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Full Version: FMA-1 & FMA:B Storyline Comparisons, and the Suggested "Converged" Viewing Scheme
Fullmetal Alchemist Discussion Board > Fullmetal Alchemist Discussions > Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Anime
Goobie
I saw a list online somewhere that had the recommended watching order of FMA combined with FMA: B for the sake of character development in the beginning and the better manga story after volume one. Anyone know where this is? I can't find it again.
Dearheart
I have no idea, but dang! I wish I'd seen this list! This would be perfect, as I have a love/hate relationship with both animes and I'm always wishing there was some way I could squish them together to get the perfect adaptation. If nobody else finds this list you mentioned, maybe we could all try putting together our own. It's a great idea, either way. smile.gif
Goobie
Found it!

Mod Note: Because we think the information compiled & analyzed by the site author is very useful, we re-posted the content below. We made few edit to add the emphasis for the sake of readability, but otherwise the whole credit goes to the author. You can read the original content at the author's site.
(By the way, WELCOME to our board, Goobie, and thank you so much for bringing us this very interesting & informative analysis of the two FMA anime series! C:)


QUOTE
Fullmetal Alchemist anime (FMA-1 and FMA:Brotherhood) convergence

You may have heard of Fullmetal Alchemist. You may know that the story originated as a manga series (FMA Manga). You may even know that there are two anime adaptations, Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA-1) and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (FMA:B) -- both of which start with the same story but diverge part-way through.

Though both series were authorized by the original author of FMA Manga, Hiromu Arakawa, the latter (FMA:Brotherhood) is meant to be a faithful adaptation of the source material (FMA Manga) which was only half complete at the time the production has started for the first anime (FMA-1).

...Like many FMA fans, I think both anime series have their merits...
Some claim that since the target audience for the later 2009 anime (FMA:B) was mostly the same with the target audience for the first anime (FMA-1), they didn't need to tread the same water (and to an extent, I agree).

===

If you aren't aware of how quickly FMA:Brotherhood anime rushed through plot points, consider the following pacing for the first 20% of the anime series, which summarizes the first 30% of the source material.

PLOT (storyline) COMPARISON: FMA:Brotherhood anime (FMA:B) (season 1) vs. the original FMA Manga

* FMA:B episode 1: anime-only episode (it sort of fits between FMA-1 anime episodes 13 and 14)
* FMA:B episode 2 ← FMA Manga chapters 21, 23-24 (flashback, also works between FMA-1 anime episodes 13 and 14)
* FMA:B episode 3 ← FMA Manga chapters 1-2
* FMA:B episode 4 ← FMA Manga chapter 5 (skipped 3-4)
* FMA:B episode 5 ← FMA Manga chapters 6-7
* FMA:B episode 6 ← FMA Manga chapters 8-9
* FMA:B episode 7 ← FMA Manga chapters 10-11
* FMA:B episode 8 ← FMA Manga chapters 11-13
* FMA:B episode 9 ← FMA Manga chapters 13-16
* FMA:B episode 10 ← FMA Manga chapters 15-16, & 61
* FMA:B episode 11 ← FMA Manga chapters, 17-19
* FMA:B episode 12 ← FMA Manga chapters 19-23, 25
* FMA:B episode 13 ← FMA Manga chapters 25-29
* FMA:B episode 14 ← FMA Manga chapters 30-31 -- the last episode of season 1 of FMA:B anime (and the end of any overlap with the first series, FMA-1 anime)

Episode 14 marks the last episode of season 1, and the end of any material that overlapped with the first anime (FMA-1).
Season 2 of FMA:B began introducing material that are new to FMA-1 series, introducing Ling, a Xing character, and the Xing nation, while slowing down the pace, though at times, material gets summarized in conversation about off-screen events or flashbacks (or omitted altogether). For example, FMA:B episode 30 about the Ishvalan Extermination summarizes FMA Manga chapters 57-62.

