Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – 34

. . . Have I mentioned yet that I am a ridiculous fanboy?

This episode is mostly typical of Brotherhood for the past few weeks — some build-up, something awesome happening and then some teasing before the end. But watching Olivier and her army blow up Sloth in increasingly enormous and ridiculous ways is one of the more fun fights we’ve seen of late, even if it is barely a fight at all. Sloth is probably my least favorite of the Homunculi — even friggin’ Gluttony has a more interesting personality than this guy! — but he at least has a super strong defense going for him. Even if it is a drag to keep on truckin’.

Despite how harsh she is initially, I like Olivier’s development during her introduction — the story really pushes that she can trust only those who give her a real reason to earn her trust, that she cannot abide by those who hide secrets from her (although Ed and Al have perfectly valid reasons for doing so — in a way, they are functioning much like Olivier would in their situation) and that she measures people by her own strength and intensity. If people don’t contribute to their fullest potential, then they’d better hit the road. Like Miles says, she’s tough, but there’s nothing fake about her — she doesn’t give a shit about anything but the work people put in. Olivier definitely has a streak of crazy in her, however. She would probably throw down with Buccaneer in a second if he wanted to fight.

(If I were stationed at Briggs, I would either be out on my ass so quick that a new measurement of time would have to be invented to calculate it, or I’d be chipping icicles like Falman.)

I forget how much more is done with Miles, but I like him. I have a friend who is big into Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day/whatever you’d like to call it. He’s a Chinese-Canadian who passes along stories of Chinese-Canadians fighting during World War II for a country that treated them like dirt (along with stories from various other wars); they figured that, even though they meant shit to Canada, if they showed their worth during wartime, it might lead to a softening of the racism they endured every day, and that down the road (even if it took decades or centuries), their rights or the rights of their ancestors would finally be recognized, and they’d be accepted as full-fledged Canadian citizens. That’s the kind of thing characters like Miles remind me of. He doesn’t want to be judged or pitied as an Ishbalan; he’s proud of who he is, but ultimately he is fighting for something larger than himself as a part of the Amestrian army, and that is how we wants to be recognized.

Random: When I read this part in the manga, I remember being amused that Ed and Al were so shocked that Miles is part-Ishbalan (“What, you missed that great tan?”), but then Miles mentions that his family is mixed, which had me realize there are probably tons of different people we just don’t see in FMA because its focus is in just one area of the world. So, in fact, FMA has revealed me to be the racist. Damn you, Elrics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another random note: Doesn’t Miles have awesome sideburns? He could have been a badass 19th century American president with those bad boys. He would have wiped the floor with those pussy mutton chops. With Kazuya Nakai voicing him, Miles would pretty much be unstoppable. He would have killed John Wilkes Booth before he got anywhere near the balcony. He might even still be president today. Who the hell would dare take him out of office? And Death sure as hell wouldn’t touch him.

The casual name-dropping of Kimblee is kind of funny. I forget how that meeting goes, but it’s not really a good sign for Kimblee that Olivier already distrusts him, and she hasn’t even met him yet. She has good instincts, that one. Also, I hope Kimblee gets a furry white pimp suit for use in Briggs, along with a giant pimp hat. He’d be my favorite character for eternity if this happens. If you need to stay warm, then you may as well do it in style.

One final note: I hope I’m not the only one who thought about this, but during the scene where Olivier commands the tanks, didn’t you get the feeling she’d be an awesome Gundam commander? If you put her in Gundam SEED Destiny to replace Talia Gladys, then everyone would be Coordinators within five episodes, tops.

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6 Responses to “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – 34”

  1. I must say, Olivier is awesome. She’s a hardass, but fair. I would be totally intimidated by her in real life. 😉

    Maybe my memory’s hazy, I can’t recall racism being discussed so openly in an anime before. And even though the talk was pretty typical, I thought it was interesting that they were pretty frank about the topic.

    Did Sloth exist in the first anime? I can’t remember seeing him in the original.

    • Sloth is completely different in the first series — don’t want to toss out spoilers here, just in case, but I will say Sloth is a chick and not really Sloth-like at all. I like the character, but the Sloth connection didn’t make any sense to me whatsoever.

      I find a lot of the time when anime deals with prejudice and racism, it’s in fantastic form. In RahXephon, for instance, it’s humans vs. the alien Mu, but it basically functions as an examination of race, identity and how people view them. Eureka Seven explores a bit of religious prejudice with the Vodarek. Monster touches on racism throughout, in obvious ways (with the Neo-Nazis, who are easy targets) and subtler (how nobody can quite identify Dr. Tenma and assume he’s anything ranging from Vietnamese to Chinese to Korean and whatever else, although admittedly that’s mostly ignorance rather than full-on racism). Code Geass is full of insane racists on all sides. It could be argued that Gundam 00 touches on racism a bit, but that definitely wanes as the series goes on.

      EDIT: Oh yeah, Gundam SEED + Destiny has racism as a huge theme as well (the core fight is between humans and Coordinators, after all). I may not completely like both series, but they deserve a mention.

      That’s all I can think of by going through my MAL, haha. There are probably more examples, but yeah, most anime doesn’t deal with racism in a way that isn’t clumsy (but at least they try). Even in this episode, the way Ed is all, “Racism is bad!” is kind of funny. Of all the anime I’ve seen, I think RahXephon has examined racism and especially multiracial identity in the best, most interesting way.

  2. […] one remaining. I really liked the build-up to Sloth appearing. I loved the music, and I loved the increasingly ridiculous ways that they decided to try and kill the […]

  3. Talia Gladys had awesome sideburns (well girl sideburns anyway) so leave her alone! Also Gundam female captains must have good bouncing boobs, and while Olivier has bug guns, her uniform probably prevents any bouncing.

    I think anime is sucky a portraying racism because Japan is a pretty homogeneous country. The writers probably have no idea what racism actually is because they’ve never experienced it themselves.

  4. Excellent sideburns. Not the absolute manliest, but definitely above the 95th percentile.

  5. […] something that would have a profound impact on the character’s upbringing and view of life. As I mentioned before, there are some series that tackle the issue of racism (RahXephon) having the most thoughtful, […]

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