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Fire Emblem is not for everyone. The appeal comes from high difficulty and permanent death (though it's now optional).
If Fire Emblem isn't for everyone, Etrian Odyssey is for practically no one, lol.
To answer TC's question. I'd pick FE: Awakening, definitely. Etrian Odyssey... bleh. Talk about bland, primitive dungeon crawlers... I tried the first two and couldn't get into them at all. From the previews this entry doesn't look like much of a departure.
Gameplay difference aside Fire Emblem is probably the better overall/more well rounded choice. It has I'm assuming a much better story, character interaction, and better production values. On the other hand if you aren't one to shop online then EO might be harder to get later should you want it eventually.
I have been debating which myself, but I like my RPG to be well rounded in everything and I especially like story and good character interaction so FE is probably my choice as well.
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