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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Part Five
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Director Yasuhiro Irie and his artists pull out all the stops as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood comes to its appropriately dramatic and moving conclusion. The Elric Brothers and their allies--Von Hohenheim, Roy Mustang, Scar, Izumi, the Armstrongs, May Chang, and Ling Yao/Greed--strive to thwart the machinations of the "father" of the Homunculi and his remaining minions: Pride, Wrath, Sloth, Envy, and the zombies of the Mannequin Army. During the solar eclipse on the Promised Day, Father plans to usurp the power of God. Can even the most skilled alchemists stop him? The climactic battles are as wrenching as they are spectacular: some of the fight scenes feature flashy CG effects that rival Hideaki Anno's newer Evangelion movies. But the emotional impact overshadows the visuals, as each of the main characters rises to the challenges they face. Edward and Alphonse discover just how much they're willing to sacrifice for each other. Mustang avenges Colonel Hughes's death and destroys Envy, but Ed and Lieutenant Hawkeye make him realize that his quest for vengeance threatens to destroy him. The initial Fullmetal Alchemist series, which was completed before manga artist Hiromu Arakawa had envisioned her story's outcome, ended with the setup for the feature The Conqueror of Shambala. Brotherhood, which closely follows the plot of the manga, reaches a much more satisfying and definitive conclusion. Saying good-bye to two of the most beloved characters in anime history may be the price viewers pay for an appropriate ending to their story--and an example of equivalent exchange. Although the adventures of Edward and Alphonse Elric seem to have ended, a new feature, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, opened in Japan in July 2011. (Rated TV 14: violence, grotesque imagery, brief nudity, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
(53. Flame of Vengeance, 54. Beyond the Inferno, 55. The Adults' Way of Life, 56. The Return of the Fuhrer, 57. Eternal Leave, 58. Sacrifices, 59. Lost Light, 60. Eye of Heaven, Gateway of Earth, 61. He Who Would Swallow God, 62. A Fierce Counterattack, 63. The Other Side of the Gateway, 64. Journey's End)
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Ok, I'm one of the rare few folks who started into watching FMA:Brotherhood without having seen the original series at all. To be honest, while I like some shounen series like DBZ, I do find the classic shounen anime cliches and tropes to get a little repetitive and when the original FMA series aired on US TV, I caught a few random eps and it seemed pretty good, but something about the show failed to hook me in. Fast foward to the present and I learned about the new remake series that came out in 2009 and thought 'whats the point?' and was intrigued at the premise that this series follows the manga series faithfully, which was reportedly a much better story than the original anime, which thru no fault of its own, had a very incomplete (barely the first quarter) manga story to work with. They stretched out what they had to work with into half a tv series then completed the rest with their own original storyline that concluded with an ending that runs hot or cold with fans.
Luckily, hearing about FMA:Bro late, the entire series was already aired and fansubbed but since the first 4 volumes were out commercially, I rented all the available discs released by Funimation and finished the rest of the series with what I could find elsewhere. And all I can say is:
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood probably ranks among my top 10 favorite anime series...of all time.
And that is saying something for someone who has been watching anime since the late 80s. Eventually I watched the original series afterwards which I found relatively dissapointing compared to this incredible successor.
Part 5 covers the final 12 eps of this 64 episode series and what can I say about this series.
You're looking at nonstop, exhausting action as the main villain Father, aka the original Homunculus, reveals his grand plan, which far outshadows anything that the frankly lame villain, Dante, from the original series could have ever dreamed up. Basically you have our heroes Ed & Al, allied with all their friends from Amnestris, Xing, even the Ishbalans all banding together to deal with the last of the Homunculi while trying to stop Father from carrying out his plan that threatens the whole world, God, and all of reality itself. All I can say is the finale climax approaches a scope that rivals the end of Evangelion itself and really reveals the genius of manga authors Arakawa's imagination and storytelling skill.
Without giving any spoilers as to how this incredible series ends, I can safely say that by the final episode of this new series, you have a definitive ending with full resolution of all plotlines and characters, unlike the the original series which required another movie to finish of the storyline with somewhat iffy results. You finally see the end of Ed and Alphonse quest the way that should have been written in the first place. This last chapter will evoke every emotion out of the viewers leaving you drained, but ultimately satisfied. Perfect end to a near perfect shounen series that elevates the entire genre and providing a VERY TOUGH act to follow.
As a side note, I give props to the English VAs. Emotions really start running high in the final stretch of the story, and the cast gives some stellar performances here.
