Episode 35, "Reunion of the Fallen"
Synopsis: Greed's death has Lust wondering about her own existence and she runs into a man from her past named Lujon who uses a lesser Stone to heal people. Ed and Al travel and run into a young woman being accosted by thugs. Ed saves her. Lujon is looking for a new Philosopher's Stone to use to help his village. In a flashback, Lust and Gluttony come upon a village of people who were suffering from a mysterious illness that Lujon tries to use alchemy to cure. In the present, Ed and Al meet the young woman, Libia that was looking for Lujon. In a flashback, we see when the illness struck the village, Lujon tried his best to cure people of the sickness, but they would end up dying, regardless. Lust sees his frustration and offers to teach him advanced alchemy. In the present, Scar recovers a locket from the desert. Lust and Gluttony go with Lujon back to his village and Ed, Al, and Winry travel with Libia. A flashback shows that while studying alchemy with Lust, Lujon fell in love with her. Talking with Envy, it's revealed that the whole thing was a scheme to get people to make the Philosopher's Stone. Lujon left Libia at the alter to be with Lust, but she disappeared after helping him cure the illness. In the present, Lust once again seemingly helps him cure the illness, but kills him. Soon after, everyone else in the village dies, too, including a heartbroken Libia, who arrives too late. Lust felt Lujon was the biggest mistake she made and yet after killing him, still wonders about herself.
I really appreciate the extra effort Sho Aikawa and Seiji Mizushima put into fleshing out Lust in this incarnation of Fullmetal Alchemist. No longer just a simple threat that is eliminated before the halfway point of the story, Lust has a purpose, has a personality, has a background and development. Now, I have no complaints with her manga/Brotherhood self. She was what she needed to be. But I really like what they did with her in this show.
That being said, really, what is this episode? Do we really need a full Lust-oriented filler episode? No, more than that, because that in itself is not a huge problem. The problem is that this episode is so damn bizarre. Not even terrible, just bizarre. Oh, don't get me wrong. It's not good. But it's not the worst episode of the series, or anything, but is just way too strange to mean anything. It's just really silly, especially because it's trying so damn hard to be serious and poetic.
First there's this fossilization disease. Wow. Brutal. And weird. We get this scene where this little boy fossilizes and then basically explodes from it. By the end, everybody in the whole town is fossilized. Apparently this was a scheme to push somebody to create a real Philosopher's Stone, but how exactly did the homunculi create this disease? Is it naturally occuring or did they cook it up in a lab? Was it something their master did? Was it done in Laboratory 5 or one of the others? Come on, give us some inkling as to the origin of this sickness!
This is like something out of those Dezaki Black Jack OVAs. Ever see those? This is just like an episode of that, but they took out Black Jack and added FMA elements, like the Philosopher's Stone, the homunculi, etc. Since Ed, Al, and Winry are basically tourists through this mess, who arrive already too late to do anything, it's almost like they could have been excised from the episode altogether and were just hastily added in to give Romi Paku an extra paycheck (no complaints there, though). Was this a story for something else that Aikawa and making it into an FMA story was an afterthought?
The worst possible thing is that something really important in this episode occurs, Scar finding a locket in the desert that belonged to his brother (how'd he know exactly where it was?), that becomes a big deal later on. But it's such a quick scene, and in a filler episode. If somebody found out this was filler and skipped this episode, they'd be wondering, "Where the fuck did Scar find that locket?" I guess it's not super important to actually see him find it, but they really stuck it in a bad space.
Then there's the Lust-Lujon-Libia (LLL!) love triangle. Really? I can see why somebody would be attracted to Lust, but he wasn't the least bit suspicious of her at all? This mysterious stranger shows up in town, apparently having survived a carriage accident despite having no injuries and nobody recognizing her as being from town, and just teaches him advanced alchemy out of the blue? Doesn't he even question why she doesn't do it herself? Are the people of this village so incurious? Maybe they should, I don't know, go find some serious medical help from a big city, get some scientists to study the illness? I guess those tits are just hypnotizing. Just ask manga Havoc.
In the English dub version of this episode. they actually got Johnny Yong Bosch to do the voice of Lujon. So as if JYB didn't already dominate the Adult Swim program block, imagine tuning in to watch FMA and hearing him in this role, too. I completely forgot he was in this episode. It's sort of a waste of him, really. Not as big a waste as Scott McNeil as Hohenheim, mind you, but a waste nevertheless (and he did a lot better than McNeil, who sounded like he was phoning it in).
"Where did I come from? Where am I going?"
Hopefully to a better episode, dear.
Also, please, Mizushima, no more flashbacks in a flashback. It's already a flashback. You're better than this.
Overall Score: 2.5 out of 5