There’s no such thing as an absolute and final ending for a series as glorious as this. Even the faintest attempt at conceiving an ending seems futile as it leaves the audience inevitably wanting more. However, I believe the ending that this show produces should suffice enough to satiate my hunger for wanting to know the truth.

This series is tiring to get through at times, the speed at which it moves is incredibly slow, you could say the pacing of it is scatter-brained. I believe though that it’s conclusion does it justice. A lot of lives are lost in the series finale of the show. Loved ones die, future husbands, and bloodlines lost in the ravages of war. Some soldiers choose a noble path and refuse to take life for the sake of saving their countrymen from the pain it will cause their families. Other soldiers from the north take a darker path and kill anyone they see opposing them, quite possibly leading to their own demise as well. It’s ironic when you still see the Elric brothers fighting so hard and swearing on their dying breath that they’re “Not letting anyone else die.”

I wish I could say that the series end with all the loose ends tied up but unfortunately it does not. There are still many questions left unanswered much to my chagrin. There’s a much higher focus on the aspect of religion in the finale of this series. Who is God? What is Truth? I find it rather inspirational such an insignificant Japanese cartoon show would tackle subjects that deal with such immense cultural beliefs in our society. There might be some that would find this series offensive to their beliefs as it naturally collides and challenges that with which we believe as truth in our own world. I honestly expect no less from a show that tries so hard to reimage 19th century Germany in such a light-hearted manner.

We get a firsthand look at this season of what the homunculi truly want, what the deepest desires are of such vile creatures. I wish I could say that all of the homunculi make it out alive. Though, such a thing seems foolish to say given their reputation throughout the entire series. But I assure you, your mind about what you think of the homunculi might change if you show them a little mercy for their actions. It might feel wasteful to you what Ed’s actions are to dispose of the homunculi. I’m not sure every viewer would agree with how the homunculi die in this story.

For the ones that keep living though it is a very happy ending after so much turmoil and I feel the opening theme of season 5 covers that very well. Though it might come across as annoying to hear the opening theme is played at the major end and opening points during the episode. It really messes up the moment when the theme starts playing during moments of dread or triumph. I think the final season would have benefited from not overusing the opening theme so much.

When some truly unbeatable enemies emerge from the depths of the Central city our heroes find it almost impossible to stop them. Frankly, it’s almost a loophole in the story how they eventually stop attacking and causing havoc. And on the other hand, it seems like cheesy writing when the characters have such ceaseless motivations to not give into madness. I can only guess that their efforts to atone for their sins can only be accomplished by winning peacefully. This ideal is often mocked by the homunculi and our main antagonist Father. So then I find it so satisfying when the whole thing is turned on its head and revealed to Father what the real truth is for the ones that try to play God.

This series is agonizing to watch a second time. In particular, because it is so long to get to one simple conclusion. I suppose the only thing the series finale carries for the viewer is that it takes place all in one day. That’s right. The final season, 13 episodes all take place within 24 hours. It’s almost a reflection of TV shows like 24 how every episode ends on a cliffhanger pushing the viewer to keep watching and keep going. It really ruins the feeling when it’s your second time viewing the show. But recalling my first viewing of season 5 of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood I can tell you I was never further from falling off my chair staring at the screen. There’s a lot to say when a show like this can make you instinctively sit in a chair for up to 5 hours with no end. An anime series like this can’t be all fighting and honor and glory. But what it does try to do is tell the viewer what the real price of ultimate knowledge is, and how it would be of your best benefit to staying as you are. A simple human living out their lives with their family and friends forever bound to the great gifts bestowed upon you.

Coming together, all is one and one is all in us, in me, this is what you must master to perform alchemy.

This season of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood takes place in two sections. The majority of the season is focused leading up to a huge climatic event known as the promise day. One can imagine this is in reference to D-day when the American forces stormed the beaches of Normandy. The day of reckoning as it is known. And all of our favorite characters are revving at full throttle.

This season might I say has the most kickass opening to the show yet! It displays incredible animation and is a much more delightful show to sit through than the slum that was season 3. However, a major complaint with this season is how it treats one of our favorite characters. Our primary supporting female character Winry Rockbell takes a huge backseat in this season. She’s mainly only used to advance the plot which might not sit well with loyal fans to the show. That said the action we get between her and Edward is rather laughable at best and heartwarming to listen to. It’s clear that the series is hindering on the conclusion of her and Ed being a family someday.

