“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, after years part 2/3
In the first part of the text, I focused on events covering everything until the unfortunate devouring of Envy, Edek, and Ling Yao by Fatas. As before, today I love the middle part of "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" the most (and the ending is not inferior!). The most happens in it, and Arakawa surprises with a level that does not fall a minute below a certain level. The author perfectly planned out the whole story, focusing on even the smallest details. Even such small details, such as the development of musculature in Edek, did not escape her attention. It's nice to see that at the turn of the episodes, it is slowly taking on more and more masculine shapes. He started with dry-cakes and ended up with quite impressive muscles for his size. Nothing here is left to chance or is forgotten by the creator.
It's really hard not to get the impression that Arakawa had not thought through the entire Fullmetal before starting work on it. We learn the mastermind of the whole plot quite quickly. The consequences of the visit include Elric brothers at "Father" and the fact that Roy Mustang met the true face of King Bradley has been well developed. The fiery Alchemist has lost his best people. Each of them was assigned to a different military facility, and Riza Hawkeye became a personal hostage in the hands of Furer himself ... Which was, by the way, terribly stupid ... the staff had good insight into the activities of the enemy. Let's stop here for a moment because the thread is worth a more detailed discussion. In one episode, the Fire Alchemist says he "lost one of the figures." This is no ordinary reference to a game we know well, such as "Code Geass" or many other anime. Arakawa carefully thought out the role of each of the characters, their personality, character, and above all the relationship with the "King", a little earlier Lust and Envy killed Maes Hughes, who was the first to understand Satan's Father and his children. As the first and second time, I did not appreciate this character, so now, I understood and appreciated his awesomeness and masculine character. When we think that it is really bad, and "ours" have a hard job, then the cartoonist is not afraid to add more problems and difficulties for the characters. Then he often solves them in a simple, logical way, sometimes finishing two threads at one go. A good example is Winry's account of the past, Scar's conviction that there are more important things in the world than revenge. It is about breaking the chain of hatred, with which it went perfectly to Ishval citizen turbulent heart and completed his transformation.
While the beginning may not have been the best, the "Fullmetal Alchemist" measure is just a gem. Much of the credit goes to Bones, which I did not mention in the previous text. They've done their best in terms of animation and music. In most cases, the song is very well suited to a specific moment and it is difficult for me to identify the most synchronized one. Due to the fact that the series has a really wide range of "pieces for all occasions", there was a lot to choose from. Battle songs, sad songs, songs highlighting the epicness of given events, songs for comedy fragments ... Everything is just here. Generally, I like the Bones studio on average. Sure, I always appreciated and praised them, but I don't really like their anime style. Fortunately, FMA: Brotherhood didn't get that impression for a moment. The level of performance is simply exemplary and, like the anime about Hunters, I had a few complaints, so here I just can't fault it. Two or three levels over HxH 2011.
The fights are really bloody and fluid, and at the same time very dynamic and well done. I am happy to watch intense, emotional clashes like Greed vs. Bradley or very wisely led like Gluttony and Pride in Al's armor vs the rest. Arakawa can perfectly show a fight in which a character, who has no theoretical chance, literally massacres his opponent. Just be creative and use the characters you invented and the powers you gave them wisely. Three types of alchemy, boost to physical statistics, resulting from the fact of being a chimera, advanced melee skills and using elements of the environment (including various combat styles, I don't want to crush myself now) even the power of Homunculus, absolutely every skill has its pros and cons. The best part is that the powers check each other and more than once you can achieve success with the help of simple techniques (e.g. Alphonse and the lion chimera, in the fight against Kimble and Prid, when the first one cut their neck). It all depends on the creativity and sense of the right moment when the enemy is surprised and dealt a critical blow. Of course, as long as the difference between their powers is not too great. Anyway, even then, theoretically weaker opponent, he can win if he uses the mistake of his stronger rival. It was greatly shown how Dr. Marcoh plowed Envy. Alchemy is next to Nen from HxH, my favorite anime power system in general. All types of skills are coherent here, techniques check and complement each other. There are no "ass-pulls" that is in one manga (greetings Naruto) because the author lacked ways to present the level of power.
Let's take such chimeras. They have greater physical strength than people, so they can easily break bones, bite the larynx without major difficulties. They also have bonuses to physical statistics, such as strength, endurance, agility, speed, unique abilities, animal senses, etc. An ordinary person, if he undergoes (and survives) a murderous training and has a good set of genes, he can defeat such a battle chimera. Or a ninja from Xing who specializes in fast and painful, surprise attacks and using everything they have on hand. Alchemists, in turn, must rely on their skills and creativity. Not only that, they often have to think about defending and avoiding the opponent's attacks, but they also have to discuss the appropriate ingredients that they use in the process of equivalent exchange. Another mix of minerals or other raw materials can deal more damage to specific types of armor, or weaken it or even break it down. Ed used this quite often, e.g. in battles with Greed, Scar, or Buccaneer.
