One of the amazing things about this anime is how it handles its large cast of characters. Character developments for an ensemble cast can be difficult. This anime manages not only to pull it off, but makes you feel for each and every character. None of the characters were neglected, and it was hard to choose just one favorite because they were all so good!
At the core of the show are the two Elric brothers: Edward, the Fullmetal Alchemist and Alphonse. The Elrics are on a quest to retrieve their original bodies that they lost after performing an ill-fated human transmutation to bring their mother back to life. As human transmutations are considered taboo amongst alchemists, the major theme of ethics in science emerges early on. In an early episode, crossing the ethical boundaries in alchemy is portrayed in the most gut-wrenching way possible, forcing our protagonists to face the product of alchemy that has gone too far.
One of the most captivating aspects of the anime is the struggle that various characters go through to maintain their humanity, either as alchemists, soldiers and even leaders. Despite all the awesome fight scenes and terrifyingly powerful villains, this anime is ultimately about family, redemption and overcoming long-held hatred.
On the more technical side, I absolutely loved the soundtrack composed by Akira Senju. The music was emotional, tense and action-packed in all the right places. Below is one of my favorite tracks.
I watched the dubbed version and loved the voice acting. Vic Mignogna was great as Ed, our vertically challenged hero who has a tendency to fly off the handle. Maxey Whitehead's soft, childish voice provided a great contrast for Al, our lovable armored giant. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see that J. Michael Tatum voiced Scar. The anime I have seen so far, Tatum usually voices rather sophisticated and articulate characters, so it was nice to hear him do Scar's gruff voice. Todd Haberkorn as Ling Yao was also great, in both the humorous scenes as well as the emotional ones.
Anyway, I can continue gushing about this show, but I'm going to quit while I'm ahead. I'm actually planning on watching the original Fullmetal Alchemist because I've heard though Brotherhood has a better story line, the original spends more time on character development. It'll be interesting to do a side-by-side comparison of the two.