Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 59 – Blinded by the Light
In a result that honestly shocked me, I prevailed against Blogsuki in the second round of the Aniblog Tourney. I have no doubt that if Jason took this whole thing seriously and mobilized his voters, he would have trounced me (not that I would be too upset; he’s been at this for years — I can only hope for that sort of longevity!); however, I nonetheless appreciate the support from everyone who reads this site. I try my best to provide writing that is of interest to people, so I suppose I am doing something right! Anyway, enough of that. On to the non-self-congratulatory part of this post people actually care about.
Probably nobody actually expected Mustang to willingly go through human transmutation. A little subtle touch that is nice is that BONES doesn’t make a big deal about showing Hawkeye signaling Mustang to let him know backup is on the way; I didn’t even go back to see if she actually does wink to Mustang, because it doesn’t really matter. The action is something only the two of them should notice — if anything, Hawkeye should wink while the camera is focused on Mustang. Some things are meant to be shared by as few people as possible.
But of course Mustang is hijacked by the Homunculi and forced to “perform” human transmutation anyway. The result is a not-so-subtle jab at the inherent unfairness of the world, and the role God — the Truth — plays in it. (I should probably note that I am an atheist, but mostly because I find it difficult to believe in any sort of higher power. There wasn’t any singular event or series of events that drove me away from religion.) From a storytelling standpoint, what I get from Mustang’s sight being taken away boils down to the Truth being an asshole. That’s basically it. The world is often a cruel, bleak place, and if people are looking to God to place a Band-Aid on the planet and make everything all better, then they had better wake up and look elsewhere.
That disconnect between God as a perfect being and His imperfect, often unjust world is one of the most interesting things about Christianity to me, because I expect it would be one of the more difficult to reconcile for a believer. (But my Christian friends would be able to elucidate on that far better than I ever could.) I will say, however, that I never really liked the mindset of blaming God for everything. It strikes me as a view that takes away far too much responsibility away from mankind — that our wills and destinies are essentially out of our hands. This is not true. If the world is unjust, then it should be our goal to make it just rather than pointing fingers. And, really, that’s what Fullmetal Alchemist is all about.
Whether a God exists, and whether He is ultimately just is beside the point to these characters. They know only one way: To move forward as best they can, to make do as much as possible no matter what cruelties the world throws their way. Ed and Al screw up at the beginning of the series — sinned, if you want to call it that — by fucking with forces people just cannot touch. Was there a Reason — a Purpose — to their mother’s death? None that I would be able to understand. But as they go along in their journey, they realize that no matter how cruel the past is, and no matter how impossible it is to change the past, it doesn’t mean the future has to be as unforgiving.
It’s a completely shounen message — probably incredibly trite depending on who you are — but that doesn’t make it a load of shit. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say Mustang keeps moving forward and fights despite his blindness, and that Ed and company give him as much support as possible. Life is tough; it is cruel; it is unfair. But it’s ours. Once we lose control, it isn’t really a life at all.
The episode itself is pretty good. Gold-Toothed Scientist meets an end befitting of his assholery. Mustang’s blindness was a big, “Oh no!” when I first read that part in the manga, but I’m hoping he doesn’t get his sight back, because that would go against just about every message the series espouses. What I’m really hyped about, though, is Scar vs. The Wrathinator. This is where Wrath will show why he is the best Homunculus. Even while mortally wounded in multiple places (and probably infected by that dirty sewer water, yuck), Wrath is still ready, willing and able to take on a badass like Scar. Heaven or hell, let’s rock.
This entry was posted on 05/31/2010 at 9:32 am and is filed under Fullmetal Alchemist with tags Fullmetal Alchemist, fullmetal alchemist: brotherhood. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.