So this is it: the big battle against the final villain. The key is of course to get the plot to come together at the same time, rather than just showing a bunch of yelling and flashy beams for episodes after each other. This episode passed with flying colours. It yet again had my attention from beginning to end.
Interestingly enough, this has a ton of parallels to the ending of the first Full Metal Alchemist. I’m going to discuss those now, so those who have yet to see it: SPOILER ALERT.
In the first season, Al TOO sacrificed himself for Ed, also with a bit of help from a small plot-hole. In this episode: how did Al know exactly how to go to the gate all of a sudden? In the first season meanwhile, the concepts of the Philosopher’s stone was a lot more vague than in brotherhood. It was much more mythical and mysterious, rather than the strictly defined powers it gives you in the Brotherhood series. As a result, the circumstances here are much more detailed than the ending of the first season, in which Ed dies then Al offers his life to save Ed who then offers his life again for Al. Here, Al acts out of desperation, as a way to prevent Ed from getting killed by offering him his arm back now that Ed no longer has a reason to not have his arm (I guess that that means that it immediately returns the arm to the original owner).
You can also see this contrast between the two series in the portrayal of “God”: in the first series it was all powerful, it was always there to punish those who messed around with human transmutation but nobody actually knew who he was or where he came from. In Brotherhood however, he’s a gigantic eyeball in an eclipse who designed a totally logical world in which people get to travel to a gate dimension when they attempt to transmute humans. Ed’s arm is more like a sacrifice to get to somewhere (the truth), rather than just a punishment.
Aside from that, a lot of this episode was just about everyone, who could fight from long range, whether main characters, side characters or even nameless soldiers, hacking away at Father to try and break that guy’s barrier. I loved how this episode gradually played out and broke this barrier of his to the point where he eventually snapped.
I think that the one character with the surprising amount of airtime that I totally did not expect was Mai Chang. I mean, she has been a vital side-character for the past episode ever since they started fighting Father, even more important than Roy Mustang. I think that part of the reason why the creators made her decide to go back with Envy was a way to develop her for later, on top of getting her involved back with the plot and story. You can certainly see that she’s very alert right now, much more than she was at the beginning of the series. Still, I would have liked to see at least a bit more of her backstory in the earlier episodes.
Rating: *** (Awesome)