Episode 47, "Sealing the Homunculus"
Synopsis: Sloth uses Alphonse's memories of his mother to try to get his cooperation. Tucker wants to try using the Stone again, but Sloth refuses him. Edward arrives at the factory. He engages Sloth in combat, but his brother objects. He manages to get Sloth trapped in an alchemy array (carved by Lust with her claws) using a piece of his mother to immobilize her. Lust claims that she has memories of the woman she was intended to come back. Alphonse gets rid of the piece of his mother despite his brother's objections. Lust attacks Sloth, hoping to finish her off, while Ed goes to retrieve the piece of his mom. However, he runs into Wrath who absorbs the piece. Lust does battle with Wrath again, while Sloth manipulates Al from inside of him. Working together, Ed and Al remove her from Al. Wrath traps Lust in the alchemy array and kills her. Sloth recalls her memories of being born and how she was given form by being fed lesser stones. She claims to want to kill the brothers to prove she isn't Trisha Elric. Wrath combines himself with Sloth, but as the piece of Trisha is in him, she is immobilized, and unable to seperate from her, Wrath can't prevent Edward from finishing Sloth off. Edward transmutes Sloth's liquid body into ethanol and she begins to dissolve at room temperature.
This episode sees the end of the homunculus Lust, whose wish to become human remained unfulfilled. In this episode, she set a trap for Sloth and fought Wrath, but ended up being the victim of her own betrayal. One of my favorite moments was her swatting away the locket, insisting she didn't team up with Edward to get that back. Another good moment is her mercilessly swiping at a struggling Sloth when Alphonse removed the piece of his mother from the vicinity. At this point, the other homunculi were nothing but obstacles in the way to her goal, but she did sympathize with Sloth's retaining of memories from the person she was intended to come back as. Unfortunately, Lust was finished by that brat Wrath, but her final moments were interesting, with her wondering if she wanted to become human just to die. She was a tragic character and one of the highlights of this series.
Wrath has gone full-out crazy. Now he's convinced that Sloth is his mom. He's rejected his "real" mother, Izumi, and taken to the more nurturing presence of Sloth. Little does he realize that his love for Sloth is what causes her own downfall. I'm not sure whether I feel bad for Wrath or annoyed. It's a bit of a mix. I did like how he used alchemy to combine all those guns together and make a hand full of guns, going further than Edward did.
The fight against Sloth is one of my favorite battles in Fullmetal Alchemist. I love the creativity in it. I really like how the Elric brothers team up, each carving half an alchemy array on that table and sliding them together. I notice that a lot of people bitch about how Edward isn't as clever in this series as in the manga, but just look at how Edward uses chemistry in fighting. A while back when he fought Scar he changed around the metals in his automail and in this episode he transforms his automail into sodium to cause her to explode and then transmutes her into ethanol to dissolve her. You didn't see stuff like that later on in the manga and Brotherhood. He even recalls the different methods of Kimbley and that this is similar to what he did with Greed. This is smart fighting. I really like this. He's not the Fullmetal Alchemist for nothing.
We see how Sloth was made, via Dante's assistance with the lesser Stones. But uh, what was she doing in Risembool outside the Elric home? I mean, it's a bit much to ask us to believe in such a massive coincidence. It's the only real flaw in the episode. I do like the line about wanting to kill the Elric brothers to prove she isn't their mother, because if she were, she'd be unable to.
Homunculi are said not to have souls, but that might only be strictly speaking. They aren't the people they are intended to come back as, but they do seem to have their memories. It's ambigious. Of course, because most of them are just a collection of materials alchemists put together, I don't see how they could be those people, but it might be memories of the people that brought them to life that they have in their heads. Who's to say what a soul is, anyway? Maybe, in their own way, they do have souls. In this series, where a woman can transfer her own soul into new bodies over and over again, as it deteriorates, who's to say Dante has any more soul than her creations?
Also, great performances here by the Japanese cast. The English cast really lacks the passion that the Japanese cast has. I really like Romi Paku's delivery of the line about how Ed has to take notes to keep track of all the people he has to beat down. It's a great line, too. The music is perfect in the episode, as well.
This is one of my favorite episodes of the series.
5 out of 5