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VINE VOICEon 13 April 2009
After reliving their experience on Yock Island the Elric Brothers prepare to head back to the mainland with their teacher, Izumi. However, in an incredible twist, a young boy appears just as they are leaving. This myserious naked youth sparks intrigue as he is able to perform alchemy without a transmutation circle, and even more inriguing is the fact that this boy has somehow recieved Edwards lost arm and leg. This horrifying discovery leads Alphonse and Edward to doubt Alchemys rule of Equivalent exchange and the idea of sacrifice to recieve something in return. Believing his arm and leg were traded in order to save his brother, Edward begins to question whether the science which he has devoted his life to is relly all he believes it to be. This twist ultimately turns the story upside down and perfectly lays the path for the rest of season 2. You will notice that the story will get a lot darker from this point on, in terms of actual story content and the overall tone of the series.
Season 2 part 1 of Fullmetal Alchemist contains perhaps some of the most moving and shocking episodes of the series, as the series provides some great twists and it's fair share of ingenious plot progression, as well as the showdown between Edward Elric and the homunculus Envy (Coolest anime villain ever?). This boxset has volumes 8, 9 and 10 of this fantastic series. This volume covers episodes 29 - 40.
The first volume primarily deals with the plot I described at the start, while providing some superb and moving characterisation for Izumi, who initially seems very tough and stern, but later becomes more heartfelt and likeable.
In this boxset, we also learn alot more about Homunculi, such as their creation and weakness, which is as shocking as it is fascinating, not to mention ingenious.

Out of all four of the fullmetal Alchemist Boxsets, this has to be my favourite as it is some truly brilliant storytelling with some heartbreaking drama, fantastic characters development and great twists in the plot. Furthermore, two of FMAs most memorable characters appear alot in this set, these are of course Greed and Izumi. The animation continues to be of a high standard with some exceptional tonal communication which creates atmosphere and tension when it needs to. Even though the series takes a darker tone in this set and especially in the next upcoming boxset, FMA still pays special care and attention to grounding the series and providing lighter moments with some excellent comic relief. If you like the comic scenes in FMA then you will love the final disc of this collection which contains 2 more lighthearted episodes which stray from the plot slightly but conversely provide a much needed break from the main story. One of these episodes is 'The Flame Alchemist, the batchelor lieutenant and the mystery of warehouse 13' which focuses on the state alchemists and does not contain an appearance from the sibling protagonists. This comic episodes is split into 3 parts which see the different members of the state military such as Mustang, Hawkeye, Havok etc getting into silly adventures and misadventures. These include the soldiers spying on Mustang, Havoc meeting Armstrongs sister to try and get a date and the investigation of a warehouse that is believed to be haunted...all with hilarious results. After the comic episodes, the series returns to a more serious tone and goes about explaining some of the history between Ishbal and the State Alchemists as well as beginning to flesh out the character of Scar, who's true motives are still unclear.

All in all, season 2 part 1 is truly fantastic and is the best set out of the lot. Once again the discs are presented in the same way as the before with the usual welcome addition of the booklets containing artwork and character bios for the corresponding disc. There is also the selction of English dub and Japanese language with subtitles. Both are very good but I prefer the English as I find it more moving and, at times, heartbreaking, especially in this set of episodes. Plus Chris Patton voices Greed...nuff sed ^^. So if you have been collecting the volumes thus far, then you should definetly get this one, watch it, love it, then prepare for the mindblowing series finale in the next set. Until then, Enjoy!!!
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on 17 October 2009
This is the third of four boxsets that make up the original Fullmetal Alchemist series. If you're a manga fan, you may not be too thrilled with this part, because here is where the story radically diverges from the books - and in some episodes, the gaps show where writers must have been struggling to figure out their intentions for the Elrics. There seems to be less character-driven plotting and dialogue, and more fighting. In fact, a couple of episodes are almost entirely one fight after the next.
BUT - I'm actually a fan of how the anime storyline goes. It's snappy, it makes sense of previous events, it doesn't drag on senselessly... after a couple of rather shaky episodes, the series is back on form.

There is more to be seen of Izumi and Sig, and some new homunculi, in this boxset all interesting characters. (Izumi is one of my favourite female anime characters ever!) Almost all chaacters, even the very minor ones, have personailities and dreams of their own. As well as the Elrics' story, we see a wider view of the politics and stereotypes of the countries they travel through, which are as complicated and corrupt and damaging as those in real life. There are a couple of filler episodes, but one of them is rather fun (the Flame Alchemist episode) and the other is fine, just unnecessary to the overall plot.

As for the boxset itself - the subtitles are not all they could be occasionally, with grammatical errors and punctuation in strange places. The first boxset was good, but the second and third seem a little sloppy in places, although the meaning is always understandable. The extras are also not very exciting - but at this price, the boxset is still a great bargain. Fullmetal alchemist remains one of the best anime series yet. I'm going to buy the last boxset any day now...
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on 13 January 2016
Bought for my daughter who was thrilled with these dvds. Nothing more I can tell you about them.
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