Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Is Worse Than The Original Anime For One Reason

By Christopher Isaac | Published

There are plenty of topics anime fans will get into heated debates about, but there are also a few areas that generally have pretty strong agreement. Comparing Fullmetal Alchemist to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of those topics, with most preferring Brotherhood. But trust me when I say I’m not trying to be a contrarian in honestly saying I prefer the original anime. That’s because it has much better pacing despite being a shorter series.

Brotherhood Stumbles Introducing Characters

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Even a lot of Brotherhood fans won’t argue that. Go to any discussion thread debating which version of the story is better, and even those who choose Brotherhood will have the caveat that you should still watch the first thirteen-ish episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist because it does a better job introducing the characters. Critics noted this too, with reviews at the time of Brotherhood’s release saying they felt like the show was rushing through the early material to try and get to the story arcs the original anime did not get to use.

It Takes Time To Connect With Characters

The very first episode of Brotherhood throws you headfirst into meeting way too many characters at once. Besides the Elric brothers, we immediately meet Fuhrer King Bradley, Colonel Mustang, Major Armstrong, and Kimblee all in the first episode! Meanwhile, the original Fullmetal Alchemist introduces these characters slowly over several episodes. It gives us time to connect with their personalities rather than just their cool fighting abilities.

Chimera Hits Different


Fullmetal Alchemist’s pacing, compared to Brotherhood’s, really shines in some of the franchise’s most famous story moments. Everyone remembers the tragic fate of Nina in both versions of the anime, but in Brotherhood, it feels too quick since the whole thing is done in one episode. The original anime lets the story breathe more, introducing Shou Tucker, Nina, and their dog Alexander in one episode but not wrapping up the story until the following one. It makes Nina’s death hit harder because we actually got to spend some time with this family and grow to care about them for more than one episode.

The Death Of Maes Hughes

I would say that is doubly true in the case of the death of Maes Hughes. In Brotherhood, Hughes comes and goes in just ten episodes! Whereas in Fullmetal Alchemist, Hughes is around for 25 episodes before Envy kills him. His death feels much more impactful because his character has been such a regular in the series.

In that extra time, we had more bonding moments with him, like seeing Ed and Al present for the birth of his daughter. Considering Hughes’s death is the catalyst for so much of what follows, that emotional impact deserves to be huge.

Brotherhood Is Amazing But It’s Not Perfect

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

I am in no way saying Brotherhood is bad, and I will even concede it outshines Fullmetal Alchemist in its own ways, particularly with a much stronger antagonist in Father. But it feels like Brotherhood was made with the assumption viewers already watched the original anime, so it’s fine to gloss over the early storylines. But building that emotional connection early is key for making us care about what happens to these characters. Brotherhood might have the cooler Homunculi and the flashier action scenes, but for the dramatic highs and lows, Fullmetal Alchemist hits harder by taking its time.