“Fullmetal Alchemist”, Episodes 2-3

LINK to Ep.1

Ep. 2: “Body of the Sanctioned”

This episode picks up almost exactly where the first episode left off: the aftermath of the battle between Edward and Cornello, and the revelation that Ed was the “Fullmetal Alchemist”.

Cornello realizes that Ed’s title was literal: he was ‘full metal’. He also chastises the boys for their “recklessness” in trying to resurrect their mom. Ed tries to talk some sense into Rose but she, again, turns instead to Cornello. Cornello then transmutes his sword into a Gatling Gun and unloads on the Elric Brothers. 

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While Ed hides behind a wall, Krang and a group open fire on Al, forcing the brothers to flee into a hidden passage, via a wall-changed-into-a-door.


Cornello brings Rose to a room with a canopy-shrouded bed. On the bed is a figure, saying “Rose?”. Could it be Rose’s dead boyfriend, Kang?? Before she can walk over an find out, Cornello stops her, asking that she wait just a little bit longer – the “process” wasn’t finished.


Outside, Ed and Al sit, wondering why the town thinks that they are evil. A radio broadcast suddenly starts, saying that the Elric Brothers recently “just tried to take the lives of our dear Father Cornello”. The town mobilizes, Ed and Al flee, and the mysterious woman from last episode is watching everything, along with a short, portly fellow.

Ed and Al are next seen at the Town Square, cornered by most of the townsfolk. They want answers about the “assault” by the brothers on Cornello; Ed explains that not only did they not assault him, he is a fraud. Enter Rose and her yet-again, bad-timed sticking up for Cornello; she explains that Kang (her deceased boyfriend) is almost back to life. To further her defense, statues – animated by Cornello – starts walking down the street, surround the brothers, and assault them, knocking out Ed!


Ed wakes up in the clutches of Cornello and some henchmen; Cornello takes a silver watch from Ed (it allows him to do Alchemy without a Transmutation circle). In the Square, Al has stolen the bell from the tower.

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In a sparse room, chained to the wall, is Al. Rose enters with food, sets it down by Ed, then leaves. As he tries to reach the food, something starts burrowing through the wall…!

In his bedroom, Cornell is dreaming of a large snake-dragon. When he jerks awake, he sees the mystery woman, sitting in a chair across from his bed.

Ep2_Lust

She subtlety warns him to keep “the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone” between them, “love”. Interesting.

Meanwhile, Rose is sneaking around and enters the room that Cornello showed her previously. She talks to “Kang” on the still-shrouded bed, until Cornello entered the room. She apologizes but Cornello just smiles. Suddenly, a breeze from the window pushes back the shroud around the bed and reveals “Kang”.

Let me just say that Rose, between her stubbornness in sticking by Cornello, her reluctance to listen to the Elrics, and her constant running away and insisting on seeing Kang, is becoming a very unlikable character.

“Kang” is… a Chimera-Bird!!

Ep2_Bird

Cornello could not forge a human soul, so he took the souls of multiple birds and transmuted them into that creature. he also locked Rose in the room with it, saying that she’s fallen out of favor of the Sun God after her disobeying of Cornello’s “Don’t go into this room” edict. Luckily for Rose, Al Elric was nearby, as he entered the room (via the window) and either KO’d or killed the bird-thing.

Cornello is next seen talking to/taunting Ed, saying that his people can’t discern the differences between Alchemy and real miracles. When asked what he’s getting out of it, Cornello just laughs.

We go back to Al and Rose, outside of the church. He explains to her the idea of ‘Equivalent Exchange’ and the price they paid for not following it, while he tinkers with the radio broadcasting machine. He doesn’t answer Rose’s question about what happened to their Mom. Al turns on the machine…

… and it starts broadcasting the conversation between Ed and Cornello? Cornello is bragging about his fake miracles, how he’s duped everyone and everything, and how he’ll have enough money and followers to take over the country. Ed, egging Cornello on, then leans to the side. You know that burrowing that was revealed earlier? You know that bell that Al stole? Well, the burrowing was a microphone that Al placed inside the wall… that Ed was sitting in front of. And the bell… it’s what Al was to broadcast the message.

