A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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.
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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)?
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