Viewer Engagement Gauge: Fullmetal Alchemist – Brotherhood vs. Fate/Stay Night

Between fitting time to play video games and continuing my journey writing the first draft of my fantasy novel, I’ve also managed to squeeze in some anime viewing as well. With all my favorite TV shows on hiatus for the summer until the fall, except for Game of Thrones, it’s the perfect time to watch other shows I may not have a chance to watch during the week or weekends. Among the shows currently on my viewing roster are Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Fate/Stay Night.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the story of Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers gifted at alchemy who, after an attempt at performing a forbidden human transmutation to bring their dead mother back to life goes awry and subsequently costs them their bodies and limbs in the process, decide to become State Alchemists serving the government. Using their new status, the brothers travel all over finding information on the fabled Philosopher’s Stone and a way to reclaim the body Al lost (his soul bound to a suit of armor), a promise Edward vows to fulfill for his younger brother. Fate/Stay Night, based on the Japanese visual novel by Type-Moon, is about Shiro Emiya who finds himself reluctantly pulled into a dangerous tournament known as the Fifth Holy Grail War, where masters and their servants fight to kill either another master or their servant for a chance at obtaining the Holy Grail for themselves and have any wish they desire come true.

My viewing habit with these two different animes is a little strange in which I’m going back and forth between watching these two shows at the same time and on different streaming platforms: Brotherhood on Netflix and Fate/Stay Night on Hulu. Ordinarily I’d be sticking with and watching one show at a time, except I started watching Brotherhood a few months ago but stopped watching it when other shows or personal responsibilities came knocking. Whereas I started watching Fate/Stay Night sometime last month to continue an ongoing trend of wanting to watch more anime but being able to only commit myself to 11-episode or 22-episode long shows. My time isn’t what it used to be. Recently, I found the desire to pick up where I left off with Brotherhood and haven’t been able to stop myself from watching two episodes a night since then. It reminded me just how much I love Fullmetal Alchemist when the first version of the show released back in 2003. Everything from the story to the characters are all amazing and the comic timing in spots is just impeccable to balance out the “shit hits the fan” moments you’ll inevitably encounter in later episodes.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

At the time Brotherhood released, I vaguely remember the show not being available on any streaming platforms yet. My cousin who introduced me to the first Fullmetal Alchemist had downloaded a torrent version of Brotherhood on his laptop and it was waiting for me to watch when we were able to find time to get together. He also informed me that this new version of the anime followed the manga much more closely than the first one did, not that it made any difference to me either way because I haven’t read the manga. Unfortunately, that time was no where to be found as our own separate schedules made it hard to devote an entire day of plowing through episodes like we used to do. Years did go by but eventually Brotherhood found its way to a stream near me and I’ve been thankful for the easy access to watch it on my own time.

It certainly has been years since I’ve seen Fullmetal Alchemist, but what I never forgot were the characters themselves. From Edward’s defensive reaction to his height insecurities to Hughes’ loving adoration of his wife and daughter by showing photos of them to his colleagues every chance he got to Armstrong’s odd desire to rip the top part of his uniform to flex his muscles in a fight, every one of them are enduring to the mind no matter how much time has past. Finding myself both addicted and engaged in Brotherhood felt like revisiting a place I haven’t been to in years but still feels like seeing it for the first time, which in many ways it kind of is because the show follows the manga this time. For all the love I have spouted for Brotherhood, you can probably already tell where my engagement level is at between the two animes.

Fate Stay/Night
Fate Stay/Night

I first heard of Fate/Stay Night after seeing an ad promoting the show on TV several years back during a time I was in the Philippines visiting family. I had no clue what the anime was about, but I did find the animation eye catching enough from the ad alone. Fast forward to now and I found that all episodes of the anime were streaming on Hulu. The length of the show was short enough and I was looking for something else to watch after having just finished Your Lie In April. I’ve only watched about eight or nine episodes so far and I’m having a hard time sticking with it.

I’m not sure if it’s the story or characters I’m not finding as interesting as Brotherhood’s, but I typically don’t want to give up on something if it’s an issue of slow to start but revs up towards the middle and end where the story and characters start to come together better. Lately, I find myself spending less time on Hulu, when I’m not spending my Mondays watching a new episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, and opting for Netflix to watch more of Brotherhood. I plan on finishing Fate/Stay Night soon, and there are some random days I’ll be on my Xbox One to watch one episode on Hulu, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue to watch past the 2006 version of this show to pick up the more recent Unlimited Blade Works. Fate/Stay Night may be comparatively shorter than Brotherhood, but my attention has been glued to the journey of the Elric brothers so much more that the length is no longer an issue with me.

Fullmetal Alchemist – Brotherhood Engagement Gauge: Hot

Fate/Stay Night Engagement Gauge: Tepid

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3 thoughts on “Viewer Engagement Gauge: Fullmetal Alchemist – Brotherhood vs. Fate/Stay Night

  1. Fullmetal Alchemist. Without a doubt.However, you should try compare Fate Zero with FMA Brotherhood instead. It’s a better fight between the two. I remember playing Fate Stay Night (the visual novel) after I have seen the Fate Zero anime, not knowing that it was just a hentai game, and my god do I regret it. I still remember what a certain anime reviewer said about Fate Zero in relation to Fate Stay Night. “Fate Zero is the older, cooler brother and Fate Stay Night is the immature stupid brother, and it’s sad that Fate Zero does such a great job, only to go away and say: “I’m sorry, but I gotta go take care of my stupid brother. Hope you enjoy him instead.””

    It’s an odd case where the prequel beats the original.

    1. I didn’t even know Fate/Stay Night had a prequel. That’s really unusual for a prequel to be a better show than the original itself. I guess that explains why I’m having a really hard time sticking with Fate/Stay Night overall. Nothing so far has jumped out at me as, “Wow, I have to finish this anime.” I’ve watched other series where I start off lukewarm about it until something develops in the story or characters that has me pulled in to finish the whole show. If I find Fate Zero, I’ll give that one a shot after Fate Stay/Night.

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