It's all about the action again as the various arcs that are ongoing pick up the pace with full on confrontations.
What They Say
With a Philosopher's Stone in his possession, Alphonse fearlessly engages Pride and Kimblee. Elsewhere, the Armstrongs find themselves trapped between Sloth's onslaught and the guns of Central's troops.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood plays well with the way it breaks down the structure of its story in order to have quieter episodes, like the one we had just before this, and ones with a lot of action. The more focused episode last week was solid in what it did, though it felt a touch out of place with the way the series had been building up events with the action and movements of so many different factions. While there have been some episodes that left me less than happy with the way the series progressed, I'm generally happy with what they're doing overall. Especially when they take all that careful planning and placement of characters and finally let them cut loose.
This particular episode has so many different angles playing with the action that in a way, nobody gets enough quality time. Mustang himself gets the shortest end of the stick after having a decent run recently where he's now out with Hawkeye trying to figure out the best way to get into Central. The option of being overt is best left to Briggs' folks though, according to him, and it's no surprise that he has a sneaky way inside that eventually leads him to the fun that Ed and Scar are having in dealing with the Immortal Legion. These soldiers continue to be quite creepy, both in look and with what they say, but they're also a good enemy from which everyone can cut loose on, though I suspect there will be some fallout from that depending on how much they realize the origins of these soldiers.
Another fight that's good involves the Armstrong's and Sloth. While his name is Sloth and he's huge and slow of mind, he's also the fastest of the homunculis, which the Armstrong siblings quickly learn. The fight inside of Central between them is quite good, especially as a number of soldiers try to take down General Armstrong only to realize that she, and maybe her brother, are the only things keeping them alive at the moment. Sloth is an interesting homunculi as he comes across as very dull of mind and even of body with his slow movements, but he's actually far more dangerous than you'd guess and we see that pretty plainly here. He's not one of my favorite homunculi, but he's certainly against the usual type.
There's a whole lot going on in this episode but the best material is what starts it off with the continued fight between Al, Kimblee and Pride. This is an interesting trio of characters with very different personalities, but also one that shows that Al is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds with a lot of confidence and some good strategic thought. There are surprises to be had in this episode with the various fights and it all comes across with a sense of energy and fun that keeps you glued to the screen until it's all done. And then you're left wanting more. Most of the primary characters have some solid moments here and the secondary cast gets their due as well, such as Yoki and May which adds a bit of humor to all of it. While this doesn't offer anything radical, it's a welcome action piece that does push the story forward more.
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.