Blu-ray Review: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part 3

fma_part3_screenshot (3)

It has been a long wait, but the Blu-ray release of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part 3 is finally here within the UK, so what exactly is included? Find out in our Blu-ray Review.

Synopsis:

In the shadows beneath Central, the Elrics encounter Father, the creator of the Homunculi. His face is familiar, but his alchemy is unlike anything the brothers have ever seen. As Father’s dark plot takes shape, Ed and Al brave the frigid north to meet the top officer of the fortress Briggs: General Olivier Armstrong. With icy nerve and burning intensity, she commands the hardest soldiers in the land, leading the warriors of Briggs in battle against the unstoppable, rampaging Sloth.

Our View:

Taking a break from the overall story we find ourselves with Ed and Al’s farther, Van Hohenheim, as he is reminiscing over events that have happened in the past, it’s basically a re-cap episode that explains what has happened in the story so far. Unlike most recap episodes it is done in a unique way by having Hohenheim, Pinako and Farther discussing the story in an aggressive manner, but in reality it’s just Hohenheim having a heartfelt dream with his deepest (darkest) thoughts.

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Moving on from the ‘Interlude’ the story re-commences in full force with Envy, Ling and Edward managing to escape from Gluttony’s stomach, however they aren’t out of danger yet as they have appeared in front of Farther, the creator of the homunculus and the mastermind behind the origins of the Philosopher’s Stone. It’s here where new secrets and new characters are introduced, but it’s also where the truth behind Ishval is revealed, which makes a certain scarred man very anxious and out for revenge.

New turning points are also introduced into the story, whereby instead of using Amestris Alchemy the Elric Brothers decide to learn alkahestry, which is a form of alchemy used in Xing. In order to learn this unique style of Alchemy they decide to track down May Chang, a girl from Xing, who is currently travelling with Scar who has been seen in the north. In an attempt to pursue her, the Elric brothers head north, to the northern wall of Briggs, which inventible leads them to Armstrong’s sister, Olivier Milla Armstrong.

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Despite being part of the same military, and part of the Armstrong family, Olivier doesn’t take too kindly to outsiders and treats the Elric brothers as prisoners. However when an unstoppable enemy from below (and above) ground attacks the fortress, Olivier is left with no option but to trust the Fullmetal Alchemist, and so a partnership is formed as they take on formidable opponents.

Extras:

The extra features included with this release are minimal, but it is something you’d come to expect from a multi-part TV Anime. Included we have two episode commentaries (Episode 28 and Episode 36) and as per the norm, textless opening and closing songs.

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The Episode 28 Commentary, which features commentary from Mike McFarland (ADR Director), Wendy Powell (Envy) and Kent Williams (Narrator) is on Disc 1, while Episode 36 Commentary, which features commentary from Mike McFarland, J. Michael Tatum (Scar), Stephanie Young (Olivier) and Phil Parsons (Buccaneer) is on Disc 2. While the textless songs are also included on Disc 2 there are no trailers (or previews) for any other anime, which is sort of usual for a blu-ray release.

Tech Specs:

Media: BD 50 x1, BD 25 x 1 (2 Disc Set)
Running Time: 3:40:22 (Disc 1), 1:37:56 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 / 48 Khz (English), Dolby TrueHD 2.0 / 48Khz (Japanese)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

The third instalment into the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood saga is one continuous rollercoaster ride of epic battles, humorous laughter and deep regret, all of which combined together creates an enjoyable viewing experience backed up by the impressive talent of the show. During the included thirteen episodes viewers will see bloody battles against Scar, Kimblee and the Homunculi, as well as an insight into the pain and suffering caused by the Ishval extermination. Depsite being on the ‘violent’ and ‘destructive’ approach to the story there is still plenty of amusing moments on screen, most notable the reactions of Edward when being called small or the comical outbursts from Doctor Knox towards his unwanted patients.

One thing I’ve enjoyed with Fullmetal Alchemist is the presentation of the English Audio, as unlike most anime shows it feels authentic and realistic and with Brotherhood the voice acting becomes even better with most voice actors reprising their roles, such as Vic Mignogna as Edward and Eric Vale as Kimblee, while newcomers, such as Maxey Whitehead,  fit comfortably into their roles. Taking this into account the third volume features more action-packed and dramatic scenes, especially during the Ishval extermination, and this is shown through within both the English and Japanese Audio tracks. The Japanese Audio track is presented as a looseless 2.0 Audio track, while the English Audio is in 5.1 Dobly TrueHD Surround thus offering a more cinematic approach to the TV series, which shrines through during explosive fight scenes.

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The video presentation is presented in 1080p High Definition, as you’d expect from a Blu-ray release, and with a correctly setup HD System (such as Blu-ray Player, Full HD TV and HDMI Cable) viewers will be able to notice the difference from the standard DVD, especially during darker scenes where picture grain and pixilation can occur on DVD’s. The Colours on the Blu-ray release are brighter and sharper than on the standard definition release and, putting it bluntly, offers a crystal clear view into the world of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Overall this release see’s 13 Episodes, along with Textless Songs and Commentary as extras, over two Blu-ray discs – all of which are presented in English & Japanese with HD native picture quality. The only real flaw(s) with this release, which was also present on the American blu-rays, is that in order to change the Audio options you have to use the Pop-Up Menu, it can not be done via the Audio button itself. Furthermore the English subtitles can not be turned off during the Japanese Audio track and it can not be turned on during the English Audio track. This flaw will only effect a small amount of people but it is here and can be noticeable to those who want to use it.

This UK Release of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part 3, which has finally been released into the UK by Manga Entertainment UK, was definitely worth the wait and if you already own the DVD then its worth the upgrade to Blu-ray. Put simply it’s a must own series on Blu-ray (as it was animated in HD) and its now slowly, but surely, arriving here in the UK.

Score: review-stars-4

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part 3 will be available on Blu-ray from the 29th April 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

One Response to Blu-ray Review: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part 3

  1. Pingback: Manga UK Confirms Alteration to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Complete Series Blu-ray Release | AnimeBlurayUK

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