Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is still regarded as one of the best anime series of all times for multiple reasons. The show follows the Elric brothers as they struggle to navigate life after the death of their mother. What’s the kicker? The younger brother Alphonse has his soul trapped in a suit of armor after the brother’s botched attempt to bring their mother back to life. All five seasons of this epic anime are available to stream on Netflix.
A Bit of Background
Edward and Alphonse Elric live in a world where people have the ability to become alchemists. In a way, the alchemists in FMA:B could be likened to wizards and witches in Harry Potter. Not everyone can become an alchemist, but those who do the ability have to train rigorously to advance in alchemy. The brothers knew that attempting human transmutation was a major taboo, but tried it anyway to bring their mother back to life. As a result of their “sin,” Edward loses an arm and a leg, and barely manages to save his brother’s soul, transmuting it into a suit of armor.
The brothers begin the series determined to get their normal bodies back. But it’s not easy. Edward Elric becomes a State Alchemist, which brings a whole new slew of issues for the brothers.
A Vast Conspiracy and the Incredible Winry Rockbell
With any great story comes a mass conspiracy by government leaders that the heroes must thwart. In FMA:B, Edward and Alphonse find themselves facing several foes including the Homunculi. The Homunculi are fake humans named after the seven deadly sins. It’s later revealed that they’re part of a major plot to basically take over the world. Without spoiling too much, the plot does extend all the way to the upper echelon’s of the government in universe.
But for every dark moment in FMA:B, there’s a Winry Rockbell scene. Winry is a childhood friend of the Elric’s, and is also an incredibly skilled automail mechanic. Like Alphonse and Edward, Winry was also orphaned after her parents were killed in the Ishvalan War, a major part of the history of the story. While the Elric brothers are the main focus of the series, Winry’s journey is just as complex and incredibly fascinating.
There’s a great episode when she comes face to face with her parent’s killer and she has to decide if exacting revenge is worth the price of her soul. Another great thing about Winry is the fact that she is the mechanic Edward relies on for his prothetic leg and arm, and she doesn’t hesitate to call him out if he puts himself in dangerous situations that damages her work. Winry isn’t just a romantic interest, she’s a fully fledged character in her own right. (And if they ever did a spin-off series, they should do it about her.)
Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood has a great complex story, incredible characters, and a suspenseful plot that will keep you guessing until the end. Another good thing about the series is that there really isn’t any pointless filler episodes. Even the recap episode serves to move the story forward. The show is just that good in terms of plotting and pacing.
What is ultimately the best thing about the iconic series? The manga that the show is based off on was written by Hiromu Arakawa. A woman.
Check out the show on Netflix. But be careful, the show is definitely a ten on the binge-worthy scale. You’ve been warned.