Posted by psgels on 20 June 2010 with categories: Full Metal Alchemist - Brotherhood

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)

27 Responses

  1. Nayrael says:

    Al used human transmutation once and saw the truth. It seems that whenever you attempt to do a human transmutation, you travel to the gate.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Nayrael: Hmm, but then the question remains: why didn’t Al just do this before? At a quiet moment, couldn’t he just have gotten his body back, and leave in the same way as when he left when he first encountered his body?

  3. Keith says:

    psgels, I don’t know if you realized this, but I’ll try to explain it.

    When they tried to resurrect their mom, Al’s and Ed’s arm were the payment. If Ed had not sacrificed his arm, Al would basically be dead right now.

    Al realized that if he uses human transmutation on himself, he can go back to his body and give Ed his arm back. He’s basically UNDOING what Ed did when he brought Al back.

    Al can’t come back.

  4. goody says:

    sure Al could’ve done it sooner, but he would be stuck in white-land.

    the point is (and Truth-kun says so too) is what Ed will sacrifice to bring him back.

    i can assure you that’s quite fitting and pulls the story full circle.

  5. PicoPallino says:

    Hm. Don’t want to say something stupid, I have to think about it a bit more, but human transmutation is not possible (I mean getting back dead people). If you try to mess around with human lives you travel to the gate. And there you get a glimpse of the truth and you have to pay for it. It’s all about equal exchange. You cannot just travel there and going back without making a sacrifice for getting the truth.

    SPOILER! SPOILER! That’s how Ed tricked the Truth at the end by sacrificing what he got and always had. But maybe I’m wrong?

  6. Kim says:

    I don’t consider what Al did a sacrifice. I consider it an act of faith in Ed.

    Also yes Al could have went back anytime but then he would have been stuck with Truth which is what he is now. So what he did is not a permanent solution he just made the decision to do this now because otherwise Ed would have died (and he was about to die too since there was a crack towards the blood seal). Thus he puts his faith in Ed to win and to get him back.

  7. Ranfan says:

    What Kim said.

    What Al did was undo what Ed did when he dragged Al’s soul back in exchange for his arm. So he didn’t specifically know how to get to the Gate he just knew that he’d be reversing what Ed did and putting everything back how it was originally supposed to be if Ed hadn’t of made that first sacrifice. Al stuck at the Gate, body and soul, and Ed without a leg but still with his arm. All Al did was reverse it because he was about to die (blood seal cracking)and Ed was about to die. But he had faith in Ed that he would come back to get him.

  8. TJ says:

    This episode was actually better than the manga version imo… maybe by the sheer fact that whole thing was animated so well (with the music).

  9. Cornwiggle says:

    “The creators made her come back”

    Arakawa made her, the creators the are just following her story and adapting.

  10. Ranfan says:

    THANK YOU Cornwiggle. That just irks me every time psgels does that.

    @TJ: I gotta say I completely and utterly disagree with you. I just finished watching it and I’m so disappointed. The manga was a thousands hundred million times better. Actually, I think I disliked this episode so much I might start going around telling people to read the manga chapter, which I’ve never done for Brotherhood except for the Ishbal flashback.
    I think it was a poor adaptation that missed all the brilliant subtleties and details of chapter 107. And I even think the animation was really wonky at points.

  11. psgels psgels says:

    Um, note that with “creators” I really mean “creators” as in “whoever created it”. This doesn’t distiguish between Manga or Anime.

  12. Johnson says:

    So, Greed did that thing where he was like, “I just wanted to have friends” already, right?

    Or did they leave that out of the anime? (which would’ve been a good decision… though I don’t think they would)

    Because that might have been the lamest thing I’ve ever heard. Actually, not true, Bleach is the lamest thing I’ve ever heard. But it’s close.

  13. TheRollingCamel says:

    @Johnson, i quite find Greed’s subliminal greediness for friends quite fitting. It explains his illogical extreme hatred to show his carbonized form so he don’t scare ppl off and why he always gets stuck in gang although he is a homunculus. Everything in his character was pointing this way from the start.

