The journey comes to an end (until the movie comes out!) as we see everyone going on with their lives, at least those that survived.
What They Say
As one shared journey ends, many journeys begin. Those most touched by the conflict which surrounded the Philosopher's Stone now go their separate ways. One thing is certain: they will meet again.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With a series as long as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and with as diverse cast as it has, it really does demand an epilogue episode in order to tie up loose ends. The series could have easily ended on the previous episode and gone out on a high with sacrifice, blood and intensity, but I'm quite glad to have an episode that spends its time giving me just a little bit more of each of these characters to see how they're progressing. In particular, I loved that it opened on Mustang and showed how he's trying to do right by the Ishvalan's and not letting his blindness hold him back from taking on things full throttle before he becomes Fuhrer. Though he's somewhat of a complicated man, he's the right type and has gone through the right things to turn the country back on the proper path.
Scar's arc through this series has been quite engaging as well as we've seen him go from a time of vengeance to one of healing at long last. Rescued at the end by General Armstrong, she's giving him a new lease on life as he takes on his third life having died twice now in his own eyes. His redemption throughout the series has been fascinating to watch and seeing him working alongside Ed, Al and the rest towards the end was exciting, especially when he got to take on the Fuhrer full on in a battle of men. He's had some defining and exciting moments throughout the series and seeing him reaching this point, where he's almost becoming a holy figure in a way, is perfect.
It's surreal to see Alphonse back to normal, albeit with a cane. The two brothers look very different when together in this form compared to Al in his suit where he's had to grow up in a psychological way rather than a physical way for the last couple of years. There's some amusing needling going on between the two over people they're interested in and I'll admit that I like the potential direction things may go between Al and May (when she's a little older of course) since there looks to be an important bond created between the two. But my heart wanted to see the reunion between Ed and Winry, who was kept out of much of the finale, and it lived up to expectations. A good honest expression of emotions between all of them in a way that only childhood friends can express. It was a reunion that brought a smile to my face.
Advancing the characters a couple of years is very welcome as well as we get to see things play out a little further down the line in some areas. Seeing Grumman make an advancement to the role of the Fuhrer until Mustang is ready feels right, though there was still that edge to him during the final battle that cast him as biding his time until he could make quite the coup himself. It seems appropriate that he's serving as a placeholder for stability while Mustang and Armstrong work to secure other areas. That he's bonded closely with Bradley's wife as a father figure is a welcome twist, as is the appearance of a very young person at her side that's very different from what we saw before.
Watching Al's progress in particular brings a lot of smiles. Similar to his brother, he's growing into a man in a very good way where he's finding out exactly who he is. Havign spent so much time running around and discovering things while in danger, taking the opportunity to do so in a learning way where there isn't a severe element of danger to it is highly appealing to him. With a couple of Chimera with him who are hoping to get their bodies back, he sets off on a journey to explore the world that seems extremely appropriate for him. In a way, he's grown up far more than Ed has as we see when Ed's going off on a journey of his own and makes an amusing proposition to Winry that frustrates her to no end. But really, she knows exactly what she's getting into with a man like him so she can't be surprised in the slightest.
As much as I enjoyed the first incarnation of the series, this telling of the Fullmetal Alchemist saga has left me immensely satisfied. The epilogue takes most of the characters I care about and shows us exactly how they're doing and how they've moved themselves forward in life. Each of them could carry their own stories at this point in an engaging way, and I'd love to see tales told about each of these adventures that launch from here. It's a rare series these days that does what Fullmetal Alchemist does since so many are focused on shorter runs and just being silly. There's a large story here that unfolded beautifully outside of a few lulls. When it hits its stride at different times, it was one of the most exciting series I'd seen. This send off to the TV incarnation is exactly what I wanted out of it and it left me very satisfied with just about every aspect. This is definitely one of the best series of the decade for me.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.