It's all just a matter of Pride.
What They Say
With his father's help, Al takes incredible steps to contain the monstrous Pride. As the sun begins to rise on the Promised Day, the youngest Elric listens while the Homunculus ponders his very human mother.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Over the course of the show, there's been a lot of growing done by the two Elric boys. Like most siblings, it goes at different rates and in different ways, but each of them have become stronger and more resourceful as they go along. A lot of the focus has been on Ed overall, but Al has had a good bit of growth in the last dozen or so episodes as the pair have separated up to pursue their goals through different avenues. Returning to each other again in this new battle, it's still difficult for Ed to think about his younger brother doing anything too dangerous. But it's Al that knows what he has to do even though his brother will be against it and simply does the right thing.
There's a fair battle against Pride that even has Greed admitting that he's quite the monster even by his standards. Interestingly, it does start off as a fairly strong violent battle as Lan Fan and the chimera are involved, but it takes a different turn when Al tells his father that he has a plan that may work better for everyone involved. That's one that involves dialogue as Hohenheim constructs a massive mountain in which both Pride and Al are placed, which removes Pride's ability to make his shadow creatures. The time spent in there between the two is intriguing as we do start to get some of Pride's background, including how his mother came to be and how he feels about at least some humans. Al's not exactly a master of debate or persuasion here, but he's doing what he can to try and stop an enemy that's far more dangerous than most others.
This is another episode that ends a little early so as to set up more epilogue material. Before that we do get some nice little nuggets that reinforce what's going on. Hughes and Hawkeye visit Hughes grave which is definitely one of the turning points for events and it's good to see that touched upon again. Scar has made his way to the Kanama slums where the others are fighting, or at least very near it, where he learns of what happened to Bradley and the claims that it was likely led by him and other Ishvalans. The epilogue piece, like the previous episode, is really good for setting the tension as Mustang's now making his move even more publicly and the military has no use for anyone associated with him, including Bradley's wife which is potentially a game changer for his plans. Like any good cliffhanger, it really does leave you wanting more right away which is definitely a very good thing.
Though I had hoped for a bit more out of this episode to drive the large plot into the foreground more, it's still a good one that deals with some of the smaller issues. I do feel like a broken record in talking about setup and pieces being moved about, but a lot of this show falls into that category. The background events are moving forward and will eventually overtake everything as Mustang's plan moves to the center stage, but right now it's still working through family issues with the Elrics while also focusing on the homunculi and where they're going to land in all of this. There are a lot of threads to follow and many get touched on regularly which helps to keep it alive and add lots of little nuances to each episode. This is good, dark fun that's building and building towards the hopefully big moments.
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.