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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – 64 (END)

「旅路の涯」 (Tabiji no Hate)
“The Horizon of a Journey”

I admittedly read the remaining portions of the final chapter of the manga after watching episode 63 last week, so I wasn’t in for too many surprises in this epilogue episode. Unfortunately, they didn’t add anything new — such as Ed and Al’s reaction to Hohenheim’s passing which I would’ve liked to see — but the rest of it played out really nicely. They did change up the scene where Marcoh offered Mustang a philosopher stone to regain his sight and got him to promise to revise the policies towards Ishvalans though. Rather than taking place at some refuge tent following the ordeal, Mustang was in a proper hospital alongside Hawkeye, which I felt made that scene a lot better given the audience he had when he agreed to do so. In addition, Mustang even alluded to using the stone to help Havoc regain the use of his legs first — something that wasn’t in the manga outside of a picture showing him doing some rehab.

A scene that I found really cute is Ling gloating to May about how the Yao family will be the next emperor of Xing, leaving the poor girl weeping like crazy. He did offer to accept the Chang house under his new reign, though I couldn’t help but feel that May should have slapped him for rubbing it in her face with the philosopher stone. What was noticeably absent was the scene where Lan Fan takes Fu’s body back to Xing, which I’m not really sure why they opted to leave out. It was a pretty touching scene that they could have easily spared some time for, which left me wondering if it’s because Mizuki Nana wasn’t even around for the recording of this episode. Lan Fan had no lines whatsoever, so I suspect that was likely the reason. Aside from that, it was nice to see Scar agree to work with Miles to help revise Ishvalan policies and serve as a thorn in Mustang’s side for Olivier’s personal enjoyment. In comparison to that, it was interesting to see Grumman become the new Fuhrer and Selim reborn without his homunculus traits for now. There is a big bullseye on his forehead though, making it seem like an invitation to smack him around since I still see him as that little pip-squeak Pride. If nothing else, I guess a continuation of the series could be possible if his homunculus self resurfaced, but I don’t see that as leaving the door open for one in any way.

Ultimately, the best scenes came from Ed and Al in this grand finale. The full orchestral backtrack played during their return to Resembool with Winry welcoming them home was really sweet. It was also heartwarming to know that Al paid his respects to Hughes by visiting Gracia and Elicia and informing them of his plans to head to Xing and study alkahestry. If a real spin-off were to be made at some point, Al’s adventures there alongside Jerso and Zampano would definitely be one way of going about it. Finally, there’s Ed himself confessing his feelings to Winry in the most geeky equivalent exchange way. It was funny seeing him get all flustered when he asked for half of Winry in return, but it was a whole lot cuter when she offered all of her if he wants it. That’s a pretty bold statement to make for a girl if I do say so myself, which is why it was funny to see her try and take some percentage of herself back. Their relationship didn’t really have any time to develop over the course of the series, but that hug at the end before Ed headed out west sure made up for it. The series’ last lines about having a full metal heart were saved for Ed himself as a monologue on the train, followed by the second opening theme “Hologram” as the song of choice to go close out the series during the credits collage. Nakagawa Shoko’s RAY OF LIGHT was used earlier in the episode itself, so it was nice to see a more upbeat song end things on a high note like they should.

* A movie version of the series was announced at the conclusion of this episode. My guess is that it’s going to be a condensed version of the same story.


ED Sequence

Final Impressions:

Back when I watched the original adaptation that aired in 2003, I wasn’t the least bit familiar with the manga. However, even without knowing whether or not BONES’ was being faithful to the original source material, I didn’t really like how the story progressed in the second half and eventually concluded. Everything leading up to Hughes’ death was really well done, but Hohenheim turning out to be the ultimate bad guy didn’t sit well with me. While I didn’t mind how the Conquerer of Shamballa movie continued on with the anime original story with its unique take on the whole gate and equivalent exchange aspect, I couldn’t help but feel that it made the events in Amestris feel a bit moot. In short, I had mixed feelings about the tangibility of that plot line even though I did appreciate the thought that went into it. As such, the original adaptation was thoroughly entertaining but not too agreeable with me at times. It wasn’t bad by any means, but left me wondering if there was a different way the story could have unfolded.

