Episode 24, "Bonding Memories"
Synopsis: Alphonse runs away, running into wandering Ishbalans, including Scar, and two children, Rick and Leo. Scar is tracked down by mercenaries, including an alchemist who uses electricity and Barry the Chopper. With the help of Edward, they defeat the mercenaries, and Scar and the Ishbalans go off to find a place to live.
Eh, this is not one of the good episodes of this show.
Is it just me, or do the mercenaries in this episode have the laziest, most generic character designs in this entire series? I mean, come on, is Yoshiyuki Ito unable to design original characters? Even Hiroki Kanno's Isaac McDougal character design (or did Arakawa herself design him for them to use?) stands out. I guess it hardly matters, since these guys aren't named and only appear for a single episode, but at least the leader should be named.
Especially since he uses alkahestry!
Charred Knight, my frenemy in all things FMA, pointed out on Twitter that the leader's alchemy is very similar to the way May Chang does alkahestry ("rentanjutsu") in the manga and Brotherhood. Good catch. I think it's pretty cool, even, an alchemist who uses electricity. In fact, he seems to do more in this episode than Barry the Chopper, whose presence is pretty worthless, except to take him out of the mix.
Speaking of stuff I like, but is pretty pointless in execution, there's the story with the Ishbalan children and their mother. On its own, it's touching, but really, who cares? These kids aren't prominent enough characters to give a damn about their issue, especially at the same time we have to deal with Alphonse's. I guess the parallel intended is that sometimes when it seems like a family member has betrayed you, they really didn't, or something of the sort. Something about trusting your family. But eh, I didn't particularly care.
Not to mention, why did the old man conveniently forget to mention the whole time that their mother had a vision problem. When the locket is opened, the guy's like, "Oh yeah, I forgot that one thing that would have made you realize your mother didn't betray you, sorry about that." This is like in Spider-Man 3 when the butler conveniently remembers that Normon Osborn was the Green Goblin only after Harry ruined his own life. Thanks a lot, Jeeves. Thanks a lot, old man.
My real issue with this episode, though, is that it needlessly stretches out Alphonse's whole identity issue. There are aspects of the episode I think are kind of cool, but it all seems so pointless in the long run.
2.5 out of 5