Fullmetal Alchemist - Episode 01 Review


Episode 1, "To Challenge The Sun"



Synopsis: Two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, come to the town of Lior, which follows faithfully a religion of the Sun God Leto, a religion run by a priest named Cornello, who performs "miracles". The Elrics insist, however, that Cornello is using alchemy, and they believe their search for the fabled Philosopher's Stone may have come to an end. Confronting Cornello, they face vicious chimera beasts and the power of Cornello's stone. However, it is clear that Edward is no ordinary alchemist.

"I hope he does his hits!""I see that this is the part in the script where I'm total asshole to you."


As promised, I'll be starting to review the first Fullmetal Alchemist TV series in the wake of Brotherhood's conclusion. This was an anime that really restored my faith in anime. However, don't think that doesn't mean I can't be critical of it. I'm going to be as fair as I can be, weighing what's good and bad about the show.

A good anime usually starts with a good first episode, one that establishes at least some of the world in which the show takes place and sets down some of its standards and formulas, and still manages to be unique and engaging. This episode was no different than some of the past great first episodes I'd seen. We have a magical "science" in alchemy, which in real life was sort of a proto-science, but here somehow works with different mechanics, the users of which are able to do amazing transformations of objects, a society that looks sort of European-influenced, and a lot of great mystery to it.

This was my first ever look at the Elric brothers. Edward is a bit of a jerk, and you can tell that some of that is having been dealt a bad hand in life. Then there's Alphonse, who is just a posessed suit of armor and yet manages to be a light friendlier and even-keeled.

My favorite scene is Edward telling Rose the things that make up a human body and mocking her faith. He comes off as such a douchebag, but it's really amusing at the same time. You really get a feel for the way his character is likely to be, but it doesn't seem crowbarred in, it's very natural.

Another great scene happens right at the end when it's revealed that Edward has artificial "automail" limbs. The scene is pretty badass, with Ed ripping off his tattered coat. The music in this scene is awesome.

The animation is fairly good. Some of the scenery detail is excellent. The character designs have this weighted feeling to them, like the characters are palpable. Michiru Oshima's musical score is truly excellent, really helping to build the mood. And even way back then, Romi Paku and Rie Kugimiya really illuminated their characters with their performances.

A great start to an awesome series.


Overall Score:

4 out of 5