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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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I bought this bluray because I could not find the last episodes on iTunes nor legitimate streaming. I have made every effort to get this product legally. So I bought a physical disk, something I haven't done in a long time. I get almost everything digitally now. But now I remember why I don't get physical disks anymore. Ads that I can't fast-forward through. I already bought the disk and yet every time I want to watch it I have to watch the same ads. I will never buy another bluray disk again.
Great anime, terrible product.
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.