Unlike season 3 we don’t get that much concentration on backstory or filler. There is one episode that deals with the origins of Xerxes and the homunculus but it’s a small departure from what we already know. I would say this season biggest contributor is the sheer action it holds it in. There are two episodes in particular that leave you on the absolute edge of your seat to see what happens next.

From the north of Fort Briggs to the fields of Resembool and then back to Central Command there’s little to hide when the trouble comes looking for you.

Our youngest hero is the one who takes the biggest beating in this season as he proves useless to stop his body from pulling him back to the portal beyond. It’s actually quite ironic that much of this season is spent with Edward and Alphonse being separated. Luckily though we see the defeat of a great foe, and the desperation of allies turning in victories for a change. As we figure out how alchemy can be used for good for a change instead of so much evil, it turns out it might be too late. The enemy has carved the final crest of blood and finished the underground circuit of tunnels. Just as everything seems to spell an end the hero emerges at the last minute to seal the monsters away in a massive cage, only at the cost of his son giving his last.

Now that the enemy no longer tries to hide their face its all fair game to take them out. And it’s interesting when we see a fabled enemy turn into a faithful ally. How humorous it is when the sin it represents is one that may not be half as bad to feel inside. I love it when a plan works perfectly and we have some wicked fight scenes in this season, not to mention the return of some very old characters we once thought would never come back. It’s welcoming to see returning faces and it adds to the stakes that our heroes carry to win the war. The only order they must follow is, “Don’t die!”

As we brace for the impact our heroes race back to Central to stop the nefarious plans of Father but are caught in a massive battle. As it is revealed the identity of the final and most powerful homunculus, Pride, otherwise known as Selim Bradley, the Fuhrer’s own son. Kimblee the crimson alchemist actually takes a backseat too in this season as he is forced to do Pride’s bidding. I’m sure though that we’ll get to see him again in the net season. I find it quite intriguing when Ling, being controlled by Greed, manages not only to take back his body but actually break Greed through a line in the show that is by far my most favorite.

“You gave up on something you wanted, you don’t deserve to call yourself greed!”

As I’m sure you can imagine this is my favorite season of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It’s refreshing to see our character have so many wins after taking such a beating the past 3 seasons from the enemy. I get the feeling though that the fight has only just begun. Trust me when I say you’re gonna want to see how this ends people. There’s no stopping the hype train now! I thoroughly enjoy the high points and its low points of this season right up until the very end as I’m sure you’re aware the final episodes of the season take place in one single day, the Promise Day.

Surrounded on all sides, and unarmed from their allies. This season of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is pretty slow and full of lots of filler. It doesn’t end on much of a cliffhanger either unlike the previous season. The opening for this season is also fairly dull in my opinion. This is obviously a low point. There were some new avenues explored though that were not seen before.

The two brothers start off wandering after a confrontation with the enemy only to find out the enemy is leading the charge. While his son lurks in his shadow he might be the greatest shadow of them all. Allies let alcohol become a sense of relief to sway their worrying souls, buying trinkets and flowers to impress their loved ones while their loved ones are held, hostage. The backstories behind the loved ones deepen more and more as the loved ones grow older and perhaps more beautiful, the alchemists stay cold and desperate, clinging to the vestiges of their sanity and their disposition. Not much lies ahead and no one knows where to turn.

Allies of relatives emerge and are quick to assume rank above the brothers. Telling them that they too hold secrets that they keep locked away. As pressure builds, a massive new foe appears seemingly oblivious to everything. One has to wonder if all the enemies are oblivious to the true plan about to unfold. The main antagonist of the series emerges in this slow season. Tension builds quickly as he plays with the people and moves them to his will. Everything is orchestrated perfectly, as a massive underground network of tunnels is discovered guarded by an elusive predator. The purpose of the tunnels holds an even darker truth than before.

As the two brothers continue to refuse the use of a philosopher’s stone to do their bidding or to pay the toll to get their bodies back, they are forced to watch the stone be used against them. Neutral Evil comes forward not taking any side and just wanting to use power for power’s sake. To kill because he can. Only driven by the curiosity of who will win, is a huge price to pay for what some people would look at as foolish.

