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View Poll Results: Which version of the FMA anime do you prefer?
2003 FMA Anime 16 28.57%
FMA Brotherhood 40 71.43%
Voters: 56. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 13th, 2012, 05:13 AM   #46
Kinosis79
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I like both and have recently started watching through them again. Last time I watched both series back to back so I couldn't remember what happened in each one now that some time has past.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 02:27 PM   #47
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I hate this to be my first post, contributing to such a contentious debate, but I like 2003 a lot more than Brotherhood. (It is my favorite anime...)

Brotherhood is fun, tightly written, and probably more ambitious than 2003, but it lacks the sense of drama that the original did. Aside from the first few episodes of Brotherhood, which people pretty much agree are poorly paced, I think Brotherhood's biggest flaw is actually its stubborn adherence to the manga. The thing is, anime is not manga, and so executing it as though it is (i.e. with random gag text, inopportune comedic timing, etc.) hinders it in many ways. I think the execution in 2003 is also better than Brotherhood in that it had better music and (in my opinion) better art (not animation) than Brotherhood. Basically what I'm saying is 2003 had more feels than Brotherhood.

2003 also had more thematic consistency. Every aspect of the main story in 2003, from the homunculi to the mechanics of alchemy, tied in well to at least one of the themes. That's hard to do with a long(er) series, and I don't necessarily fault Brotherhood for not having that same level of consistency as 2003, but I think it is a point in 2003's favor.

So yeah, 2003 is better I think.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 03:05 PM   #48
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On both a personal and a critical level, I FAR prefer the original over Brotherhood. Not that either is flawless, but I found the 2003 FMA to be a far more well-crafted visceral experience.

Many of the arguments I've been hearing favoring Brotherhood seem to imply that it's better because it's more faithful to the manga, but here's the thing: Hiromu Arakawa is human. All writers are, they make mistakes, and there's no rule saying that the "original creator" always gets it right. I love the manga as well as the 2003 anime, but it had its flaws, oh boy did it ever, and Brotherhood made those flaws all the more glaringly obvious because of its abysmal direction.

You heard me, Brotherhood had really hacky direction. Most noticeable in the first fifth of the show, but it persisted into the end. It is a lazy adaptation made by people who think that all there is to making an anime adaptation of a manga is taking the panels from the manga and animating them. That's *technically* true, but if you want to give your creation a heart and soul of its own you have to do more than that. The first anime's soundtrack wasn't particularly memorable on its own, but it complimented the show fantastically at all the right moments. In the second anime it played too loudly at all the wrong moments, and was often quite uncomfortable. Also, because Brotherhood is transcribed directly from the manga, it doesn't make use of lighting in the same way that an anime does. The 2003 anime on the other hand had fantastic use of lighting conveying the time of day, mood, and tone appropriately at all moments. I also found the 2003 version more comfortable in its use of humor, whereas in Brotherhood I was too distracted by the visual gags that worked far better in manga format, or by the misplaced music that still hadn't stopped playing. It had better animation, technically, but the original still looked pretty good despite some rough spots and handled itself with far more finesse.

Brotherhood relies very heavily on the assumption that the audience has read the manga or seen the first anime. As a result, entire plot segments get skipped past. Fidelity is the show's strength (and at times its weakness as well). I maintain that many of the changes made in the 2003 version, while not necessarily "better" or "worse", still worked for what they were trying to achieve, but since Brotherhood leans entirely on the strength of the manga, it's at its absolute weakest when it doesn't follow that plot. They rush through some of the series' most important establishing moments, sometimes skipping them entirely, only to say "oh crap, we needed that" later on and pull them out of their ***** at a later time. Brotherhood doesn't really stand on its own, which hurts it more than anything.

So now that I've unloaded a good portion of my beef with Brotherhood, I'm going to say that it's still a good show, well worth watching. Why? Because even with awkward pacing, hacky direction, and altogether lazy effort, the manga it's adapting is still really good. The manga was Brotherhood's only real strength, to the point that it was a crutch. So now, I'm going to have the task of defending the 2003 anime and saying that as its own creation, it holds up at least as well. First off, the manga/Brotherhood is a larger story with better worldbuilding. It went on longer, and because of that it had lots of good things that the first anime never got around to. But the 2003 anime was still a show of grand scale and scope in its own right, what I'm more concerned with is how well it gels as a complete experience. Let me add one more thing: a lot of people say that the show stopped making sense when it diverged from the manga, to which I have to disagree. From the very beginning, the staff was working with Arakawa and had input from her, and they knew it was going to be its own thing starting at episode 1, so they backwrote a lot of anime-original elements they'd be using later on. This show was made to stand on its own, itself a huge advantage over Brotherhood, so the manga purists' "fidelity is better" argument goes out the window.

I feel as though many people automatically write off things they didn't see in the manga as pointless filler out of habit. Although I'm not a fan of Naruto or Bleach, I've heard a lot about their infamous filler arcs, so I can understand how that habit formed. However, much (though I'll admit, not all) of the "filler" in FMA (2003) actually added to the themes the story was building, sometimes revealing a few plot/character points or just leaving an impression on the brothers for the journey ahead. Admittedly, episode 10 was completely useless, but other than that there's not a single episode I'd take out of the show if I had the choice to redo it. The show's balance between humor and seriousness started off a little uneven but reached much stronger equilibrium by the end, and many story elements with minor roles in the manga were actually expanded upon and given greater purposes, most notably Rose and Lior. There's another point for the 2003 version: some of its changes were actually improvements, or at the very least they worked better for the story they decided to tell.

As I've said repeatedly, the 2003 anime was very much trying to be its own thing from the beginning. The manga plot is of a much grander scale, and it's rather more optimistic in its themes about humanity, with a grand megalomaniac antagonist as the primary source of its conflict. It's much more a tribute to the strength of mankind and its triumphs, but it's also a bit cliche... at the very least, Father was a cliche villain. As for Dante, her ambitions were smaller and more personal, and she wasn't as much of a direct threat, but that's not what the 2003 FMA was about. Dante served as a catalyst for conflict, but at the heart of the story were the sins of man. The first anime was a much more personal story, still grand in scale but with a much greater emphasis on internal conflict. This is especially apparent in the origins of the homunculi in this version, and I guess that's all I can say without spoiling it, but if you've seen it you know what I mean. What I'm ultimately getting at is that the 2003 FMA is not just "an inferior product", it becomes an entity all on its own and can be respected and appreciated on its unique merits.

I guess that's all I have to say for now. *shrugs* But I'm tired of being automatically accused of having nostalgia goggles on just because I prefer the 2003 version. I do have reasons beyond that, in fact I read the manga first. I personally prefer the 2003 anime story because I'm more enamored with the themes it conveys and with how it resolves some of its character arcs (though I will admit, Edward's decision at the end of the manga was a perfect way to resolve his arc). Different strokes, but if you want me to defend my opinion I might reply, depending. This is my first post to this forum and I'm not sure if or for how long I'll stick around, we shall see.

Last edited by MadShadow; November 16th, 2012 at 11:54 PM.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 03:09 PM   #49
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Basically that. (Except I disagree about the music)

I wish I was that smart. ;~;
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