Sunday, 21 June 2009

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 12

Despite their distractions during the last episode, the twelfth instalment of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood finally sees the Elric brothers meet up with their master in Dublith, a woman who is of course thrilled to see them. Or perhaps not. Meet Izumi Curtis, alchemy expert and tsundere supreme.

In many ways, this visit to their former alchemy tutor is simply one disturbing revelation after another, starting with Izumi informing her pupils than an alchemist going by the name of Hohenheim had paid her a visit, iscussing the Philosopher's Stone in the process. Who is this mysterious man? None other than Edward and Alphonse's father, that's who. The episode concludes with (for the brothers at least) an even bigger revelation, as their master confesses that she too has broken the tabboo of human transmutation in an attempt to resurrect her stillborn child, thus explaining her constant state of illness and ability to perform transmutations without a circle.

Inbetween all this, Ed's memory floats back to the brother's first meeting with Izumi, as they desperately beg her to take them on as students, followed by the month long period where they were abandoned on a deserted island by her and left to fend for themselves, with the use of alchemy banned. After struggling initially, they eventually learn how to live and forage for themselves, and in turn come to understand just how the "circle of life" (cue songs from The Lion King) works.

Once again, it's difficult to really rate or criticise episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood such as this one as it continues to simply retread the paths already laid by the original series. After threatening to get a bit too over-bearing on the comedy side of things early on, this instalment ended up settling down into a solid bit of story-telling, complete with emotional climax that actually worked quite well. I'm never a huge fan of flashbacks in anime as it can be a lazy plot device, and arguably the memories which surface here didn't require an episode to themselves, but it still flowed reasonably well while leaving us looking forward to some juicier morsels in the next episode.

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