Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – 21

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Ah, good to see Brotherhood back after a week’s hiatus. This blog definitely needed a burst of manly action.

So in this episode we have Mustang’s crew realizing the depth of what they are facing, and Ed and Al becoming more eager to come face-to-face with whatever is chasing them. Mustang in particular is awesome in this episode. His interaction with Havoc during this part in the manga really got to me. It must be incredibly difficult for Havoc to face the reality of essentially being dead weight as far as the military is concerned. His backstory is not explored that much, but I can only assume he became a soldier to protect his country — and now he believes he cannot do that. To be squeezed out of doing something you want to do is never a great feeling.

But Mustang does not see Havoc’s worth in those terms. He is paralyzed — so what? Havoc does not have to be out in the field, shooting things, to serve the people. Most of all, though, Mustang sees the passion and defiance in Havoc’s eyes. Havoc is trying to face reality, but he does not want to give up. Mustang knows. He would probably feel the same way if he were in Havoc’s shoes. So Mustang does the only thing he knows how to do: Push Havoc and order him to move forward. Mustang just does not have it in him to abandon a comrade who has protected him so faithfully. He is someone who values human life.

He’s also quite funny when dipping into his childish side and enjoying sending false reports to all the districts in an attempt to draw out the Homunculi, using the newfound knowledge that they likely have a connection to the Fuhrer’s headquarters. Riza’s reaction to Mustang having so much fun is priceless. He must have been a wicked crank caller in his youth.

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Ed’s plan to draw out the Homunculi is suitably insane. He knows the Homunculi view him as a suitable sacrifice for whatever it is they are planning, since he opened the Gate, and he theorizes that they will intervene if he is in mortal danger. (He doesn’t know it, but they sort of intervened — albeit in the aftermath — the first time he fought Scar . . .) Disney!Ed being all altruistic and fixing everyone’s problems for free so that his name spreads all around the town is just hilarious. Ed has probably wanted to do that the whole series, the attention whore!

His plan works and Scar shows up, ready to rumble. They throw down and have a pretty good fight, considering Ed is sticking almost completely to defense. I kind of want to know what Scar’s reaction was when he heard Ed was fixing stuff, though. “He’s helping people for free?! That bastard!” Scar’s hatred of State Alchemists knows no bounds. I shudder to think how he would rage if Ed were to help old ladies cross the street with alchemy.

I’m pretty sure the sort of weak explanation for the Xing characters’ role in the plan is going to make manga readers all pissy. And I am definitely on their side right now. Not that the cut scene from a couple of episodes back was completely essential (now that we know the Xing characters can sense Homunculi, the most essential part of that scene is taken care of), but it is still pretty cool, so it is kind of disappointing to see that it will not be touched upon in any way. It’s not really enough at all to make me go “OMG I AM DROPPING THIS ANIME IMMEDIATELY” but at the same time, it’s a cut I don’t like to see. Wrath’s insane agility kind of makes up for it, however. That would scare the shit out of me.

(Envy seems to be getting the shaft a bit in Brotherhood, actually. He is the one who fights the Xing characters in the cut scene, and he is also the one who abducts Marcoh and brings him to the Homunculi’s lair. Envy is my favorite Homunculus after Lust and Greed, so please don’t cut many more Envy scenes!)

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But, hey, despite some minor bitching on my part, this episode is still solid. The Havoc/Mustang scene is strong, and the fights at the end have me craving more, especially with Xing vs. Wrath/Gluttony. This is going to be awesome.

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