=

So if you're a newcomer to the FMA series, how do you cope the series speeds through the exposition?
I decided to challenge myself to determine just how to make the two FMA anime series converge, allowing the audience to experience the fleshed-out character development of the first anime (FMA-1), seamlessly blended into the second (FMA:B) with minimal contradiction (or plot holes) of critical plot points. (My conclusion will be listed at the end)

===

Though many may not realize it, filler runs rampant in the first anime (FMA-1), but I like to think that filler featuring recurring characters should remain.

Some details eliminated from the second anime (FMA:B) that I felt added to the first anime (FMA-1) (even if silly) include:

* The hijacking of the train (from FMA Manga)
* The alchemy exam -- we see Ed through from the start of his adventure (in FMA-1 anime only)
* Elicia's birth -- strengthens their connection to Hughes (in FMA-1 anime only)
* Barry the Chopper's origin story -- adds a more "human" side to him (in FMA-1 anime only)
* The fall of Yoki at the mines of Youswell -- referenced but not shown (from FMA Manga)
* Black Hayate origin story (FMA Manga bonus chapter)
* The mystery behind Ed's silver watch (in FMA-1 anime only)

===

Another major difference between the two anime adaptations is the chronology.
In particular, the first anime (FMA-1) features an extended back-story from episodes 3 through 9 in which Ed becomes a state alchemist (in the later version, Ed has been an alchemist the entire time).
For example, the tragic story about a chimera occurs around the time Ed gets qualified.

My point in bringing this up is that if one wants to converge the adaptations, certain considerations must be made to avoid plot holes and other points of confusion.

===

But first, let's see how the two adaptations compare in terms of their plot arcs.

PLOT (storyline) COMPARISON: the first FMA anime (FMA-1) (up to episode 30) vs. FMA: Brotherhood anime (FMA:B) (Season 1)

(FMA:B episode 1 is anime-only episode that sort of fits between FMA-1 episodes 13 and 14)
* FMA-1 episodes 1-2 = FMA:B epiosde 3 -- Lior and the fall of Cornello.
* FMA-1 episode 3 = FMA:B episode 2 -- the brothers' failed transmutation and backstory (flashback).
(FMA:1 episode 4 "A Forger's Love" is FMA-1-only filler episode)
* FMA-1 episode 5 -- the brothers thwart terrorists on a train, introduction of Hughes (flashback).
* FMA-1 episodes 6-7 = FMA:B episode 4 -- Shou Tucker and the chimera (flashback in the original anime)
* FMA-1 episode 8 -- pseudo-filler featuring the human Barry, Ed's receives his alchemist name (flashback)
* FMA-1 episode 9 -- Youswell and the fall of Yoki (flashback)
(FMA-1 episode 10 "The Phantom Thief" is FMA-1-only filler episode)
(FMA-1 episodes 11-12 "The Brothers Elric" 1 & 2 are FMA-1-only filler episodes)
* FMA-1 episode 13 -- meeting with Mustang (partial filler), Scar's introduction
* FMA-1 episodes 14-15 = FMA:B episode 5 -- confrontation with Scar
* FMA-1 episodes 16-17 = FMA:B episode 6 -- Marcoh and repairs in Resembool
* FMA-1 episodes 18-19 = FMA:B episode 7 -- the secrets in Marcoh's notes, investigation into Laboratory 5
* FMA-1 episodes 20-22 = FMA:B episode 8 -- the battles at Laboratory 5
* FMA-1 episodes 23-24 = FMA:B episode 9 -- the brothers recover in the hospital
* FMA-1 episode 25 = FMA:B episode 10 -- Hughes's investigation into Laboratory 5
* FMA-1 episode 26 = FMA:B episode 11 -- Rush Valley
* FMA-1 episodes 27-29 = FMA:B episode 12 -- reunion with Izumi
* FMA-1 episode 30 -- FMA:B episode 13 -- Yoki meets Scar (the only scene that these episodes have in common)
...After this point in the series, the plots (story lines) of two FMA anime series diverge considerably.

