about the movie
Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, also known as Fullmetal Alchemist, was first adapted into an anime from 2003 to 2004. At the time, the manga had only been running for two years (of an eventual nine), and as such the author requested the anime adaptation to create a different ending to the series, since she wished to create a much longer and complex series. As such, the first anime, produced by the studio Bones, came up with its own origin story for the villains and concluded the series with 51 episodes.
However, while the anime had ended, the ending was, well, not really conclusive. Pre-production for a film began while the anime series was still airing, and production began shortly after the anime finished airing. Shanbara wo Yuku Mono (Conqueror of Shamballa) serves as a conclusion to the story told in the first series, wrapping up outstanding plotlines and reuniting the Elric brothers after their forced separation following the conclusion of the anime.
Personally, I do really love this film; it gave me all of the emotional closure I wanted from the original Fullmetal Alchemist and suitably wrapped up everything the story left hanging. It follows the story to a logical conclusion, and it's a really emotional story. If you watch the first anime, be sure to watch this film when you're done; you're missing the end of the story without it.