Manga-based anime are not just immensely popular in Japan, but in fact enjoy a colossal fan-base around the globe. With the Internet making Japanese shows more accessible than ever, the popularity of anime has risen to new heights.
There are a lot of manga-based Japanese shows that enjoy a massive fan-base, but two anime that beat them all in terms of popularity are Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.
At first glance, both anime seem to be one and the same, featuring the same characters and following the same storyline, which is hardly surprising as they are both based on the manga that goes by the same name. It is not uncommon to come across the perception that Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is a remake of Fullmetal Alchemist. This perception, however, is incorrect. Even though the two series can be considered sisters, there are neither a remake of each other, nor are they sequels.
The difference between the two anime becomes quite evident once a person reads through the entire Fullmetal Alchemist manga, and then watches the two anime.
The biggest difference between Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Fullmetal Alchemist is that the former follows the manga much more closely than the latter. Fullmetal Alchemist features some obvious deviations from the original storyline, though they can only be noticed by someone who has read through the manga. Those looking for a much more authentic experience will surely find Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood more pleasing.
Both the series also have a different number of episodes, with Fullmetal Alchemist having 51 episodes, whereas Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood has 64 episodes.
Another thing that sets Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood apart from its counterpart is that it features much-better animation. The characters and graphics are brushed-up, thus giving a more solid feel to them as compared to the older series.
Some of the characters from the original manga are given more screen time and importance in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood as compared to Fullmetal Alchemist.
As Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood was produced much later than its counterpart, the producers had access to HD technology; this is why the former is available in HD quality, whereas the latter is not. Better presentation adds substantial appeal to Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.