meanwhile Martel hides inside Al.
  • EPISODE 15 – Envoy from the East - Scar takes on the “Silver Alchemist” and he also meets May Chang.
  • EPISODE 16 – Footsteps of a Comrade-in-Arms – Ed, Al and Winry learn the fate of Hughes.
  • EPISODE 17 – Cold Flame – Ross is being accused of the death of Hughes.
  • EPISODE 18 – The Arrogant Palm of a Small Human – Ed and Armstrong  go to the ruins of Xerxes and learns a major secret.
  • EPISODE 19 – Road of Hope – Hawkeye vs. Gluttony.  Mustang vs. Lust.
  • EPISODE 20 – Death of the Undying – Ed sees his fathr Hohenheim again.  Meanwhile, Ed wants to find out if the thing he transmutated was his mother.
  • EPISODE 21 – Advance of the Fool – Ed talks to Al and tries to find out what happened during the transmutation and if he can remember anything.
  • EPISODE 22 – Father Before the Grave – Winry learns the details of her family’s death and who was responsible for their murders.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 23 – Girl on the Battlefield – Ed and Al vs. Scar and the truth about King Bradley is revealed.
  • EPISODE 24 – Inside the Belly – Ed, Al and Lin try to survive and escape from Gluttony.
  • EPISODE 25 – Doorway of Darkness – Ed and Lin must escape from Gluttony’s stomach.
  • EPISODE 26 – Reunion – Ed and Lin vs. Envy.

VIDEO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Two” is presented in 1080p HD 16×9 via a HD native source. It’s important to note that although the conversion was made to 1080p, I’ve read that the actual Japanese original masters were created in 540p. With that being said, this is a TV series and one can’t expect OVA or film quality but I manage to compare the DVD and Blu-ray version and the Blu-ray looks much more colorful, much more detailed and looked much better and more colorful than its DVD counterpart.

I did notice edge enhancement and I’m sure the conversion of a 540p source to 1080p possibly led to the jaggies that can be seen at times. Granted, I’m a bit picky when it comes to video quality but the fact that this is created by BONES (a busy anime production company) and the fact that this is not an OVA or film, for a TV series, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” looks very good. Granted, it’s not uber-vibrant but there is a good amount of shading, detail, blacks are deep and overall, I felt the Blu-ray looked much better than its DVD counterpart.

AUDIO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Two” 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.  There is quite a bit of action in this second volume, plenty of battles are featured and many episodes that utilize the surround channels.

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 especially during the more emotional moments in this second volume (which there are many).  But I’ve watched the series in both Japanese and English and for the most part, both are well done and similar to “Dragon Ball Z” and “One Piece”, the English dub has caught my attention and this time around, I was watching many of the episodes in English.  But both voice acting are well done.

Subtitles are in English.

NOTE: You can not use your audio button to switch from Japanese to English and vice versa while watching the series. You will need to press your guide button to switch to another audio. Also, you can not optionally remove English subtitles unless you choose the English lossless soundtrack. So, for those who want to watch the series in Japanese with no English subtitles may be disappointed by this.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Two” comes with the following special features:

  • EPISODE 14 Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Director and voice of Havoc) and voice talents Chris Patton (Greed) and Vic Mignona (Edward Elric) talking about reprising their role for “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood).
  • EPISODE 23 Commentary – Audio commentary by ADR director and voice talent Mike McFarland (Havoc) and English Dub voice talents Todd Haberkorn (Ling Yao), Monica Rial (May Chang), Trina Nishimura (Lan Fan).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs – The textless opening and ending theme songs.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

Like the first part of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, there is a good amount of episodes that will make you laugh and even make you want to shed some tears as not only does the series feature a good amount of action, fun and upbeat moments but also heartbreaking episodes.  Especially those dealing with Ed and Al’s realization of what happened to their good friend Hughes and when we see Winry confront the man who killed her parents.  Heartbreaking scenes but definitely added to the enjoyment of this series.

Aside from the more emotional scenes, the battle between the military and the homunculi is starting to ramp up and we get to see a number of awesome battles between the military and the Homunculi and also an introduction to Lin Yao, Lan Fan, May Chang and also a confrontation with the murderer Scar.

If anything, while the first series was more or less trying to jam pack a lot of story (that people saw in the first series) in its first 13 episodes, this time around the storyline becomes much more focused on what took place on the manga series.  More character development was needed on the military characters and the writers have done a wonderful job in including more scenes with Roy Mustang, Jean Havoc, Riza Hawkeye and also on the newer characters Ling Yao, Lan Fan and May Chang.  As well as showcasing the homunculi and what they are capable of.

