Twelve Moments in Anime No. 7: The Art of the Kill

Episode 19 of FMA: Brotherhood has been written about plenty already, but I wanted to chime in a bit regarding another aspect of why I think this episode — and the particular scene that sticks in everyone’s mind — is so memorable.

From a purely artistic standpoint, the scene where Mustang kills Lust is the most intensely charged moment of the series thus far. Much of that, I think, has to do with the way the anime plays off the energy and style that builds in the latter portion of the manga as Arakawa’s art style as evolved. The fights especially are an entirely different beast in the second half of the manga compared to the first half: They’re darker, harder and more menacing. You can feel the depths of blackness to which the heroes must plunge so that they can stay alive. That’s what stands out most about FMA‘s art — it’s a hard-boiled edge that says Ed, Al, Mustang, et al are fighting for what’s right, but they’re also dipping into some terrible places while doing so.

Mustang’s bit about sealing his wounds with fire, and then roasting the holy hell out of Lust, is undeniably badass, but the aura of the fight, to me, goes beyond a satisfying ass kicking. This is Mustang getting a measure of revenge. Lust may not have killed Hughes herself, but she had a hand in his death; the depth of Mustang’s thirst for vengeance comes out in the ferocity of his attacks, the viciousness with which the art portrays his fighting. It’s a relentless pounding — he does not let up for a single moment. The kinetic energy of Mustang’s revenge explodes and leaves Lust a literal pile of dust.

Col. Mustang is doing the world a bit of good by ridding it of a monster, but he had to go to a dark, dark place — and withstand a shit ton of pain — to get it done. This is the one scene to me where FMA: Brotherhood is completely unshackled, and that is why it is so memorable.

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3 Responses to “Twelve Moments in Anime No. 7: The Art of the Kill”

  1. Unshackled is the perfect way to describe the scene. Even Alphonse took everything a step further in that scene. Sometimes you forget he was even in the scene

    • Heh, I was going to call out that last sentence as well. It was indeed the one moment where it felt like the producers just let go and said “let er rip.” Pure awesomeness.

  2. This is the best episode of the series so far imo. It made me have faith that this new FMA would be ok

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