  14. Ebod says:

    I dunno, compared to the manga, I’d say both had its strong points and weak points. It went on longer in the manga so it felt better paced and the emotional part at the end was freaking EPIC, but the anime definitely did a bang up job of it, even though the part where Ed pulls out the metal screw in his arm was ridiculous (in the manga, he uses alchemy so it’s not quite so “I AM SO STRONG FROM RAGE I CAN RIP METAL OFF CEMENT WITH AN ARM I JUST GOT BACK”).

  15. daniel says:

    Well, it is much more bad-ass that way!
    The whole scene was awesome! I’m looking forward to the next final episodes!

  16. Hunter-Wolf says:

    Wow .. this episode was a blast … damn epic .. and Bones really aren’t holding back on the budget here ^_^

    And i did read the manga before and i think the episode does justice to the source material and even exceeds it in many points specially when Edward attacks Father with all his might (the only part that felt downgraded is Roy’s flame attacks .. they felt way more powerful in the manga).

    And regarding The whole truth/trade thing … Edward payed his leg for the truth he saw … and his arm for getting his brother’s soul back from the gate .. and in turn Al paid his whole body for the truth he saw (and maybe that’s what made him lose his memory of what he saw there at first) .. and human alchemy is the trigger for all that and for getting to the gate of truth .. that’s my understanding of the whole truth/trade thing.

    And psgels .. i don’t want to spoil things for you .. but the concept of “God” in brotherhood is not what you think .. it’s a little early to try and understand it .. at this point your idea of it is just like “father”‘s idea .. and it was one of the reasons of his downfall (hope i’m not giving away too much) .. read about Pantheism and then watch the 2nd episode again (the part when Ed meets the truth for the first time) and you will get a better idea about it (it will be “partly” explained in later episodes but just in case it isn’t clear enough)

  17. UmbrellaMan says:

    Epicness!!! But, I have a concern. We know Ed got his arm back, but it got attached OVER the exsisting mechanics that attached his arm. You can still see some of the metal where his real arm meets his shoulder. That just seems weird and painful. o.O (How would the nerves and muscles reattach through the metal??)

    Still loved every minute of it though. Especially since they didn’t fall into the cliche of “I must defeat the bad guy all on my own even though there are like 5 people here who are as strong and could totally help me do this faster and with less pain”. It was a definite group effort. ;)

  18. Hana says:

    @ UmbrellaMan

    They didn’t show it in this episode (another reason it isn’t as good as the source material) but the parts of Ed’s auotmail port broke away when he got his arm back. The parts you see are because little bits of the port are still embedded in his skin (yeah ouch) and the bolts and screws in his collarbone are still there because they were attached to what was still flesh when he had the automail. But his arm didn’t get attached over the whole port. Most of it broke away.

  19. Sacchi says:

    I have a better question. If May was in position to help Al, why wasn’t she able to attack Father and protect Ed?

  20. Hana says:

    Because they are TELLING A STORY. Look, if anyone had helped Ed at the moment (and most of them were not in a position to do so (except possibly May)) so if May had helped Ed, or anyone, Father would have easily attacked them and Ed would still be imbolized without an arm and Father could theortically defeat who ever was helping and then still take Ed’s soul. And even if the person helping out was holding thier own against Father Ed would still be without an arm, trapped against a slab of rock, unable to do much of anyting. Even if someone had pulled the cord out he’d still be without an arm, without alchemy, and basically useless.

    BUT, if you went the way the story did….Al was about to die (if you didn’t realize his blood seal as cracking – anime didn’t show it for some stupid reason) so Al was able to keep himself from dieing, as well as get his brother back his arm. So Al has his body and soul reunited, Ed has his arm back, and Ed can now break free, use alchemy, help defeat the villian.

    Like I said, a story is being told here, and the best course of action story-wise was exactly what happened. It was brilliant even. And all you goddamned nitpickers who think it’s stupid need to shut the hell up because any other solution wouldn’t have moved the story forward in any worthwhile direction.

