Fullmetal Alchemist, a significant name in the world of anime, has two notable adaptations: the original Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009).
While both series are based on the manga by Hiromu Arakawa, they offer distinct storytelling approaches, narrative arcs, and character development.
This article explores the art of storytelling in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and how it differs from the original series.
Fidelity to the Manga
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s Adherence to the Source Material
One of the key differences between Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and the original series is their adherence to the manga.
Brotherhood closely follows the manga’s storyline and was created with the intention of being a more faithful adaptation.
This adherence affects not just the plot but also the pacing, character arcs, and thematic exploration.
Original Series’ Independent Direction
In contrast, the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, which started before the manga was completed, diverges significantly from its source material partway through.
The series develops an independent storyline, introducing original plots, characters, and themes.
This divergence allows the original series to explore different narrative paths and resolutions.
Character Development and Depth
Expanding Characters in Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood delves deeper into the backstories and motivations of its characters, including many who were given less attention in the original series.
Characters like Ling Yao, Olivier Mira Armstrong, and the homunculi receive more detailed exploration, providing a comprehensive understanding of their roles and significance.
Original Series’ Focused Character Exploration
The original series, while having fewer characters from the manga, offers a focused and in-depth exploration of its central characters.
It spends more time on the emotional and psychological development of characters like Edward, Alphonse, and Winry, offering a different perspective on their journey.
Plot Complexity and Themes
Brotherhood’s Expansive Plot
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood presents a more complex plot, with multiple storylines converging towards a grand narrative.
The series tackles a wide array of themes such as politics, war, philosophy, and morality, woven into its extensive storyline.
Original Series’ Intimate Storytelling
The original series takes a more intimate approach to storytelling. It focuses on themes of loss, identity, and the consequences of ambition on a more personal level.
The narrative is more contained but deeply explores the emotional and moral dilemmas faced by the characters.
Conclusion and Ending
Brotherhood’s Conclusive Ending
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood offers a conclusive ending that ties together the various plot threads, consistent with the manga’s resolution.
The ending is comprehensive, resolving the fates of the characters and the central conflicts introduced throughout the series.
Original Series’ Unique Resolution
The original series crafts its unique conclusion, diverging from the manga.
his ending leaves certain plotlines open to interpretation and sets the stage for the movie Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa, which serves as the series’ true finale.
The storytelling in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and the original Fullmetal Alchemist series presents two distinct approaches to the same source material.
Brotherhood is celebrated for its fidelity to the manga and its expansive and intricate narrative, while the original series is praised for its focused character development and unique storyline.
Both series offer unique experiences, contributing to the richness and diversity of anime storytelling.