Episode 26, "Reunion"
Synopsis: While unsuccessfully trying to battle Envy, Edward comes to a realization, and halts the fight with the promise of returning himself, Envy, and Ling back to the real world. Back at Central, Scar and Mei follow Alphonse and Gluttony in underground passages. Edward decides to do a human transmutation on himself to open the real Doors of Truth, and use Envy's Philosopher's Stone to send everyone back. He also reveals his realization that whoever made the homunculi used Xerxes' people to transmute a Philosopher's Stone centuries before. In Central HQ, Bradley relates to Roy the story of his childhood and becoming Wrath. Back in the darkness, Edward activates an alchemy array and goes through the Gate, finding himself face-to-face with Alphonse's withering body. As the gate reopens to pull him out, he promises to return some day.
A bit of a chatty episode, but it had a powerful conclusion.
The dynamics of the Gate, or "Doors of Truth", or whatever you like to call it, are a little perplexing to me. Okay, so, Edward, Ling, and Envy are inside an unsucessful version of the Gate. Ed decides to transmute himself to open the real Gate and send them across to the real world (they have no way of knowing if this will work, so the idea seems a little strange and only works in the moment). So, he opens the Gate, and ends up at the Doors in the white space. Across from the Doors he came out of is another set of Doors that Alphonse waits next to. Then he's taken via the same Doors he entered to the real world.
Wait a minute. Those are the same doors he used to get there, so he's going to get back to the real world via the same ones? Wouldn't go to the other gate to leave? The same gate takes him to a different place than he was? If the Doors can do that, why would there be a seperate set for Alphonse? Or does each individual get a different set of Doors?
The next thing I want to talk about is Edward's over-explaining. While I do somewhat enjoy learning a little about the nuances of alchemy arrays, he doesn't need to spend ten minutes explaining everything he's figured out. It would have been enough for him to say he discovered the pieces he found belonged to the Xerxes ruins and he figures they did a trasmutation that destroyed the entire country. I mean, he's doing a lot of exposition, especially to one character who doesn't understand alchemy at all and couldn't care less about the explanation and another who already knows what went on.
But don't get me wrong. I didn't hate this episode. I quite liked it.
I liked the weird pair of Alphonse and Gluttony. One, a soul bonded to a suit or armor, the other a murderous eating machine with an otherwise affiable, even cute, personality (when he's not in a rage). It would almost make for an interesting spin-off in itself, if it weren't so creepy. This is hardly a consolation for me, since I'd rather see the brothers together, but it's nice to see Alphonse taking the initiative by getting to the source of their problems.
Watching Mei's Xingese alchemy in action against the chimeras was pretty neat, too. She and Scar make an interesting team. Though to be honest, it does seem a little too convenient to me. Mei also seems to be abe to sense things others can't, too. Is she a Mei-ry Sue? Eh, borderline, I think. The other Xingese have that skill, too, but then that just lends more credence to my thought that the Xingese are a little too overpowered, or at least overskilled.
One of my favorite parts of the episode was Bradley's flashback. You know, his actual real name is King Bradley, that's not just his title. He's Fuhrer-President King Bradley. That's like if a guy named "In Charge" was Supreme Commanding General. It's weird that he looked a lot like Selim as a kid, considering they aren't really related. (Er... well...) We also got to see the gold-toothed scientist for the first time, and he'll reappear later. Even having read this part in the manga, I almost expected Bradley to immediately slaughter all the scientists after becoming Wrath. It would have been pretty cool, at least.
The best scene, though, and perhaps my favorite scene in either series, is in the end when Edward bursts back through the Doors of Truth to promise Alphonse he'll return for him. Romi Paku really makes this scene work. I can't imagine anyone doing as good a job selling that part as she does. It's a powerful scene that made me really appreciate this incarnation of FMA.
Next week looks to be... uh, anime-only filler. Hm. Yeah, the preview has scenes that aren't in the manga, with Hohenheim hanging out with what seems to be a younger Pinako at a town festival. Is that little girl reaching her hand out for Hohenheim who I think it is? Where's Chris Hanson when you need him?
Well, I hope it's decent filler, at least.
Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5