Mark Watches ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’: Episode 1

In the first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I understand very little of what I’ve just seen. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to start FMA:B.

Okay, some very important things before we officially start this show!

  • Spoilers are not allowed on this site so that myself and others who are watching this show for the first time can read and participate in the comments. You may use rot13 to cypher your comments so that you can talk spoilers without ruining things for us.
  • Please read the Site Rules and the FAQ about the commenting policy here. This will serve as your only real warning.
  • Do not assume anyone has read the manga or seen the 2003 version of the show. Spoilers for those should be cyphered, too.
  • Any drab, boring, and repetitive rants about how I should have read the manga first, or about how terrible of a choice I’ve made to watch Brotherhood and not the 2003 version, or about the English dub, or about anything I will have already addressed by the end of this post will be deleted. Outright. I don’t care.
  • I am watching this via iTunes because I don’t do torrents and because I need an ad-free option of this show to watch for commissions. Yes, there are streaming versions, but I am traveling a lot in the next three months and need a dependable copy of this show to watch so that I can make commissions on the road.
  • The reviews for this show will take a temporary break on August 2nd. That day, the review for episode 9 goes up. This is so that I can write posts in advance of my European tour because writing on the road is immensely difficult for me now that I have video commissions to go along with it. I will do my best to try and get some reviews for this show done in August, and I’ll update Twitter to announce when random reviews have gone up. Given that I am gone for nearly all of August, I have no clue yet when I will be able to permanently bring Double Features back, but it shouldn’t be later than September.

So, let’s do this!

  • I don’t know shit about this show. I’ve never seen any of it, know nothing of the characters, the plot, the premise, any plot twists, or even what genre of anime it fits under. I KNOW NOTHING, just like Jon Snow.
  • And this show doesn’t care, and I kind of adore that. I’m dropped into this world and virtually none of it is explained to me.
  • So here’s what I think I understand?
  • There are alchemists in the world who can control certain elements with those symbol thingies.
  • (Just a heads up: I will get the terminology wrong about everything here, just so you know.)
  • Most of them work for the “state” in a state-sponsored military.
  • Edward and Alphonse, brothers, are part of this military, and they’re “dogs” of some sort? I don’t get it.
  • It’s also distracting to hear the word Führer so often, but just because most of us here in the US have only one context for ever hearing it. I’ll get over it now that I know it’s used all the time.
  • Edward is a fullmetal alchemist, which means he can alchemy any kind of metal?
  • I FEEL LIKE SUCH A FOOL TYPING THIS ALL OUT?
  • There was some big war called Ishval? I am not sure how it’s spelled. I’m guessing it was a civil war? But apparently King Bradley asked the state soldiers to do something awful, some of them revolted, they lost, and now Issac McDougal is so convinced that Bradley is evil that he’s willing to destroy the city.
  • I got a sense for an apparent hierarchy to the military and how to move up within it, but I don’t think that culture was explored all that much in this episode.
  • And then I found out that this show is not going to fuck around with my emotions at all.
  • Because hello.
  • MCDOUGAL CAN ALCHEMY HIS OWN BLOOD AND USE IT AS A WEAPON.
  • OH, RIGHT, SOMETHING HAPPENED AND EDWARD LOST HIS ARM/LEG AND ALPHONSE LOST HIS ENTIRE FUCKING BODY!!!!!!
  • OH, AND THEN THERE’S THAT REVEAL THAT EDWARD COMMITTED THE GREATEST SIN OF ALCHEMY: HUMAN TRANSMUTATION.
  • THERE’S NO BODY INSIDE ALPHONSE’S SUIT
  • WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHOW, AND WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I SIGNED UP FOR??
  • WHERE ARE EDWARD AND AL’S PARENTS?
  • WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE?
  • I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THE HARRY POTTER JOKE I MADE IN THE COMMISSION VIDEO.
  • Who is that woman at the end with the guy named Gluttony?
  • WHY IS THIS ALL SO DISTURBING?
  • Please tell me that the fandom has fully embraced the weirdness that is Armstrong. If he is not in every episode from here on out, I will hate this show on principle.
  • I’m jesting. Seriously, I do like the combination between humor and fear in this episode. It’s done well! Plus, it distracts my mind from the fact that Alphonse doesn’t have a body. How? Oh my god, what other forms of alchemy are there???
  • Look, count me as interested based on the hints of a greater mystery alone. I need to know!
  • I NEED TO KNOW, Y’ALL.

The video commission for this episode is now archived in my store for just $0.99! You can purchase the entire show at once for only $49.99 for 64 videos!

Mark Links Stuff

– I have redesigned MarkDoesStuff.com! Check out this post explaining the new changes, which includes the start of a permanent archive of all Mark Watches videos!
The Mark Does Stuff Summer Tour is happening soon! Check out the posted dates, suggest new ones, help bring me to YOUR TOWN.
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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