If you have ever wanted to give anime a real chance or are looking for a good one to watch, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (Sometimes shortened to FMA) is the one to see. It has several checkboxes that it hits that makes it easily one of the best one to recommend to people. I will be going over them, and I will do it with as little spoilers as I can.
First I need to explain the world to you. Think WW2 or WW1 level technology. You have rifles and the starting of tanks. Some steam technology, with guns, but the technology is still low enough that you have an excuse for hand to hand combat. Although there are robotic limbs which is important to note.
The main characters are among a group of people, who would be viewed and treated as scientists, called Alchemists. They have the ability to transmute one thing into another. It is not magic to them, but something that is learned and practiced. Much as someone would learn chemistry or geology.
Alphonse (seen as a giant metal suit) and Edward Elric (Short blonde guy in a red jacket) are brothers. After the loss of their mom, they did the one immutable thing that no alchemist should ever do. They tried to create life when they tried to resurrect their mom. This resulted in Alphonse’s soul being trapped in a giant suit of armor and Edward losing an arm and a leg.
The story follows the two as they seek a way to get back their bodies, only to discover a deeper conspiracy. One that dates back over a thousand years. The story will make you cry (there are two episodes although well done, I will never watch again) and they will make you laugh. More than one that will make you pump your fist in the air.
This anime is unique that it is one of the few that is good in both English and Japanese. There are few animes that cannot be properly watched in English, One Piece being the biggest example. There are also some that can be watched in English, but are just better in Japanese, Dragon Ball is one of those. It is not an attack on the actors themselves, I would argue it was more of the casting was wrong in those cases or the way things are translated.
Another checkbox that is hit by this show is that it has a definitive end and not an insurmountable amount of episodes. There are some that never seem to stop or are still ongoing. One Piece has almost a thousand episodes and is still ongoing. Whereas this show only goes to 52 episodes. The best part is they don’t really have any episodes that are ‘weak’.
The last major checkbox for me to advise it is that it doesn’t have scenes that you have to explain to people. By that, I mean scenes that if someone walked in they would be absolutely bewildered by the scene. There is a trope in anime where you watch something it is just thinly veiled, such as an adult joke or a form of ‘fan-service’. There really isn’t anything like that in FMA.
The TLDR for this show is this. Just watch the first episode. If it doesn’t make you interested by the end, you gave it a fair shot. The first episode doesn’t dive into the world enough to bore you, just starts you out with a healthy bit of action and character introduction.