Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Premiere Screening

by Luke Carroll,

The main doors may have shut on the 2009 Supanova Pop Culture Convention in Brisbane, but down at the Madman Anime Theatre something special is about to happen. In a few minutes, a large group of anime lovers are about to become part of history. Never in Australia has an anime been simultaneously shown at the same time as Japan screens it. This lucky group are about to watch the first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood before most of the world even gets a chance.

Warning: Spoilers for the first episode are present in the text below

Finding my seat in the front row, it was instantly noticeable how small the crowd currently was just a few minutes out. Due to the nature of what we were about to see, all phones and mobile devices were cloaked before people could be let in. This led to a very slow intake at first, however the groups began to suddenly flow in as time edged closer and closer. With the last people making their way in, Vic Mignogna, voice of Edward Elric from the first series gave us an introduction. He tells us of how excited he is to see this with us and how hopeful he is that he'll get to reprise his role in this series also. With that, the lights dim and the screening begins.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the second anime adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa's dark fantasy manga about two brothers who risked their bodies attempting the taboo human alchemy in order to bring their mother back to life. Despite such a devastating result, the two brothers decide that the only option to restore their bodies back to normal is to seek the illusive Philosopher's Stone. However as it turns out, they are not alone in their quest.

As you would have expected from a retelling of one of the most popular manga and anime in recent times, the first episode is very fan orientated, featuring cameos by most of the well known cast and a simple action orientated plot. Taking place in Central, Roy Mustang has been given the orders to find and capture the renegade Freezing Alchemist. Both Ed and Al are also let in on the mission and it isn't long before they find and capture him. However in typical fashion, he manages to escape from the soldiers and disappears into the night.

Heading back to Central, the brothers are briefed properly on Isaac McDougall, the renegade alchemist they're trying to capture. Whilst the brothers are staying at Maes Hughes house for dinner, Isaac heads into the Central Prison and meets up with Kimblee, the Crimson Alchemist in an attempt to have him join forces to kill Fuhrer Bradley. The following morning whilst searching Central, Armstrong manages to find Isaac in an alley, but he manages to escape after a fight. That night Ed and Al find Isaac in the same alley once again, but before the two can fight Isaac activates his reddish transmutation circle which soon is revealed to be one of quite a number surrounding Central.

Forming a giant block of ice, Ed realises that Isaac's goal is actually to freeze Central over. Believing Isaac has a Philosopher's Stone, Ed goes after him whilst getting Armstrong to go and destroy the transmutation circles. Eventually Isaac manages to escape once again, however whilst going down an alley he runs into Bradley who quickly kills him. The brothers are left wondering however if he really had the Philosopher's Stone or not. Unbeknown to them however, we see the Homunculus Lust on the phone discussing Isaac's death and how he may have used the Philosopher's Stone too much. She also mentions that things in Lior are going well, and with Gluttony nearby she feels that it will start soon.

With that, the crowd cheered and the episode was over. We are told that the opening and ending animations were not present because at the time they received the episode, they were not even completed yet. With that, Sly rounds everybody in the hall for a giant photo to commemorate the event and then signals the nights end. We were officially part of history.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood certainly has a lot of potential to be as good, if not greater than the original adaption. With much more of the manga now available and an undetermined episode count, Brotherhood certainly is something to look out for in the future.

- The first episode will be up on Madman's Screening Room in a few days, with new episodes following shortly after their Japanese screenings.

Header image (c)Hiromu Arakawa/FA Projects, MBS

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