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As more people come into the anime community, I hear more fans ask which FullMetal Alchemist series should they watch.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t incredibly easy, but it’s not too hard to understand either. For those that don’t know, there are two FullMetal Alchemist TV show series. The first series is called FullMetal Alchemist, and has about 51 episodes. The second series is called FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood, and has about 64 episodes.

Why are there two TV shows for the same franchise? The original anime was created when the manga was still being written. It got about halfway through the TV show when they ran out of material, so they created their very own story independent from the manga. It’s not a terrible story by any means, though it does seem to leave you with more questions than you should have.

The boys' bodies are this way after a failed human transmutation. The little brother had his soul attached to a suit of armor while the older brother lost his limbs. They were replaced with stuff called "automail," which received signals from the brain to move like real limbs.

The boys’ bodies are this way after a failed human transmutation. The little brother had his soul attached to a suit of armor while the older brother lost his limbs. They were replaced with stuff called “automail,” which received signals from the brain to move like real limbs.

Once the manga was completed, the second anime, FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood, was created. This series followed the original source material from start to finish, and most argue it’s the best story out of the two.

fullmetal_alchemist_manga_example

You’re probably wondering, “Why don’t I just watch FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood if I want to watch the original story that most people say is the best?” Well, it’s not that simple. Since the original FullMetal Alchemist followed the original story for the first half of the series, they didn’t want to retell that part of the story again. Instead, they crammed about 25 episodes worth of FullMetal Alchemist material into 10 episode of FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood. If you only want to hear the original story, you should watch the first 25 episode of FullMetal Alchemist first, then start the entire FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood series. Do not skip the first 10 episodes of FMA Brotherhood either because there are some very slight changes that were made within those 10 episodes.

After the human transmutation, they burned down their house and decided to join the state military.

After the human transmutation, they burned down their house and decided to join the state military.

If you still want to watch the first FullMetal Alchemist series in its entirety, you will have to watch the movie afterwords to finish the story. The movie is called FullMetal Alchemist and the Conqueror of Shambala. FullMetal Alchemist Brotherood also has a movie called the FullMetal Alchemist the Sacred Star of Milos, but it doesn’t really follow the main story, and it’s not even that good. There are also a set of OVAs for both series, but they’re just very short side episodes that aren’t necessary to the main stories.

Quick side note: If you’re watching both series in English, be prepared to have a handful of main characters switch voice actors. I don’t know why they did this since so many great actors were used in the first series. Of course, the voice actor for Alphonse Elric aged and his voice changed naturally, so that one makes sense.

I hope this answered your question of which FullMetal Alchemist series should you watch (first or all together). If you haven’t purchased the series yet, I highly recommend doing so. You can buy them from Amazon at the links below. Use my links and I’ll get a small kickback. It won’t cost you anything, but it will help keep my website running. And don’t forget to share this post with anyone who may be struggling to answer this question.