As far as the actual product goes, the video and sound quality of this Blu-ray is on par with previous releases. If you didn't have a problem with Parts 1 - 4, you won't have a problem here. Apparently the source material wasn't animated in full 1080p, which can be apparent in a few places, but regardless it's pretty solid-looking throughout. The same goes for the packaging: holofoil cardboard keepcase housing an eco-friendly BD case with two discs. Also comes with four more postcards (art cards?) to add to your collection. The inner artwork might spoil the ending for some viewers, so if you haven't seen it or read the manga, you might want to close your eyes when you pop the second disc out of the holder.
The episode count is only 12 this time, and there isn't much by way of extras: 1 commentary track and an outtakes reel. While I haven't listened to the commentary (they're really not my cup o' tea), I found the outtakes enjoyable. With a runtime of about 10 minutes (just an estimate there), it's more a case of the actors ad-libbing humorous lines rather than flubbing them up. There's some adult language that pops up here and there, and Mike McFarland gives the viewers a short warning about it in the introduction, but it's all in good fun.
This is a flipping-sweet conclusion to what has been an amazing series. I highly, HIGHLY recommend watching it, even to non-anime fans. Chances are, you won't be disappointed.
There are no bonus features included on the first disc of this set. However, there are six extras included on the second disc. The first extra is a commentary for episode sixty-four ("Journey's End"). The next feature is labeled as "Outtakes." This feature opens with an introduction from the ADR director for the English dub, and he explains that this feature is comprised of actual dubbing errors and some humor from when the cast was goofing off in the studio. He also gives a warning that there is some "adult language" included in this feature, which ends up running for about seven-and-a-half minutes. Personally, I found this feature to be rather amusing.
Next is "Textless Opening Song," which is a textless version of the opening credits that appears on this set. Next is "Textless Closing Song," which is a textless version of the main ending credits that appears on this set. There is also "Textless Closing Song #2," which is a textless version of the ending credits that appear at the end of the final episode of the series. The final extra on the disc is trailers.
I overall found this to be a satisfying ending for the series, and I would recommend this release to anyone who is a fan of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
I wrote a review of this DVD set after checking out a copy through the King County Library System.
The popularity of "Fullmetal Alchemist" has led to many novels, OVA's, drama CD's, soundtracks and video games and a lot of these releases have been distributed in various countries and its popularity is a testament of how people have come to love the series which has won many awards in Japan including being voted for the #1 most popular anime series of all time.
Despite it's popularity, the series could have gone on longer but because the anime series was created when the manga was only several years old, the anime series only lasted 51-episodes and there were differences between what the director featured on the anime series and what Arakawa had in the manga.
So, in 2009, a new series titled "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Furumetaru Arukemisuto) was created by BONES and this time around, the series would follow the manga much more closely. Currently there are over 60 episodes that have aired in Japan and the series is still ongoing. Also, unlike the previous anime series, this series would be created in HD (540p). The first 13 episodes of "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" would feature its first 13-episodes covering the first 26-episodes from the original anime series but from that point on, the series becomes a whole new storyline which features more characters and for the most part, something new and different for the viewers, especially fans of the original series.
To make sure that there is a difference between this series aside from the storyline differences compared to the original, the staff is different this time around as well as the character designs. The director for "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" would be Yasuhiro Irie (who worked on RahXephon", "Cowboy Bebop", "Macross Plus", "Gunparade March"), series composition by Hiroshi Ohnogi ("Eureka Seven", "Area 88, "Aquarion", "RahXephon", "RIN", "Skullman"), music by Akira Senju ("Red Garden", "Mobile Suit Victory Gundam", "Silent Service"), character designs by Hiroki Kanno ("Angelic Layer", "Eureka Seven", "Ninja Scroll", "RahXephon") and art design by Takeshi Satou ("Mobile Suit Gundam 00', "Ghost Slayers Ayashi", "Please Twins!").
And here we are with the final part 5 for "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" and what a wonderful conclusion to the series.
The Military vs. the Homunculus. What will happen to the Elric brothers? And what happens in the future?
All questions will be answered in this final, action-packed volume of "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood".
"Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Part Part Five" is presented in 1080p HD 16×9 via a HD native source. It's important to note that although the conversion was made to 1080p, I've read that the actual Japanese original masters were created in 540p. With that being said, this is a TV series and one can't expect OVA or film quality but I manage to compare the DVD and Blu-ray version and the Blu-ray looks much more colorful, much more detailed and looked much better and more colorful than its DVD counterpart.
