Joined: 31-July 10
Member No.: 75,062
Hello everybody, I would like to add something about Ed and All character developments in the manga (I voted for Brotherhood in the poll, but I think it could have been much better).
About Ed: In my opinion, he not only learns about trusting other people (this stands right in Al's case, too), but also humility. I love Ed because I'm a rational person like him, but at first he was rational in a childish way, while in the end he learned that human beings cannot do everything and that they have limits.
About Al: I believe he's a character who learnt that humanity isn't something so easy to define, and that even a chimera, an homunculus and, well, an empty armour can be "human". Al learns that what you do and the way you act is the thing that makes you human or "inhuman", and not how you born.
Since I'm at it, about Winry (another character I really love): she learns that priority should be given to help and caring for people, not built and heal and not to destroy and kill, whatever the situation you're in. This is even more true for her given her abilities. Most of all, she learns her parent's lesson, and how to live according to their ideals.
Joined: 5-July 11
Member No.: 82,304
Before I delve into this, I must admit, they did try really hard with Brotherhood and it just didn't come together (at least for me). The first anime just had so much more tangible material, honestly, I don't think any anime gets better than one that you can actually nearly touch. Even after watching Brotherhood, which I had to suffer through, only because all my friends were like "It's the real story." I'll be honest, just because it was the original story the author had in mind, doesn't make it better than what the anime adaptors ended up doing with it. I'll try my best to explain how their inclusion of real historical events changed the entire feel of the anime, as it made it tangible.
Throughout the first anime, there were so many accurate historical references, it made their world seem like ours with the only twist being how different religion and science developed on through. All of the Abrahamic Religions (Christianity, Judaism & Islam) were replaced by "Ishvallah-ism?" and the religion people followed in Leor. In Ishval, you can see a setting which resembles the Middle East more predominantly (poorer living conditions and domed-temple to which they pray to Ishvalla). In Leor, you can see a form of Greek-like worship, where their followers worship their "sun god" and many of the statues that are placed throughout the city are reminiscent of statues formed by Greeks. In this sense, you can see how a mutual existence of both types of religions (monotheistic and polytheistic) was prevalent throughout the series. And then you have the "state" where our main characters are from that purely follow a science with equivalent exchange as their form of sacred worship.
However, even though the conflicts explained in this story-line are a bit complex, but they aren't something we haven't seen before or aren't able to witness today. One of the more subtle conflicts seems to be this "Western Science vs Eastern Religion" that can be observed via the State vs Ishval. In other words, you can look at the wars between the "state" and Ishval/Leor almost synonymously with the US & Iraq/Afghanistan, something to think about, definitely not trying to be Anti-American, but we didn't find anything but oil in Iraq. But on a more microscopic level, as young adults we were given a different scope of understanding in regards to how military/nation conflicts work, as we saw with how Colonel Archer invades Leor to "capture" Scar.
I believe if not for the way they "set" the world up, this anime could have come crashing down at any moment, they did a wonderful job just setting up the scenery and sprinkling historical references from recent conflicts and etc. Then intertwining all of that with minor adjustments in our past, where there were hints that the "Salem Witch Trials" were used as a method to create a Philosophers Stone. The animators/writers did a really great job with this, honestly, I don't think the newer anime has enough real world perspective to push the storyline. The difference between the two is that when I watched the first anime, I felt like I was really intrigued and the second one was more well structured, but it just didn't capture my interest at all.
Joined: 29-November 11
Member No.: 87,178
I always find the reasoning that Brotherhood is the better/worse series because of its fights rather shallow. Sure, I like fights as much as the next shonen fan, but I view it more as a side benefit. I actually hate fights that take up more time than necessary. No, what makes Brotherhood great are the moral and philosophical themes tying into the overall story (and what a wonderful, engaging story it was). I agree that FMA1 has some nice real-life parallels, but everything was pretty small scale. Brotherhood just goes on a larger scale with everything (the delicate nature of humanity, the corresponding strength of humanity, the cruelty of war on all, etc). In the end, it's all a matter if you prefer a more pessimistic story with simple allegory or a more hopeful one with a philosophical or moral themes.
The thing I feel that Brotherhood did better than the first anime is that it pulls out themes, adds to the themes, and sticks with them to the end. Anime-1 had some good themes, but I feel that it threw some out the window (what happened to "choose life over death" and "live and learn more so you can help others"?) and didn't go far enough with others (life isn't always governed by Equivalent Exchange. and then...you just fatalistically accept it and abandon your own world when it turns out you're alive; I can think of a much better way to end Shamballa ).
There's far to many themes for me to comment on in one post (and I don't have enough time to write a detailed essay), so I'll just pick one :
One is All, All is One - This one popped out the most for me. It was the establishing concept of both series, and the very heart of Brotherhood. The base of it how one is all things are connected, how with death comes life and life comes death. The of one individual returns it to the all-encompassing world, and from the world comes a new one. But should the individuals be removed, the all will cease to exist, for there cannot be an all if there is no one left.
A good theme that ties into this is the classic Darwinian "survival of the fittest." It's a common misconception that "fittest" means strongest. In fact, biologically speaking, it refers to the individual creature's ability to live and propagate. The fittest is no necessarily the strongest. The anime provides a very insightful look at this concept. "survival of the fittest" does not mean "every man for himself". You can get ahead by sacrificing others, but eventually you'll hit a dead end (very dead end, in some cases). But if you devote yourself to aiding others, to forming a bond and look out for each other, you'll always grow stronger as a person. In addition to making others more fit, you yourself become more fit. This is demonstrated by the unity of the Briggs soldiers and eventually everyone involved in the final battle.
What I love most about the Anime-2 is the great interdependence of the characters. No one made it to the end without some help. Individualism is still an important trait, but indivualism doesn't mean casting away everyone. That was the mistake Father made and partly why his fall was inevitable
For me, the biggest key moment was near the end, when Edward must make the decision to save his brother. The Gateway contains all of the world's knowledge inside as well as the very source of one's alchemic power, which as we know was everything to Ed. Alphonse is the one he desires to save. Al may be one person, but he is everything to Ed, and without him, all that power is nothing. Ed realized that all the power in the world is no good if he can't use it to save one life. But when people unite, they can make a world of difference. He realized that he's had everything in his hands all along and he doesn't need alchemy to change the world. So a life is saved by his understanding that he can make a difference by standing completely on his own legs.
There's so much more I have to say on this and the countless other themes, but that's all I have time to write for now. Might go start a themes topic later.