One hundred years ago today, Edward and Alphonse Elric made their shocking departure from Resembool, burning their childhood home to ashes behind them. Sadly, it appears that Canadian television networks were uninterested in observing the event, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood remains absent from airwaves despite the success of the previous series.
Retelling the Fullmetal Alchemist story in a format that stays much truer to the comic from which it was based, Brotherhood has seen great success in its American broadcast which started earlier this year on Adult Swim. While the series is currently in reruns, Turner has mentioned its performance in recent ratings reports. A rerun of the first episode also brought in ratings over 500,000 with the 18-34 demographic. This does not quite reach the original series’ top record, but is nonetheless impressive for an anime program on the block. This, combined with the fact that Bleach has consistently pulled in ratings over 400,000 in the 18-34 demographic suggests that the perception of anime’s popularity on North American television facing a consistent downturn may be something of a myth.
Despite the fact that the original performed well enough to warrant a weeknight run, no Canadian network has shown any interest at all in airing Brotherhood. YTV has apparently headed in a direction that places absolute priority in “co-viewing” at all hours of the day, which demands programming that can sell advertising for both 6-11 kids and their 18-35 parents. Obviously a fairly graphic series best targeted primarily at a 12-17 audience does not fit well into this model. One might argue that the series would be a perfect fit on Teletoon’s late night block, which is currently starved for new content. Unfortunately, it seems that they’re currently far too busy not being able to tell the difference between Kill Bill vol. 1 and Kill Bill vol. 2, with the latter having aired in place of the former just last night.
If it’s any consolation, Canada is not alone in suffering. The United States remains the only country to air the series’ English dub. Of course, anyone who has any interest in Brotherhood should already be aware that the entire series is indefinitely and legally available for viewing on YouTube. Unlike the version on FUNimation’s video portal, which has heinously opted for the Hulu stream, the YouTube version is completely accessible to Canadian viewers.