Well much to my pleasant surprise, it turned out that Arakawa Hiromu‘s original work didn’t quite turn out that way, even though she did support BONES’ original take on what she had written so far in her manga. I’m not a manga purist by any means and feel that studios can produce good original adaptations, but have to say that I really enjoyed the story she had in mind a lot more. In addition to Hohenheim not being the antagonist, I really liked how we had the Xing characters to put a completely different spin on things. Then there’s Scar and the whole Ishval incident, which Arakawa’s story gave much more depth and meaning to by having him become a pivotal character in the overall story. Last but not least are Briggs’ soldiers led by Olivier, who paved way for the Amestris conflict to reach civil war levels. For the most part, the story was still heavily driven by Ed and Al’s quest to get their original bodies back. The difference is that during their attempt to do so, the story became much more involved than their personal goals and extended to country-wide proportions. When that became apparent, I couldn’t help but take a step back and be wowed by how things progressed to that point.

That said, I did find the anime original’s plot about how a human transmutation leads to the creation of a homunculus an interesting twist at the time; however, it never really allowed the story to reach such grand levels as trying to bring God down to Earth and harnessing its powers. It wasn’t so much the scale of that revelation that I enjoyed a lot more as it was the extra dimension to the story that resulted from it. The homunculi just seemed a lot more menacing in Arakawa’s story as well, especially when we were introduced to Father for the very first time. As surprising as his mysterious introduction was, things went on to show that there are still many more layers to this story that were yet to be revealed. Once uncovered, they made the twists much more prominent and the story more engaging. The sheer number of characters made the story feel much grander as well, and I’m pretty impressed by how it all came together in the end. I was on the fence about our chimera characters becoming regulars in the series, but before long I started wondering what things were ever like without them. More than them, Scar, Greed, and Kimblee proved to be some of the most interesting characters to the overall story, making this faithful adaptation of Arakawa’s nine-year manga much better in my eyes.

Be that as it may, I still feel that BONES’ original adaptation seven years ago is a very good series. It’s not like I have to pick between one or the other or anything, so I’m just glad that BONES got the green-light to produce a remake of this epic series. It was pretty cool how it coincided with the conclusion of the manga as well, making it quite a treat for viewers such as myself who weren’t reading it. I can’t speak for those who knew well in advance how this series would turn out week after week, but I can tell you that it was thoroughly entertaining when I had no idea what was coming up. This is an easy series to recommend to almost any viewer, and is likely one of the best candidates for introducing new viewers to anime. It’ll be interesting to see what Arakawa comes up with next, as she has some pretty big expectations to live up to following the completion of Fullmetal Alchemist.

July 4, 2010 at 2:37 am
  • July 4, 2010 at 11:15 pmgrOOvy

    Best anime ever. Period.

  • July 5, 2010 at 2:12 amme

    AWWW All i care about are winry and ed. They ended up together? I’mma watch this ep! XDXD

  • July 5, 2010 at 3:08 amfreedomapoc

    nice ending for one of the best anime
    rivals code geass in my opinion
    will be hard to beat these

    thx divine (and omni too) for having blogged this :D

  • July 5, 2010 at 3:41 amNyte

    I saved up the last 4 episodes to watch as one single episode (also did that with Soul Eater) but I was highly disappointed by the finales…

    Yes a series with good closure (for once) but since the director said that “he was shocked by the enormity of the final chapter “, I expect more of an “everyone-dies” end :p

    Fun series though

  • July 5, 2010 at 7:27 ambabawaba

    Tbh, I hated the original anime with all the nonesense they added… specialy because when I try to remember I tend to confuse their made up stuff with the actual story and it gets anoying.

  • July 5, 2010 at 7:51 amHm

    man…damn it FMA was one of the reasons I looked forward to each week with joy…
    I wish all the best luck to Arakawa sensei for her next project.
    Thank you for such a great series and of course also to random curiosity staffs: Omni and Divine for their amazing coverage of the series!!!

  • July 5, 2010 at 10:20 amKoosha

    Hmm~just realized now tht Ed has their father’s eyes and Al has their mum’s.. :)
    Happy ending! gona miss Olivier though :P

    • July 5, 2010 at 1:29 pmCornwiggle

      Uh, Ed and Al both have Hohenheim’s eyes.

      Al only has brown eyes in the first anime.

  • July 5, 2010 at 11:21 amLesire

    Awesome series! I’ll be keeping a clos eye on anything Arakawa does next!

  • July 5, 2010 at 11:22 amLesire

    Awesome series! I’ll be keeping a close eye on anything Arakawa does next!