Charade broken!

Cornello transmutes another gun, shooting the mic but unintentionally freeing (and having the gun destroyed by) Ed. With no options, Cornello flees the cell, back through the hall, and outside… to see a waiting, angry mob, waiting for him. His right-hand man, Krang, asks what’s going on; to Cornello’s credit, he recovers quickly and explains that “the False Believer used his science to impersonate [me]”. he then brings more statues to life… only for Ed to warn him and counter his statues with a bigger, stone statue. The stone on Cornello’s finger suddenly starts trying to mutate his arm, then shatters. The stone was a fake!


Ed and Al are sitting against a rail, a little despondent about “another wild goose chase”, when Rose approaches. She is not happy: she wants to know why they had to come to their town and change everything, killing the town’s hope. “What do I have to live for, now that I know that he [Kang] will never come back??”

“Stand up on your own. Move forward. You’ve got a good, strong pair of legs – use them!”, Ed tells her.

Yep, if I were reading this series, instead of watching it, Rose would make my “Rooting Against the Protagonist” list.


In the church, Cornello wants answers from the mystery woman; she confirms that the stone was indeed a fake. She is using the town a “juicy bait” to draw “real alchemists” to her for… something. She does not reveal her plans. What IS revealed is her name: “Lust”. Her short companion is “Gluttony” and wants to eat Cornello. The scene fades to black, as you hear very… ‘liquidy’, ‘chewy’ sounds. Ewwww.

So, 2 people with names of The Seven Deadly Sins. This can’t be good, for anyone who crosses their paths!


The episode ends with the townspeople searching for Cornello. They see all of the dead birds that were previously in one of the church’s room, out on the ground. “Cornello” then shows up, bringing a flock of birds back to life! “He” says that “the Devil worked his wickedness while I was away”. The townspeople accept him back; the birds disappear while the people aren’t looking; Lust asks “Envy” to “keep that form just a little longer”. A 3rd Sin – not good.

Al tells Rose, who is watching the crowd from a distance, some more of the Elric’s history, warning her to not make the same mistakes that they did. The Elrics leave town, with a couple of flashback scenes of their childhood.

Episode 3: “Mother”

ep3_Mother

This is mainly a flashback episode.

The brothers are in a library of some sort, looking for a book on the Philosopher’s Stone. As they come across a book on Alchemy, Ed flashes back to when he was 6, Al was 5, and they are playing with their childhood friend, Winrey (spelling?).

This is about 9 years in the past, as the brothers were 15 and 14 in Episode 2.

The brothers drew her a transmutation Circle, poured in some sand or dirt, and created a doll for her. Winrey was freaked out.


After the intro, the brothers are sitting outside, dejected. Winrey is still inside, talking to the brothers’ mom and – I’m assuming – her parent and grandma. They are trying to assure Winrey that the brothers weren’t trying to scare her.

Their mom and the boys walk home, with their mom being proud of what they did, without formally learning Alchemy from their not-there dad. Ed explains to the audience that their mom would stare off into the distance after their dad left (it’s assumed that he was a soldier and went off to war), but would smile the more that they delved into Alchemy.

One thing that seemed to diminish her smile, and cause Edward to bristle, is the mention of her husband/their dad coming home. Ed thinks that dad ditched them; Alphonse isn’t so sure.

The boys head to Winrey’s house… and find her in tears. Her parents, surgeons, were killed in an surprise attack on the city of Ishbal. She isn’t in the mood for comforting words but Ed mentions that the dead could come back, via a “Humoculus”, and….

