Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 63 – Nothing But the Truth

And, so, the main story of FMA: Brotherhood has come to a close. (As suspected, ep64 will mainly focus on the extended epilogue in the manga’s final chapter. It’s a solid postscript and not a total trainwreck like certain other epilogues, so the finale should be enjoyable.) As someone who is a relative bandwagon hopper to FMA (Brotherhood‘s debut was my first exposure to the series; I didn’t see the original anime or start reading the manga until last summer), it has been a hell of a ride keeping up with the story week-by-week (or month-by-month in the manga’s case :p). I’ll definitely miss FMA once the credits start rolling next week. (At least I’ll have the English dub to satiate me for a while longer.)

This episode is a fitting end for FMA‘s story. Maybe it’s a bit disappointing that Father does not put up more of a fight, but storywise, it actually makes sense and fits the themes the series pushes: Father wants everything, but he reaches far beyond his grasp, and in doing so ensures his downfall. He wants to know everything; however, some things are just out of mortal hands. When Father absorbs God, he is initially super powerful, Hohenheim’s plan counteracts that power — just one little push upsets Father’s balance, and he is unable to cope with it. And then Edward humiliates him by beating the crap out of him.

The whole time Father wonders how a human using ordinary means (his fists) could possibly defeat him. He accepts it as a given that he is above humanity. He accepts it as a given that humans do not matter, and that only his desire to know and consume everything matters in this world. When Father asks why he is being punished for chasing his desires, for trying to gain as much knowledge as possible, he is obviously missing the point; it is more that he is being punished for pursuing his desires through the most destructive means possible.

Seeing that and realizing what has driven Truth in their past meetings is a big part of what drives Edward to sacrifice his own alchemic abilities in exchange for Alphonse’s life and body. There is such a huge contrast between Father and Ed when faced with Truth (and, really, a huge contrast between Ed’s first meeting as well, when he was more Father-like): Ed is much more humble and accepting of how things work in the world. His decision to sacrifice his ability to do alchemy works for me because it does not come off as if the world itself is forcing limitations on Ed; rather, he is prioritizing what is truly important to him, and what he can truly do in the world.

Really, Ed is tempering his arrogance, which I think a couple of scenes in the epilogue will make even more clear. It’s easy to take a power like alchemy and believe one can rework the entire world with it (much like Light with the Death Note, or Lelouch with his Geass, and so on), but that really does simplify the world to a massive degree. Ed was a lot like Father once upon a time. He got a little taste of the ultimate knowledge behind the gate and wanted to know more; it pained Ed that he was so close to getting the Real Answer to Everything but couldn’t quite obtain all the knowledge he desired. His whole life is dedicated to gaining that knowledge, but unlike Father, Ed finds that the price for that knowledge is too much for him to bear.

That’s why giving up alchemy for Alphonse makes sense to him. It’s a self-destructive choice, but not really. He can get along without alchemy. People have been doing so in his world for thousands of years. Alchemy is a part of Ed, but it is not Ed. It’s as if he is giving up one vocation for another. With all the time Ed dedicates to being an alchemist, and the pride he takes in his work, it seems as if it should be more difficult for him to give this up. However, I think Ed realizes that he has taken alchemy as far as he should go with it. There are plenty of people in the world who can use alchemy for good. Ed is able to use his alchemy for good one last time as well.

In all, a good conclusion to the series. Greed’s final moments are awesome, and Hohenheim’s final moments are likewise touching. After all that hard work, the guy deserves a nice, long, happy rest. 🙂

6 Responses to “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 63 – Nothing But the Truth”

  1. Wow, I had such mixed feelings throughout this ep. Not because I thought the battles were bad or anything like that, but… I guess I just didn’t want to see the story end and say goodbye *sniff*

    I guess we’ll see in the epilogue, but did Ed just get Al back, or did he get back everything for everyone? (Roy’s sight, Izumi’s fertility, etc.)

    • Hm, I don’t think this is really a spoiler, so I guess it’s OK to say that Ed just got Al back. Nobody else is affected by what Ed did: Mustang will still be blind in the next episode, Izumi will still be unable to bear children, etc.

      • Spoilers!!! Noooo!!! You ruined the show! :p

      • Although this raises an interesting question. I don’t know about Mustang, but I would imagine that Izumi would be willing to sacrifice her gate of truth in order to get back her ability to bear children… maybe I’m just getting ahead of myself.

  2. Jarmel Says:

    You summed up the dialogue with Truth pretty well. One thing that stands out to me is Ed’s dialogue to Rose in the Church about how alchemists are the closest beings to god. This is where Ed’s character development has truly paid off and it shows how he realizes that he’s always been a normal human being.

    • Yeah, definitely. That popped into my head while watching the episode; it’s ironic even at the beginning of the series (if you know the backstory, anyway), and it’s pretty much super duper ironic now, haha.

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