Review by: Edward Zacharias
Running Time: 300 minutes
Release Date: November 20, 2007 (US)
The search for the Philosopher ‘s Stone has certainly taken its toll on Edward and Alphonse Elric and when we see them once again in Part 2 of the Season one collection, the brothers return to their childhood home battered and in need of Winrey and Grandma Rockbell’s mechanical skills. Skipping on an emotional reunion, Grandma doesn’t even bat an eye at the fact that Edward is missing his mechanical arm and that Al (or what is left of his armor) is being carried in a box by their escort, Major Louis Armstrong.
Ah, much like the first 16 episodes, we are once again hooked into the Full Metal Alchemist universe with the opening of the 17th episode. The three-disc set takes us through episodes 17 through 28 and believe me when I tell you that Part 2 delivers in every aspect. It is in these twelve episodes that we watch the brothers grow both emotionally – and physically in Edward’s case … but just by an inch.The first season certainly was an enlightening one and the first part of the Season set did a great job of not only setting up the reason Edward and Alphonse are willing to scour the land for the famed Philosopher’s Stone but it also introduced most of the major players and how they will affect the very core of this story. We are also introduced to some new faces such as the Elric brother’s new “babysitters,” a Homunculi child and we get to see the woman the boys call “Teacher.” It is in these 12 episodes that things become clearer in the Scar front and there are whispers of corruption in Central Command. In the “Truth Behind Truths” episodes, the brothers also make a discovery about Doctor Marcoh’s research and the mystery behind the 5th Laboratory.
Part 2 is also far more dramatic, pushing Edward to make a difficult decision when he once again encounters Shou Tucker still playing around with his experiments with creating Chimeras … only this time he’s being manipulated by the Homunculi villains Lust, Gluttony and Envy. We still find Scar – a surviving Ishbalan – on his quest to kill State Alchemists. I won’t spoil anything but half way in the later episodes there’s an emotional and tragic moment that echoes into future episodes.
All is not bleak, however, since the series seldom strays from its light and comedic moments that don’t fail to brighten up each episode. We still find people pointing out Edward’s stature, personal favorite character Major Armstrong flexing his pride and joy (his muscular physique) and Colonel Hughes also sneaking in a picture of his cute little daughter into every conversation. We also see the training the Elric brothers endured with their teacher, Izumi.
The three discs are packaged in a colorful package that pushes the series’ great artwork. The video and sound quality is a step above the first collection of discs that was released a long while back. The sound quality is still sharp in Japanese but the English dub is still a favorite considering the fact that the performances are just really good. The package even comes booklets with art and information that fans will definitely love. The character profiles alone are still a major plus and the music spotlight is a nice touch since the soundtrack is among the best.
The second half of Season One of Full Metal Alchemist continues the momentum of the first half and it definitely delivers all the right elements that made this series such a fan favorite. While the first half set up the story and introduced the main players, Part 2 contains a deeper and more dramatic turn of events that will shape the rest of this interesting tale. Buying this one is a no-brainer for anyone who loves the series and it’s deeply involving stories.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Unlike a few anime series, Full Metal Alchemist’s first season never really runs out of steam and each of this set‘s episodes offer even more drama, action and the perfect dose of light comedy to lighten up the mood.
VIDEO QUALITY: 9/10
Crisp, pristine and colorful is certainly the way to describe each discs’ video quality and it’s great to see that this package outshines the individual DVDs we reviewed before. We can only imagine what the series might look like in HD but this is close enough.
AUDIO QUALITY: 10/10
Once again, we can’t stress enough how beautifully done the voice acting is handled in the series and it’s a joy listening to the English dub as well as the amazing soundtrack.
The three discs come packed with voice actor commentary that is definitely worth listening to for the interesting tidbits about particular episodes and Vic Mignogna’s insight on voice acting in general. There’s also the four art booklets with character profiles (really cool) and wonderfully constructed packaging with a great art design (even cooler).
Season one of this much-loved series definitely has a lot to offer and this second part is a testament to this fact. It’s a rare treat to find yourself deeply involved to the point that you find yourself identifying yourself with the Elric brothers and their quest to regain what was lost to them. This collection is a Must Have for fans and should not be missed.