Brutal, cold and unflinching, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood advances quite a lot of intriguing ideas with this episode.
What They Say:
In a violent clash with Greed, King Bradley proves to be a brutal opponent. But the man who finally destroys the Ultimate Shield is more powerful than even the Fuhrer himself.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The previous episode featured some really fun material as Ed and Greed went at it and then we had the added bonus of an “ordinary housewife” joining the fray. With Izumi at his side, the two are ready to take on Greed. Well, providing that Izumi can stop spitting up massive amounts of blood. The kind of side-takes that this series uses sometimes may seem a bit much, but I can’t help to enjoy them as it’s reminiscent of how Hellsing works as well by mixing in the very serious with some straight out comedy that doesn’t fit. Yet it fits in its own way which is what makes it all the more enjoyable.
This episode has two main segments to it and each of them has a lot going on. The first segment deals with the fight in the sewers against Greed and his little ragtag group of followers. What’s surprising bout this is that the military shows up and starts flushing out the sewers with King Bradley leading them. Visiting the south on an inspection tour, he’s obviously aware of what’s going on and uses it to his advantage. Bradley has had a strange aura around him from early on in this series and now that we see him really fight, against Greed’s cohorts and then Greed himself, you really get a sense of just how powerful and cunning this nearly sixty year old man is. But it’s the brutality that really pushes you over the edge as he deals with Martel inside of Al’s armor suit. There are cold moments in this series to be sure, but few of them come close to what happens here and the kind of psychological fallout from it that Al could experience.
What becomes really fascinating, and brought into the series earlier than it did in the previous one I believe, is where Greed is taken to when he’s finally down and out. Meeting up with Lust, Envy and Gluttony, we get to meet their Daddy and those who are aligned with him as they pass judgment on Greed. Having left his “father” over a hundred years ago to find his own greedy way, which was how he was built, he’s given an option to come back to the fold or face certain death. Naturally, Greed’s personality won’t allow for this and the drama is substantially raised through the actions here. But the hauling out of Bradley this early on and showing us just who he may be feels very different and adds a new edge to the show. There’s an element of danger that feels more ominous in this incarnation when it come to the military and the government and it’s something that’s quite engaging.
It’s hard to call this episode a turning point in the series, but it is one that brings to light a lot of new information and changes how you perceive things. Revelations are made here that have you going back to earlier episodes with King Bradley and looking at them in a new way to understand what those motivations might have been and what he was really trying to achieve out of it. His use of Ed is becoming more and more obvious now that his ties are becoming known to the viewer and that draws everything into question, especially when taken in conjunction with things that Lust has said during their meeting before. This is a rich episode for material and one that has some of the best and most memorable scenes, particularly for Al and Martel.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.