The second part of All the Anime’s Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) Collector’s Edition treatment is here and with it the second half of the first of studio Bones’ anime adaptations. Possibly the most controversial and worrying prospect of this release is the anime original ending it received but how does it stand up today considering the conclusion of the manga and the Brotherhood adaptation?
Right, so as per usual I won’t be going into details on the plot of the series as I don’t wish to spoil anything for new viewers. This review will be looking at whether I feel that the anime-only story in this part stands up today against that of the original sources. I would have included the Brotherhood adaptation into that state but as I haven’t seen the entirety of the Brotherhood series I wouldn’t like to assume anything. The only thing that I can say for Brotherhood is what I have heard from fans in that it is a more faithful adaptation of the manga.
Now I have read the original manga and enjoyed it immensely, though I did watch Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) prior to that. It has been some time since I originally watched this series so my memories of how I felt during that time are vague although I’m fairly confident that I enjoyed it. The manga I finished a number of years ago and I definitely felt it was a more consistent experience. Fast forward to the present day and I have re-watched Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) and I can honestly say I still really enjoyed it. Anime original endings tend to get a bad reputation and probably for good reason in most cases. With this adaptation, studio Bones, due to the manga’s progress at the time, had to deviate from the source midway through and for the most part, it felt natural. I think that’s the key when it comes to these situations. Keeping things consistent and natural as much as possible definitely worked in this scenario.
Not much to say visually about the series that wasn’t covered within the previous review but I do need to praise the series for some great fight sequences. The attention to details when it comes to the alchemy used during fights is impressive. Audio is largely the same, I continued my viewing experience with the English dub and I realised that the series actually features a young Troy Baker as Frank Archer in what appears to be one of this earliest voice acting roles. “Undo” by Cool Joke continues as our opening theme through the first half of this set before switching to “Rewrite” by Asian Kung-Fu Generation another great opening from this series. “Motherland” by Crystal Kay returns as our ending theme through much of this set before “I Will” by Sowelu takes over.
I may have appeared a little harsh in my review of part 1 over the fact the set didn’t really warrant the name of a collector’s edition based on what physical and on-disc extras that were included with the set. Unfortunately, the same can be said for this part as the only physical extras are in the rigid art box and set of art cards. I feel it’s a shame that this is all it takes to name a release collector’s edition these days as I personally feel that’s just not enough. The on-discs extras do redeem this set somewhat but that’s only because it includes those what was left out of part 1. “The Transmutation of a Phenomenon: An Inside Look” is a pretty interesting extra that’s included as we see the US voice actors talk about the characters they played and the story as a whole. Overall as far as extras go I’m still disappointed.
The biggest test for this part of the Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) adaptation was how it handled the anime original ending. To be fair I think studio Bones did a good job in keeping the story natural and consistent right until the end. Even with my knowledge of what happens in the original manga, I can still enjoy this adaptation for what it is and what they tried to do and it definitely explored some interesting ideas. My feelings on the available extras aside, the price point is still reasonable at various retailers for the amount of content you’re getting within this release.