I really enjoyed part two of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and how well-paced, how action-packed and how much deeper the episodes were.  This latest volume was quite addicting and I definitely enjoy how the series has continued to grow and improve with each episode.

As for the Blu-ray release, as explained with my review for the first volume, some people may have issues that this series is not true 1080p but created in 540p and then upscaled to 1080p.   As many Japanese companies are going through cost-cutting situations due to their economy, we are going to see some anime released in 4:3 instead of widescreen and we are going to see Japanese companies not taking advantage of true 1080p and focusing on creating anime series in 540p.  It’s the nature of the industry right now and if we want to support anime, we’ll need to support them even during these tough times.

But with that being said, I was able to compare the DVD and the Blu-ray release of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and the artistic backgrounds and its details are much better looking on Blu, the colors are more cleaner, sharper and more colorful on Blu and for the most part, for a TV series, I’m quite content with the PQ. I felt the black levels were good and again, for a TV Series released in 2009, the picture quality is good not great (it’s not 1080p) and there is a hint of edge enhancement but it’s still pretty good.

Overall, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” may not please the diehards who have loved the original anime TV series but the fact is, we are getting a series that is now closer to the manga series and also more episodes than the original release. Not to say one should forget the original series but in a way, the “Fullmetal Alchemist” brand has moved on to bigger and better and the FMA: Brotherhood series is much more consistent to what the creator, Hiromu Arakawa intended.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” has the making of a great anime series and part two is fantastic!

It will make you laugh, cry and you’ll notice how things continue to get better and better with this series and you are left with wanting more! If you are looking for an anime TV series on Blu-ray that has a great balance of cool characters, an addictive storyline and for the most part, looks good and sounds wonderful in HD. Definitely put this series high on top of your anime on Blu-ray list!

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

May 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” has the making of a great anime series!  It will make you laugh, cry and by the end of the first volume, you are left with wanting more!  If you are looking for an anime TV series on Blu-ray that has a great balance of cool characters, an addictive storyline and for the most part, looks good and sounds wonderful in HD.  Definitely put this series high on top of your anime on Blu-ray list!

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

TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part One

DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 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: November 17, 2009

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

Edward and Alphonse Elric’s reckless disregard for alchemy’s fundamental laws ripped half of Ed’s limbs from his body and left Al’s soul clinging to a cold suit of armor. To restore what was lost, the brothers scour a war-torn land for the Philosopher’s Stone, a fabled relic which grants the ability to perform alchemy in impossible ways.

The Elrics are not alone in their search; the corrupt State Military is also eager to harness the artifact’s power. So too are the strange Homunculi and their shadowy creator. The mythical gem lures exotic alchemists from distant kingdoms, scarring some deeply enough to inspire murder. As the Elrics find their course altered by these enemies and allies, their purpose remains unchanged – and their bond unbreakable.

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.  Currently there are over 60 episodes that have aired in Japan and the series is still ongoing.  Also, unlike the previous anime series, this series would be created in HD (540p).  The first 13 episodes of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” would feature its first 13-episodes covering the first 26-episodes from the original anime series but from that point on, the series becomes a whole new storyline which features more characters and for the most part, something new and different for the viewers, especially fans of the original series.

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 be 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!”).

“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.  And these consequences and guilt have plunged Edward to the lowest he had ever been.

Meanwhile, a military figure named Roy Mustang has come and is shocked to see that Edward was able to survive a human transmutation and also anchoring his brother’s soul and thus gives Edward a chance to join the military to fight with them but at the same time, gaining access that may give Edward a chance to bring his brother back to life and also his own body as well.

