Fullmetal Alchemist – Brotherhood Collection 3 (Episodes 27-39) (Cert 15) (BD)
2 Discs (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 305 minutes
No, you are not experiencing déjà vu this is a new release tile. When Manga Entertainment first released FMA: Brotherhood it is was on both DVD and Blu-ray formats; unfortunately the sales for the first two volumes on the later format weren’t as healthy as forecast and due to the high production costs of releasing a title on Blu-ray – especially a mammoth ten disc series – the decision was made to restrict the releases to DVD only.
This obviously left many fans with the first two volumes on Blu-ray left somewhat floating adrift – until now! So, if you were one of those fans, rejoice as you can complete your FMA: Brotherhood collection in shiny HD!
We rejoin the saga of the Elric brothers with Ed Elric still trapped inside the stomach of homunculus Gluttony along with Prince Lin Yao of Xing and Envy, another homunculus. Younger Elric brother Al convinces Gluttony to take him to meet Father, the creator of the homunculi – who looks uncannily like Hohenheim, the father of the brothers.
With the captives eventually freed from Gluttony’s stomach, Father demonstrate the immensity of his powers by robbing Ed and Al of their ability to use Alchemy before setting Envy and Gluttony onto them. During this one sided melee Lin is trapped by Father and is implanted with the Philosopher’s Stone to allow the homunculus Greed to be revived within Lin’s body. Thankfully for the Elrics, help comes in the unlikely form of Scar and Xingese girl May Chung but this provides only a temporary distraction.
Quite a busy start for this third collection of episodes and it doesn’t stop there. It’s a little difficult to summarise the events and developments over this two disc set since there are so many and this would be closer to a verbatim retelling than a review. With that in mind and being careful of spoiling anything, here is a vain attempt to explain some of the more pertinent events of the remaining eleven episodes – the first chapter in this set is a part recap deal.
The Elric brothers travel from the corrupt offices of Central to the frozen wastelands of Briggs in the North where they encounter the mother of all ice queens: none other than Olivier Mira Armstrong, the older sister of Major Armstrong. Excuse the pun but Olivier really is the polar opposite of her overly emotional sibling and definitely the more fearsome of the two. Meanwhile May and Scar along with Dr. Marcoh also make their way North in search of important research documents belonging to Scar’s late brother. Providing the major spanner in the works is returning renegade alchemist Kimblee who has been given carte blanche to do as he sees fit by Fuhrer Bradley aka the homunculus Wrath.
And that’s just the half of it. It’s fair to say therefore that FMA: Brotherhood fans are getting their money’s worth with these releases as far as content goes. Even the opening recap episode is done in such away that it does not feel like a short changing waste of time. By now, the message should be abundantly clear to anyone only familiar with the original 2003 Anime adaptation that the diversion from the original Manga that made up the second half of that run is a far cry from what they know of this impressive saga.
Not only are different paths travelled by our main protagonists but many characters take on new personalities and follow new manifestos along the way. A brand new cast are introduced to us during the Briggs arc, lead by the suitably frosty Olivier Armstrong and her loyal soldiers who appear somewhat ignorant towards the world of Alchemy, homunculi and chimera.
The story twists and turns as the political machinations that reigned in central are replaced by duplicity and a cerebral game of cat and mouse in the snowy mountains of Briggs. Any sense that this is more of the same but in a different location are erased very quickly and while action is still very much a key element of the show, it is the mental acumen of our cast that is employed to greater effect in the later episodes.
There is really little else to say. At the risk of making an ill advised joke, the show is truly heating up despite the wintry setting and shows no signs of slowing down just yet. If you’ve already been following the series – and if not, why not? – then not only are you rewarded with another superb volume that continues to delivers the goods to a high standard but anticipation for the next volume will be extremely high.
So, put this on your Anime shopping list and enjoy!
True Dolby HD: English Language 5.1
True Dolby HD: Japanese Language 2.0
Episode 28 Commentary
Episode 36 Commentary
Textless Opening Song – Golden Time Lover
Textless Closing Song – Tsunaida Te
Rating – *****
Man In Black