The first potential Philosopher’s Stone is in their sites and the brothers Elric dig in to find out the truth.
What They Say
Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric hoped to resurrect their mother's corpse when they attempted human transmutation, but their reckless defiance of alchemy's Law of Equivalent Exchange resulted in no miraculous reunion. Their experimentation with forbidden science plunged the boys into a hellish nightmare; half of Ed's limbs were torn from his body, and Al awoke to discover his young soul transferred to a suit of armor. There is but one way the Elrics can restore what was lost - find the fabled Philosopher's Stone. In a land marred by war and persecution, where truth comes only with tragedy, they undertake their desperate search. Every step closer to the mythical Philosopher's Stone brings the broken brothers deeper into the darkest shadows of reality. Sinful abominations, both unnatural and human, will try to keep the boys from their redemption - but the Elrics must forge ahead if despair is to be transmuted into peace.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the basic origin story out of the way in the second episode, an origin story that certainly sets up a whole lot of motivation for the brothers, Fullmetal Alchemist barrels forward in the present again as the two go in search of what they need. Their mission, which sometimes meshes with whatever Mustang has decided to assign them to, always centers on getting back to who they once were. Though this is more so for Alphonse than Edward as Edward simply wants to make his brother whole again, to the point where it would not be a surprise that he’d give his own life to do so.
This episode centers on them arriving in a fairly decent sized city where there’s a whole lot of praise of a religious man named Cornello. Cornello claims to have been given the gifts of god and he uses those abilities to do things that are seemingly impossible, especially from the point of view of an alchemist. When the brothers come across him, it seems like he’s not obeying the laws of equivalency and that points to him potentially having the Stone. Of course, Cornello claims its not so and he continues to show off what he can do, transmuting things without any sort of real exchange. Shifting a flower to that of stone certainly goes against all the laws, never mind dealing with the differences in mass between the two. But with him having a ring with a peculiar stone on it, the brothers are intent on figuring out the mystery behind it.
This episode focuses on their goal rather well, though it does it all in a self contained way that doesn’t have much of a larger impact to it. The series has done well to introduce the key foundations in the first three episodes without being that poorly paced. The opening episode showcased the animation quality and the intensity of the fights as well as the gray moral area that will be explored. The second episode focused heavily on the origins of the brothers but also worked the gray area when it brought up things that Mustang thinks about in relation to the war in the past. This episode gives us a taste of what the Philosopher’s Stone is all about and introduces the kind of fakery that could come up – but hopefully not too often. Letting the goal of the brothers get a standalone episode while also expanding the view of the world at large works well for the series at this stage and hints at where things can go.
The season’s third episode isn’t anything all that big in the grand scheme of things, particularly if you’ve seen the previous series, but it’s a solid episode for newer fans. Everything is paced well, there’s a good flow to the story and the comedic elements are very welcome after the generally emotional episode we had just before this. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is still in that strange in-between state for me where it’s all still very fresh from my last viewing experience that it’s hard to separate the two. There hasn’t been anything that’s really leapt out at me yet other than the structure of the show in terms of differences, but it’s good to see these characters again and the slightly different take here and there to events and presentation.
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.