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

Review by: Eduardo Zacarias

Publisher: Funimation Entertainment
MSRP: $54.98 US (Blu-ray), $49.98 (DVD)
Running Time: 300 minutes
Genre: Action
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: August 2, 2011

The sins of the father …

The original Fullmetal Alchemist is one of those anime series that left a lasting impression on me just as it did the several thousands of fans all over the world and with very good reason. As powerfully emotional, exciting and beautiful as the first series is there’s so much to love about Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood as well and for those who have been following you can bet you’ve been waiting for Part Five of this series as the series reaches its exhilarating conclusion.

As we saw in Part Four, the truth behind the Homunculi and King Bradley has finally come to light as the mastermind behind them – the Homunculus they all call Father – has set in motion his plan on the day of an eclipse. Oh, but Edward and Alphonse Elric will not let this happen and neither will Colonel Roy Mustang who sees this opportunity to push the Fuhrer out in a coup d’état that brings Major General Olivier Armstrong and her Briggs forces to help stage the revolt.

The coup is in full swing as the Briggs solders come knocking on the western gates of Central using a tank against Central soldiers acting on the orders of the high ranking officers looking to use King Bradley’s supposed death in a train bombing as an excuse to take over. Little do they know that General Armstrong and her muscular brother are making their way deeper into Central when they find themselves going up against the Homunculus known as Sloth. Oh yeah, you better believe that this is a chance for Alex Armstrong to flex some muscle.

Meanwhile, Edward and his companions finds themselves fighting off the wave of the Immortal Legion only to be saved by Colonel Mustang and Riza Hawkeye. As fate would have it, though, May Chang leads Envy towards the others. Mustang gets Envy to confess to murdering Maes Hughes and thus begins the Colonels fight for revenge that quickly takes the Flame Alchemist down a dark path. In one of many powerful scenes in Part Five, Mustang is confronted by Ed, Hawkeye and even Scar when the Colonel is about to get payback. What happens next will surprise you.

Just as things are starting to look bad with the Armstrong siblings who are trying to take down the seemingly unstoppable Sloth, Izumi and Sig Curtis arrive to lend a hand and Alex Armstrong finds a kindred spirit in the muscular Sig. However, it is General Buccaneer who finds himself greatly outnumbered when – to make matters even more insane – King Bradley shows up. Buccaneer might be a hardened soldier but the Fuhrer is far too powerful. In another surprising moment, Ling/Greed arrives to fight the Fuhrer in an intense battle as Central soldiers threaten to breach their area.

Nearby Hohenheim arrives to face off against Father but it is clear that the Homunculus has grown more powerful over the years. Father manages to gather the candidates that include Ed, Al, Hohenheim and Izumi but since they need a fifth candidate the dastardly Selim (also known as Pride) shows up in time to accept Colonel Mustang as the last candidate. While we get a better sense of the relationship between Mustang and Hawkeye, there is an unforgettable moment where Mustang reveals just how important Riza Hawkeye is to him.

With all five candidates in place, the others try to reach their friends but Father carries out his plan in a moment where all things seem lost but the story doesn’t end there because a secret plan from one of the good guys gives them a chance to fight back in a last attempt to stop Father for good. Believe me when I say that you will be glued to your seat.

I tell you what happens after this last confrontation with Father but the ending does not take the open-ended path of the original. We get closure in this finale as all the secrets are revealed and things head for an even more positive path as far as all the characters are concerned. Oh, and for those who have been disappointed over the fact that Ed and Winry Rockbell didn’t really reveal their true feelings for each another in the original? Well, Brotherhood makes up for it big time.

The series as a whole did not disappoint in the very least as the episodes just kept getting exciting the more you follow the story and the episodes that make up Part Five make for an ending you will not forget anytime soon. A big part that made this particular series a real gem is the flow of the story kept viewers on their toes while not sacrificing characterization. Each character added to the story to the point that they mattered and thus cared for what happens to them so when we are faced with the demise of the character we feel it.

Part Five of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a fitting finale to a series that never failed to keep fans emotionally connected or deeply enthralled. With more than enough edge-of-your-seat moments and an ending that ties up all the loose ends, this final part will surprise and please Fullmetal Alchemist fans whether you’re a devoted fan of the original series or a new Brotherhood convert. You definitely do not want to miss out on this fifth and final part.

BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A+
The coup d’état is in full swing as Briggs soldiers make their way into Central as Colonel Mustang’s group is joined by Edward Elric and his companions in fighting the remaining Homunculi before the coming eclipse. As fierce battles are fought and lives are lost, Father’s plan is finally set in motion but that doesn’t stop the Elric brothers as well as their allies in facing off against the Homunculus in a finally confrontation.

VIDEO QUALITY: A+
The first series looked really good but Brotherhood is an absolute visual feast with memorable cinematic moments aplenty. The Blu-ray version simply shines more brightly and makes the animation even more stunning.

AUDIO QUALITY: A
The performances have been nothing short of brilliant for both the original Japanese cast and the English dub voices so whatever your preference is you will not be disappointed. Still, I have to say that Maxey Whitehead more than lived up to the role of Alphonse Elric with her amazing performance. The music is another highlight as are the opening theme song “Rain” from SID and the closing theme song, “Ray of Light” by Shoko Nakagawa.

EXTRAS: A-
Having the Brotherhood series is a big treat in itself but for those who like extras this final part comes with a hilarious Outtakes feature (some outtakes on the R-rated side) as well as audio commentary track for the very last episode with ADR Director Mike McFarland, Vic Mignogna (the voice of Ed) and Maxey Whitehead (the voice of Al). There are also textless opening and closing tracks as well as Funimation trailers.

OVERALL: A+
Easily one of the more exhilarating, surprising and satisfying final chapters you’ll find in anime today, Part Five of Brotherhood will make you realize just how extraordinary the Fullmetal Alchemist series is and why we love it so much. I loved the ending in the original series but this one closes the story perfectly enough. Overall, Brotherhood did not disappoint in the very least.

Review copy provided by Funimation Entertainment

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