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Fullmetal Alchemist OG vs. Brotherhood: A Comparative Liveblog

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So I’ve seen this image come up on Tumblr too many times, and I think I’d like to break it down.

The subtext of this image is that the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime did not do any of these things correctly, and Brotherhood is an improvement on all fronts. Perhaps that isn’t actually what this particular artist meant to imply, but it is definitely the prevailing attitude of the fandom.

I saw the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime around when it first came out, and loved it. I heard the manga was very different, so I was interested to check out Brotherhood when it came out later.

I hated it.

I really, really hated it. It completely rejected everything I loved about the original anime. I would later come to understand that this was because the original anime was, itself, spitting upon the source material. Despite starting from the same point, they are radically different stories that set out to accomplish different goals.

But people don’t seem to talk about them like that. I don’t see people saying OG is a legitimately different story, and that it’s valid to like or dislike it based on what themes you’re interested in. People only ever seem to talk about OG like it is an inferior version of Brotherhood, objectively worse, that absolutely everything it did Brotherhood did better.

I don’t think that’s true, and I’d like to talk about why. However, I haven’t watched either anime in a while, so to be absolutely fair, I’d like to look at both of them with a fresh pair of eyes, and actively compare them to each other, to see what is different.

I plan to go over at least every episode up to the divergence point (episode 14 in Brotherhood), and note differences and similarities between each. I also plan to cover the anime’s filler episodes, though probably not in as much detail. From there, I’d like to continue covering OG until the end, because I think comparing the endings to the two series is very informative. I don’t plan on covering Brotherhood past the point where I ragequit initially, which was Lust’s death. I will explain why when we get there.