Well, today's the day. It's finally happened.
After years (and years) of recommending (requiring?) films and TV shows as essential elements in my sons' cinematic experiences, I've finally have the favor returned. Up until now, nearly everything they've absorbed has either been something that I've seen before or something that we've discovered at the same time. But no longer.
Sean (The Second Son) told me that I should watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood because he thought it was great and he was pretty sure I'd like it. And he was right, on both counts. I have less tolerance for the more "traditional" anime elements than he does—he actually likes them, and I...don't, though I can say that this series' use of those elements primarily as humorous outlets to relieve the pressure of a fairly intense story is actually changing my opinion a bit—but the storytelling and worldbuilding are top-notch, and it's also quite a bit darker than the style would suggest, which is definitely a "Joseph's Wheelhouse" thing. (Oh, and the fights are fantastic. Weird and unpredictable, since the "magic" is weird and unpredictable. That's a big part of why I find it so engaging.)
I'm not finished yet, but I'm certainly inclined to second Sean's suggestion thus far. And it's on HULU and CRUNCHYROLL, so you've got a couple of options (either a subscription fee or free-with-commercials). Just watch out for Episode #4; it's a doozy.
Oh, and here's another "first:" Sean's thoughts on the series.
THE STORY: This one hooks you near the beginning and doesn’t let up. It moves quickly with the action, but slows down a bit when things get serious. The pacing is excellent, and there are a number of plot twists (but they don’t feel cheap or over used). The story takes you all over the map, letting you experience the many different facets of this fictional world.
THE ANIMATION: The Animation is certainly not my favorite part of the series, but it’s never unappealing or choppy. The colors don’t clash; instead they are used to further the action.
THE MUSIC: The music of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is never truly in the foreground, instead it plays softly in the back of most scenes, slowly building as the tension rises. Despite its "background" nature, I find it truly memorable.
THE CHARACTERS: Each character in the show has a story; a reason for why they are where they are. And while some characters are more fleshed out than others, the show spends at least a little time on each of them, expanding their stories and motivations.
These are just some of the reasons that FMA:B is one my favorite animated show. ( I really like it, but it’s probably a shade or two behind B:TAS). And most of the reasons I've listed are really just contributing to the first: the story. It's a great, great story, creating a whole new world, with natural laws all its own. But you must watch the whole show to fully experience that story, so...get watching.