  • July 5, 2010 at 1:15 pmCaffeineInfusedPocky

    thank you for posting this!!! <3333333
    (i wrote something kinda long before but forgot to put my name and email after i submitted it and then i couldn't obtain it again DX)
    All of FMA is truly awesome and amazing and holds a special place in my heart and will forever. this series both FMA and FMA:B truly changed my life and is more likely one of the best things that happened to me. 64 was amazing, every minute of it gave it a worth while ending and would take me a long time to decribe every wonderful detail but i have to say Ed's confession to Winry was sooooo cute and adorable with Ed choking up and his equivalent exchange talk ( i couldn't keep my fingers off the rewind button XD) its soooooooo sad to see such a great series go that it might take me a fews days or weeks to get over it :/. but FMA lives on in mine and everyone of the fan's hearts. thats what keeps it going ;)
    i certainly can't wait for the movie and Arakawa's next work!!!

    and everyone seems to be going on about Mustang's mustache so i'll throw in my 2 cents
    i don't mind it really but i kinda took me by surprise cuz u i don't remember seeing it in the manga. I guess Arakawa wanted to make some last minute adjustments XD o.0 but i didn't really like how Hawkeye cut her hair D:

  • July 5, 2010 at 7:23 pmichigoat

    thank you divine for covering and updating us with FMA:B
    thank you Hiromu Arakawa for an awesome story
    thank you BONES for doing a remake.

  • July 5, 2010 at 10:11 pmkabayongtao

    What’s with the mustache hate? Is it really despicable? or rather is it unacceptable because the manga didn’t portrayed Roy having a hairy decoration under his nose? (~^~)

    Anyways, I like the first anime adaptation but I find some of its unique twist weakly justified.

    One example would be Sloth’s personality. Compared to FMA Brotherhood, it didn’t really portrayed the homonculus being a lazy bum.

    Another example would be how human transmutation works there. It was said that human transmutation would be a cause for homonculus appearing up but if that were the case, I remember in the beginning of Conquerer of Shamballa, there was once a uranium bomb guy who performed a human transmutation as Ed claimed, would that be a cause for a hidden homonculus? Not sure about this but I would be glad if someone clarified this for me. :)

    But I liked their alternate-world gate twist. Anyways, look at this picture: http://randomc.net/image/Fullmetal%20Alchemist/Fullmetal%20Alchemist%20-%2064%20-%20Large%2051.jpg

    I find it funny because first I thought it was Al being harassed by his two chimera companions when they decided to travel east.

    And thanks for blogging.

  • July 6, 2010 at 12:02 amHanazaki

    LOL.. Mustang mustache.. Yeah, I was kinda surprised to see that cos I don’t remember seeing it the manga.. I wish Hawkeye would keep her hair longer and I wish Hawkeye and Mustang would make some pretty babies together.. haha.. I also wish Greed didn’t have to die! He’s like the best homunculus EVER!!

    Definitely the best anime EVER on my list!
    It’s sad to see it end, I really hope there’s some more stories that FMA can offer us, like OVAs of Ed and Al’s journey and stuff like that.

    While I love the first version of FMA, I have to thank BONES for this remake.
    And thanks for blogging!!

  • July 6, 2010 at 3:43 amEamon

    A pretty nice epilogue. And it looks like Ed and Winry have kids too!

  • July 6, 2010 at 9:25 amKewldude

    ^^Hell yeah!!! Really nice!! Awesome series and awesome ending. I got tears of joy when i finished seeing it! ^_^

  • July 6, 2010 at 9:51 amFMAfan

    Wow the ending was awesome. I agree it couldn’t be any better. I’m kinda sad tho. Firstly because it has ended… I know, I know everything has to reach an end eventually, but 64 episodes don’t feel enough for me. And secondly I hate seeing Ed and Al splitting. It’s not the same as in FMA 1 I know but still after reaching a happy ending for their journey, they immediately needed to start a new one. I like what they did with Ed and Winry’s relationship and knowing they get kids sooner or later made me happy. I hope this is not the last story about the FMA universe. FMA 1 was my introduction into the anime world and I really want more. So I seriously hope they will deliver an awesome movie (which hopefully won’t be just a recap) and make a new series. I’m really going to miss FMA and this blog. Both were and are amazing.

  • July 6, 2010 at 6:57 pmcode fanboy

    (Sigh) Just like the manga, seeing the ending of something as big as this, for some reason, gives me a really unsatisfing feeling. But it’s still a good way to end an Anime, I wonder if they will show a movie like they did for the last FMA.

  • July 7, 2010 at 6:17 amahelo

    after watching the episode i felt sad realizing that this was really over. such an epic series though.

