Okay anon strap yourself in because I am about to wax poetic here. FMA is basically everything I could ever want in a series and here’s why:
- a super diverse cast with incredible lady characters (who are not all warriors - we have mothers, doctors, civilians, soldiers, teachers - REAL pEOPLE in other words). Different cultures are not only represented but treated with great respect.
- messages about the importance of family and friends - familial relationships in particular are given a weight most series don’t bother with. The romance never hijacks the plot and is developed in the most subtle, beautiful way
- discusses genocide and how hate breeds more hate, discusses the horrors of war and the sometimes dubious morality of science, discusses religion and different cultural beliefs, all without getting didactic or preachy
- arakawa has the best sense of humor that does not rely on shitting on characters, and she balances humor with drama and somber reality perfectly
- Plot. Twists.
- the ultimate message is about perseverance and hope despite the horrors of war? It’s about standing on your own two feet and fighting for what you care for, even in the face of enormous tragedy. This is what I like about brotherhood vs the 2003 anime - this message is entirely lost in the latter
- excellent worldbuilding and development of alchemy/alkehestry/the Gate and Truth. I love the idea of equivalent exchange and oneness of the universe and how the brothers redefine and topple that concept entirely
- arakawa is a master of not only setting up and delivering on plotlines (often setting up several at once without ever getting confusing) but she also has the best sense of narrative irony and use of symmetrical character arcs
- every single character is important to the plot. Every one. Yes, even Yoki. She really knows how to create AND develop her minor characters (and make them enormously sympathetic or hateful, depending on which she’s going for.)
I could really go on and on with this series but these are just a few of many reasons why FMA is The Best.
Reblogging this for truth. FMA is one of my favorite stories ever. I put it up there with Avatar: the Last Airbender and Sandman in terms of quality. Actually, I’d put it above both of those because the characters are much more clearly defined than those in Sandman and the plot is much tighter than AtLA. (I love AtLA, but it does have a decent amount of filler episodes.)
FMA really is one of the most incredibly tightly plotted stories I’ve ever seen— every single plot point and character and location turns out to be important and contributes to the final climax. A lot of shounen manga tend to wander all over the place, introduce too many random characters or just drag on forever as endless soap operas, but FMA has one complete plot and that is it. Arakawa tells the story she wanted to tell and that’s it, it’s done. It’s a real rarity and a beautifully told story — there are all kinds of plot twists, but it’s written in such a way that once you go back and think about it, you realize Arakawa was giving you the answer all along.
The art is also just gorgeous. I honestly prefer the manga over even Brotherhood because I feel like Arakawa uses greyscale so effectively to convey emotion that coloring in the images actually lessens their emotional impact. Like, look at this page:
Three panels, no dialogue, and yet the emotion conveyed is incredibly clear. I only wish I could create art half so expressive.
Anyway, yeah. I, too, could gush about this series forever, but I’ll stop there. But you should read it, or watch Brotherhood. Although I have to recommend reading a good scanlation, if you can find it, because the official translations of the manga have some seriously bullshit screw-ups and errors that kind of mar the whole experience.