Fullmetal Alchemist - Episode 50 Review

Topics: 

Episode 50, "Death"

"Britons! Pull my finger!""Why do I have this awful haircut?!"

*****SPOILERS***** 

Synopsis: Edward is astonished to find himself in a world where mechanical technology evolved instead of alchemy. Hohenheim tells him it's the world beyond the Gate. Back in Amestris, Mustang's group is bogged down in the North. In the Fuhrer's home, he shows his son Selim a safe hiding his "secret treasure" and gives him the key to it. Roy sneaks onto the grounds of the manor. On the other side of the Gate, Hohenheim reveals that the lives that are lost in that world become energy for alchemy in theirs, explaining that despite Equivalent Exchange, transmutations require energy, and that they have Gates inside them that they open when they use alchemy and use that energy from peoples' lives. Edward admonishes his father for abandoning their family, but Hohenheim shows that his body has been decaying. In Dante's lair, she removes Gluttony's personality so that he loses inhibitions and becomes pure Gluttony, ordering him to devour Alphonse and form the Philosopher's Stone inside him. Hohenheim tells Ed that his body is still in the Gate and his soul was drawn to the body of the Ed in that world. Hohenheim is called by soldiers. He tells Edward that his body passed through the Gate, so he can't return, being unable to use alchemy in that world, but Edward still has a chance. He is taken away by the soldiers. As Edward is walking, though, one of the zeppelins falls on him. Riza comes to the Fuher's household with the cover story of warning him, and Bradley, hearing something down stairs, goes to investigate. Roy traps him in the wine cellar, but Bradley cuts the air current with his sword so Roy can't use flames against him. Wrath tries to get Dante to bring back Sloth, but instead she has the Gate remove Ed's limbs from him. But out of the Gate comes Edward. Envy attacks him, but gets pinned down. That's when he reveals his "true face", that resembling a young Hohenheim. Dante explains that he was transmuted to bring back a child Hohenheim and Dante had that died of mercury poisoning. Shocked, Edward is caught off guard as Envy impales him. Rose snaps out of her stupor as Edward lies in a pool of blood.

Gluttony puts on his troll face.Prayer: Might not work if a zeppelin lands on you.  

Comments:

After doing a little research, I noticed something very interesting, and I don't know if it's an intentional historical innacuracy or an accidental one. Because, for the most part, Bones has done a great job in painting a picture of very real zeppelin attacks on London in September of 1916, durin World War I. They even go as far as showing the famous "Lord Kitchener Wants You" recruitment poster for the British Army. But you see, it's because they went out of their way to show Lord Kitchener that this historical innaccuracy is so amusing.

You see, Lord Kitchener, who was Britain's Secretary for War, had stopped being popular in 1916 after supporting a very unsuccessful campaign in Gallipoli that had been planned by one Winston Churchill, who'd been First Lord of the Admiralty until that failure. After that he (Churchill) had been forced to take up active duty again, as a Lieutenant Colonel. Because of this, he was neither a General, nor was he likely in London on September 2, during the zeppelin attack.

More to the point, it is true that a zeppelin was taken down during this attack, sometime during the early morning of September 3, 1916. So when a zeppelin landed on that world's version of Edward, it's very possible it could have happened in our real world. So then we have something historically accurate after something inaccurate, after something accurate. Was Bones researching or weren't they? I imagine that they took some creative liberties, however, so I can applaud the work they put into this, regardless. It is a little strange that Hohenheim, who couldn't have been there that long, already knew Winston Churchill, though.

Evidentally, the energy used to perform transmutations on the Amestris side of the Gate come from the lives of people on our side. So not only is the Philsopher's Stone really Soylent Green, but alchemy itself is, as everyone opens a Gate inside them and pulls that energy from people's deaths into that world. Now, I kind of like this explanation, and it makes a kind of sense, since that energy has to come from somewhere, and it's established that lives already make up the power of the Stone, so why not alchemy itself, using the connection between worlds to transfer that energy? It adds a frightful new element to the story, as all this time our heroes had been using people's life energy to do anything with alchemy. Perhaps the Ishbalans were right all along.

My only question is how it was explained in alchemy text books where the energy came from if they didn't know about the other side of the Gate? Was it one of those things they just didn't know until this point? Surely somebody would have come along and asked, "You know, if I want to fix that broken radio, wouldn't the materials need energy to get together and reform it?" Maybe they had, but nobody up until this point had been able to answer it. Or perhaps some alchemists already knew about the Gate, but they just assumed the energy came from within it and that's it.

Something I missed the first few times I saw this series was that Hohenheim confirms that Dante is unable to create the Stone on her own, which is why Hohenheim had stayed in hiding, to prevent his knowledge from falling into her hands. I guess he felt partially guilty for what they were doing, too, but he could have at least made a token effort to contain her before things got this out of hand. What did he think was happening in all that time since they parted ways? She's obviously a driven woman. But then again, Dante did try to keep the military covering up her secrets.

My favorite part of Edward's talk with his father is when Edward yells at his father for abandoning his family and Hohenheim reveals his rotting body and admits that the only woman he ever really loved was Trisha and he regretted having to leave them. Sure, it most ways it doesn't excuse that he abandoned his family, but Hohenheim's ambigious nature is dispelled by this declaration before his child. You can tell Edward is uneasy about him even then, but he's still very shaken about being in that other world. The scene is really well done, with just the right music and Hohenheim making comments about the current world they find themselves in. The fact that he stayed near a boy that looked like his son is very telling, too.

Oh, but great job getting our world's Edward killed, Edward. I mean, I guess nobody can predict a fucking zeppelin falling on them, but they were in the area, and it's not like it was falling with any great speed. Jeez, you're in his body for a few minutes and already he's dead. Poor kid.

Back in Amestris, Mustang moves into the next stage of his plan, an attempt at killing the Fuhrer. By having Riza warn the family, it puts Mrs. Bradley and her son out of danger while calling Bradley down where he can be trapped. Unfortunately, things don't work out quite as planned, as Pride can see air currents (probably why he was able to easily avoid Martel's attacks) and being a homuculus, can heal from Roy's flame attacks. I really like the part when Bradley walks into the win celler and it seals with alchemy and you see Roy behind him. It's a very well put together scene. Roy's point about not caring about wars so much as being outraged by the homunculi pushing people to the brink of dispair in order to get a Stone created was interesting. As Roy had previously stated in an earlier episode, being a soldier is his job, so he'll fight whatever war, but he finds the manipulation to create the Stone the real offense.

It's revealed that Envy was the first of the homunculi, created when Hohenheim attempted to bring back his son with Dante with human transmutation. His hatred for Hohenheim likely comes from having been abandoned for Hohenheim's family with Trisha, thus his envy. He also seems the be the strongest homunculus, having been able to create a crater with his fists in an earlier episode. However, I don't think the face he showed to Edward was necessarily his face when he was alive, but a purposely de-aged Hohenheim to prove his point. Anyway, it gives him the edge over Edward long enough to run his arm through him. Which really, he probably could have done right away, but Envy's a bastard like that.

My question is, when he was disguised as Hughes, where did he get the knives? Did he already have them on him? Is it part of his transformation? Where they made out of the Stones inside him?

The production values continue strongly here. The beautifully painted sky filled with war, the sharp, bold character art, the use of Beethoven's Fifth and other tunes (like the one that plays when Roy sneaks onto the Fuhrer's property), the detail in London, the angles, the Japanese voice acting. Everything looks and sounds amazing. The mood is set very well by these elements. The English dub even sounds okay at times, though is a bit lacking in emotional output. Vic Mignogna even crosses into the territory of competence and Travis Willingham does a good job as Roy in his confrontation with Bradley. I'm still bothered by Ed Blaylock's Bradley, though. Is it some kind of bad Sean Connery impression? It just doesn't sound intimidating at all.

One episode to go, and it looks like our titular hero is dead in a pool of blood. It's good thing he has a Deus ex Brother.

"It just got douchier in here.""Envy's my what?" 
 
Overall Score:

4.5 out of 5