  • July 7, 2010 at 10:23 amStacey

    I have nothing new to add, just that I too am sad to see such a perfect series end. As someone who has followed FMA since the original series first started airing in 2003 I feel as though a chapter of my life has ended, as lame as that may sound. I guess this will free up some time to watch other series but FMA will always hold a special place in my heart. I am thrilled to see the announcement of a movie since it will extend the life of the franchise, which is fine by me.

    Also…Roy plus mustache upsets me too. And such a wimpy mustache at that, I feel that if he wanted to grow one he should have gone all out and made it like Alex’s or better yet grow out a full beard like Sig, lol.

  • July 7, 2010 at 6:31 pmRaiju

    Great ending to a great series (both anime and manga)! And just to point out the Ed and Al didn’t just separate again immediately after they gained their bodies back and had their reunion with Winry; two years did pass with all of them together before they came to that decision to gather more research. But it’s nice to know they all reunited again eventually for that photo (with Ed and Winry married with children, and presumably Al and Mei together!). I don’t get the stache hate, lol, seemed like Roy was just starting to grow one to fit in with the higher ups of the military since it seemed fashionable among them. Riza looks good no matter what her hairstyle is!

    All said and done, I enjoyed both the original FMA anime series and FMA:B. Sure the first series had some serious pacing issues throughout, and the ending was a bit out there with the gates linking their alternate universe and our Earth as we know it (and the movie was just so-so and I disliked how Envy wasn’t given more time and how they ret-conned alternate universe Hughes to be alive, among other things) but I thought the homunculi being the result of failed human transmutation was a bit more interesting (and more personal to the heroes) than them just being cast off sins of Father (both Greeds rocked hard, Lust was definitely more sympathetic, Envy more a bastard because he hated Hohenheim so much, etc.). I even liked Dante as the main antagonist though the ultimate ebil plan and payoff was a bit disappointing at the end (it surely wasn’t as epic as FMA:B’s).

  • July 9, 2010 at 9:45 amXDark-AlchemistX

    totally awesome ending!!!
    but as the tradition…it is the same as the manga but in different ways

    but there’s one big issue or surprise that made my eyes blow up
    in the end of the manga (spolier!! DON’T read this if you haven’t finished the manga yet!, same with the anime) it was a page with some images o….welll some moments of the story..
    in this final episode the same but the surprise was all the photos they’ve shown
    1- Scar with that haircut!? o.O
    2- Mustang got a moustache!? 0.0
    3- Ed & Winry plus…….KIDS!!! O_O OMG

    what I mean by those pictures is that I didn’t espect them and well…..THEY GAVE ME A BIG SURPRISE!
    overall is a great anime indeed and totally worth every single minute

  • July 9, 2010 at 1:22 pmtakashid

    best ending to a series ever. period. i dont think anything could top it, iexcept maybe One Piece when it finaly ends.

  • July 10, 2010 at 1:04 amrenkaren012

    the best anime ever! :)

  • July 10, 2010 at 2:14 pmwrathandpride

    OMG!!!!!! Ed and Winry have kids, sweet!

  • July 11, 2010 at 6:51 amLunar-Oracle

    my toughts for the movie, maybe it’s a new OVA story untold, maybe it’s a sequal or a ‘next generation’, but i do NOT want a live action. it’s supossed to be anime! and live action versions of cartoons kinda ruins it for me. (i’m looking at you “tha last airbender” but it’s still good, but not very canon in design) ok, rant over. now to funny things.

    first off: we FINALLY se gruuman’s eyes! http://randomc.net/image/Fullmetal%20Alchemist/Fullmetal%20Alchemist%20-%2064%20-%20Large%2030.jpg

    secondly: see mrs. bradley here? http://randomc.net/image/Fullmetal%20Alchemist/Fullmetal%20Alchemist%20-%2064%20-%20Large%2029.jpg something sparked off as familier to me, and then it hit me. do you know who she looks like? http://images.absoluteanime.com/fullmetal_alchemist/dante.jpg THAT’S RIGHT! she looks like dante from the first fullmetal alchemist anime! and i just noticed that! dare to compare?

  • July 18, 2010 at 10:08 amorly

    i still think the original fma is better than this remake d:

  • August 28, 2010 at 10:02 pmanime cosplay

    i love full metal Alchemist original

  • October 13, 2010 at 6:29 pmRie-Chan

    Best Anime!!!!!

    but somehow… i want Riza and Roy to be more romantic.. im expecting a better ending for them…. even 1 kiss…. huhu…

    but all in all… I really love Fullmetal!!!

    It Rocks!!!

  • November 2, 2010 at 9:42 pmlala

    Hohenheim wasn’t a bad guy in the first series, divine. Where’d you get that from?

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