FMA Brotherhood made the Homunculi worse

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime series is how much it diverges from its source material. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the second anime adaptation of the manga, takes a significantly different approach to the homunculi than the first series did. The 2003 anime version of the homunculi, including Lust, Gluttony, and Envy, were praised for being sympathetic villains. However, in Brotherhood, the homunculi were given a significant makeover, resulting in a shift in character complexity.

In the 2003 anime, the homunculi are created from failed attempts to revive the dead, with each homunculus representing a specific incident where someone tried to do what the Elric brothers did. This backstory ties the villains more closely to the heroes, as the homunculi’s ultimate goal is to use the philosopher’s stone to transform themselves into real humans. However, they can never become the person they were meant to be revived as, which gives them a tragic quality that makes them sympathetic while still being evil.

On the other hand, in Brotherhood, the homunculi are created by a single being named “Father,” who is revealed to be a homunculus himself. The homunculi are named after the seven deadly sins because Father created them from these elements of his own body, leaving him almost emotionless. Due to this difference in origin, the homunculi’s personalities had to be changed to be more subservient to Father. The 2003 anime’s independent versions of the homunculi were replaced with homunculi who are part of Father, making them much less sympathetic in Brotherhood.

As a result of these changes, Lust’s storyline in Brotherhood is far less sympathetic than in the 2003 anime. Brotherhood’s Lust is cruel and cold, embodying Lust without love, and does not need a character arc. However, the villains in Brotherhood are still closely linked to the heroes’ mistakes since Hohenheim, Ed and Al’s father, is responsible for them. Father is the main villain in Brotherhood, and his desire to become a god-like figure gives the series a different focus than the 2003 anime’s homunculi.

Although it can be disappointing to see sympathetic characters become less complex in a remake or adaptation, it makes sense that the homunculi were changed to fit the story of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The Sins in Brotherhood are now underlings rather than main antagonists, so it was logical to reduce their character complexity and transfer some of it to the real main villain. Some Sins’ fates in Brotherhood aren’t conducive to a full character arc, so it’s better to treat them as they are, even if they are worse as characters as a result.

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Edward, Alphonse, Mustang, Winry, Bradley, Nina

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