Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Common Sense Media says

Powerful anime explores mature themes with some gore.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
10
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12
13
14
15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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. 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?

QUALITY
 

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD 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. 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.

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.

Families can talk 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 the story 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

Cast:Romi Pak, Vic Mignogna
Network:Adult Swim
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Sports and martial arts, Adventures, Brothers and sisters
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was written by

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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written bymathgirlie May 19, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

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. The plot, the characters, the artwork, the voice acting...it's all astounding, and EASILY outshines the crap that they play on American cable these days. ("Say Yes To The Dress?" *gag*) Age-appropriateness is a debatable subject. As it is anime (okay, okay...it's a cartoon), blood is questionable. Yes, there are scenes with blood. Lots and lots of them. But the blood is cartoon blood, and doesn't really MOVE (behave?) like real blood (i.e; spraying from arteries at impossible angles, characters losing ridiculously large amounts of it and making full recoveries) - with the exception of episode 41, where they did their physics homework. Language really isn't that much of an issue - no major bombs dropped here, and nothing that you don't probably already use in your home. No sex, although Lust (an artificially created human) wears a dress with a low-cut neckline, and there is a scene where Winry starts to take off her shirt (you see the undersides of her breasts), before she notices Ed behind her (with humorous results). In short, this show is amazing and should be watched by anyone who enjoys a good, thought-provoking story that will stay with you long after the final episode has been shut off.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written bySlipperyQ March 30, 2013
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

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't mention any of the events that occur after the first six episodes. The show is very, very violent; that is true. It's a dark story, and many times more disturbing than it is violent - which is saying a lot. It also contains a multitude of religious themes, often alluding to the mythology of major world religions, in its depictions of the celestial forces that sway the story's universe; I find it very thought-provoking and powerful, but I know there are people on CSM who will be sensative to the sometimes less-then-glamorous depictions of forces like God in Fullmetal. Now, with all that nonsense out of the way: the series is absolutely incredible. I don't throw around the word "masterpiece" very often. And I must say, if you only ever introduce your children to one television program in their lifetimes, I sincerely hope this is it. From the gorgeous musical score to the beautiful artistry, the thematic brilliance to the so-real-they-could-live-next-door characters, this show is everything about animation that is good. The storyline is deep, complex, and truly representative of the human condition. It is one of the most powerful stories I have ever had the pleasure to experience, and will surely envoke strong feelings on every end of life's broad spectrum - horrors that are truly horrifying, passions that are truly electrifying, jokes that are truly hilarious, tragedies that are truly heartbreaking, and heights that are truly magical. Edward (not Edgar) Elric stands out to me as one of the finest characters in any fiction - literature, film, or animation - that I have ever seen; disillusioned but persistent, stubborn but well-meaning, bitter but maintaining some vestige of hope, some reason to move forward. He is everything that a great character ought to be. He is unique in his perspective and personality; he is a methodical, mathematical, scientific mind, with a serious God complex and an aching need to be the biggest and the best. He is capable of unintentional cruelty and often he is rough and angry and mean. He is imperfect and weak and bitter. Even so, he is redeemable; he is talented, and intelligent, passionate and genuinely good at heart; he has an appreciation for the value of human life that is undeniable, and he is utterly incapable of doing anything he does not believe is right; it is impossible for him to put distance between himself and other people, and his love for his family is a bond that drives him into our hearts. In the end, Edward’s struggle is our own struggle, and every step he takes propels us forward. He is one of those people who battles an insatiable craving for the extraordinary, the unbelievable, the impossible- but some things are greater than even he is able to comprehend. His journey is one that touches each of us, because he is journeying into the world of our own nature, but it is he, himself, that makes the story belong to us. The show guides its viewer through a breathtaking, albeit somewhat brutal, portrait of human nature- it's a beautiful story, and it will surely continue to move you, time after time after time.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written byrwright6 December 10, 2013
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Nudity That Very Few People Have Mentioned On Here

I am not giving a full review, because most of these are accurate about the violence and awesomeness of the show. But I was actually very surprised to see that in terms of nudity, people have mostly only said "Lust shows cleavage but there's nothing else"... this is wrong. I have not seen the whole series, but i know of 2 scenes where Winry is partially nude. The first is not TOO bad - it is where she is undressing and she lifts her shirt up, clearly showing the bottom half of her breasts. The camera pauses on this image for several seconds as she realizes Ed is behind her and afterwards she freaks out. The second scene is much more revealing. Winry is shown laying down in a bathtub. The water covers from half way down her boobs to the tops of her thighs. Everything shown under the water is either silhouetted (her waist and hips) or shown (her breasts). You can pretty clearly see her entire breasts in this scene. The only censorship is a small white shine on the surface of the water that covers her nipples. I'd say this is pretty revealing. It shows her laying there for several seconds and then cuts to Rose talking to her then cuts back to Winry in the tub again (from a different angle, but you see the same amount of her body). I'm a bit peeved that (almost) nobody mentioned these scenes. Know what you're reviewing, people!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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