For those of you who have not watched all of either of these, I will leave the beginning portion spoiler-free. I will warn you on any major spoilers, so I am not held accountable for your frustration. Now that we have that covered, I will explain myself.
Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that I enjoyed both of these shows. But, I do have a favorite, after a year of contemplating it. You probably have a good guess of which one it is, but I’ll explain why I like each one before getting to that.
Let’s start with the beginning of the 2003 version.
This one starts the same as the Brotherhood version, but veers off in different directions pretty quickly. I enjoyed the “filler” episodes that were in the beginning, because it let me get to know the characters before they dove into anything too serious. By the time things really start to happen, I have a good idea as to how they’ll react. I could understand the characters feelings and I knew them more personally than the beginning of Brotherhood.
Things don’t start to really kick off until around episode 20, and we all know the devastating loss around episode 25. It was this time that it became different from Brotherhood. Although Brotherhood splits off at about episode 11. The original gave more time for explanation and added some adventure to the beginning, where Brotherhood wasted no time getting to the problem.
I’m not saying that Brotherhood did anything poorly as for the beginning, but I just appreciate the time the creators put into adding character development in the beginning, since there isn’t nearly as much as in Brotherhood.
Now, we know the main goal the two brothers have is returning their bodies back to normal by means of Philosopher’s Stone, but in both versions, there is another goal in mind as well. In the 2003 version, Scar and Dante were huge villains and the two were after them for most of the second half of the show. In Brotherhood, the homunculi and the Father were the main villains. Although the original DOES focus on the homunculi a lot, it just isn’t as much as Brotherhood.
Alright from here on, there WILL be spoilers for both shows. So exit out if you aren’t to the end of both.
You’ve been warned…
I’m going to be talking about the specifics of the
homunculi. In the original 2003 version, they were born of the person transmuting a body. They took on the form of the sin the person was possessing as they were using human transmutation. Ed and Al’s mother became Sloth, because their heavy reliance on her and their feeling of being dependent. Izumi Curtis transmuted her child because she was angry he was taken from her, so Wrath was made. And Lust was formed through a man wanting to still have her because he was in love with her.
I like this concept much better than the Brotherhood one, and in fact, this might be the reason why I still hold the 2003 version so close. I wanted to know more about how this happened, and where the others: Greed, Pride, Gluttony, and Envy came from.
In Brotherhood, the “Father” created them as an embodiment of man’s sin, and he used
them to kill more and more people to create more and more Philosopher’s Stones.
I won’t lie, I thought it was interesting, I just prefer the original’s explanation.
Also, of course, in Brotherhood, there are a lot more characters. I love May Chang, Lan Fan, Ling Yao, Olivier Armstrong, and Greed 2.
But yet there are some characters I liked from the original 2003 version that I missed in Brotherhood. I like Wrath in the 2003 version a lot, in fact he was my favorite of them. And I loved Sheska as well. Yes, she was in Brotherhood, but you didn’t get to see her and Winry become friends and sneak around to figure stuff out, which was one of my favorite scenes in the 2003 version. Sheska was barely even there in Brotherhood. And that saddened me.
And while we’re on the subject of characters, I’ll reveal my favorites and least favorites. Or more, list ones I loved and ones I hated for each show.
Loved-Edward (duh), Alphonse (also duh), Winry, Wrath, Scar, Sheska, Rose, Greed, Hughes, Pinako, Hawkeye, Mustang, Marta, Maria Ross, Izumi
Hated– Envy, Lust, Pride, Gluttony, Armstrong, Sloth, Hohenheim, Dante, Kimblee, Archer
Loved- Edward, Alphonse, Winry, Scar, May, Greed, Greed 2, Ling, Lan Fan, Olivier, Hughes, Izumi, Pinako, Hawkeye, Mustang, Marta (I think they spelled it different but idk), Sloth (ok i guess), Maria Ross, Hohenheim, Dr. Marco
Hated- Envy, Lust, Pride, Wrath, Gluttony, Armstrong, Yoki, Kimblee, Father, Homunculus (Dwarf in the Flask)
If there are characters I missed, I either don’t remember their names or don’t have an opinion on them.
In all, I would say I enjoyed Brotherhood much more than the original 2003 version, and it left me with a much more satisfied feeling. Brotherhood left you with happy images of the future, when everything had been resolved and the two brothers we saw grow up now have redeemed themselves in their wrongdoing. They saved the entire country of Amestris, and possibly the world as well, against the homunculi. If that doesn’t forgive them of their sin, I don’t know what would.
The original, however, left your mouth gaping, astonished that the show is over, sure there’s more than just this. Plus, they used the generic plot twist “They don’t remember ANYTHING” with Al. He literally forgot the ENTIRE SHOW. WHAT KIND OF LAME ENDING IS THAT! He went through SO MUCH, staying as positive as possible, protecting his older brother from temptations, literally BECOMING A PHILOSOPHER’S STONE and not using the powers from it, and just being the sweetheart that Al is, and he doesn’t get to remember a thing. And his brother is on Earth, in World War 2 Germany. That’s not fair to anyone. Especially Alphonse. He gets reverted back to a ten-year-old, and now has to deal with this crap. Yeah, sure I feel bad for Edward, Winry, Mustang, Hawkeye, and all of the others, but none of them have it as bad as Alphonse. And the viewers. Rant finished. I needed to get that out.
And, I need to mention something that many people hate: the Fullmetal Alchemist movie Conqueror of Shamballa. Simply put, I absolutely HATED this movie. I felt it had no redeemable qualities to it. All of the characters I loved were greeted with an unhappy ending or life. Wrath died, Izumi died, Hohenheim died (if I remember correctly), Winry is left waiting for people who will never come back, Mustang and Hawkeye will never again see the two boys they enrolled in the military, Hughes began working for the Nazis, and Ed and Al are now stuck in a world they’ve never known. Not to mention with the Holocaust, Ed is missing TWO LIMBS that is very much considered a disability and unwanted in society. Al would again be without his brother and I don’t want to see what would happen to Ed. The movie put a horrible close on an already undesirable ending, but managed to make it even worse. I thought going into the movie, that maybe things could be fixed. Maybe they could have a happy ending. But no, it’s even worse than what the show ended with.
But yet through all of that, I still don’t hate the original somehow. It may be because it was one of the first animes I ever watched, and considering I didn’t watch Brotherhood until half a year later.
Anyway, there’s my opinion on the two versions. I know the debate is somewhat overdone, but I still wanted to add my thoughts on the topic. Give your thoughts in comments. Do you hate the original, or do you have parts you enjoy? Do you like characters that I hate? I like hearing feedback so I know people are actually reading these spitball blog posts.
Also, I’m sorry if the pictures kinda mess up the spacing of the words. My site’s format messes that up sometimes.
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2003 Homunculi: pinterest.com
Brotherhood Homunculi: vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net
Winry and Sheska: deviantart.net
Conqueror of Shamballa poster: wikipedia.com