In all versions of FMA the timeline is this:
-Edward goes to Central and becomes a State Alchemist
-The Brothers go off on a 3-4 year journey.
-The Lior/Reole adventure > the main storyline.
But two events in the Brothers' lives were placed differently in the manga and the first anime series (Anime1): The meeting of Hughes and the Shou & Nina Tucker Tragedy. In the manga, these events occurred after Lior/Reole. But the Anime1 set them during Edward's education at Central. This has caused some confusion for viewers (despite evident cosmetic differences: Riza's hairstyle, Edward's collar, etc.), but apart from this, what are your comments about the Anime1's chain of these two events?
The meeting with Hughes was a definite plus IMO. No one can deny that one virtue about Anime1 was its treatment of the character of Maes Hughes. Having the Brothers meet him in their early Central days helped establish a bond between the two (as well as viewers). In the manga, the Brothers saw Hughes as a friend they were getting to know. In the Anime1, the expanded time made Hughes a father-figure to the boys. The addition of Elysia's birth in this setting does make Hughes' daughter a year older (four) than her manga counterpart (three), but who would want to complain that Anime1Elysia had another year with her daddy?
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.
The only problem is having Scar appear in Central too early and causing no problem. But I don't see this flaw as unforgivable.