With this opportunity, this gives Edward a chance to repair what he did wrong and help his brother.  But as they investigate on how they can get their bodies back and investigating what is known as a “Philosopher’s Stone”, an unknown group is out there, observing his every move and willing to kill in order to get to Edward.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” 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.
  • Alex Louis Armstrong – A strong arm alchemist who is extremely strong and hulking in size but also very sensitive.
  • Izumi Curtis - The teacher of Ed and Alphonse Eric who helped them hone their alchemy right after their mother died.
  • 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.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part One” features a total of 13-episodes on two Blu-ray discs.  Here is a basic summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – Fullmetal Alchemist – Edward and Al are sent to capture rogue State Alchemist Isaac McDougal.
  • EPISODE 2 – The First Day - We learn how Edward lost his limbs and how Al was bonded to a suit of armor.
  • EPISODE 3 – City of Heresy – Ed and Al arrive at Liore and learn about Father Cornello’s “miracles”. Does he really know alchemy?
  • EPISODE 4 – An Alchemist’s Anguish – Who is the mysterious man who has murdered State Alchemists?
  • EPISODE 5 – Rain of Sorrows – After the battle against the mysterious man, now Edward and Al must take on Scar.
  • EPISODE 6 – Road of Hope – The Elric brothers and Armstrong go to Resembool to find a former State Alchemist.
  • EPISODE 7 – Hidden Truths – Ed and Al arrive back in Central and find out that the library they need to visit has been burned down by someone.
  • EPISODE 8 – The Fifth Laboratory – Al vs. Barry the Chopper while Ed takes on Slicer.
  • EPISODE 9 – Created Feelings – The aftermath of the battle and Al starts to have conflicted feelings.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 10 – Separate Destinations – Both Edward and Al go to visit their old alchemist teacher Izumi Curtis.  Meanwhile, tragedy hits the State Alchemists.
  • EPISODE 11 – Miracle at Rush Valley – The Elric brothers and Winry visit Rush Valley (where the best automail creators live).
  • EPISODE 12 – One is All, All is One – Ed and Al learn the truth about their teacher.
  • EPISODE 13 – Beasts of Dublith – Al is captured by homunculus.  Edward searches for his brother.

VIDEO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is presented in 1080p HD 16×9 via a HD native source.  It’s important to note that although the conversion was made to 1080p, I’ve read that the actual Japanese original masters were created in 540p.  With that being said, this is a TV series and one can’t expect OVA or film quality but I manage to compare the DVD and Blu-ray verson and the Blu-ray looks much more colorful, much more detailed and looked much better and more colorful than its DVD counterpart.

I did notice edge enhancement and I’m sure the conversion of a 540p source to 1080p possibly led to the jaggies that can be seen at times.  Granted, I’m a bit picky when it comes to video quality but the fact that this is created by BONES (a busy anime production company) and the fact that this is not an OVA or film, for a TV series, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” looks very good. Granted, it’s not uber-vibrant but there is a good amount of shading, detail, blacks are deep and overall, I felt the Blu-ray looked much better than its DVD counterpart.

AUDIO:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part One” 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.

NOTE: You can not use your audio button to switch from Japanese to English and vice versa while watching the series.  You will need to press your guide button to switch to another audio.  Also, you can not optionally remove English subtitles unless you choose the English lossless soundtrack.  So, for those who want to watch the series in Japanese with no English subtitles may be disappointed by this.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood – Part One” comes with the following special features:

  • EPISODE 1 Commentary – Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Director and voice of Gene) and voice talents Colleen Clinkenbeard (Riza Hawkeye and Rose Thomas), Travis Willingham (Roy Mustang) and Maxey Whitehead (who plays Al).  The talent talk about the differences of playing the character in the original series and playing the characters now.
  • EPISODE 10 Commentary – Audio commentary by American voice talent Caitlyn Glass (ADR Director and voice of Winree Rockbell), Sonny Strait (voice of Hughes) and Laura Bailey (voice of Lust).  The talent talk about the differences of their characters compared to the original “Fullmetal Alchemist” series.
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs – The textless opening and ending theme songs.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

EXTRAS:

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” comes with a cardboard slipcase and four postcards (note three of the four postcards are seen via the images on this review).

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” made me laugh, made my cry but for the most part, made realize how much I love this series and how happy I am that we are getting the version based on the manga series.

Not to say that I don’t miss the original anime series but “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is what should have been to begin with but overall, I enjoyed this Blu-ray release.

The first 13-episodes pretty much covers the first 26-episodes of the original series, so certain parts of the storyline that were much more fleshed out in the series will definitely upset the hardcore fans of the original series but I felt that the point is to get over the primary 13-episodes and then afterward, go full force in a different direction from the original anime series.

As that is one major difference between the two series, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” also features a different look for some of the characters and more characters are introduced.  The series is much darker, bloodier but it eventually works itself out.  The storyline of Hughes is not as fleshed out as in the original but still, the impact of what happens to him is still there.

The brotherly bond between Edward and Al is still there and it was great to see Winry so direct in how she gets her emotions across was quite nice.  But of course, these are the first 13-episodes and there are over 60-episodes in Japan (and the series is still ongoing).  But I have no doubt that this will be one of the more exciting ongoing long series to be available on Blu-ray that I have no doubt in my mind is going to be action-packed, hilarious, fun, sad and even more than what we got with the original series.