I did notice edge enhancement and I'm sure the conversion of a 540p source to 1080p possibly led to the jaggies that can be seen at times. Granted, I'm a bit picky when it comes to video quality but the fact that this is created by BONES (a busy anime production company) and the fact that this is not an OVA or film, for a TV series, "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" looks very good. Granted, it's not uber-vibrant but there is a good amount of shading, detail, blacks are deep and overall, I felt the Blu-ray looked much better than its DVD counterpart.
"Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Part Part Five" is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Overall, the 5.1 lossless soundtrack sounds very good and there is a good amount of surround usage and its much more immersive than its Japanese lossless counterpart. There is quite a bit of action in this second volume, plenty of battles are featured and many episodes that utilize the surround channels.
The Japanese lossless soundtrack is still good, especially if you have a receiver in which you can change the setting to stereo on all channels. I do prefer the Japanese lossless soundtrack in terms of acting especially during the more emotional moments in this second volume (which there are many). But I've watched the series in both Japanese and English and for the most part, both are well done and similar to "Dragon Ball Z" and "One Piece", the English dub has caught my attention and this time around, I was watching many of the episodes in English. But both voice acting are well done.
Subtitles are in English.
NOTE: You can not use your audio button to switch from Japanese to English and vice versa while watching the series. You will need to press your guide button to switch to another audio. Also, you can not optionally remove English subtitles unless you choose the English lossless soundtrack. So, for those who want to watch the series in Japanese with no English subtitles may be disappointed by this.
"Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Part Five" comes with the following special features:
EPISODE 64 Commentary - Audio commentary by Mike McFarland (ADR Director/Line Producer and voice of Havoc) and Maxi Whitehead (voice of Alfonse) and Vic Mignona (voice of Elric).
Outtakes - (7:33) Outtakes by the English dub voice talents from the entire series (Note: there is profanity in the outtakes).
Textless Opening and Closing Songs - The textless opening and two ending theme songs.
Trailers - FUNimation Entertainment trailers.
The final episodes of "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" is finally here.
And what an explosive final volume it turned out to be!
If there were two words that came to mind after watching "Part Five" it would be the words "Kick Ass". Because there is a lot off butt-kicking in this series. You want to see Mustang go all out, oh..well, wait until you see the battle between Mustang vs. Envy. And you can learn how his anger has to be tempered but also getting to see that caring side that he has towards Risa.
Another butt-kicking moment was to see Armstrong vs. Sloth but also seeing who else comes to the rescue to battle Sloth. One of the coolest and also more hilarious moments of the series.
You get to see one of the coolest fighting moments in the series as Scar takes on Bradley. And of course, it doesn't end there. Every character gets into the action and the battles are pretty significant, bloody but also...as mentioned, "Kick Ass".
But most importantly, unlike the previous series, we do get a conclusion to what happens to Elric and Alfonse. And for me, this is how Hiromu Arakawa ended it, had wanted it and I would take this ending over the original series anyday. It was well-done, well-written and from beginning to end, I felt the series was much better executed.
As for the Blu-ray release, PQ and AQ is good and voice acting for both lossless soundtracks are well-done. This time around, I found myself more comfortable listening to the English dub track and this is coming from a guy who prefers to watch anime in Japanese most of the time. But both are well-acted and fans should not have a problem with either. As for the special features, we get an audio commentary with English voice talent Maxi Whitehead (Al) and Vic Mignona (Elric) to discuss their feeling of working on the series and how they felt about the series vs. the original version. And we also get a gag reel of all the outtakes during the making of the series. Plus the usual trailers and textless opening and ending themes.
I was able to compare the DVD and the Blu-ray release of "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" and the artistic backgrounds and its details are much better looking on Blu, the colors are more cleaner, sharper and more colorful on Blu and for the most part, for a TV series, I'm quite content with the PQ. I felt the black levels were good and again, for a TV Series released in 2009, the picture quality is good not great (it's not 1080p) and there is a hint of edge enhancement but it's still pretty good. And in this part four, you also get two audio commentary as well.
Overall, "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" was fantastic from beginning to end. But this final part V pretty much validated for me that I preferred this version over the original. The story and battle sequences were intense but for the most part, I felt that "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" story-wise was very appealing, exciting and addictive.
I know there are some who are very hooked on the original that they didn't want to try "Brotherhood" but I highly recommend giving this series a try since this series, an adaptation of the manga series that is very faithful to Arakawa's work, unlike the previous series which creators had to come up with a different storyline because the manga was not completed at the time.
"Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" ends with part 5 and what a thrilling, pulse-pounding finale it came to be! Action-packed, battles galore, the ending is much better than the previous series! Highly recommended!