Short Synopsis: The Shou Tucker arc, compressed into one episode.
Episode Rating: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
I’m amused at the people who are already disappointed by the new FMA series. I mean, it’s only been three episodes; what did you expect? The new series lacks the novelty of the original, and the series has mostly been simply building up. At the start of the season, did people expect the new Evangelion in only three episodes, or something?
Not that the new series is perfect and all, of course. The producers right now are trying to rush through the first few episodes a bit too badly, and hardly allow for any quiet moments right now, but at least these beginning episodes are a lot more easy to go through than the original series was. There were a few differences here and there, mostly involving Scar: this episode sees him kill off Basque Gran, right after he was introduced, and he kills off both Shou Tucker and his daughter. It’s good, since I never liked that guy anyway.
As for Basque Gran’s death, it was a shame he died so early. I remember his death in the original series as being one of the first memorable scenes, because it was so ironic: here the show was building him up as one of the major bad guys… and then he gets killed off so easily. But I do guess that it makes more sense this way: after all, Scar was a smart guy. Why the heck would he show his face in front of half a dozen officers. It’d be much harder for him to move around that way. Looking back, it was just another cheap trick to get Ed involved with the main storyline.
Strangely enough, this episode also showed that Scar has some sort of inside-knowledge of what’s going on inside the military. Otherwise he would never have known where Basque Gran would be, or where he could find Shou Tucker, right after he created his next chimera. At this point, I can’t remember whether or not the original series answered that question, though.
Normally I don’t mind when the creators of an anime insert their own stuff, insert fillers or go with a different storyline, but in the end it’s all going to depend on their ability to write a good storyline, which for the original FMA unfortunately didn’t go too well at certain times. The first thirteen episodes had their charms, definitely. The small scenes in which we see Scar, right before Ed arrives for the first time in Central City for example were a nice touch, as they showed how Scar was when he just received his arm (either that or my memory is deceiving me again and Brotherhood also had that scene… something must be wrong with either me or the series if I can’t remember a simple fact that happened two episodes ago…).
Anyway… it’s a shame that the fillers of Full Metal Alchemist were all just too formulaic, with dull characters and a predictable role for the two lead characters, with the only exception being the one with the dog and Armstrong’s family; that one was fun, granted. In the second half, the original material improved a lot, and the storyline was really competent, but at the same time it screwed up by trying too hard to make characters from the earlier episodes return, combined with a set of certain other characters that just got on my nerves. But I think that my biggest problem with the original series is that I could never really buy Ed and Al as the two lead characters. That’s why I appreciate Brotherhood’s attempts to make the two of them more likable.