It isn’t that unusual for studios to get pretty creative with their closing credits. FLCL had a whole long live action shot of a scooter running around. Eden of the East had their paper cut out recap of the plot. Coyote Ragtime Show had a Robot Chicken style ED.
Which was… weird.
Still, as wild and crazy as some get, few manage to be both creative, and endearing. Which is what makes the first closing credit sequence for FMA: Brotherhood really stand out so beautifully.
First off, there’s the way the entire thing is done as a crayon drawing on a wall. Even the background texture of the entire sequence remains unchanging to preserve the illusion. The animation is rough, and really does look like something a child would do, if given the ability to make it all move.
The story that unfolds in the drawing introduces the various important characters of the first part of the series, as well as the major antagonists we know of, in the form of the three homunculus. It captures Ed and Al’s relationship, and their struggles. It basically serves as a short hand recap of the part of the series that the ED is for, as well as touching on events of the previous FMA series, namely Al and his whole habit of adopting stray animals.
Best of all, though, it recreates elements of the first series second OP, the most famous and popular of the openings used for that version of the show, “Ready, Steady, Go” by L’Arc-en-Ciel. It’s all in little touches, of course, but if you watch them both, you’ll see it.
Of course, the final bit, with the still young Ed and Al having actually drawn all this on the wall is the real cap on the ED. It’s a beautiful touch, and a needed one, to remind us that they are still children, despite what they face, have been through, and will yet endure.
As I said, both creative, and endearing.
The music, “Uso”, by Sid, also helps sell this, as a heart warming piece that plays on notes of youth, energy, and imagination, while also having a bit of sad touch that hints at the loss of innocence. It’s a great song to play alongside the visuals being presented, and really helps the whole thing come together as a solid piece of work.
Like I often say, anime series may or not work as a piece of art, but when you get a good group of people willing to really use an OP, or ED, as a creative outlet, you can often end up with some amazing works of art in and of themselves. This is one that, to me, is a fine example of that.