Movies / Animé and Toons

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: 4 OVA's and Comic Theater

By Chris Zimmerman
May 24, 2012 - 17:31

When an anime or manga series finds an audience, the natural inclination for a production company is to milk it for all its worth. This tactic has proven successful for numerous companies; just look at nearly every shonen title to come out in the last ten years. After nearly two decades after its run, Dragon Ball Z maintains a healthy audience because of Toei’s continued re-release of the series.

Despite being relatively new, Fullmetal Alchemist has already carved out a nice niche for itself anime fandom, sporting a critically praised manga run, two animated series, a pair of films, platform games, collectable card games, toys, and more. With fans still chomping at the bit for more Fullmetal Alchemist, Bones produced a collection of OVA’s (original video animation), and like any sensible distributor, Funimation wasted little time in bringing them stateside.  

Whereas the previous OVA release can be labeled as a cash grab, this new batch of episodes is not without substance. Rather than recycling cut scenes from theme park rides, this new collection boasts new material only previously hinted at in the anime and even the manga. While Ed and Al are plastered front and center on the DVD cover, supporting characters such as Izumi and Roy are the true stars of this release.

The cast of Fullmetal Alchemist is a contender for best in anime; rich in detail with their own interpersonal conflicts and desires and stories weaving them into the series’ tapestry. Take into account the character of Maes Hughes - who accumulated roughly an hour of screen time throughout the series run – was a driving force in so many character’s arcs. The fact that a side character’s popularity can rival the lead’s is no small feat for any series, but in Fullmetal Alchemist, he is just one of many characters capable of doing so.

There are four episodes in total, clocking in at 60 minutes all together. Similar Funimation’s previous effort to collect the first batch of OVA’s, the company supplements a generous offering of bonus material consisting of 16 “volumes” of Fullmetal Four-Panel Comic Theater. These are basically animated versions of the gag manga that accompanied the collected volumes that poke fun at the characters and the plot. Though the jokes are hit and miss, and the replay value not particularly high, their inclusion does give the release a bit more weight. The usual assortment of Funimation trailers for upcoming releases round out the set.

In all, the Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA Collection is a release better suited for completists. While it does expand on the mythos, the content is not essential to understanding and enjoying the series, offering less a companion piece and more of a cliffnotes to the characters.

Rating: 7.5 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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