  21. UmbrellaMan says:


    Thanks for clearing the whole automail/arm thing up. Makes much more sense now. ;)

  22. moo? says:



  23. Reltair says:

    This episode was epic with everyone trying to take down Father. It was almost like a raid encounter. :3

  24. Bobby says:

    Ranfan, ebod,

    i agree to some extent with what you both said in terms of “it wasn’t as well-executed as in the manga”. i think a lot of that is due to sheer pacing in having to cram so much stuff into so little time. plus like ppl said they changed a few things (like ed ripping out the screw as opposing to destroying it, al’s seal not shown cracked, etc.)

    but some of the battling literally had my mouth open at some points because they did a great job for the most part in giving you a sense of the all-out, now-or-never assault against this insanely powerful person.

    i think for much of the climactic eps from 50 on up (and this is MY opinion), except for maybe the Mustang/Envy eps my immediate feeling after watching was “this was pretty good BUT…” in the sense that i was somewhat disappointed in terms of what i expected going in. (particularly with Wrath’s reappearance/showdown, though it was still really, really good) not saying that the episodes were bad, just that the manga (and the way it played out in the manga) was so GOOD.

    finally i think everybody as they read the manga has/had their own idea/vision of how the anime would adapt that particular part of the manga material. if what you saw equaled or surpassed your personal vision, then you’re satisfied. if not, then there’s a little disappointment.

    so manga > brotherhood IMHO but both are still EPIC

  25. Placinta says:

    @Reltair I was thinking about the same thing. It’s like one huge party raiding. =]

  26. crunchy says:

    So after seeing al talking to truth (who still has ed’s arm and leg) I realized that maybe truth is different for everyone and that father didn’t absorb god but more likely he absorbed his truth. That would also kinda explain why father can still be beaten as someone who “can absorb god” should be unstopable, regardless of the counter-circle hohenhiem created.

  27. Shad_Phoenix says:

    @crunchy You’re thinking of God as if it was omnipotent. This is more like a pantheon, everything has a God and they are not all powerful. Father summoned the God of the planet and absorbed it, that’s what the giant seal and eclipse was for.

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 12:47 AM)
    anybody here remembers a PS1 rail-shooter game called Elemental Gearbolt? It was a fun game that had anime cutscenes by Rintaro. It’s one of those lost gems that was very well received but made a small splash upon release and then completely lost to time.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 12:42 AM)
    Kaiser: are you being sarcastic or did you actually enjoy Symphogear?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 12:39 AM)
    @Masky: it’s the internet, people will construct some bullshit reason to moan about everything. As long as the game is fun than it’s good in my eyes, or the very least in needs to have an emotional impact like Valiant Hearts: The Great War. I’m deep into Bloodborne right now, so my time’s solely dedicated to that at the moment.
  • Masky
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 12:16 AM)
    @Bam: Usually people complain about realism in games in situations where it wouldn’t make sense and in games were realism is actually important they somehow seem to not notice it when they are unrealistic :’D Or maybe I have bad luck
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 12:06 AM)
    @Kaiser, Haven’t we suffered enough with three seasons?
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 07:59 PM)
    @Masky: no definitely not every game, but you made it sound as if the whole idea of realism in videogames is ludicrous. Now I haven’t played Undertake myself, but looking at the Steam pics in looks like a humorous retro pixelart indie project, in which case it doesn’t need to be realistic but it still should respect it’s own internal logic. Unless it’s meant to be all bonkers like an Xavier: Renegade Angel episode, but again very few things are like that.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 07:30 PM)
    Oh lol the Symphogear guy teased the idea of a fourth season for it, you mad mad bastard.
  • Masky
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 08:03 AM)
    @Bam: Yeah, but simulating reality applies to certain types of games. Judging EVERY game by how realistic it is is silly xD
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:36 AM)
    @Masky: lots of game designers aspire for realism. Now this can be done for cosmetic purposes like face textures and lighting, practical with physic engines and movement, or contextual like believable character reactions and dialogue. Now some games thrive in being ridiculous and fantastic, but some want to create a realistic setting to further the emotional impact. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:32 AM)
    @ratsgnoF: and happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

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