The Briggs action is one of my favorite anime characters in general. Mainly because of the great characters. Arakawa superbly presented the cold and solid attitude of soldiers from the far north. They are not ordinary warriors, there are very bad weather conditions in these areas, and Drachma forces them to live in constant alert. Such a fortress requires an experienced, sometimes brutal (after all, you need to be more afraid of a superior than an enemy) and a consistent commander, and such a leader is undoubtedly Mr. Olivier Mira Armstrong.
I could write about her awesomeness, strength and uncompromising bitch character on many sides. Because of obvious difficulties, Mira can't just be an ordinary boss. It was clear centuries ago that the most effective units hit "like a clenched fist", they are compact and completely unmovable, like a monolith. To strengthen the "bonds of brotherhood", Mira often throws herself to all the work and shows that he does not feel better than his people. He is not afraid to get his hands dirty, and every soldier is important to her and never cheats on them. It is worth mentioning her great action with Slot and General Raven, which are among the many epic moments in her performance. She got rid of both of them in a very effective way. What am I saying, she just smashed the system! Considering all the episodes I saw (59 at the time of writing this fragment), in a possible "list of the strongest entities" Mira would be in a very high position. He has all the predispositions to do so. High physical strength, outstanding agility, speed, good acting, exceptional intelligence, and uncommon cleverness, the ability to sense the moment, total lack of empathy towards the enemy ... Well, a woman is just a bitch squared and she is awesome!
As I have emphasized many times, Arakawa, as befits a woman, can subtly show the personality of a character. When news arrives at the Briggs about the extermination of the inhabitants of Ishval, Mira Armstrong pulls all the people out to the square and in a short, soldier way, makes his people and Miles understand that "he has his eggs fucked" for all defects, problems, understatements. If anyone has something to say, let him say it now or shut his mouth forever. I liked Ishval, who is both her most trusted man, as well as a person with a hard character and having a moral backbone. Has a sober mind and the ability to cool reasonable judgment. Buccaneer, in turn, is the direct deputy of the Ice Queen. When she is currently occupied, he is the commander of her troops. She is no less charismatic, slightly less threatening than the boss, but makes up for it with enthusiasm. As long as a big bear with mohawk can move, you have to be careful about it for so long. Although Wrath at first massacred him a little, but later he repaid him properly.
An important element of this arc is Kimblee himself. As I wrote in the previous text, I love such cruel and bloody psycho like him. The scene from the end of the anime (it's about the moment when he puts himself in Pride) or from the flashback in Ishval (appeared only in the manga), well show that Crimson Alchemist is not an ordinary, stereotypical psycho. Not only that he understands the reality that surrounds him well and knows how to see the truth in a false creation, he also has a "subtle sense of taste". Much good can be said about Riza Hawkeye, but Solf accurately noticed that she enjoys killing and that he is not very different from him. For example, the Elric brothers didn't kill at all, and unlike other battle-shounen manga, or Marvel or DC comics, I bought an explanation. The more that they are relatively consistent in this respect, in contrast to the above. In the sense that they really try not to hurt their opponents when they don't need to.
Speaking of which, this is a good opportunity to discuss flashbacks to the extermination of Ishval citizens. It was a "nice" view to see who they were: Roy, Riza, Kimblee, Armstrong and Scar, before we met them and we can see with our own eyes how this carnage affected their personalities. Ishval's Holocaust came out as it should. It is bloody and uncompromising, and the battlefield is a veritable amusement park for characters such as Crimson Alchemist. When I watched this episode, I really felt as if the author was inspired by similar events from the reality we know. This climate, the presentation of it all ... well, that's how we can be as people. The most memorable moment was when the ruler of Ishval decides (unfortunately to no avail) to sacrifice his and the lives of the rest of the commanders in exchange for the other inhabitants. Unfortunately, they did not realize that King Bradley had different intentions for them.
After the end of the action in Briggs, we move to another place. Alphonse meets his father, we see familiar faces that we can associate with the beginning of the series. Hohenheim is not an outstanding father (mainly because of the embarrassment he feels about Trisha and their children together), but he makes relatively easy arrangements with Al. Their conversation was great when they could feel like a family for a short while. "Slave 23" fortunately makes up for educational shortcomings with his character and well-controlled alchemy. I did not like him, but when I fully understood the context of all the events, why he had to do this, I really began to feel sorry for him. His fight with Pride, how he "cut a hole in his head" was simply amazing. Pressure from cowards, aunts, weaklings, generally attacks at his tender point. The scene like Pride holds back with all her strength not to cut Hohenheim, it's just a miracle. You could feel the pressure of "proud" Selim. I am aware that Pride knew his limitations perfectly and knew that he could not go beyond a certain area. I know, I repeat myself, but I'm just captivated by how great Arakawa presents emotions, and in the case of Homunculus it works out very well!
That's it, in the third part I will focus on the rest of the events and, above all, the ending. Thanks to Karol for help in creating this text.