Sunday, 25 April 2010

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 54

While the fabulous previous episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood left Envy on the brink of defeat, Riza Hawkeye's entry into the scene looked set to confuse things in a big way, leaving us with a stand-off between what seemed to be herself and Mustang. But who is who? Is one of them Envy?

Before we deal with that, we actually get a little more of the back story between Hawkeye and Mustang via a scene from the end of the Ishbalan war, before returning to see our queries about whose who answered most definitively, allowing Mustang to continue with his vengeance against Envy, literally burning him to a crisp. However, with the others recognising Mustang's descent to the brink of madness, they eventually step in to stop him falling into that particular abyss, before leaving us with what is an oddly poignant and emotional farewell to the Homunculus in question. Only Fullmetal Alchemist could leave you feeling sorry for one of the show's most prominent enemies...

With this particular battle over, we then get chance to return to see what the Armstrong siblings are up to, as their own requirement for a show of strength continues in the face of the dual threats of Sloth and the zombie army unleashed upon this. Unlike Mustang's conflict, this particular skirmish isn't resolved this time around, although once again it appears that the tide has turned in our heroes favour as yet more friendly faces (do soldiers from Briggs count as friendly? That word doesn't quite seem appropriate) appear on the scene.

While nothing could match the absolutely masterful turn put in by the previous episode, this was once again a highly enjoyable instalment of Fullmetal Alchemist, that retained enough action to keep everyone happy while also delving a little deeper into a few characters to bring a little more development to that side of things too. As I've already mentioned, wringing so much emotion out of Envy's situation is impressive in itself, but couple that with Mustang's recent madness and it really sums up everything that is great about this series on a wider scale - No matter how clearly defined the lines between good and evil might be on the surface, there are always constant reminders as to how short the distance is when crossing that line. Even without the fantastically realised action, there is a whole lot more to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood than flashy alchemy and fighting alone.

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