There is something inherently amusing about watch Armstrong carrying Al around in a box.
What They Say
Before arriving at the Rockbell home for repairs, the Elrics meet Dr. Marcoh, a State Alchemist running from past sins. The information he gives Ed and Al could put the Philosopher's Stone within reach.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the action filled and dangerous fifth episode, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood shifts gears for a bit by slowing things down and dealing with some character material. This is quite welcome considering the pace and brutality of the previous episode where Ed found himself nearly at death’s door with his battle against Scar. Never mind that others were in as much danger and there were losses before that, but it was a brutal battle in general and some down time for Ed is needed after this. Add in that Al is basically down and out because of what happened to him and it’s important for them to get away.
The trip to Resembool isn’t all quiet though. Because of the situation with Scar and the awkwardness of transporting Al back, Mustang has sent Armstrong to watch over the boys and act as protection for them. Ed kind of grimaces and pushes back against this a bit, but he realizes the futility of it but also the need because he can’t use alchemy until his arm is fixed. The journey is quiet at first, but at one of the stops before there, Armstrong sees someone he knows getting off the train and goes to find out. The man he saw he believes to be a former State Alchemist named Marcoh who was a master of medicinal alchemy. The confrontation doesn’t go well as the man he insists he isn’t Marcoh but Mauro and he even goes to shoot Edward at one point, which is a laugh out loud moment but also one that really shows how frightened Mauro is.
Taking on the role of Mauro, Marcoh did it after the newly renamed Ishvalan Civil War where so many people and alchemists died. The horrors of it pushed him over the edge and he never wants to go back, though he left in a way that caused problems for himself. What catches Ed’s eye during the dialogue though is that Marcoh was a researcher of the various names of the Philosopher’s Stone and has some research on it that Ed is now very eager to have. There’s even a liquid form version of it that Marcoh has which really intrigues Ed since he gets the whisper that he may be the one who can complete a true Philosopher’s Stone. There’s more hints and movement here for forward progression for the goals that Ed and Al have and that works well as a nice side story and rest stop along the way to Resembool.
The Resembool side of the story is a bit more enjoyable from a different direction as it gives us some good one on one time with Winry and Pinako Rockbell. The two women who work the Automail business they have are really quite enjoyable. Pinako has that elderly weariness to her but the kind of heart that really is strong and caring when it comes to certain things. She’s wise to the world but understands that the young have to make their own mistakes. Amusingly, she seems to get along well with Armstrong who manages to get his shirt off at least once. Winry is equally enjoyable because she has such a strong young girlish love for Edward that she’ll do anything she can to help him out, even if she does give him grief for what he did to her automail.
This part of the story is like the rest in that it provides a bit of respite for the boys before they head off on things but it also gives us a bit more. The time spent here is where their home really is and that sort of relaxed nature they show is something that they can’t get while in the capital or in other areas in an official capacity. It’s only here that they can rest and both of them express their thanks for it in different ways. It’s also relaxing visually as Resembool is very green and serene, filled with bright colors, blue skies and soft clouds. After the intensity of the last episode and the general grimy feeling of the city life, there’s something very welcoming about the visual design of the country outside of the main cities.
The sixth episode of the series is one that is very much needed at this stage to help show the ties that bind Ed and Al to each other, to the Rockbell’s and also to their home. It’s a relaxed episode that sets about getting the young men back up to speed with their mechanical side but it also takes time to fix their hearts a little but bringing them to someplace comfortable, welcome and safe. Armstrong doesn’t exactly bond with them – they’d know it if he did – but he gets a better understanding of just how good and honest these two young men are by the place they’ve grown up and the people who have cared for them. That will likely go a long way when they’re dealing with a threat, physical or not, in the future. This episode may not light up massive discussions or keep you captivated, but it’s a key episode that tightens up a lot of little things.
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.