“Is this 03 or Brotherhood?”, the definitive guide
I know a lot of people have trouble telling the two FMA anime apart, and I’ve noticed an increase in confusion lately, so I thought I’d make a post to help clear it up! I’ll go over some telltale differences between the two styles, in order of ease. For images, Brotherhood will be on the left, and 03 on the right.
1. Al’s armor
If Al is present in an image, he’s the quickest way to tell the difference between the two series. 03 Al is fairly greenish in hue, and his face looks similar to the early stages of the manga, with a very rectangular chin. Brotherhood Al is much greyer, a little shinier, perhaps a bit bulkier, and his face is more angular with a curvier chin, giving him something of a permanent >:( face. His toes curve up in Brotherhood, but not in 03. Also, since the fight with Buccaneer never happened in 03, if Al’s ponytail is short, it’s definitely Brotherhood!
2. Characters who appear in one series but not the other
This is something of a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. Look at what characters are present in the image. Anyone who appears after the Dublith arc in the manga/Brotherhood would not be in 03. Conversely, characters such as Dante, Lujon, Archer, the Tringham brothers, and Leo don’t appear in Brotherhood.
3. The women
While this doesn’t necessarily apply to every screencap, women in 03 tend to have somewhat defined lips, while they don’t usually in Brotherhood (with the exception of Olivier, who wouldn’t be in 03 anyway). This is especially true of promotional art, as opposed to screencaps.
4. The chain
(Running in the shadooooows~)
On every Amestrian military uniform, there’s a rope chain on the right shoulder, which also attaches to the front of the breast. In 03, the bit connecting the chain to the front of the uniform is braided, while in Brotherhood, that portion is a single cord.
5. Colors + general vague feeling
Colors can sometimes be used to tell the difference, if the lighting is standard. Colors in Brotherhood are fairly muted, but not too dark, and generally stick to shades of red, blue, yellow, black, white, and brown. They might almost be described as pastel, at least compared to 03. While colors in 03 are usually more saturated than Brotherhood, they’re also a lot darker, and not nearly as coordinated in hue. Also, 03 characters in general tend to have something of a youthful look to them, compared to Brotherhood, and noses are usually longer and pointier than in Brotherhood.
6. Specific character differences
Certain characters have notably different looks between series. If these characters appear in a screencap, you can look to them for clues. Some examples:
- Ed: His hair is darker and more orange in 03. He also wears the same outfit throughout most of it, while his alternate outfits from Brotherhood don’t appear. His face shape also pretty much stays the same in 03, while in Brotherhood he matures physically towards the end of the series.
- Al: His human form in 03 has noticeably darker, more brown hair than Ed, whereas in Brotherhood there’s really very little difference between the two. Shamballa Al is also very distinct: Long hair in a ponytail, basically dresses like Ed. Post-Promised Day Brotherhood Al looks older than Shamballa Al, and has short hair.
- Winry: Her “work outfit” in 03 had a pink bandana and light purple pants. In Brotherhood, the bandana is green, and her pants are tan.
- Rose: Had dark skin and pink bangs in 03, while in Brotherhood, her skin is light and her bangs are more of an auburn color. She also appeared much more in 03.
- Scar: 03 Scar looked way younger, and had no cheekbones. Brotherhood Scar has cheekbones and could crush 03 Scar’s teen vogue looking ass with his bare hands.
- Bradley: Brotherhood Bradley has wrinkles on his forehead, and a very defined nose. 03 Bradley has a more empty face, and also usually a darker skin tone. Brotherhood Bradley also looks a lot more pissed off compared to 03 Bradley, most of the time.
- Greed: In 03, Greed’s shield form is dark blue with red eyes. In Brotherhood, it’s grey with black eyes. His undershirt is also dark blue in 03, while it’s dark red in Brotherhood. Also, obviously, Greeling does not appear in 03.
- Kimblee: Brotherhood Kimblee is a suave ass motherfucker with the best fashion sense in the entire series. 03 Kimblee has this absolutely terrible circa 1980s Rachel Summers-esque braid/buzz cut combo that makes me want to cry every time I look at it.