Humor plays a large role as some choose to hide their feelings from others as a means for safety. Some unusual backstories are explored too through means of coercion and insecurity. I chuckled quite a few times and felt sorrow for our characters. Wondering deeply about how they choose to resolve this issue of corruption in the ranks of those higher-up than them. This season is about staying together when it might be clear that it would be best to drift apart. Drifting apart allows the enemy to grow complacent, and keeps them entertained. Our characters will have to get creative in order to talk to one another safely because just running away to hide where no one is watching cannot work forever.

People borrow money from one another as the enemy strips them clean of their assets. Some grow stingy, but to tell the truth, it’s mostly in jest for future plans that they hold dear to their heart. While guilt weighs on them for their past mistakes and the war they were a part of they like to think that condemning themselves to eternal punishment would be a just reward. Others wouldn’t be so kind to let them do that much to their chagrin. It becomes clear that they must unite and fight for their country if they wish to survive. On a brighter side, one of our primary characters from last season Ling gets what he desires, and in doing so leaves his friends behind to serve his new master. His friends receive his message and rejoice thinking he is alive and well, but rather than go to him decide to regroup and recover from the deadly encounters they have faced. I have a feeling though that while Ling took a backseat in this season, he will most certainly play a bigger role in the next season.

The chance at being immortal is used as an excuse to get people to tell the truth. Taking the bait like a squealing pig and then being sent to die like a groveling child. When the two brothers travel far north, one receives upgrades while the other struggles to hide their ambitions. Getting really excited by his newfound strength he chooses to act like an idiot to get the upper hand on the enemy without killing them. This makes for some entertaining imagery and playful animation. I can’t say for certain that this is my favorite season of the show. It’s definitely weaker than season 2, but with so much great stuff unfolding it’s hard not to get sucked in at this point. You just gotta keep watching to see how it all plays out since so much is left to judge. What could be so important about our main characters that the enemy would refer to them as sacrifices anyway?

Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an anime series that follows two young brothers. Edward Elric age 15, and Alphonse Elric age 14. It takes place in a setting that is seemingly an alternate reality of 1900’s Germany. Edward and Alphonse serve as dogs of the military in hopes that it will allow them the money and privileges to get their old bodies back.

My first viewing of this show, I hardly made it past the first 15 episodes. This show has a slow start, not much is revealed quickly and it leaves a lot of mystery for the viewer that can quickly turn them away. Edward and Alphonse respectively don’t seem all that likable at first either. Edward displays a lot of ignorance to working for the military, and Alphonse displays a lack of trust in what he’s fighting for.

Ironically enough, the most admirable characters are the supporting cast. Winry Rockbell, the child who lost her parents in the war, The Fuhrer King Bradley, Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, and General Alex Louis Armstrong. Granted though, there is nothing we know about these characters except that they were molded into the person they were because of what’s dubbed the Ishvalan civil war.

You will notice many similarities in this show to 1900’s Germany. Characters raise their right arm up high as if saluting a general and there is a distinct characteristic of mistrust in the military even among its highest ranking officers. Not everyone is made equal it seems. However, this is where our main characters actually come to be likable. Edward is dead set on not killing anyone. He refuses to take the life of anyone he sees as a real human, as it is something he views alchemy cannot create. And Alphonse’s loyalty to his friends is just as enjoyable as his quirky and foolish behavior.

Trouble comes afoot quickly though when villains start to emerge with motives entrenched in hate for state alchemists, and misery follows Ed and Al in their quest to get their bodies back. It is in the first few episodes where Ed comes face to face with death and helplessness, while Al displays a great degree of strength and determination. It’s often hilarious when people mistake Alphonse for Edward thinking the taller of the two is the strongest and most famous.

When trust is broken and lives threatened the brothers rejoice by fighting and graveling at their idols. There is one idol that they despise though, their father that left their mom out to die and abandoned them to fend for themselves. Which oddly enough is just what their teacher does when they first go in for training alchemy. While alchemy is certainly portrayed to be a benefit to humans as it can be used to fix appliances and create new technology, it is soon revealed that the horrors of such power can yield what’s dubbed as “the devil’s work.” Something which the brothers should avoid, considering their past and their mistakes.

When the two brothers decide to start meddling they get badly injured but strangely are saved by those acting as enemies. They are sent on missions to uncover truths about a newfound object, a celestial stone of great power that holds the key to eternal life. But when different leads appear not given out by the military that sounds promising, the resources are quickly burned down and extinguished by a very attractive woman. And anytime the brothers have a moment to breathe they are hunted by a man with red eyes. Ambitions of the higher-ups seem clouded in unneeded hopes and lead to early deaths of beloved characters. Even among people born and trained to be scientists, it’s unclear what motivates them to keep going and keep pushing forward, especially when religion is denounced as heresy in their culture.

