Way back in the distant past of 2009 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood starting airing and I watched it, sort of. I never really got very far because I kind of hated it. I hated the way it handled its terrible gags and how it couldn’t manage to take itself seriously for 5 consecutive minutes, following up dramatic moments with someone calling Ed short or whatever. This sort of thing happened in the first series as well, but this one seemed to lay it on a little thick to the point where it detracts from everything else. I was honestly never really sure why it bothered me so much. I mean, I’ve watched 205 episodes of One Piece, and that show is rife with this same kind of thing. But I guess I just expected something more from Fullmetal Alchemist.
But yeah, I’d been buying the Blu-rays once they started coming out, ’cause even as much as I hated this series I still like Fullmetal Alchemist so I bought it anyway. I never actually bothered to make a serious effort to watch them until recently, because I was bored and they were there. I still struggled to get through the early bits, both because of the terrible comedy and the fact that, through various media, I’d seen all the early stuff at least a dozen fucking times and I never want to see it ever again if at all possible.
Around ~20 episodes into the series the amount of comedy starts to drop off a bit, as the story starts to get more serious. The comedy still persists throughout the entire thing, but the sheer amount of it decreases dramatically. Characters are able to seriously discuss all the genocide and military corruption that the series revolves around without getting super-deformed, making dumb faces, or plastering Japanese text all over the screen. It’s a welcome change that makes the series much easier to sit through.
Of course, this all stems from the original manga. Obviously it had the same kind of comedy and to same extent as Brotherhood, but it never seemed as distracting there as it is here. In the manga the gags can be confined to a single panel and are essentially throw-away gags. The series takes those throwaway gags and elevates them, putting too much focus on them. It also probably doesn’t help that I was sick of Fullmetal Alchemist‘s repertoire of jokes in 2006, so an entire new series filled with them didn’t really have a fair chance.