It's also worth pointing out the filler in the first third of the FMA-1 anime (i.e. the episodes I left out in the list above). The episodes covered wayward plot points that didn't really contribute to the overall plot, usually dead ends or distractions.
FILLERS in The first FMA anime (FMA-1)
FMA-1 epidose 4, "A Forger's Love": Filler about an alchemist named Majihal during the brothers' quest to learn about human transmutation.
FMA-1 episode 10, "The Phantom Thief": Filler about a hunt for a cat burglar, Psiren, on the brothers' way back to report to Mustang about Lior.
FMA-1 episodes 11-12, "The Brothers Elric": Filler about two imposters that have assumed their names while hearing about a Philosopher's Stone that supposedly nears completion. Trivia: This was based on the light novel, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Land of Sand.



=====


My suggested "Converged" FMA anime series Viewing Scheme

Some say the first anime (FMA-1) focuses on character development without cohesion of the plot, whereas the second anime (FMA:B) does the opposite. Well, I think this way you get the best of both worlds.

Below, you'll find 7 suggestions of viewing schemes for the "combined" FMA anime series, with increasing amounts of "Brotherhood" footage (and consequently, decreasing amounts of the footage from the first anime, FMA-1, and its plot holes), along with some supporting details at the break.
Each offers more "high definition", at the expense of rushed plot development.


Bridge 1: Reunion with Izumi

Viewing Scheme 1: Watch FMA-1 episodes 1 through 27 (skipping 4, 10-12, 16), then FMA:B #13

This viewing scheme will get you the following:
FMA-1: The Elrics and Winry arrive at Rush Valley, but Izumi drags them back to Dublith. We learn about their first meeting as Izumi realizes the Elrics' secret. Meanwhile, Mustang investigates a certain murder before he and his team transfer to Central.
FMA:B: Izumi expels her students. Mustang and his team transfer to Central. Scar recovers and meets his master, before crossing paths with Yoki. The Elrics encounter chimeras in Dublith.
Transition: Some scenes are omitted (being stranded on an island), whereas others are repeated (transfer to central, the chess game).
Plot holes: In FMA-1, the Elrics are dragged back to Dublith, whereas in FMA:B, they choose to go to Dublith. With the jump between the reunion and expulsion, you never learn about the Elrics' being stranded on an island. Izumi and Ed talk about the "truth", which is only gently alluded to in the original anime.


Bridge 2: The follow-up investigation into Laboratory 5

Viewing Scheme 2: Watch FMA-1 episode 1 through 24 (skipping 4, 10-12, 16), then FMA:B episode 10

This viewing scheme will get you the following:
FMA-1: After the incident in Lab 5, Ed recovers in the hospital. Al confronts Ed about his current state but running off. Al encounters Scar, who has been recovering in a refugee camp, and the two go on a rescue mission. Along the way, Al reunites with Ed and Winry, who begin to understand Scar.
FMA:B: Ed and Al are back in the hospital where they decide to return to Dublith and visit Rush Valley along the way. A certain murder takes place and Mustang begins to investigate.
Transition: Since part of the latter half of the Lab 5 incident does not exist in the second anime, there is less focus on the outcome.
Plot holes: The first anime introduces the female Sloth and Barry meets his end, but these are contradicted by the introduction of a different Sloth and recurring appearance by Barry.


Bridge 3: The aftermath of Laboratory 5

Viewing Scheme 3: Watch FMA-1 episodes 1 through 22 (skipping 4, 10-12, 16), then FMA:B #9

This viewing scheme will get you the following:
FMA-1: This features the extended Lab 5 incident, including Tucker, Kimblee, and the prisoners. Scar, Al, and the others encounter the homunculi while the military invade the laboratory.
FMA:B: Winry arrives to fix Ed's automail. Al confronts Ed, but they resolve their differences. Scar recovers in a refugee camp.
Transition: Except for the plotholes, this actually has a smooth transition between the two series.
Plot holes: We learn part of Scar's brother's back-story and receive hints about the homunculi's origins, which has different context in the latter series.


