Blu-ray Review “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Collection One & Two”

Actors: Maxey Whitehead, Vic Mignogna, Christopher Sabat, Caitlin Glass
Directors: Mike McFarland
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: FUNimation
DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012 / July 17, 2012
Run Time: 825 minutes / 775 minutes

Series: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When “Fullmetal Alchemist” ended its original series run in 2004, I was left wanting much more. Then shortly after in 2005 “Fullmetal Alchemist- The Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa” was released and delivered a good ending to the show. But that wasn’t the last we saw of this series, in 2009 “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood” started. This series, unlike the first anime which had an original story, follows the story of the manga series. So it is not a sequel or prequel. It is a new series. FUNimation is behind this release and is bringing this fantastic series to Blu-ray in two collections. “Collection One” contains episodes 1-33 and “Collection Two” finishes out the series with episodes 34-64. If you are a fan of “Fullmetal Alchemist” this is a fantastic series that even rivals the original…there I said it. I love originals series but if you read the animes, it is even cooler to see the stories come to life.

Collection One Official Premise: Edward and Alphonse Elric’s reckless disregard for alchemy’s fundamental laws ripped half of Ed’s limbs from his body and left Al’s soul clinging to a cold suit of armor. To restore what was lost, the brothers scour a war-torn land for the Philosopher’s Stone, a fabled relic which grants the ability to perform alchemy in impossible ways. The Elrics are not alone in their search; the corrupt State Military is also eager to harness the artifact’s power. So too are the strange Homunculi and their shadowy creator. The mythical gem lures exotic alchemists from distant kingdoms, scarring some deeply enough to inspire murder. As the Elrics find their course altered by these enemies and allies, their purpose remains unchanged – and their bond unbreakable.

Collection Two Official Premise: In the shadows beneath Central, the Elrics encounter Father, the creator of the Homunculi. His face is familiar – as is the new face of Greed – but his alchemy is unlike anything the brothers have ever seen. As Father’s dark plot takes shape, Ed and Al brave the frigid north to meet the top officer of the fortress Briggs: General Olivier Armstrong. With icy nerve and burning intensity, she commands the hardest soldiers in the land. When you witness her leading the warriors of Briggs in battle against the unstoppable, rampaging Sloth, you’ll know – the stakes are higher than ever

Collection One includes: 1. Fullmetal Alchemist, 2. The First Day, 3. City of Heresy, 4. An Alchemist’s Anguish, 5. Rain of Sorrows, 6. Road of Hope, 7. Hidden Truth, 8. The Fifth Laboratory, 9. Created Feelings, 10. Separate Destinations, 11. Miracle in Rush Valley, 12. One Is All, All Is One, 13. Beasts of Dublith, 14. Those Who Lurk Underground, 15. Envoy from the East, 16. Footsteps of a Comrade-in-Arms, 17. Cold Flame, 18. The Arrogant Palm of a Small Human, 19. Death of the Undying, 20. Father Before the Grave, 21. Advance of the Fool, 22. Back in the Distance. 23. Girl on the Battlefield, 24. Inside the Belly, 25. Doorway of Darkness, 26. Reunion, 27. Interlude Party, 28. Father, 29. Struggle of the Fool, 30. The Ishvalan War of Extermination, 31. The 520 Cens Promise, 32. The Fuhrer’s Son, 33. The Northern Wall of Briggs

Collection Two includes: 34. Ice Queen, 35. The Shape of This Country, 36. Family Portrait, 37. The First Homunculus, 38. Conflict at Baschool, 39. Daydream, 40. Homunculus (The Dwarf in the Flask), 41. The Abyss, 42. Signs of a Counteroffensive, 43. Bite of the Ant, 44. Reviving at Full Throttle, 45. The Promised Day, 46. Looming Shadow, 47. Emissary of Darkness, 48. The Oath in the Tunnel, 49. Filial Affection, 50. Upheaval in Central, 51. The Immortal Legion, 52. Combined Strength, 53. Flame of Vengeance, 54. Beyond the Inferno, 55. The Adults’ Way of Life, 56. The Return of the Fuhrer, 57. Eternal Leave, 58. Sacrifices, 59. Lost Light, 60. Eye of Heaven, Gateway of Earth, 61. He Who Would Swallow God, 62. A Fierce Counterattack, 63. The Other Side of the Gateway, 64. Journey’s End

FUNimation (like usual) really gave “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood” a wonderful presentation. The 1080p transfer for each episode is near perfect and very impressive within its 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The colors are extremely vibrant and sharp. The line detail is also notable and transfers well onto the screen in high-def. These series on both collection are presented with the show’s original Japanese language and also an English dub. The Japanese audio only includes a Dolby True HD 2.0 track, while the English dub gets a more meaty Dolby True HD 5.1 track. I am usually gung ho for the original language track but I have to go with the English track for this series. I just love the voice actors and top that with a better audio track and it easily wins me over.

The special features may not be the greatest in terms of featurettes but there is sure a nice collection of audio commentary tracks for various episodes. Collection one contains audio commentaries on episodes 1, 10, 14, 23, 28. Collection two contains audio commentaries on episodes 36, 40, 46 and 64. The commentaries are focuses on key episodes and are a must for die-hard fans! Both Collection one and two have textless opening songs – “again”, “Hologram”, “Golden Time Lover” and textless closing songs – “Let it Out”, “ISO”, “Tsimaoda Te”. Collection two includes some outtakes, which are also fun and worth checking out. Lastly wrapping up the extras are trailers included on both collections.


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Blu-ray Review “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – OVA Collection”

Actors: Maxey Whitehead, Vic Mignogna, Christopher Sabat, Caitlin Glass, Travis Willingham
Directors: Caitlin Glass, Mike McFarland
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Funimation
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Run Time: 60 minutes

OVA Collection: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Since the very first episode, I have been a life long fan of the anime series “Fullmetal Alchemist”. So when I saw that there was an OVA collection available for the series, I couldn’t wait to see it. There are four short episodes included on this release are “The Blind Alchemist”, “Simple People”, “Chronicle of the Teacher”, “Yet Another Man’s Battlefield”. Being such a big fan of the show, I have to admit though I was a little disappointed in these since they are rather forgettable. But I do not think it matter much since hardcore fans of the show should be excited to get an extra content that they can.

Official Premise: Amazing secrets and startling facts are exposed for the first time in the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVA Collection, a new assortment of stories set in never-before-seen corners of the FMA universe. Join Ed and Al as they chase rumors of successful human transmutation into a web of shocking family drama and lies. Sneak a glance at hidden sides of Winry and Hawkeye’s personalities. Survive the frigid north with a young Izumi Curtis as she fights to gain a deeper understanding of alchemy. Explore the legendary friendship shared by Mustang and Hughes and watch them grow from military school rivals into hardened brothers transformed by the horrors of the Ishvalan War. You thought you knew the whole story. You thought all the tales were told. The Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood OVA Collection offers proof: You were wrong.

FUNimation Entertainment has delivered a wonderful release here. The OVA shorts look beautiful with their 1080p transfers and are presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Like past high definition presentations in the “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” franchise, FUNimation has delivered again.  The colors are vibrant and looks very sharp.  There are two audio tracks on this release.  Believe it or not the English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track takes the cake on this release.  The English voice cast has become so recognizable and fan favorite for the site. The Japanese track only includes a Dolby TrueHD 2.0 audio, but hardcore fans will still enjoy.  In terms of special features we get 16 short commercials in “Fullmetal Four Panel Comic Theater”, which adds up to over 40 minutes of footage. They are specifically made for laughs and are quite funny.