I have to agree with you, the anime 1 is better with those things. I have always prefered the 2003 version to thsi new one. Since I'm a huge Hughes fan, the way that the manga and brotherhood deal with his character irritates me to no end. Anime 1 gave us a chance to get to know him better and I also like to think that Hughes is a father figure to both Edward and Alphonse. Many have complained that the birth from manga was changed to birth of Elysia but I think it just deepes the characters. As with changing the timeline, the makers really made it clear to us that time has passed. It just makes the story more believable. In Manga, the characters don't change in appearance. In A1, Edward's outfits loose that bright red colour he prefered and his whole personality becomes kind of more mature: he isn't a naive kid anymore.
"As for the Nina Tucker tragedy, I can argue that it worked better as an origin story. I believe it was a strong element to Edward's character development. One wonders why MangaEdward was less naive about it. Yes, Edward would have been shocked by this horror, no matter what. But an additional shock was that an Alchemist could pervert his talents for such a thing. In Anime1, Edward is starting to learn hard things about life and stuff when he comes to this horror. It gives him a lesson, strengthening him for the long journey ahead. As for MangaEdward: What, three years of dealing with people misusing Alchemy, and then he suffers this shattering discovery about Alchemists? Didn't he have any earlier experience of this? He should have known better."
Sorry but I didn't understand which version of Nina's death you prefered (stupid me). But I agree with the last few sentences. The impact of Nina's death was bigger in A1 since Edward was young and naive. It is more believable that way. But in Manga, Edward had already gained reputation as an alchemist and then this one death just breaks him down. It really isn't that realistic. In A1, Nina's death haunts him through the entire series and gives him strenght to go on in his journey. Still, Manga has always portrayed Edward as an independent, cocky person who thinks he already knows everything. Maybe the whole Nina moment was made both to introduce Scar but also to give the readers a chance to feel sympathy for the boy.
"The only problem is having Scar appear in Central too early and causing no problem. But I don't see this flaw as unforgivable."
I liked it when Scar appeared in the early times; it makes the audience think that he might have a reason for all of his killing. In manga, the guy is portrayed to only be a serial killer until... well, it goes for a long time.
All in all, the A1 timeline works better for me. It makes the characters, especially Hughes, deeper and the audience can relate to them better.
You know, you have some interesting writings and opinions. I have just never had time to review them. Many times, I have felt like you are reading my thoughts and then giving them a written form. It's scary sometimes