Bridge 4: Battles at Laboratory 5

Viewing Scheme 4: Watch FMA-1 episodes 1 through 19 (skipping 4, 10-12, 16), then FMA:B #8

This viewing scheme will get you the following:
FMA-1: Scar recovers in a refugee camp after battling Lust and Gluttony. The Elrics decipher Marcoh's notes and decide to sneak into Lab 5. Meanwhile, Scar hunts down the Elrics to Lab 5.
FMA:B: Al and Ed continue their fights. Afterwards, the Elrics are rescued by their escorts, not an entire military force.
Transition: This is a fairly smooth transition, featuring the FMA Manga's Lab 5 events (not the extended version found in the first anime).
Plot holes: In FMA:Brotherhood, Scar is nowhere to be seen in Lab 5, and Al encounters Barry for the first time with prior back-story. Having Lust kill off Marcoh (when she clearly doesn't in the later series) can prove confusing later on.


Bridge 5: Marcoh's notes

Viewing Scheme 5: Watch FMA-1 episodes 1 through 17 (skipping 4, 10-12), then FMA:B #7.

This viewing scheme will get you the following:
FMA-1: After visiting Resembool, the brothers and Armstrong head back to Central to find Marcoh's notes.
FMA:B: The team arrives in Central and find that the library burned down, but they meet Sheska, who can generate Marcoh's notes.
Transition: Pretty smooth, actually, and my preferred timeline. Episode 16 reveals to Ed what he learns on-the-spot about Scar's crimes (in FMA:B episode 5).
Plot holes: This scheme avoids the re-introduction of Marcoh (unlike the following scheme), but his implied death from earlier might seem confusing. Furthermore, having his story be the "canon" means that the military killed doctors (in the original material, they were ordered, but didn't carry it out). This contradicts a major plot point, but I think it's forgivable, if you don't connect the dots about who those doctors were.


Bridge 6: Marcoh's introduction

Viewing Scheme 6 : Watch FMA-1 episodes 1 through 15 (skipping 4, 10-13), then FMA:B #6

This viewing scheme will get you the following:
FMA-1: The Elrics find and rescue Marcoh from Scar. Marcoh reveals his back-story in the Ishbalan Massacre. Scar battles the Elrics but flees to the sewers when outnumbered by Marcoh, Mustang, and their troops. The military takes Marcoh into protective custody.
FMA:B: On their way to Resembool, the Elrics learn about Marcoh from Armstrong. After catching up with him, they learn about his research. The brothers and Armstrong continue on to Resembool.
Transition: The recap at the beginning bridges the episodes adequately as an off-screen summary. But who really wants to sit through Marcoh's backs-tory twice?
Plot holes: In the first anime, Marcoh reveals the nature of the doctors' death (which differs from their fate in the newer anime, as revealed later), but if you ignore the hints about their identities, you can pass this by. Also, the first anime gently alludes to the Sloth's origin, which the second redefines several episodes later. However, considering that Scar and Marcoh encounter each other for the first time later (FMA:B episode 29), it makes more sense to ignore this "first" confrontation (FMA-1 episode 15) that only exists in the original anime. Just rationalize that Scar didn't recognize Marcoh as part of the military.


Bridge 7: The night of the chimera

Viewing Scheme 7: Watch FMA-1 episodes 1 through 9 (skipping 4, then FMA:B episode 5)

This viewing scheme will get you the following:
FM-A-1: Continuing a flash back, after the death of a certain chimera and Winry's abduction (pseudo-filler), the Elrics are sent to investigate Youswell. Flash forward to the Elrics approaching Lior.
FMA:B: Directly after the Shou Tucker incident, the Elrics encounter Scar for the first time. Mustang explains the Ishbalan Massacre.
Transition: The show already jumps around (Lior, transmutation, Tucker, then Youswell). Since the original anime had an extended flashback, you have to know that after episode 9, you're back to present day.
Plot holes: The time (flashback vs. present day), locations (alley vs. house) and cause of death of the alchemist (murder vs. reported execution) vary between the two. Since Ed wakes up from a nightmare, I guess we can chalk it up to being haunted ever since. Oh, and in the second anime, Ed didn't know the chimera had died. Overall, kind of confusing.


