Episode 11, "All Is One, One Is All"
Synopsis: Edward and Alphonse arrive in Dublith, to the home of their alchemy teacher, Izumi Curtis, and her husband Sig. Izumi is angry at Edward for becoming "a dog of the state", but welcomes them anyway. Izumi casually mentions meeting the brothers' father, Hohenheim, which upsets Edward. Later that night, Edward recalls how he and his brother met Izumi when she came through Risembool and helped stop flooding with her alchemy. Ed and Al begged Izumi to train them and she left them on an island for a month with the condition of surviving without alchemy. On the island, they learned about the flow of life and recieved further training after the trial period. The next day, Ed asks Izumi about her ability to transmute without a circle, and Izumi confronts Ed and Al about their bodies. Izumi tells the brothers about her own failed attempt at human transmutation, and holds them to comfort their pain.
This series continues to move at a pace that I'm not very comfortable with, speeding through a few chapters in this episode and leaving out some things (like the character of Mason) that probably would have made it better. By the next episode preview, it looks like the pacing is going to get worse, too, which is a real shame, because this is the strongest material in FMA to date. Still, I can't say I disliked this episode.
One thing I liked was the high quality of animation, aside from a few minor flubs. The scene in which Izumi uses alchemy to stop the water in Risembool is probably the highest quality scene in the entire series thus far. The music also complimented the scenes well this time, even if it was a lot of the same music we've been hearing. The voice performances were all strong, too. The VAs for Izumi and Sig from the first series returned, just as good as ever. High production values really helped this episode distinguish itself.
My biggest issue with this episode was the exclusion of the character of Mason, who helps the Curtis' with the butcher shop. In the manga, and first series, Mason menaces the Elric brothers on the island as a masked man, pushing them to their limits and making them realize the reality of death that much better. I suppose they cut him for time, but they added a whole lot more chatting between Ed and Al, and it seemed like they were sort of hammering the point into the ground, especially with the extra scene just before the credits.
There were some additions I liked, however. One is the flashback wherein Hohenheim leaves the family. They probably should have had that in the second episode, but it was utilized well here, too. And, of course, we probably won't hear Hohenheim speak until well after the Greed arc, but who knows with this series? I also liked the scene where Izumi goes at Ed with a spear, one of the ones he likes to make, and the flashback to Izumi's own human transmutation. Izumi probably won't be given as much to do in this series as the first (at least, not until the material from the latest chapter of FMA), so it's good to get in as much of her as possible now, since she is an interesting character.
I'm excited for the coming of Greed in the next episode, because he's my favorite FMA character, but it looks like they're going to speed through several chapters at once. I hope they at least give the Greed arc two episodes. The character deserves at least that much.
Overall Score: 3 out of 5