The only thing that I know where people will have their differences in opinion is the actual picture quality of the series.  As many Japanese companies are going through cost-cutting situations due to their economy, we are going to see some anime released in 4:3 instead of widescreen and we are going to see Japanese companies not taking advantage of 1080p and focusing on 540p.  This is going to be a major contention with videophiles wanting the best for anime in the US (and have been disgruntled by the amount of upscale releases).

Personally, I’m not as critical because this is a TV series (you can’t expect OVA or film quality) and just because it’s from BONES, like any major anime studio, sometimes the staff are working on multiple series and for those familiar with Japanese anime studios, sometimes these series are turned in to the network up-to-the-last minute of being aired on television.

But with that being said, I was able to compare the DVD and the Blu-ray release of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and the artistic backgrounds and its details are much better looking on Blu, the colors are more cleaner, sharper and more colorful on Blu and for the most part, for a TV series, I’m quite content with the PQ.  I felt the black levels were good and again, for a TV Series released in 2009, the picture quality is good not great (it’s not 1080p) and there is a hint of edge enhancement but it’s still pretty good.

Overall, “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” may not please the diehards who have loved the original anime TV series but the fact is, we are getting a series that is now closer to the manga series and also more episodes than the original release.  Not to say one should forget the original series but in a way, the “Fullmetal Alchemist” brand has moved on to bigger and better and the FMA: Brotherhood series is much more consistent to what the creator, Hiromu Arakawa intended.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” has the making of a great anime series!  It will make you laugh, cry and by the end of the first volume, you are left with wanting more!  If you are looking for an anime TV series on Blu-ray that has a great balance of cool characters, an addictive storyline and for the most part, looks good and sounds wonderful in HD.  Definitely put this series high on top of your anime on Blu-ray list!

FUNimation Entertainment Announces U.S. Broadcast Debut of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

February 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Flower Mound, TX – February 5, 2010 – The Elric brothers are back! FUNimation® Entertainment announced today that the mega-hit “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, a fantasy action-adventure series, will debut on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim on Saturday, February 13. The series will air at 12:00 a.m. ET/PT each Saturday.

The blockbuster anime series “Fullmetal Alchemist” by the acclaimed Japanese studio Bones introduced Alphonse and Edward Elric and the followup film “Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa” ended the series but many fans wished to see the story continue.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” faithfully recreates the story first told in the classic manga by Hiromu Arakawa and featured in Square Enix’s Monthly Shonen Gangan magazine. Set in a fictional world where alchemy – the transmutation of raw materials into objects – is science and the way of life, the series follows the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, on their perilous journey in search of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone. They set forth in the hope that the magical artifact can restore their bodies after a failed attempt to revive their dead mother cost Edward’s left leg and right arm, as well as Alphonse’s entire body, leaving his soul affixed to a suit of armor. In “Brotherhood” the brothers will risk what remains to restore what was lost.

Acquired from Japanese producer and distributor Aniplex, the English-dubbed series is produced by Mike McFarland and directed by McFarland and Caitlin Glass. McFarland also directed “Fullmetal Alchemist.”

Reprising their roles from the first series are Vic Mignogna as Edward Elric, Caitlin Glass as Winry Rockbell, Travis Willingham as Roy Mustang, Laura Bailey as Lust, Sony Strait as Maes Hughes, and Mike McFarland as Jean Havoc.

Actor Maxey Whitehead is taking on the role of Alphonse Elric.

Originally Al in “Fullmetal Alchemist,” Aaron Dismuke will be featured in another role later in the series.

Episodic Descriptions for February airdates:

Episode 01 – Fullmetal Alchemist, premieres February 13
The Elric brothers adjust to military life and take part in a manhunt for the dangerous Isaac the Freezer, a former State Alchemist bent on bringing Fuhrer Bradley down.

Episode 02 – The First Day, premieres February 20
A glimpse into the past reveals the pain and desperation that drove the Elric boys to break alchemy’s greatest taboo – human transmutation – and their reasons for becoming dogs of the military.

Episode 03 – City of Heresy, premieres February 27
Science and faith collide when the Elrics confront Father Cornello. He claims to work miracles, but the brothers suspect he is abusing a Philosopher’s Stone to manipulate his flock.

Funimation Entertainment will release “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” Part One on DVD and Blu-ray on May 25.

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