A little propaganda can go a long way.
What They Say
After a startling radio broadcast grants Mustang's forces the advantage over Central's troops, the Flame Alchemist unleashes the brutal power of burning hatred in the battle against the killer of Maes Hughes.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One part of war that rarely gets touched on both in movies and anime is that of propaganda. Often we're just following the main characters around as they deal with the smaller issues or are swept along with the tide of war. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has largely gone this way as well but it has finally dabbled on the propaganda side now that everything is getting much larger in scale. So much has been hidden that it's even easier to manipulate the truth and a radio broadcast in the capital goes a long way towards causing uncertainty and tension as it's revealed that Bradley has been attacked and supposedly killed in the east and that Mustang's group is fighting the coup by the senior staff, as opposed to leading the coup itself. It's a great bit of theater that plays out in wonderful simplicity.
The action side of the show does take things up a notch as we get quite the gathering of forces below Central now that Mustang has shown up alongside the likes of Ed and Scar along with the chimera that have been hanging around with them since the trip up north. Having a lot of the Immortal Legion down there as well means there's plenty of time for fighting to go on, but it interestingly shifts to a more verbal battle when the group comes across Envy, who is spoiling for a fight to be sure since he has lots of grudges to settle. There are some really neat moments to this as Mustang tries to ply some information out of him, information that he and others have wanted for a long time, and information that Envy is all too happy to share knowing the pain that it will cause.
Mustang has long been one of my favorite characters in the show and though the segment is relatively short all told, it's great to see him finally cut loose with a vengeance in a way that we haven't seen .Even when it's just him looking more serious than he has about anything else, it's a moment of great intensity that speaks volumes about the character. The fight between the two is deeply personal as Envy does remember that Mustang was the one that took down Lust all that time ago, and that kind of grudge between them adds much to the fight. Mustang in his very serious mode is something we don't see often and for good reason, but it's great to have him go back to this even for a little bit in order to remind us exactly how strong he is in a number of ways.
This episode initially seemed like it was going to be all about the lesser characters in the series having their spot in the sun as they pushed the radio propaganda out there, but as it plays out it became a sizeable action piece that largely becomes about revenge. Mustang's position is certainly understandable, and even Ed's uncertain of it since Scar knows how far those feelings can go, but it's a great series of events as we watch Mustang hunting him down under Central while everyone else is moving on. It's rare for things to become so personal for Mustang and for him to deal with it like this, but it's a welcome change of pace for the generally laid back character who has spent much of his time planning, planning and planning some 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.