People in the country of Ametris like to think that there is nothing that can harm them. That they have all the weapons and invincibles soldiers they need to overcome any threat and overtake any ally. Even when rogue soldiers working with anti-establishments come to threaten their way of life they stand together and fight former allies in the vain of protecting their homeland. Unstoppable obedience to their country and their alchemy cannot so easily be broken even if loved ones are lost. This is what makes the supporting cast so enjoyable because the ones who don’t use alchemy, like those enhanced with machinery, keep going and keep working to do the best with what they can give.

I encourage you to give this show a chance. You will like what you find, you will want to rewatch the whole thing several times again, and you will constantly be asking questions up until the very end. Try not to think too deeply as the show progresses though, its heavy on the means of religion and its emphasis on the world’s past mistakes. It focuses on harsh topics of reality and hope, but if you manage to reach the end you’ll find yourself quite happy with all the time you spent on the screen. Just do me a favor, and don’t give into the laws of equivalent exchange.

Saturday morning cartoons were all the rage when I was growing up as I’m sure they were (or are) for you too.  However what many people are now watching aren’t just cartoons that we were used to, where Bugs managed to defeat Daffy or the Coyote continually chased but lost out to the Road Runner.

With multi-episodic story arcs, these new “cartoons” are significantly more intricate, artistic and detailed.  In addition, many of the really good ones are surprisingly violent and sometimes quite erotic also!  They definitely aren’t suitable for your typical preteen (& in some cases post-teen!) that’s for sure!!

I’ve written a previous post already on the top 5 Anime episodes on Netflix which you can find here. However, I wouldn’t want you to simply restrict yourself to these titles as there are many more both on and off Netflix that are absolutely worth looking at.

The ones I previously mentioned are – Sword Art Online (now with 2 seasons), The Irregular at Magic High School, Attack on Titan (now also released in Live Action!), Highschool of the Dead & Knights of Siddonia (also up to Season 2).

Some new ones that I think you should consider for your viewing pleasure are:

aldnoahAldnoah Zero

I just watched this one and the one thing I have to state without ruining anything is the ending is a complete shock.  My jaw literally hit the floor!

Aldnoah Zero is a bit confusing in its overall mythology – basically in the 70’s a hypergate to Mars was found on the surface of the moon.  Those early astronauts also found a mysterious property (power?) called Aldnoah that gave them the ability to enhance normal mechanical tools and weapons and gave them a devastating advantage over the rest of humanity.

After a short war that saw the Moon destroyed in an event later referred to as Heaven’s Fall (not shown in the series), an uneasy truce exists between the Terran’s and Martians.  However when Princess Asseylum is seemingly assassinated while on a diplomatic mission to Earth, the truce fractures and all out war ensues between the two planets.

Freezing

Another of those slightly erotic (lots of female nudity) titles, this one still had a really interesting story and was fun to watch.  When Earth is the target of an alien invasion by beings called Nova’s the only defence is genetically altered girls (Pandora’s) and their male partners (Limiters).  Freezing tells the story of Bridget and Kazuya Aoi who together combine to be the best and strongest.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Back in 2013, Fullmetal Alchemist made the list of top anime series on Netflix. That’s still available via streaming, but, now, we’re suggesting that you add Brotherhood to your queue as well. This is a reboot rather than a sequel and it’s one that aims closer to the manga source material. The essence of the story is that two boys attempt to bring their mother back from the dead and, in the process, lose huge chunks of their physical selves. That leads them on the road in search of The Philosopher’s Stone.

Gurren Lagann

At times controversial and often deceptively raunchy, this smart, fast-paced anime is beloved for its wide-ranging plot, its gorgeous animation, its take-no-prisoners plot twists, and its character development.

While many anime series in the mecha genre tend to turn off newcomers because of all the talk about giant robots, Gurren knows how to plunge you into the middle of the action while getting you emotionally invested before you know what’s happening. Even if you’re not up on your Japanese sci-fi tropes, this is an excellent, accessible series. Don’t miss it.

Stay tuned however as Netflix is now also launching another title called the Seven Deadly Sins.  Similar to Knights of Sidonnia this series also exclusive to Netflix & while Knights was definitely SciFi in scope and tone, this one is more of a western.