Fullmetal Alchemist is widely regarded as one of the greatest anime ever, setting a standard for modern fantasy with its protagonist brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric.


After their mother passes away, they attempt everything in their power to bring her back, including the taboo alchemy of human transmutation – but they fail to conquer the ritual, and soon realise the laws of equivalent exchange will haunt them forever.

In order to repay the dark world for their mistake, Edward must part with two of his limbs whereas Alphonse's loses everything except his soul. In a last ditch attempt to save what's left of his brother, Edward binds his soul into a suit of armour which leads to the cyborg like visuals we see throughout the series.

Fullmetal Alchemist, while whimsical in parts, is by no means a children's story as it also boasts one of the most gruesome plot twists in all of anime. You're best not to get close to any one character – and not for the reasons you might expect.

The series follows the brothers as they attempt to get their bodies back with the help of the philosopher's stone.

There's little retelling of the anime because you can't really mess with perfection, but with that being said, there are two very distinct options for fans who want to enter the world of Amestris.

What's the difference between Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood?

Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist.

They're two sides of the same coin; Fullmetal Alchemist is the original anime release whereas Brotherhood is a retelling of the same story.

Brotherhood is widely regarded as the more faithful adaptation of the manga and includes numerous battles, encounters and plots that the original does not. For die-hard fans of the story, Brotherhood is probably your best option.

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For those who don't mind a little padding here and there, including a latter half that treads its own path away from the manga, the original Fullmetal Alchemist series is all yours.

How to watch Fullmetal Alchemist based on release date

Luckily, there's a very clear difference between the two adaptations. The Brotherhood rendition is marked in every release, so it's rather hard to miss. If you're thinking about watching both the orginal and retelling of the story, you can do so one after the other.

  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist The Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa (2003)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Special: The Blind Alchemist (2009)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Special: Simple People (2009)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Special: The Tale of Teacher (2010)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Special: Yet Another Man’s Battlefield (2010)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos (2011)

Does Fullmetal Alchemist have filler?

Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist.

The original series only includes a few episodes you should feel safe skipping. They include:

  • Episode 4 - A Forger's Love
  • Episode 10 - The Phantom Thief
  • Episode 37 - The Flame Alchemist, the Bachelor Lieutenant & the Mystery of Warehouse 13

Apart from the aforementioned, it's relatively story based and anything you do miss will have a knock on effect to the rest of the series. Brotherhood's episode 27 is the only filler in the entire saga and acts as an interlude between battles. Overall, it's a very story driven anime.

How to watch Fullmetal Alchemist in the UK

If you're okay with a physical copy, you can order the original series from Zavvi for £24.99 as it's not available to stream.

Currently, the only place to watch Fullmetal Alchemist online is on Funimation. That being said, it only holds the Brotherhood main series and none of the specials.

You can pick up the specials via a Blu-ray collection costing £54.95 on Amazon.

Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide or Streaming Guide to find out what else is on.


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