Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 40-42

40 Homunculus (The Dwarf in the Flask)

Another flashback episode! Actually, this episode is amazing as it shows us the origins of Hohenheim. Original, he was a slave only known as 23. He meets a Homunculus that gives him his name and begins training him in alchemy. Eventually Hohenheim rises in power and the homunculus is called upon to tell the King of Xerxes how to gain immortality. The homunculus shows him how to make a transmutation circle over the entire kingdom, but ends up placing himself and Hohenheim in the center, causing Hohenheim to become a walking philosophers stone and the homunculus to gain physical form, gaining the appearance of Hohenheim and taking on the name Father.

The kingdom of Xerxes has been mentioned several times but I never expected to find out what happened to them. Tying this all into current events is a lovely bit of world-building. It’s great to learn more about Hohenheim and Father and so shortly after discovering that the entire kingdom is being formed into a transmutation circle. Seeing how it happened in the past makes recent allusions and details make more sense.

41 The Abyss

Back at the mining town, Miles plans to kill Kimblee, but his sniping attempt fails which leads to a fight between Ed and Kimblee. It’s only Kimblee’s second philosophers stone that allows him to overpower Ed and leave him and two of his chimeras for dead in one of the mineshafts. After Kimblee leaves, Ed uses a bit of his last strength to rescue the chimeras who decide to help Ed. The group exiting the mine finds Al almost completely buried in the snow who warns them about Briggs Wall. The group decides to head to a nearby town, but Al loses consciousness along the trip.

This episode stresses how even through these desperate times, Ed and Al still hold to their code to not kill. Ed is against Miles killing Kimblee even to the point that he seems like he’s about to alert Kimblee about the attempt to kill him. Ed also shows mercy and saves the chimeras even though they attempted to kill him minutes before. In spite of all the evils they are combating, Ed and Al refuse to use the methods of their enemy to achieve their goals.

42 Signs of a Counteroffensive

Al regains consciousness to discover the group hard at work translating the notes. By rearranging and overlapping the pages, they discover an outline that makes out a transmutation circle for a philosophers stone. Initially disappointed that this revelation tells them nothing they don’t already know, Al suggests they flip it over and they discover a different transmutation circle. Pride redirects Kimblee to unleash blood over the Briggs Fortress crest. In Liore, Hohenheim discovers the tunnel and is attacked by Pride, who he discovers is confined to the tunnel and cannot exit it.

It’s interesting that the group learns of a symbol that may reverse the effects of the transmutation circle. It feels like it gives them a course of action. Also, learning that Pride has a limited scope of movement around the world is interesting. None of the others seem to have this, so I wonder if there’s a reason. It feels like everything is slowly building momentum towards the big thing the entire show has been building towards. Seems like it should be right around the corner.

© 2015 James Blake Ewing