Monday, 19 April 2010

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 53

As the waxing and waning of the current war between the military establishment and homunculus on the one hand and Mustang and company on the other continues, something needs to be done by the latter to regain the upper hand as life becomes increasingly difficult in terms of moving around Central. Especially when you don't have a tank handy like those crazy people from Briggs.

So, it's to a little bit of propaganda that Mustang's men turn, using Bradley's wife on a live radio broadcast to paint themselves as the heroes and the establishment as the opportunists staging a coup in the absence of their leader. Needless to say, this works admirably, turning the general populace in Mustang's favour and giving the military yet another major obstacle in their attempts to quash the resistance against them.

That said, all of this is going on without Mustang himself present, as both himself and Hawkeye find themselves reuniting with Edward Elric and his own unlikely band of colleagues as they try to fend off the "immortal" army created by the Philosopher's Stone. Not only that, but Envy soon also returns to the scene to create yet another stand-off between good and evil, although in the ensuing half an episode the line between the two becomes distinctly blurred as we witness a side to Mustang that we've never seen before in terms of both his attitude and the raw power at his disposal.

Now, I know I've raved about Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood so much that I've run out of adjectives by this point, but let's be clear about one thing - This episode was incredible. From the smart plot twist brought about by that aforementioned radio broadcast through to the stand-off between Envy and Mustang, this was a lesson in everything from story pacing through to emotional range, all animated in a fantastically expressive manner that brought every moment and every movement to life. It was thrilling, amusing and entertaining one moment, and blood-curdling, disturbing and unhinged the next - Everything that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood should be, distilled into a single episode of near-perfection.


Shinmaru said...

What I really like about this episode is that it straight up shows Mustang doing some horrible shit to get his revenge, and the tone of the episode doesn't excuse or condone his actions.

Even without Ed and Scar's little chat, it would not be easy to just sweep the brutality of Mustang's fighting under the rug. I feel no sympathy for Envy, mind (because he's a huge prick), but nonetheless Mustang is fairly extreme.

Hanners said...

I think that's what I love about this series as a whole - It doesn't pull any punches, even when it comes to showing one of the "good guys" in a monstrous light in a given set of circumstances.

The way Mustang's reaction was treated in this episode was brilliant, simply because it was genuinely uncomfortable and shocking to watch at times.