If you manage to make it through the first 13 episodes and their super-condensed depiction of events that were already covered in the first TV series, you're set, because this boxed set is when things really take off. Episode 14 is the point when this series and the original TV series begin to seriously diverge.
This boxed set made me happy I continued watching this series, despite the somewhat disappointing first bunch of episodes. The action, revelations, and twists were tons of fun.
According to my blog, the last volume of Fullmetal Alchemist I read was volume 16, way back in 2008. This FMA: Brotherhood boxed set didn't get as far as the events from that volume, which meant I should have been familiar with everything that happened. However, I was not. Apparently I've forgotten quite a bit in the past seven years, because Mustang's battle with Lust (which was amazing, by the way) rang no bells for me. Neither did Wrath's past. However, I did remember the bit where Edward and Ling Yao ended up trapped inside Gluttony.
It's actually kind of nice that I've forgotten most of this, since it means I can watch everything like I'm finding out about it for the first time. I'm looking forward to seeing what else this series throws my way, and how things turn out for the Elric brothers in the end. I'm also looking forward to rewatching this stuff with the Japanese dub turned on, since this boxed set introduced several characters that never had a chance to be in the original TV series.
- Disc 1, Episode 14 commentary with Mike McFarland (Havoc, although here he's speaking more as one of the show's ADR Directors), Chris Patton (Greed), and Vic Mignogna (Edward) - There's a good bit of discussion on the ways that this episode differs from the same one in the original series, as well as the effects that this has. In the original series, Greed got a bit more screen-time and became a very popular character among fans.
- Disc 2, Episode 23 commentary with Mike McFarland (Havoc)m Todd Haberkorn (Ling Yao), Monica Rial (May Chang), and Trina Nishimura (Lan Fan) - For this commentary they brought together most of the people voicing characters that didn't exist in the original TV series.
- Disc 2, Second clean opening animation - I enjoyed the song, although the actual closing animation wasn't as wonderful as the animation for the first opening song.
- Disc 2, Second clean closing animation - I didn't like this one as much as the first, but it wasn't bad.
- Disc 2, Trailers for The Slayers, Initial D, Nabari no Ou, Soul Eater, Kaze no Stigma, Dragon Ball Z, and Full Metal Panic!
- Four full-color illustrated postcards - These are actually only postcards in terms of size - the stuff printed on the backs of them prevents them from ever being used as real postcards. These aren't bad, although I've seen better FMA: Brotherhood artwork. It's too bad the image on the boxed set wasn't used on one of the cards.