If you have a friend that is new to anime, I suggest you to let him/her watch "Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood" as it's one of the series that would definitely appeal to everybody. Although the intensity of the story is moderately paced and is not as exciting as death note, everyone will give FMA (Full Metal Alchemist) a second look as it's presented with flashy fight scenes and a solid introduction in the first episode. So if you really want someone to be hooked on Anime, treat him a popcorn and watch together Full Metal Alchemist. After a few episodes of the series, you have yourself an instant fan.
Full Metal Alchemist's biggest strength is the striking balance of the anime. From characters, story, drama, animation, pacing and even the soundtrack makes FMA a complete package for viewers of all ages. I might sound really stupid from overly promoting Full Metal Alchemist but I'm just trying to be honest on what the anime is like when I watched it. It's difficult for me to find a fault in the series because I enjoyed every bit of it.
From it's strong points, what makes it totally successful is the story. Though it happened in a different setting where "alchemy" is highly regarded as weapon and special talent, the creators didn't make it overly special and didn't ponder too much on making the character's alchemy stronger. What they did is to concentrate to the principles of alchemy and it's interactions and relationship to human nature. You'll see that the life lessons you'll encounter in the series repeats in a different perspective, such as equal exchange blah blah blah but the good thing about it is that I never get tired of it.
One of the coolest thing about Brotherhood is that even if it's only composed of 60 episodes, it managed to collaborate the side-stories and weaved it to the main storyline. What happened is that, Ed and Al (brothers) are Alchemists where they performed a 'taboo' in alchemy, which costs Ed's Arms and Limbs and Al's whole body. They are now after the "Philosopher's stone" which is believed to bring their body back to normal. Along their search for the Philosopher's stone they discovered things that they didn't like which developed the story to far more interesting than finding the sacred stone. As simple as it may look it's as complex and elegant as you'll be watching the series. If I'll rate the story of Brotherhood, it's going to be a perfect 10.
Aside from the two brothers, the supporting characters are well developed. Winry, the automail obssesed gal is very adorable. Ling a very profound Emperor is responsible and always look after his subbordinates. Roy is the typical cool-guy, one which has the most powerful alchemy in the series and other's that would interest you as you complete the Title. Though most of the story revolves to Ed and Al, the supporting casts helped too much for the anime to have lots of emotion. Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood didn't have mini-arcs that would highlight the side stories of this supporting casts instead it's a continuous interaction that I believe won't bore anyone who's new to anime.
Full Metal Alchemists earns my respect, I won't say it's perfect but I believe it's one of the most successful titles out there. I'm hesitant to give a perfect 10 but it's going to be a close 9.5/10 for me. I hope they release a new storyline and release a new anime sometime this year. I'm looking forward to watch the first FMA Anime but not now when I'm fully loaded with work.