My recommendation:

I recommend to go with the Viewing Scheme 5, though the last scheme (Viewing Scheme 7) features the most content from the later series (always a plus).

Now, jumping seven episodes into Brotherhood may skip over some details and foreshadowing points unique to the series, which is why I think it's worth seeing Brotherhood episodes 1 and 2, and between FMA-1 episodes 13 and 14 (episode 2 goes into details not covered in the original FMA-1 episode 3).

What you get then is the same story from the second series (FMA:B) with greatest character development possible from the first series (FMA-1) -- and free from most filler.
And since there aren't many episodes, they can all fit on one data DVD as a sort of "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Volume 0".
AlphonseHeidric
One character I would have liked to see in both series was Dante, also playing up Rose's role in one and not the other was kind of strange. Yoki seemed to come out of nowhere in this along with a few of the villians explained in the first series.
Goobie
If anyone is interested, I've completed watching FMA like this, and I have a few fixes. Scheme 5 is the best, but it isn't perfect. It is a little more messy than the article implies. There are mentions of red water, along with a few other confusing points that can be avoided.
Tombow
@Goobie - Yes, please share your fixes! I'm interested. biggrin.gif

If we can come up with some suitable "converged viewing" list for people who had not watched the series (and possibly not read manga) I think that would be helpful.


OT:
Welcome to our board, AlphonseHeidric!
biggrin.gif
Goobie
QUOTE (Tombow @ Aug 22 2011, 05:43 AM) *
@Goobie - Yes, please share your fixes! I'm interested. biggrin.gif


After watching Bridge 5 with someone who hadn't seen either series before, I came up with some fixes. There's no way to avoid the awkwardness of combining to two, but I found this method to be be the best:

Brotherhood 1-2
Original FMA 1-2, 5-7, 9, 13
Brotherhood 5 and on

Explanation:
The original author recommends that you watch Brotherhood 1-2 between FMA 13 and 14, but it does not work well. FMA 13 ends with Mustang, Ed, and Al in Eastern but they are randomly in Central again to battle the ice alchemist. It's helpful to watch Brotherhood 1 first because it still works as an introductory episode.

Episode 2 of Brotherhood is also vital because it accurately portrays Ed and Al's human transmutation. The original series does not show the strange, smiling character who calls itself "God" in the gate. It also doesn't show Ed seeing the truth. Anyways, the author did say to include this episode, but again, it is best placed in the beginning. For this reason, I cut out episode 3 of the original FMA. Some may consider this a poor choice considering that it shows a lot of backstory with their mother, but the aforementioned Brotherhood episode covers most of that and it isn't necessary. It also serves as a nice segue into episode 1 of the original because it ends with the brothers heading toward Lior, which is where the first episode of the original FMA takes place.

The author recommends that you watch episode 8 of the original, which is where Winry is kidnapped by Barry. This episode is completely unnecessary. It may seem enticing to watch an Barry "origin" episode, but his history is explained when they meet him in Brotherhood. He also does no encounter the Elrics pre-armor in the manga, so nothing is lost. Furthermore, Al should remember Barry in Brotherhood when he meets him, but he does not because they have not met.

I did recommend stopping at thirteen as opposed to 17. This is because, once Marcoh is introduced, the original FMA is very awkward. As I said, I viewed this with a friend who had never seen the series, and I found myself saying "ignore this" and "disregard that" over and over. There were too many plot points that either referenced skipped filler episodes (red water!) or other problematic events (e.g. Mustang killing Winry's parents, Marcoh meeting Scar MUCH too early, etc.). I found that these were hard to ignore for the sake of the Brotherhood storyline. I can tell you that the article's author's "Plot Holes" section did not take these HUGE plot holes into account.

