Quick history lesson: back in 2003, production house Studio Bones developed an adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist, which, despite clawing its way into the top 20 on most anime must-have lists, didn’t sit well with some of the genre’s diehards.
The reason? It swayed from its comic-book origins. Brotherhood is the response to this; a retelling of the comic that aims to be the definitive take on the brilliant source material. And that’s the true power of Japanimation fanboys at work...
The plot swirls around a world where alchemists (super-beings capable of breaking down and reconstructing matter) are gods in the eyes of man and the military thanks to their molecule-bending abilities.
However, when alchemist brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric break the cardinal rule – human transmutation is a no-no – in a desperate bid to resurrect their mother from the realm of the dead, they’re punished.
Alphonse’s soul is yanked from his meat-suit and bound to a hunk of armour, while two of Edward’s limbs are ripped from his body. Harsh? Perhaps a tad. What follows is a retake that, despite fumbling in some spots, trumps its predecessor in others.
For starters, it fastidiously follows the manga comics, weaving in a host of new scenes from the original series while conjuring nigh-on exact replicas of Arakawa’s panel-based creations.
The series directors also strive to condense the content from 33 original episodes into just 13, all the while peppering the fable with lavish and gory bouts of fisticuffs that are amplified by a stupendously catchy soundtrack comprised of wacky J-Pop tunes.
As for the extras, perhaps reflected by the £34.99 RRP, there’s a double dose of commentaries.
Only the first disc arrived on our doorstep but the mic session featuring voice actors Maxey Whitehead, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Travis Willingham and line producer/vocal talent Mike McFarland is a blast.
Bubbling with anecdotes, behind-the-scenes titbits and rib-ticklers, it, like last month’s Soul Eater release, is one of the better chat-tracks served up by a Manga disc.
A stellar re-imagining of a smash-hit manga on a somewhat scrawny disc, given the weighty Blu-ray pricetag.