Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Episode #21 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, September 03, 2009
Release Date: Thursday, September 03, 2009

Ed has a plan to draw out the homunculi, but knowing him it can’t be the best of plans.

What They Say:

Hoping to learn more about the Homunculi, Ed and Al devise a risky strategy to lure the creatures out of hiding. Step one of the brothers’ plan: risk death at the hands of their most dangerous enemy – Scar.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)”
The series so far has been a very good mix of action, intrigue and general adventure along with a welcome dose of small politics in regards to how the country works. This episode does some very good character material to it while also making sure we get a fair number of laughs along the way to keep it moving at a good pace. As the humor increases, it adds to the sense that the danger coming up must be all the more since moments like these are used to lighten the mood before it gets much darker.

There are a few things going on in this episode that can appeal to very different people. The one that got to me the most is watching Mustang and Havok deal with what’s happened to them after fighting it out with the homunculi in the last episode. That fight went poorly in general since both of them have ended up in the hospital, but it went even worse for Havok as he’s lost feeling in his legs. Mustang got roughed up well but is recovering, at least physically. The blow dealt to his subordinate has really gotten to him and he’s investigating other methods to help him, including Dr. Marcoh who has now mysteriously gone missing. The interplay between Mustang and Havok over what must be done is very well executed and with the right atmosphere and intensity from both of the men. These are really humanizing and connecting moments that only serve to make the show better.

The other main part of this episode focuses on the plan that Edward comes up with to try and draw out the homunculi, something he feels they can do since both he and his brother are needed as sacrifices. The plan is certainly crazy enough to work as they intend to draw Scar into a fight and put Ed’s life on the line, which should cause the homucli to intercede since they need him alive. That’s a pretty strong gamble and belief with as little information as they really have to go on, but it leads to an engaging fight between the two. And it also showcases the pawns moving around the board as the situation comes to a head and certain people are watching over it. There’s some good levity before all of it happens, both with Ed and Winry as well as the brothers when they hook up again with Mustang.

In Summary:
The mixture of the comedy into the series continues to be one of its high points, especially in the manner through which it is done. There’s a great set of moments here when Ed does his best to get noticed by Scar and it’s over the top in the best way possible, right down to a less than realistic look for everything in the background. In the end, the core storyline is very well served here as the characters continue to grow and change. Mustang and Havok have the best moments overall, but there’s some heartening discussion between the brothers with Winry about the state of Al’s body, something nobody has really contemplated out loud so far. Like most of the series, there’s a lot to like here and we do feel as if we’re moving forward, albeit in ways not entirely expected.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment

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.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 25
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Fullmetal Alchemist