OVA, "The Blind Alchemist"
Synopsis: Edward and Alphonse hear rumors about an alchemist who successfully performed a human transmutation and decide to investigate. At the estate of the Hamburgang family, they meet Judau, a blind alchemist that supposedly ressurected a girl named Rosalie, the lord and madam's daughter. Judau is forbidden from giving up his secret to successful human transmutation, despite Edward's continuing requests. While looking for Alphonse (who went off with Rosalie), the truth about Rosalie and Judau's human transmutation is revealed: "Rosalie" is an orphan the family adopted. The transmutation that cost Judau's eyes didn't bring the real one back, but the family has been decieving him with the fake Rosalie. Ed and Al leave, letting the deception remain.
A short OVA, about fifteen minutes in length, there's not a lot to say about this particular feature. Especially since the story is pretty straight forward. I did have a few thoughts, though.
This short feature is based on a short FMA story Arakawa did, one of her "gaiden" specials. I can't recall exactly where I read it first. I believe it was in the second art book. They included this on the first Japanese Brotherhood DVD. It's a decent little story that probably takes place during Ed and Al's wanderings, possibly before the series even starts.
What could probably have been stretched as some sort of filler episode is probably best in this short half-episode format. The story is quaint, but nothing special. It relies mostly on the revelation that comes towards the end. Edward and/or Alphonse would usually have some sort of crisis of consciousness over whether to reveal the truth after something like that, but it's not entirely out of character that they left it alone. After all, it's still just a rumor, and normally it would have been denied. So it's not like Judau is encouraging people to commit that taboo. And he appears to be happy, even if his happiness is the result of a lie.
You can tell that Ed still feels a little disturbed about what went on, if just for the bitterness that comes with a lead being bogus, though probably a bad taste in his mouth because of the tragedy of it all. I think it's the sort of feeling I got watching, and I'm pretty sure it was Arakawa's intention.
Being so short, you think this would be beautiful and well-animated, but it's really not. The art is second rate by Brotherhood standards and the animation is just awful at times, or even nonexistant. It's a bit disappointing in that department. Also, they're just using the usual music from the TV series, so nothing new there.
Overall, it was a nice little bit-sized portion of Fullmetal Alchemist, but it's not a "must see".
Overall Score: 3 out of 5