…. and Winrey’s grandma cuts that line of thinking off, immediately. “There will be none of that talk in this house!” Ed’s smart comment about her being a backwards old bat gets him and Al many objects thrown at their heads. Imagining what Winrey lost, the brothers run to hug their mother, in a heart-wrenching mix of foreshadowing and irony. 

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I’ve noticed that through the first 3 episodes, there are some truly sad/gut-punching moments. This adds to the overall quality of the series; it’s not just Ed and Al doing Alchemy, there’s some depth to each episode.


We fast-forward a few years: Ed is now 10, Al is 9.

Ed and Al are running beside a train, with baskets of vegetables. They get home, eager to talk to their mom…

… and find her face-down on the floor.

Winrey’s grandma and a doctor talk outside, while the Elric boys’ mom is in bed. The doctor says that whatever sickness the mom has, she’s had it – and hidden it – for years. They find some letters that their dad wrote them years ago; they decide to write him to see if anyone knows his location so he can come home. Their mom tells them that she saved up some money and they should use it to take care of themselves. She also asks them to transmute something for her; “a ring of flowers would be nice”. Before she could finish her thought, she passed away. Al realized that “the reason she always smiled when we did Alchemy was that it reminded her of dad”.


At the funeral, Ed decided that they were going to bring her back. They used some of their money to hire an Alchemy teacher.

This brings us all the way back to the first scenes in Episode 1, with (hopefully) more knowledge as to what those scenes meant. In essence, the Elric brothers did not realize the cost of “Equivalent Exchange” until it cost Ed his arm and leg, and nearly cost Al his life, if not for some quick thinking by Al to bind Al’s spirit to one of the suits of armor in the room. The only difference: now we see that someone is standing outside the Elric’s home.


Al wakes up in a suit of armor; Ed is seriously injured – he used his right arm to save Ed. As for their mom: she returned as a monster.

Al carries Ed to Winrey’s house, begging for help. Winrey and her grandma use Automail to save Ed; in the meantime, the grandma immediately deduces what happened and accosts Ed about it. Before he can answer, the man that was standing outside enters the house. 

ep3_Mustang

He is a State Alchemist and has a letter for the boys, from their dad; he was looking for their dad but the trail went cold. His name is Lt. Col. Roy Mustang; grandma doesn’t care what his name is, as long as he gets out of her home. Winrey and her grandma nurse Ed back to help (with Winrey having an awkward moment with Al-Armor). Ed gives them his money to buy the Automail that became his right arm and left leg. he also announces that he will go to Central City and become a State Alchemist. The grandma reveals her hostility towards Mustang: State Alchemists killed her sons during The War. She warns Ed not get pulled in to their machinations.

Winrey and her grandma attach the Automail – nerve by individual nerve while Ed waits outside.

We are then taken outside, where some trash talk leads to a sparring session between the brothers. Ed seems to be fully healed and used to his Automail; Ed sounds like he’s adjusted to his armor-body.

 

ep3_sparring

After the sparring, they discuss the merits of trying to bring back their mom back again. While that question wasn’t answered, Ed reaffirmed that he’s going to become a State Alchemist. Al also decides to go, because Ed “is no good without him; you just turn into a jerk”. Ouch. Winrey, grandma, and their dog look on from the distance.

The final scenes are of the Elric home in flames. They decided to burn their childhood home down, including all of their dad’s notes and, I’m assuming, their reincarnated mom-monster. They left their hometown, to journey to Central City.


These were 2 of the most intense cartoon/anime episodes, in terms of subject matter, that I’ve watched in a while! You have 2 kids that not only are trying to save a town from a con man, but are also dealing with the death, and failed resurrection, of their mom. The animation is pretty good. The voice acting is decent, except for Alphonse – it sounds like the actor is strictly reading from a script, compared to a more “natural” feel from Edward, Winrey, and other characters. Other than that, this series has me hooked after just 3 episodes! I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s next for the Elric Brothers!

Episodes 4 and 5 will be on Comicdom Wrecks, on Saturday, so check that site out!

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