Continuing my love affair with Fullmetal Alchemist (aka Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, which is super fun to say), I finally saw season 5 of FMA Brotherhood over the weekend. Netflix has seasons 1-4, and if you’ve seen them, you understand that you just gotta know how it ends!! A coworker graciously lent me the final season, which my husband and I watched straight through until 1am.
We liked the ending, which is actually happier than I thought it would be (and more satisfying than the ending of the original series). The pacing is different, because the majority of the season takes place within a few hours; it has some great action, but doesn’t sacrifice the focus on interpersonal relationships. And there are several episodes that don’t even have the Elric brothers in them, showcasing the excellent side characters.
I highly recommend both the original series and Brotherhood (which I understand follows the manga more closely). Netflix allows you to watched either the Japanese audio with subtitles or the Funimation English dub, which is quite well-done. In fact, I often switch back and forth between the two, comparing the voices and figuring out how Al actually addresses Ed (it’s “nii-san” in case you were wondering).
My love affair started when I watched the original series in college; I knew I was going to love it as soon as I recognized L’arc~en~ciel’s “Ready Steady Go” at the opening. In fact, I think FMA overall has some of the best openings and endings of any anime. (When CN aired the dub of the original series, they unfortunately pared it down to only two openings, but at least they picked the best ones: Ready Steady Go and Rewrite.)
FMA Brotherhood continued that wonderful tradition. I am mildly obsessed with the first opening, set to “Again” by Yui. I dare you not to get chills around the 0:49 mark.
The songs really add so much emotionally to the story. For example, I love how the season 4 Brotherhood ending is very energetic, kind of preparing you for the final battle to come. But then the season 5 opening, on the other hand, is less energetic and more melancholy, unique among the openings. It gives a more serious, thoughtful tone to the finale. And the season 5 ending helps the series end on a hopeful note.