33 The Northern Wall of Briggs
Kimblee figures out that Scar is heading north and finally catches up with him on a train. He discovers that Marcoh is not with Scar. Marcoh is actually with May and the two find the notes of Scar’s brother. Ed and Al come upon Briggs Fortress during their journey north. They don’t receive the warmest welcome from Olivier (Yoko Soumi).
The Scar vs. Kimblee fight is good here, as is the Ed and Al fight in front of Briggs Fortress. After three action lite episodes, it’s nice to get some solid, short fights here. The Scar vs. Kimblee fight is also interesting in that Kimblee recognizes he’s the weaker fighter. For once, the enemy in the fight is on the backhand.
34 Ice Queen
Ed and Al remain tight-lipped about their purposes, which leads Olivier to be particularly suspicious and keep them under a tight watch. The boys meet Major Miles (Kazuya Nakai), a man who is part Ishvalan and seems to be respected as all the other men. The base is breached by Sloth (Fumihiko Tachiki) and Ed and Al help Olivier stop the creature, but refuse to reveal its true nature as a homunculus.
This northern outpost is a tighter, more loyal and gruff group of soldiers than the conniving and congenial soldiers in central. It makes for a nice contrast. Olivier’s strong demeanor and generally cool disposition makes her a nice addition to the cast of characters.
Finally seeing Sloth this late is interesting. Pride is also still mysteriously unknown. Sloth’s general disconnect from his surroundings and his slow, brutish movements make him feel like the most unique and distinct homunculus so far. Also, watching the group battle a foe with no clear weakness gives the entire sequence a fun dynamic as they have to use their wits and the environment to overpower Sloth.
35 The Shape of This Country
After incapacitating Sloth, Olivier places the Elric Brothers under arrest since they refuse to share their knowledge about the homunculus. At the same time, Kimblee arrives needing hospital care. General Raven (Katsuhisa Houki) comes to visit and Olivier sneaks a group, including Ed, into the tunnel Sloth was digging. While in the tunnel, Ed tells her everything and surmises that the tunnel is actually a giant transmutation circle for the entire kingdom that will be used to make a powerful philosopher’s stone.
Now that the big plan is revealed and the full scope realized, the conspiracy story feels like it has been completed. Now everything must built towards a new course of action. In that case, introducing Olivier and Raven into the mix makes sense. Ed is still quite hampered, as are most people in the military, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they plan to go up against such an overwhelming conspiracy.
© 2015 James Blake Ewing