I just started watching the new Fullmetal Alchemist series, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, on FUNimation's website. Actually, I'm kind of amazed that they're showing it - I think they post subtitled episodes only days after they're aired in Japan. This more closely resembles what fansubbers do, which I'm guessing is the point. If they weren't airing the episodes themselves, fansubbers would be providing them anyway, regardless of the legality of doing so. I don't know if FUNimation has done this with other shows before, and I'm not really sure what the restrictions are going to be (the episodes are free, but how long will they be available for viewing?) - it's possible that they're trying this out with Fullmetal, a show they know already has a huge, ready-made fanbase, even outside of Japan. Well, I applaud what they're doing and hope that they do this with other shows in the future.
So far, there's only two episodes up, so I can't say too much about the show. In the first episode, it's made clear that this won't be a continuation of the original anime. This doesn't really surprise me, since, with the TV series and movie, the original anime has done just about everything it can do. True, there could be a series in which Edward and Alphonse find a way back to their own world/dimension, but I'm glad that's not the case. The original anime was very good, and the movie, in my opinion, wrapped most of the loose ends up in a very satisfactory way. Anything else might just be too much.
The art style in the first episode has more in common with the manga's art style than the original anime does - I think the look of Edward's eyes makes that especially clear. However, the second episode shows that the series will have more than just Edward's eyes in common with the manga - it looks like the series might also be following the manga more closely than the original anime.
Time will tell, I guess. After all, the original anime series wasn't that different from the manga at first. I'm guessing that what happened was that the anime caught up to the manga. Rather than having episode after episode of filler while waiting for the manga to get farther ahead (*cough* Naruto *cough*) or following the manga faithfully and ending abruptly once the anime caught up to the manga, the anime creators went with a different, but still plausible, storyline. The original Fullmetal Alchemist anime can still easily be included in a list of my top ten favorite anime, but I like the manga too, so I'm interested to see how things will go in this new anime. Here's hoping the original English dub cast will be handling this series too (I can't imagine that this won't be dubbed). The only person I'm wondering about is Aaron Dismuke - he was fantastic as Alphonse, but I think he was very young then and I'm not sure what his voice sounds like now.