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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood — Part Four Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Subtitles: English
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Discs: 2
  • Studio: Funimation
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 5, 2011
  • List Price: $54.98

[amazon-product align=”right”]B004GZZGVI[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Part 4 (2 Disc) -

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4/5]

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Part Four continues the Fullmetal story, picking up from the end of Part 3 and covers episodes 40 through 52 of the series across two Blu-ray Discs. For those unfamiliar with the series, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood revisits the popular anime series, not with a new story or a reworking, but by retracing the original manga by Hiromu Arakawa more closely than the original anime adaptation. Although most viewers familiar with the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime series will find many similarities earlier on in Brotherhood, we have now reached the point where the differences are becoming much more apparent.

Fullmetal Alchemist takes place in world where alchemy has been elevated into a high science. Alchemists are of the highest regard in society and rank as high as the highest military leaders. They are highly sought after for the powers they posses.

The story follows the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric whose disregard for Alchemy’s one forbidden act — transmutation of the dead — leaves Ed with half of his limbs torn from his body and Al’s soul attached to a lifeless suit of armor. Together the two brothers set out to restore themselves, but they need to find a mystical relic known as the Philosopher’s Stone in order to do it.

But, they are not the only ones on the hunt for the powerful relic. The corrupt State Military is after the stone and so are odd beings known as Homonuculi that the brothers are constantly at battle with. They must also face the challenge of powerful alchemists from far and wide all on the hunt to possess the Philosopher’s Stone.

After darkening the tone of the series in Part 2 as the brothers and their childhood friend Winry faced deaths of close friends, the uncovering of painful secrets from their pasts, the challenge of an old nemesis, Scar, an onslaught of Homonuculi, and an increasing plot from within their own military to undo their progress and control the Philosopher’s Stone, the series continued its melancholy turn in Part 3 as the military became fully corrupted and run by the Fuhrer, a chimera using the military to search for the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. Edward and Alphonse were being held back by the corrupt government as were their allies and they had to be careful of their every move fearing for the safety of the one person they care for the most, Winry.

The plot continues to thicken in Part 4 as the brothers’ father Hohenheim takes an even bigger role in the series. The true extent of his powers as an alchemist are revealed as is his connection to the first Homunculus. While Alphonse struggles is a dangerous battle against the Homunculus Pride,, Colonel Mustang leads an armed revolt against the Fuhror. Victory seems almost in their grasp, but they must face a horde of creatures created with human souls and the world teeters on the brink of destruction.

The darkness edges ever closer, the villains more treacherous, and the battles more bombastic in this fourth installment of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Like the releases before it, the AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encoding of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood — Part 4 shows visible signs of aliasing in jaggies around the edges of the line art and some motion judder. Overall the image looks about the same as the previous release on Blu-ray.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Funimation have kept consistent with the audio and video across the releases for this series, as such, like I usually recommend, purists will want to stick to the Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Stereo lossless mix while watching Brotherhood. It has good, wide stereo panning and decent dynamics, although it does sound a bit dry in comparison to the much more ambient English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 dub. The English 5.1 mix is a moderately aggressive with some use of the surrounds for discrete sound effects and relatively deep lows, but typically for Funimation, the high frequencies are a bit tweaked and harsh, which can become a little fatiguing after a while.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Disc 1 is where you’ll find the most worthwhile supplements on this release in the form of two audio commentaries. Other than that, Disc 2 is provided with typical filler such as textless theme songs and more Funimation trailers:

Disc 1:

  • Episode 40 Commentary
  • Episode 46 Commentary

Disc 2:

  • Textless Opening Song – “Period”
  • Textless Closing Song – “Shunkan Sentimental”
  • Trailers:
    • Hero Tales
    • RideBack
    • Yu Yu Hakusho
    • Soul Eater
    • Black Butler
    • Dragon Ball Z kai
    • D.Gray-man

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Part Four is another fantastic chapter in the Fullmetal universe. The $55 list price seems a bit steep for a partial series, especially when there’s the nagging feeling that Funi will turn around and hit you with a complete set on Blu-ray eventually, but for fans of the series Amazon offers a decent deal. The Blu-rays are definitely consistent and fans should be satisfied.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B004GZZGVI[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Part 4 (2 Disc) -

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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