With Ed and Ling inside of Gluttony’s belly, I’m just having bad Austin Powers flashbacks.
What They Say:
The Homunculi are winning. Ed and Ling face a horrific enemy within the hellish expanse of Gluttony’s gut. In Central, Mustang can only watch as his loyal band of soldiers is divided by Bradley.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)”
The twenty-fifth episode of this series is a bit of an awkward piece though it is quite welcome in what it actually explores. Many episodes in the series so far have done a really good job of exploring various facets of the overall storyline and they tend to dominate things, whereas the action doesn’t. There’s still a lot of action in the show, but it doesn’t strike you as the primary focus like it does in so many shonen series. This episode has a fair bit of action, but is a bit less on the overall impact of the core storyline.
And it’s pretty creepy in that it spends the bulk of it inside of Gluttony’s belly. Or rather, as is discovered, a doorway that’s similar to what Ed has gone through in the past during the attempted resurrection of his mother. Inside this realm of darkness, which looks pretty terrible streamed with all the blocking and gradients that are visible, Ed is trying to figure out how to get out of there when he comes across Ling. The two have had an uneasy relationship with each other since the start and they keep ending up in really awkward situations like this. They do rather well together as they are more similar than different when it comes to the important things, and watching them trying to figure out this strange place is really quite engaging as it mixes the humor in with the seriousness of it all.
The open ended nature of this place does start to wear on the two of them and it takes an even more damaging turn when Envy shows up. His revelations about what the place really is starts to change Ed’s thinking on all of it, but it’s another smaller revelation that Envy makes which throws him into a fit of fury. This in turn forces Envy to reveal his true self, something that Ling was aware of in an abstract sense, and sets the stage for a large scale fight in the blood and darkness of the world between reality and the truth. There have been a lot of really good set pieces in this series so far, but this location is by far the most curious, disturbing and intriguing of them all. With the sea of blood about them, a useful sea that has plenty of iron for Ed to manipulate, it’s a trap with no way out that any of the three can discern. Of course, now they have to write themselves out of this situation in the next episode without looking foolish.
The bulk of this episode revolves around the Battle of the Belly and it is a real highlight, but there’s more going on as well. Subtle movements made by the Fuhrer change the dynamic of the military officers involved as they’re spread to the wind and May reflects on her past, which gains her an even stronger ally with Scar. The little moments accentuate everything really well, but the main focus is on the truths within the new doorway that Ed and Ling learn about. It’s a good piece, but it definitely feels off in comparison to most of the recent episodes and it really does feel like it’s slowed things down. But that’s also needed sometimes, especially after the frenetic pace of the previous episode. I really liked this one, but admit that it’s a weaker episode overall as it’s the atmosphere of it that won me over.
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.