Last Saturday, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood premiered on Adult Swim. Aside from a new voice actor for the character Al, most of the English cast returned. New FMA episodes on Adult Swim in the background while I was working on my computer? It felt like 2005 all over again.
Now, grabbing FMA:B seems almost like a no-brainer for Adult Swim. After all, despite Adult Swim’s declining interest in anime, its fans are still a sizable section of its audience. Plus, The first series was fairly popular among the anime fandom when it premiered on the network in ’04. Anime conventions for the following years were filled with a sea of red jackets lined up for autographs and swag for their latest fixation.
In 2005 at MTAC Go, Saturday night featured a crowded lobby as attendees gathered around a television someone managed to hook up to cable. All for the purpose to watch the latest episodes of FMA and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. That year also featured prominent FMA voice actors Vic Mignogna, Laura Bailey, Colleen Clinkenbeard and Monica Rial, hosting a two-hour wait for an autograph line filling the main room.
2006 continued the trend with fandom groups rising around characters Ed and Roy and their respective voice actors. The Risenbool Rangers and Miniskirt Army became competitive, perfect ammunition for MTAC 6th Period‘s dodgeball match featuring voice actors Mignogna and Travis Willingham. Almost surprisingly, both have really good arms and determined the winner themselves via sudden death.
But then the hype and hysteria of fangirls began to wane. Like every other popular show of its day, FMA and its fandom made way for the next show. Adult Swim regularly reinvigorates the scene by reairing the show maybe once a year, but now it has a fresh new series to jumpstart the fandom. Will it work though?
FUNimation has regularly streamed subbed new episodes of FMA:B right after their Japanese premier, which is already up in the 40s. Will the dub cast be able to rile up the fandom in face of such a head start the show has in America? Will Adult Swim’s broadcast be able to generate the craze they did the first time? I’m kind of doubtful, but I’d like to hear what you think.