Animé and Toons
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Part 4
By Chris Zimmerman
April 12, 2011 - 09:52
Starring: Maxey Whitehead, Travis Willingham, Vic Mignona, Caitlin Glass
Directed by: Caitlin Glass, Mike McFarland
Produced by: Bones
Running Time: 320 minutes
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Distributors: Funimation Entertainment
When I first reviewed Brotherhood, I commented that it had room for improvement. After consuming this latest batch of episodes, I can’t think of any way the series could improve upon itself further.
To spare myself the time and energy, I would suggest any unfamiliar with the franchise to hunt down my other reviews on this site. In them I have detailed the origins of the series as a manga as well as the episodes featured in each release.
With Part Four, we see our main protagonists separated, carefully planning out their next moves in lieu of the final battle. Edward is stuck with Kimbley as a chaperone of sorts, while Mustang plans his eventual coup and Olivier plots to overthrow Central using the troops from Briggs.
Ed eventually gets some time to himself to try and convince Winry to pack up and get out of dodge before everything hits the fan, and along the way bumps into his dad and has another heart-to-heart. He even has a chat with Greed, whose animosity for his kin persists even in his new form. The two form an uneasy alliance to combat their mutual enemy.
Meanwhile, Al is ambushed by Pride and before long, a battle erupts that taxes the strength of all involved. This is all just a diversion however, as central finds itself under the assault of Sloth, whose power and speed proves too much for even the combined strength of the Armstrong siblings. Just when things look bleak, Hohenheim arrives to even the odds.
And amidst all this, we are finally treated to Hohenheim’s origins, which also tie into everything else that has been taking place, including the birth of the homunculi. As one might expect, it’s quite the departure from the original series, though no less compelling.
The various fights between the characters take center stage this time around; a logical choice given the conclusion is right around the corner. Even so, it’s not gratuitous, and does little in deterring from the plot. Hohenheim’s story is surprising and does a fine job of tying together the story’s dangling threads, allowing it to move toward the finale.
Extra features once again include a pair of commentaries. Listening to the voice actors is something I’ve enjoyed and as such, I am grateful that Funimation put in the effort to organize these sit downs.
If you’re a fan of the original or just smart television, give Brotherhood a whirl. It doesn’t adhere to the usual set of tropes prevalent in the shonen genre. Despite the showcasing of the action the episodes herein are no less dramatic. This set was a prime example of the appeal Fullmetal Alchemist exerts over those who watch it. It has everything from pulse pounding fights to emotional drama that will tug on the heart strings, spiced with comedy and topped off with a hint of political intrigue.
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