Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Part Three – Blu-ray Review

Review by: Faith McAdams

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $59.98 US
Running Time: 320 minutes
Genre: Action
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now

The secrets of Ishbal are revealed and something wicked this way comes.

Darker, more violent and absolutely riveting, the Brotherhood anime series has proven to be a great version of Fullmetal Alchemist that just seems to get better and better with each release. This is no surprise seeing as the anime follows Hiromu Arakawa’s manga faithfully but there’s just something about seeing this series come to life – on Blu-ray no less – is something no anime fan should miss. Part Three of Brotherhood is yet another reason you’ll be glad you’re an anime fan.

Much has happened since Part Two of this series as pieces of a puzzle that began during the investigation of the death of Maes Hughes have revealed treachery within the military itself with the culprit being somebody Colonel Roy Mustang didn’t expect. Then, having thought they could contain Gluttony, Ed, Ling and Envy were swallowed whole by the Homunculus. Meanwhile, Gluttony convinces Al to come with him to meet his “father” and goes willingly knowing he might very well be a candidate for sacrifice.

What Alphonse discovers, however, is shocking as he sees the man who is known as Father to all the Homunculus they met so far. His appearance is misleading, however, seeing as he reveals to be something else entirely and when Ed, Ling and Envy are freed from Gluttony’s stomach, it is Father who cures Ed and Al’s injures but wants to use Ling by having a Homunculus take over his body. Shockingly, Ling accepts his fate and becomes a new Greed.

All seems to be lost until Scar and May Chang arrive on the scene to aid the brothers and helping them escape. This meeting is momentarily interrupted by the battle as Ed and Al find themselves back in Central with a new problem when they sit down with Mustang and King Bradley. As it was in Part Two when the Fuhrer placed Riza Hawkeye under his care to threaten Mustang, the King makes it clear that at anytime something bad could happen to Winry Rockbell. They all have no choice but to cooperate with the Fuhrer until they find a way to take him down.

The answer may fall on a key event from the past as Ed begins to investigate the Ishbalan genocide by talking to Lieutenant Hawkeye who was a young sniper during the extermination. Clearly not proud about her role in that operation, Hawkeye’s memories serve as a fascinating flashback of her being the daughter of the man connected to Mustang and then a solider during that nasty affair.

Another answer might come from May Chang’s knowledge of Alchehestry, which leads the Elric brothers north on the trail of Scar. Their travels lead them to the ice-capped Fort Briggs run by Olivier Mira Armstrong, sister to Alex Armstrong back in Central, who turns out to be a scary yet gorgeous General in charge of the fort. It is there that the brothers – thanks to the unwelcome visit of a Homunculus named Sloth – that they discover the threat that could mean the deaths of thousands.

Part Three certainly reveals a lot and much of what it reveals will not fail to drop jaws. It also touches on some interesting moments from the past such as Hohenheim’s intriguing conversation with a young Pinako or a look into the day that familiar family photograph was taken. There’s also dark moments such as Hawkeye’s discovery about Selim, King Bradley’s adopted son. Things get really interesting in the end when Winry finally faces Scar and an unlikely alliance that is made in order to put a stop to the enemy’s plan.

The sexy and stern General Armstrong also plays a dominant role in Part Three as well as she helps get the truth from a General in cahoots with the Fuhrer and Father’s plans. With so many twists and turns and dark elements, the series also doesn’t lose its wonderful sense of humor.

Part Three of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a major turning point in this already enthralling series that continues to impress on every level. As the Elrics and those closest to them discover the truth behind a horrific genocide as well as how deep the conspiracy has reached, alliances are made with the most unlikely people to begin a mission to save hundreds of lives. Saying that we look forward to Part Four would be an understatement of the year.

BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A
Gluttony leads Al to the man all the Homunculus call “Father” and makes a startling discovery about him while Ed and Ling are finally released from the belly of Gluttony. They also learn another horrible fact from the Fuhrer himself who has Mustang and Hawkeye where he wants them. Meanwhile, the search for Scar and May Chang leads the brothers to the north where they unravel the truth behind the Ishbalan war.

VIDEO QUALITY: A+
The Fullmetal Alchemist series was always made for the Blu-ray format and you’ll see why when you see the first episode of Part Three. There are some impressive visuals in this one Envy’s horrific transformation and Sloth’s appearance a standout. Plus, we knew that the Armstrong family produces cute girls but General Olivier Armstrong is drop-dead gorgeous.

AUDIO QUALITY: A
The voice acting is still topnotch for both the English dub and the original Japanese voices so the series has you covered no matter your preference. Then there’s the original score that is simply lovely but it’s the closing theme song, “Tsunaide Te” by Lil’B that will, no doubt, be a fan favorite.

EXTRAS: B+
The extras on this Blu-ray edition include two audio commentary tracks plus a few trailers. The commentary for Episode 28 features ADR Director (and voice of Havok) Mike McFarland plus Wendy Powell (Envy) and Kent Williams (the voice of Narrator/Father) that’s informative (an interesting connection between Kent Williams and Maxey Whitehead). Then there’s commentary for Episode 36 with McFarland, J. Michael Tatum (Scar), Stephanie Young (Olivier Armstrong) and Phil Parsons (Buccaneer) that is worth a listen.

OVERALL: A
The plot thickens in Part Three of Fullmetal Alechemist: Brotherhood and believe me when I say that you will find yourself on the edge of your seat all the way through to the end. With secrets revealed and a good look at the past, there’s a lot to take in as this series keeps getting better with each episode. Brotherhood is definitely worth every dollar.

Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment

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