Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 56 – Grizzled Fighting Is the Best Fighting

The young punks are the ones always shouting about changing the world, but this episode shows that the grizzled old dudes aren’t about to hand it to them on a silver platter. It will have to be taken from their cold, dead hands.

Old, grizzled badasses are a well-worn character type. Clint Eastwood has been playing that sort of character for the past 30+ years, for example. (This is, of course, after he transitioned from playing regular ol’ badasses. :p) And before him, you had guys like John Wayne, Robert Mitchum (a truly overlooked grizzled badass; he should have John Wayne levels of popularity but doesn’t because he played some creepy villains) and George C. Scott (Patton, anyone?), among others, regularly showing the young bucks how to get things done. Everything is better when there is an old dude kicking some ass. It’s the Rule of Cool, my friends.

Part of what makes old ass-kicking dudes cool is that often they accept that the world has moved on, and that it is there for the taking for the youngsters . . . but they go on kicking ass, nonetheless, because they’ll be god damned if the youngsters aren’t going to work to inherit the world. That’s basically Wrath, right? He admitted to Pride a good while back that the young’uns were well on their way to taking the world, and that the Homunculi were probably going to be on the way out soon. Pride was pretty quick to call, “OMG BULLSHIT” and threatened to snitch on Wrath, whereupon Wrath was all, “Whatever, man.”

And yet he’s still going on and kicking ass because, really, what the hell else is he going to do? Sit on his porch, drink lemonade and play checkers? Hell no. Why do that garbage when there exists copious amounts of ass to kick? Exactly. The Clint Eastwood types never retire; they wait for opportunities to teach lessons.

And by “teaching lessons”, I mean “beating the holy fuck out of people”. The scariest part of course is when Wrath mentions that it was more difficult to escape than he thought it would be, because his body is still aging and can’t move quite like it used to. If this is A Few Years Out of His Prime Wrath, then what the hell must have fighting Wrath during his peak have been like? He’s deflecting bullets with ease, slicing tank shells clean in two and causing tanks to make a mad dash in reverse like frightened children! Did he whip out his dick, swing it around like a lasso and slap people with it at one point, too? Jesus.

So, Wrath is here making the Briggs army look silly — even Buccaneer, although he doesn’t go down easily at all — and even Greed is having a fairly tough time against him. How do you combat such a badass old man? Easy: Just set him against another badass old man and watch them go to war. Bonus points if said old man has a reason to feud with the other old man (like Fu does with Wrath). Old men take their feuds seriously, yo. Also, even though Fu wasn’t responsible for it, I like how he makes his entrance jumping through a hallway that resembles what the Cyborg Ninja leaves behind in Metal Gear Solid just before Solid Snake fights him. Awesome.

See? Fu is ready to go to war. Notice that both Wrath and Fu have Old Man Mustaches too. You REALLY don’t want to mess with those guys. Mustaches by themselves look kind of silly on most people, but when you find a dude who wears ’em well, then it’s a sign that he is not someone to screw with. But who wins when you pit mustache against mustache? Old man against old man? Aside from the audience, that is.

And with Wrath and Fu engaging in an Old Man War above ground, the REALLY old dudes — Homunculus and Hohenheim — fight down below. I’m not sure if this is more badass then the other fight, but these two have evolved behind the need to exert much energy physically attacking each other. They just stand back and let their powers do the talking (Homunculus) or try to get an edge through kickass trickery (Hohenheim). Poor Hohenheim makes a couple of tactical errors, though, during his plan to kill Homunculus: 1) It’s WAY too early for Homunculus to die. An old badass needs to be aware of the fourth wall at all times. 2) Old dudes don’t fall for simple traps so easily because they’re highly adaptive. Why do you think they have lived for so long?

The young’uns will eventually take back the spotlight, but for at least this one episode, the old men are calling the shots. And it’s awesome.


11 Responses to “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 56 – Grizzled Fighting Is the Best Fighting”

  1. Thanks for reminding me that these are all old dudes. Now I won’t be able to watch the next episode without thinking of that cane/sword fight scene from UP.

  2. Don’t let the mustaches distract you from the sideburns, the true source of their power.

    • Well, now we know for sure. Papa Armstrong and Darius are the most powerful characters in the series.

      • fathomlessblue Says:

        Don’t forget Miles and his razorsharp burns. So tough he though it beneath him to be in the climax and instead decided to hang around the east with Grumann

    • I like to think of the mustaches as powerful enhancements like in Gradius or R-Type or something.

  3. fathomlessblue Says:

    Great post and very true.

    In a show with shape-shifting dragon/demons and shadow monsters its an eye-patch wearing old man with a sword that poses the most threat and provides the most damage. I always thought wrath was Arakawa’s homage to a classic western character, whatever the case his inclusion was an inspired move as most consider him the most popular and strongest/deadly (sorry pride!) homunculi. Shounins are so unrealistic that its the most human baddies somehow being the most frightening

    • There was a small debate a couple of posts back about whether Envy in his true form would beat Wrath in a fight. I maintain that Wrath would win against any of the Homunculi. Too much experience, too in tune with his strengths and too strategically sound to be defeated by any of his brothers and sisters.

      • clinton Says:

        yeah but he can only take one hit all envy has to do is jump on him you saw how much flames mustang had to shoot envy with to bring him down and mustang is the only one that can quick kill homunculi. wrath could not beat pride too.

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