Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – 22

ScarEdWinry

Really good, intense episode here, where Scar especially shines.

It’s definitely difficult to approve of what Scar is doing — he is caught up in the same senseless circle of violence he condemned before his brother was killed and he realized he lost just about everything he loved. Scar is just seeking vengeance for the deaths of his loved ones, and deep down he knows he cannot totally justify it by acting as an agent of God. What makes his character really tough, though, is that he does have a legitimate beef. Ishbal did not start the war; Amestris did. Scar’s family, friends and people were killed because of extreme militaristic attitudes and ideology. He sees clearly that using alchemy against Amestris will beget nothing but more violence.

But that changes once the Amestrians make a direct strike against Scar. He falls into that endless circle of violence; vengeance begets vengeance. Scar’s actions are hypocritical, but he knows they are hypocritical and does not particularly care. He really does know that what he is doing is not much more than murder, plain and simple. But it is the only way Scar knows how to even try and quench the anger within himself. It’s the “eye for an eye” argument — State Alchemists decimated Scar’s people, so he is going to destroy the State Alchemists. Either that, or he is going to die trying, which is part of what makes Scar’s character so tragic.

Really, the guy feels heavy guilt for not dying in that attack. He didn’t stand a chance in defending his brethren, and Scar’s brother sacrifices his life to save Scar, leaving just his research and the ability to destroy. Scar is inherently self-destructive. He’s stronger than many State Alchemists, yes, but he constantly puts himself into situations where it would not be surprising if he died. The guy practically begs Winry to shoot him (even though she probably wouldn’t touch him since she is in such a delicate mental state), and he doesn’t really have a problem with Ed shooting him, either. Scar says the circle of violence can be broken only if he or Ed dies, and with Scar, I get the feeling he believes he would be happier if he were the one to die. What would he have left? Just a bunch of murders that did not bring back what he lost.

WinryGun

Winry’s part in the episode is quite powerful, too. Now, admittedly, the way she gets there is clearly contrived. Yes, she is worried about Ed and Al, but she does know better than to throw herself into such a dangerous situation (especially seeing how Ed and Al have made out from similar experiences), and trying to wave it away by having Winry think to herself, “Why am I doing this?” isn’t good enough. And Ed accusing Scar of killing Winry’s parents, just as Winry shows up to hear it, is a bit too convenient, as well. But I can swallow that bit of unpleasantness since the drama makes it worth it.

It’s an intense situation. Winry is basically a happy person. She has something to be passionate about, and she has trusted friends to support her. The only thing missing in her life are her parents. And here she is in front of the person who took them from her. Winry has no idea what do to; she desperately wants to do something, so she reaches for a nearby gun (another contrivance, but not really that bad, I think). Her hands shake madly, and she wants nothing more than to punish the man who killed her parents. Or does she?

I don’t think Winry has the resolve to pull the trigger — like Ed says, Winry’s hands are not meant for killing people. They are meant for helping them live. The anger she feels against Scar is very real, but to kill another person goes against the very nature of Winry’s being. Her parents were doctors. Winry builds automail limbs to enable people to overcome disabilities. She is someone who stands outside that circle of violence, which is a big part of why Ed is so vehement about protecting her. That makes a big impression on Scar. He sees his brother — a man who gave his life in an act of protection rather than destruction — in Ed’s protection of Winry.

WrathEye

Good, emotional episode. Maybe a few too many contrivances to put it on the level of, say, ep19, but a strong episode nonetheless. Aside from the Elrics/Scar/Winry drama, the fight between Wrath/Gluttony and Ling is damn good, if a bit short (but it’s about this length in the manga up to this point, too). Ling’s actions — thinking more about getting Ran Fan to safety than taking it to Wrath — reinforces the theme of breaking the chain of violence. (Even if Ling has to be kicked around a bit before he’s like, “Uh oh, better get outta here!”) I also laughed a bit at Takehito Koyasu voicing Scar’s brother. He’s the last person I would have expected to hear, but he fits, somehow.

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