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Fullmetal Alchemist vs. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 24, 2024
"Fullmetal Alchemist" (FMA) is an anime that diverges from the manga's storyline, while "Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood" (FMAB) closely follows the original manga plot.
Fullmetal Alchemist vs. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood


Key Differences

"Fullmetal Alchemist" (FMA) was created while the manga was still in progress, leading to a different storyline from the manga in its later episodes. "Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood" (FMAB), however, was made after the manga's completion and faithfully adapts the manga's entire story.
FMA, released in 2003, has an original ending and several unique plot elements not found in the manga. FMAB, released in 2009, is considered a more accurate representation of the manga, including its conclusion and character arcs.
The tone and pacing of FMA and FMAB differ significantly. FMA has a darker tone and slower pacing, while FMAB moves at a faster pace and incorporates more of the manga's humor and light-hearted moments.
In FMA, characters and events that are central to the manga's plot play a different role or are entirely absent. In contrast, FMAB introduces characters and plotlines earlier and stays true to their depiction in the manga.
Despite these differences, both series share the same core characters and themes, such as the Elric brothers' quest for the Philosopher's Stone and the consequences of using alchemy.

Comparison Chart

Relation to Manga

Diverges from the manga
Closely follows the manga

Release Year


Storyline and Ending

Original storyline and ending
Adapts the manga's complete story and ending

Tone and Pacing

Darker tone, slower pacing
Lighter tone, faster pacing

Character and Plotlines

Altered or absent compared to the manga
True to manga's characters and plotlines

Compare with Definitions

Fullmetal Alchemist

Features a mix of original and manga-based characters and events.
The homunculi in Fullmetal Alchemist have different origins than in the manga.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

A 2009 anime series closely following the plot of the manga.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood faithfully adapts the manga's story.

Fullmetal Alchemist

An anime that established a significant fanbase and critical acclaim.
Fullmetal Alchemist remains a beloved series for many anime fans.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Known for its faster pacing and inclusion of humor.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood balances intense scenes with light-hearted moments.

Fullmetal Alchemist

Known for its darker tone and exploration of philosophical themes.
Fullmetal Alchemist delves deeply into the ethics of alchemy.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Features all the manga's characters and plotlines.
Characters like Ling Yao are essential in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.

Fullmetal Alchemist

A 2003 anime series with an original storyline diverging from the manga.
Fullmetal Alchemist presents a unique ending different from the manga.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Received acclaim for its faithful adaptation and cohesive storyline.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is praised for its adherence to the manga's narrative.

Fullmetal Alchemist

Praised for its emotional depth and narrative complexity.
Fullmetal Alchemist is renowned for its compelling character development.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Incorporates the complete and original story from the manga.
The ending of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood aligns with the manga's conclusion.

Common Curiosities

Can I watch FMAB without watching FMA?

Yes, FMAB can be watched independently as it is a complete story that doesn't rely on FMA.

Which series is closer to the manga, FMA or FMAB?

FMAB is closer to the manga, faithfully adapting its story and characters.

Which series is longer, FMA or FMAB?

FMAB is longer with 64 episodes, compared to FMA's 51 episodes.

What is "Fullmetal Alchemist"?

"Fullmetal Alchemist" is a 2003 anime series that diverges from the manga's storyline.

Why are the stories of FMA and FMAB different?

FMA was created before the manga was finished, leading to an original storyline; FMAB was made after the manga's completion, so it follows the manga's plot.

Is FMAB a sequel to FMA?

No, FMAB is not a sequel but a separate series that retells the story more closely to the manga.

What is "Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood"?

"Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood" is a 2009 anime that closely follows the manga's complete story.

Why does FMAB have a faster pace than FMA?

FMAB has a faster pace to cover the entire manga's story within its episode count.

Do FMA and FMAB share the same characters?

While both series share core characters like the Elric brothers, there are differences in character roles and introductions.

Which series has more humor, FMA or FMAB?

FMAB incorporates more humor and light-hearted moments compared to FMA.

Has "Fullmetal Alchemist" influenced other anime?

Yes, both "Fullmetal Alchemist" and "Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood" have had significant influence in the anime genre.

Is the ending of FMA different from FMAB?

Yes, the ending of FMA is completely different from the ending of FMAB and the manga.

Did the same studio produce FMA and FMAB?

Both series were produced by Studio Bones, but with different directors and staff.

Is "Fullmetal Alchemist" suitable for all ages?

"Fullmetal Alchemist" is generally suitable for teenagers and above due to its thematic elements and violence.

Are the philosophical themes in FMA and FMAB similar?

Both series explore philosophical themes, but FMA is known for a deeper and darker exploration.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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