Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

TV review by
Lien Murakami, Common Sense Media
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood TV Poster Image
Powerful anime explores mature themes with some gore.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 64 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The British adage "keep calm and carry on" is a major theme. Despite experiencing personal traumas and tragedies, Edward and Alphonse keep moving forward with their lives and encourage others who experience similar tragedies to do the same. The boys are prodigious alchemists but the series shows that this is in part due to hard work, sacrifice, and studying. Despite many setbacks in their search for the philosopher's stone, the boys never give up until they reach their goal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Edward and Alphonse provide the moral anchor for the series. They care for one another and are compassionate to others. Their great powers are used to help others.

Violence

Fantasy violence and some gory animated scenes are part of most episodes. The permanence of death is a topic of a some episodes and in one episode a young girl and her father are murdered and are shown lying in a pool of blood. Edward and Alphonse must fight as a part of their jobs as military alchemists with Edward often transforming objects into weapons. Horror is a major element of the series and there are numerous grotesque characters. The brothers' attempt to resurrect their mother results in a corpse-like creature, which recurs as a flashback; another creature called Gluttony is implied to partake in cannibalism. Another character solidifies his own blood into a weapon that stabs Edward.

Sex

There is a character called Lust who dresses in skimpy clothing.

Language

Words such as "hell," "crap," and "dammit" are used.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a complex and often violent anime series based upon a popular Japanese manga (comic) series. A theme throughout the series is two brothers' attempt to resurrect their dead mother. There are some violent, gory deaths and injuries, including a scene where a murdered father and daughter lie in a pool of blood. The main characters work for the military and their jobs include making weapons. Heavy themes of death, resurrection, retribution, and sacrifice are explored through strong characters that will likely appeal to mature anime and manga fans.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymoviemaker201 July 19, 2012

Amazing Alchemists

An adaptation of the popular manga (Japanese Graphic Novels) series "Fullmetal Alchemist," this thought provoking, astonishingly well done and touchin... Continue reading
Adult Written bychristian2011 October 24, 2012

Fantastic Anime, yet alot more darker and violent than the original.

Definitely one of my all-time favorite anime. The plot, character development, and story makes it a lot more better and different than the original. It's a... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bymathgirlie May 19, 2012

Absolutely amazing.

Let me start off by saying that FMA:B is the best TV show (anime or non-anime) that I have ever had the pleasure of watching in my entire life. It is THAT good.... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySlipperyQ March 30, 2013

A True Masterpiece

Before I say anything else, I want to point out that I get the feeling CSM did not actually watch the whole anime, as I'm rather shocked that they didn... Continue reading

What's the story?

In a world where an advanced science of alchemy allows practitioners to transform and control various elements, brothers Edward (Vic Mignogna) and Alphonse Elric (Maxey Whitehead) are prodigal young alchemists who literally lose parts of themselves in an attempt to resurrect their dead mother in FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD. Alphonse loses his entire body and Edgar sacrifices his arm and leg in order to attach his brother's soul to a suit of armor. The brothers are forced into military service where they battle enemies of the state while searching for a powerful object called the philosopher's stone which they believe will help them return their bodies back to normal.

Is it any good?

Manga purists should be ecstatic as not only is the original storyline kept intact, but the art is closer to that of the manga as well. This is the second anime series adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa. Unlike first Fullmetal Alchemist series which had its own original plotlines, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood reboots the Elric brothers' story as it appears in the manga. Fans of the first anime series who have not read the manga series may be a little disappointed that Brotherhood is not a sequel, however, there are enough differences in plot to keep things interesting for those familiar with the series.

Despite containing many visual and thematic conventions common to the genre (the prodigal youths, violent adversaries, over the top destruction, and giant sweat drops), the storyline contains an enjoyable balance of action, tragedy, humor, and surprisingly mature themes. The Elric brothers and their large supporting cast are generally well thought out with believable motivations. The villains have some dimension to them and are not purely evil or misguided minions as they are in many more mainstream series. This combination of great characterizations, as well as some solid pacing and believable plot points make Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood stand out as a worthy time investment for any anime fan or newcomer with the maturity to handle the more violent aspects and the attention span to understand the complex plot points.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of mature anime. Teens: What attracts you to anime? How does watching a serious story told through animation change the story? What would Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood be like in live-action? What themes do you notice recurring in mature anime?

  • Talk about alchemy. What is alchemy in this story? What does alchemy mean in our world? How can you find out more?

  • Does the violence in this series help advance the story? Would the episodes have the same impact without the violence? Does watching violent TV or movies have any effect on you (nightmares, aggression, release of negative emotions, elation)?

TV details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love anime

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate