Episode 5, "Rain of Sorrow"
Synopsis: The mysterious man, Scar, who kills State Alchemists, targets Edward as he tries to recover from his grief over Nina. Ed and Al flee from the powerful man, and are assisted by Roy, Major Armstrong, Riza, and others, who discover that Scar is an Ishbalan, part of a race that was all but extinguished by the military years earlier. Scar escapes under fire. Ed, his automail arm destroyed, and Alphonse's armor body damaged, have no choice but to return to Risembool for Winry's help.
It's difficult to believe, but the dub is actually doing pretty well recently. Not only is this a pretty solid episode, and far surpasses the job the first series' dub did with this material, but it is actually overall a pretty well done episode of an English dub. I still prefer the Japanese track, but this isn't the slap to the face the first dub was at times.
All right, I've probably beaten this to death, but still, Vic Mignogna's Edward Elric still isn't my thing. There's not enough emotional dimension to his delivery, and even the voice itself sounds a little to dry, perhaps even a little too old. This episode was no exception. I actually think he did a better job in the previous episode, when he was screaming at Tucker. But like I've said, if you liked him in the first dub, you're not going to have a problem with him here.
What surprised me the most was how amazing Maxey Whitehead hewas when it counted, when Alphonse was calling out for his brother and yelling at him towards the end of the episode. Not only could I hear Alphonse, but the performance itself was believable, and made Al sound the way he should. I'm starting to gain faith and confidence in her abilities and look foward to her further performance in the role.
Travis Willingham's Roy Mustang is really working it well, too. The new thing Willingham is doing with Roy is working even better in this episode. Like I said last episode, he's definitely doing something new with his Roy, and it's letting you take him a little more seriously during serious scenes. The first couple of episodes with Roy were awful, voice-wise, but it's working now. I only wish they would've gone back and re-recorded those earlier episodes, because he sounded terrible in them. Here, he sounds better than he did in the first series.
The new Scar is something I still haven't adjusted to. He's very hoarse and low-toned, which is fine and dandy, but I felt like he should have emoted more when he's worked up in this episode, and he didn't quite deliver. Even Dameon Clarke, who I hated in the role, was able to get across rage, even if it was a little garden variety. The voice itself for the new Scar is okay, but the delivery is sorely lacking. Tatum needs to amp it up.
We have a scene with Lust, Gluttony, and Envy in this episode, and they did something really weird with Envy. When he's speaking as Cornello, he doesn't have Cornello's voice, like in Japanese. I think it was Jerry Jewell I was hearing. Then when he transforms he has the same voice as the first series Envy, Wendy Powell. For a moment I thought they had switched Envy's VA to Jerry Jewell. I don't really think much of Powell's Envy. In the first series, it always sounded to me like she couldn't decide what she wanted Envy's voice to sound like and so it varied from scene to scene, even if Envy's emotional level was about the same. But I think Laura Bailey's Lust is pretty good.
I don't really think much of Gluttony's VA, but then, I don't really like the new Japanese VA for Gluttony. The original Japanese Gluttony was my favorite voice for the character. The new one sounds like an old, husky man. I guess it does sort of fit the character, though. The English VA sounds a little too cutsie.
Chris Sabat and Sonny Strait performed solidly as Alex Louis Armstrong and Maes Hughes, respectively. I think they've become the bedrock of this dub.
The scripting was pretty well done, with no glaringly annoying variations. It's clear they rewrote some of the dialogue, but nothing stuck out. They did a fine job.
Hey, what is Scar's problem with alchemy, anyway? I mean, he says it twists the form of nature unnaturally, but so what? The clothing he wears isn't natural, either. They were made via various proccesses. What makes his clothing, or medicine, or food he eats any more natural than alchemy? If anything, alchemy is more natural than say, automobiles, because you're using nature to transform things that are natural into other things that are natural.
Okay, so his people were all but wiped out by alchemists, so yeah, I know why he hates them, but alchemy isn't itself a weapon, it's just been used as one, like anything else can be. I get his point in killing military alchemists who might be used as weapons, but his support for that by saying alchemy is unnatural is a little weak.
The dub is improving with each episode. But next episode has Winry in it, and I can't stand Catlin Glass' Winry.
Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5