"What, you're the Fullmetal Alchemist?! Sorry, I had no idea you'd be so..." -- Maes Hughes
"Go on, say 'little.' I dare you." -- Edward Elric
First, let me begin by writing to those of you who avoid watching anime at all costs. I used to be one of you, until I watched this show. I'm not sure if I thought that anime was mostly for kids or that the shows just weren't as interesting because they use drawing and voice acting instead of "real" sets and actors on screen. But boy, was I wrong.
"Oh, you can't really have disliked anime, not like I do," you say? Well I dare you to watch the first few episodes of this show, and then tell me you don't like it.
The show is about two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, whose father is not around and whose mother has recently died. They try to bring her back using alchemy, which is the science of changing and manipulating matter by using energy (seems like magic to me, but they call it science, and it certainly does seem to require a lot of studying and an understanding of the physical structure of whatever you are trying to manipulate). Their attempt results in disaster, as Ed loses an arm and a leg and Al loses his entire body, though Ed manages to attach his soul to a nearby suit of armour. The show centers on their journey to try and find the philosopher's stone to regain their original bodies, and the numerous adventures they have on the way.
This is one of those shows where I have trouble picking a favourite character, because they are all so awesome. Even the villains whom you are supposed to hate are fun to watch (especially Greed and Gluttony--they're my favourite bad guys). The supporting characters are incredible (and I don't mean "perfect" by any means, because that would be boring. They all have appropriate flaws along with their better traits), and I won't go into detail about them because I will get carried away and make this post way too long.
Alphonse is not my favourite because I just find him whiny sometimes, but he is sweet and a good pairing for Ed. Ed, of course, is awesome. He is a kid who is put through incredible challenges and pain at a young age and who rises to the challenge. He's smart, fiery, and easily angered. I never get tired of watching him explode when he gets called "little." This show has some hilarious moments.
Just to clarify, there is also a show called "Fullmetal Alchemist" that aired before this one which I saw first, and still have warm feelings for (especially for a couple episodes whose contents don't make it into Brotherhood but are from the manga, episodes #5 and #37), but the writers got a bit carried away and took it to strange places at the end. "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" follows the manga much more closely than the other series, the storyline is much tighter and the ending so much more wonderful, so if you're only going to watch one, I'd recommend it.