Known Inconsistencies:
I'm using the word "known" because I may be missing a couple things. One of the main inconsistencies is the delay between the death of Nina and Shou Tucker and the Elric Brothers' response to it. This isn't a huge deal, though, because they do react eventually.

According to the original anime, Shou Tucker is allegedly executed and Scar kills Nina. In Brotherhood, Scar kills Nina as well as Tucker. Cutting the Barry the Chopper episode removes the execution, but you still don't see Scar kill Tucker. This is basically unavoidable, though. The Shou Tucker/Nina story was much more fleshed out than it was in Brotherhood, and you really don't want to skip these. If you watch only Brotherhood, the Elrics are tormented by Nina's death, but she easily had less than five minutes of screen time, which elicits a weaker emotional response to Nina's death from the viewer than if you watch the original episodes.

Basque Grand, the Iron Blood Alchemist, shows up as the officer who is overseeing Shou Tucker's review in the original anime. In brotherhood (if I remember correctly), he has already been killed by Scar. All you can do is ignore his presence in these earlier episodes because, as stated before, you really shouldn't skip the Tucker/Nina episodes.

Lastly, the first Tucker/Nina episode from the original features Elicia Hughes' birth. I believe that this does not occur in the manga. This isn't a big deal considering that it merely promotes a stronger emotional connection to the Hughes family, but Winry and the boys are also present for a childbirth in Rush Valley later on in Brotherhood. Not a big deal, but it feels like Fullmetal Alchemist is full of babies being born.

These are some of the most glaring inconsistencies, but they are minor compared to the aforementioned plot holes from the episodes I chose to cut. It baffles me as to how the original author emphasized the military killing the doctors (as he should have) as a plot hole while ignoring the other stuff.

Conclusion:

After having watched Bridge 5 and reviewing the other 6 recommendations, I believe this to be the best schedule for watching the anime. It doesn't completely match the manga in the beginning, but if you want more character development this is something you'll have to deal with. On a side note, I didn't mean to sound overly critical of the original article. It was well thought out and it saved me from having to do a lot of work in the beginning.
Zenoseiya
The bridge I'm currently watching is FMA1 1-25, FMA2 11-14, FMA1 37, and FMA2 15-51. Right now I'm watching the search for Marco's notes. I have to say that the series strikes me as angsty.

EDIT: Just finished episode FMA1 21. This is some seriously whacked out stuff. Military conspiracies, souls bound into armor, freakish half-human monsters, human beings rendered down into... that. How does Scar's brother and the Ishval massacre play into all this? Who is the mysterious alchemist responsible for all this?

EDIT: Just finished FMA1 25 and just starting FMA2 11. So sad! TT_TT ~~~ The new credits and "previously on..." sequence was interesting. Who are the homunculi? Why are they conducting such dastardly events just to become human? Why do the title credits show a red stone full of screaming faces? What role is Hohenheim going to play?

EDIT: I am just loving the new injections of morphine! I don't feel so depressed anymore. smile.gif Metaphorically speaking, that is. The comedy and happiness moments are wonderful after twelve straight hours of angst, blood, death, body horror, and contemplating the navels.

EDIT: So what is the "Truth?" What was that gaping eye? Who is that white figure that Izumi (and Ed) saw? Things are way more complicated than I thought they were.

EDIT: Wha~?! Hohenheim is behind the conspiracy? He created the homunculi? He's a hundred plus years old? Did he melt Greed down into a philosopher's stone? But I thought... this is even more complex than Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles!

EDIT: Again, wha~? Dr. Marco was lying, or was lied to by Roy Mustang? Winry's parents were actually murdered by Scar? The homunculi were lying about their "becoming human" sob story? They already have Philosopher's Stones as their hearts? Duplicitous much? It seems like everything we know is a lie, even the flashbacks! It's totally awesome!
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