5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
I thought I would end this list with my favourite anime of all time: Fullmetal Alchemist.
There are two versions of the anime: Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. The latter is more closely based on the manga books, whereas the former is more of an original storyline. Though many of the same characters are included and many of the elements are similar, I personally prefer Brotherhood as I feel that the characters were more fleshed out, it stays true to the books, and, frankly, it has a far more exciting ending.
It a world where Alchemy reigns, we are introduced to young brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric. These two boys stand out from the crowd as Edward, the eldest, has an ‘automail’ arm and leg, while Alphonse is nothing but a suit of armour with a voice.
Ed and his little brother are keen alchemists – and they’re good for their age – but in their young naivety they did the one thing alchemists are forbidden from: they attempted human alchemy to try and bring their mother back from the dead.
The two boys performed the ritual, only for Edward to lose his arm and leg, while Alphonse lost his entire body, until Ed managed to bind his soul to a suit of armour.
Years later, they end up joining the military in order to use their resources to figure out a way to get their bodies back. They are under the watchful eye of Roy Mustang AKA the Flame Alchemist, who helps the boys on their journey.
We meet many incredible alchemists throughout the series, as well as slowly learning about the Elric Brothers and their tragic past. In the meantime the war against Ishval, the discovery of immortal beings called Homunculi hunting them down, the corruption of the army, and the impending doom of Amestris all build up to an epic ending, which involves every soul in the world being used by an evil demon who wants to absorb God. Sounds crazy, right? Because it is.
With many undertones of World War II, Amestris is reminiscent of Germany and the Ishvalen war is shockingly similar to the discrimination the Jews faced. In fact, they even have their own Fuhrer called Bradley.
The raw emotion this story evokes, with the brilliant storytelling, lovable characters, and the philosophical connotations of power, religion, science, and morality, all bring this series together to be one of the best things I’ve ever watched. Trust me, I’ve watched it more than a few times and it still never fails to leave me in awe.