For the record, they already made a "Fullmetal Alchemist" anime... but they couldn't continue it, since it had already strayed from the original manga.
The solution: "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood," a solid revamp of Hiromu Arakawa's series about an alternate world in which alchemy is the reigning science. And though the first few episodes of Part 1 are little rocky in their execution (how many times can the "Ed is short" gag be played in ten minutes?), it's both lighter-hearted and more faithful than its predecessor.
The Elric Brothers are alchemists working for their country's military, but their real goal is to get back their original bodies. In an attempt at resurrecting their mother, Ed lost an arm and leg (now replaced by automail limbs), and Al ended up as a soul bound into a suit of armor. Now as "dogs of the military," they find that their jobs are far messier than they expected, and sometimes the consequences of alchemy are too terrible to imagine.
But their search brings them into contact with new problems arising in Central -- a group of mysterious people are pulling the strings behind the scenes, causing anti-government riots, cults and horrendous experiments. Additionally, a scarred Ishvalan refugee has been hunting down and killing alchemists. When the brothers go on a visit to their old teacher, things go horribly wrong in Central City -- and they end up face to face with foes they could never have imagined.
"Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part 1" is not quite the same as the previous TV series. Oh, the first round of episodes covers mostly the same ground, but it sticks faithfully to Arakawa's original manga about 95% of the time, and only adds filler in the first episode.
The first two episodes are rather choppy -- one is an extended fight scene with rather repetitive humor, and the other is basically a huge flashback. Fortunately, things improve after that -- the main plot settles into a blend of comedy (Armstrong's bear hugs), blood-spattered fights, and lots of explosive alchemical action mingled with acrobatic fights.
But while there's loads of humor (Ed's ranting about being perceived as a "beansprout"), the writers don't forget that the entire storyline stems from tragedy. There are many touching or tragic moments (including the horrific flashback to the human transmutation attempt), the shocking murder of a likable main character, and terrible acts committed years ago in the Ishvalan war.... by the alchemists.
Ed and Al are likable protagonists -- one is a hot-headed short guy, and the other is his quieter, sweeter brother ("After thinking it over for myself, I've decided to hog-tie you guys and ask what my secret is"). Both brothers are made even more complex by the fact that they both committed a terrible alchemical crime out of love, and are still haunted by their mistakes and losses. Feisty automail mechanic Winry makes a nice counterpart to the boys, as does their terrifying (and equally tragic) teacher Izumi.
Roy Mustang and the other military officers aren't quite fleshed out yet, though. There are little flickers of personality beyond "Smart Ambitious Guy" or "Big Enthusiastic Muscleman," but nothing quite yet. And the villains are similarly shadowy, except for the hilariously villainous Greed.
Lighter and more faithful, "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part 1" is a solid adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa's manga -- just make your way past the first couple episodes, and it's smooth sailing.