Teito Klein is a boy without memories who’s currently attending a military school and has been suffering from weird dreams. He’s best friends with another boy named Mikage, and the two have promised that they won’t abandon each other on the battlefield. During their graduation exams, they are tasked with taking down a large prisoner, and most of the fighting falls to Teito. He manages to restrain the prisoner and doesn’t want to kill him, however the just-arrived Army Chief-of-Staff Ayanami kills off the prisoner anyway. That night, Teito has another dream of his young self being left by a certain man and the ensuing sea of red.
It all comes to a head the following day when the sound of a necklace leads him to overhear Ayanami talking to his men about something called the Eye of Michael. It triggers a memory inside of Teito of the man from his dreams – his father – being killed by Ayanami. This drives Teito into a rage and he tries to attack Ayanami, but he’s quickly stopped and locked up by Ayanami’s men. Mikage hears about this later and goes to help his friend, but Teito has already broken out on his own by that point. Teito doesn’t want to get Mikage involved, but Mikage insists on helping him get away. When the two are cornered by some guards on a balcony, Teito pretends that Mikage is his hostage and pushes his friend into the guards so that he can jump onto a vehicle below. As Teito prepares to fly off, he comes face-to-face with Ayanami for a moment, and although Ayanami manages to shoot and injure him, Teito is still able to escape. Teito’s vehicle flies away from the city, and his path just happens to cross that of three guys.
Those of you who watched the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime might remember that a group named YeLLOW Generation performed the second ending song. Suzuki Yuki used to be part of that group, but she’s singing solo now for this series. It’s not a bad song to start off on and the chorus reminded me a little of some of TWO-MIX’s songs from Gundam Wing, but other than that, it’s not really special either. I liked the ED a bit more (I seem to be preferring slow songs a lot this season), and the water imagery in the ending sequence was nice – plus it shows off some of the few girls in this show.
I was a little hesitant coming into this series because it was being animated by Studio DEEN, but they did a pretty good job to start here. This first episode was presently pretty faithfully as an adaptation of the first chapter of the manga (there were some changes of course), and the production quality stayed fairly high. I’m still not a huge fan of the character designs, and I think that the animators made things unnecessarily bright at times with their frequent use of what seemed like a white gradient filter over the daytime scenes, but other than that, no complaints.
As for the story, I’m not that keen on how much the best-friends-with-Mikage aspect was played up (one of my friends called it a bromance), and Ayanami feels like a generic bad guy to me, but that’s not as much the anime’s fault as it is the original material. What I do find intriguing are the Shinigami-like 7 Ghosts. They didn’t show up in this first episode, but the OP sequence had some very cool looking shots of them and what little I’ve read of the manga has presented them as the most interesting, much more so than Teito himself. That alone probably isn’t enough to keep me watching the anime long-term, and I get the feeling that I’m going to start getting annoyed at Teito’s character sooner rather than later. I’ll tune in for a few more weeks though, and maybe the next couple of episodes will prove me wrong.