Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 53-55

53 Flame of Vengeance

The flame of revolt is spread throughout Central fanned by a broadcast by Bradley’s wife. The Ishvalans come alongside the citizens of the city to help the revolt. Roy burns the mannequin soldiers to dust. May and Envy end up stumbling upon Ed’s group and Roy chases after Envy after he discovers that Envy killed Hughes and Hawkeye runs after the pair.

Once again, I love how these episodes are gradually building a bigger and bigger picture of the rebellion with each episode. Seeing what regular citizens are doing and thinking feels like it’s the final piece in getting the overall picture. On the personal level, seeing Roy chase after Envy shows how these characters aren’t so far from the enemies they are fighting.

54 Beyond the Inferno

Hawkeye shoots Roy after the two meet up again and it’s revealed that Envy was pretending to be Roy. The real Roy shows up and begins incinerating Envy over and over again. Before Roy kills Envy, Ed and Scar show up and try to dissuade Roy from his thirst for vengeance. But before the group can restrain Envy again, Envy kills himself by pulling out his own philosopher’s stone.

After the big, sweeping portrait of the last episode, this one swing into hone in on the Roy character. What has always distinguished Roy from Ed is his willingness to kill when necessary. But Ed feels the need to stop him here because he realizes his desire to kill out of vengeance will lead him to a path of darkness.

I appreciate that a show this dark and violent recognizes the value and worth of mercy and how the quest for vengeance is ultimately one that leads to the destruction of self. It’s something many dark, violent stories often miss, reveling in revenge fantasy instead of realizing its destructive undercurrents.

55 The Adults’ Way of Life

Armstrong and Olivier still struggle with fighting Slough. It’s not until Izumi and her husband Sig (Seiji Sasaki) arrive that they are able to turn the tides of battle. The combined strength of Armstrong and Sig bring Sloth to his end. Underground, Hohenheim faces Father alone and when Father tries to steal his stone, he discovers that the souls inside the stone resist his advances. Up top, Central is finally taken, but celebration is cut short when Wrath shows up at the front gates declaring he has come to take back his throne.

First off, I have to mention that the Armstrong/Sig handshake is one of the finest moments of the show. As someone who hasn’t appreciated the comedy of this show, I’m surprised how well this moment works. Also, it’s nice to see the enemy finally on the backfoot. Father can’t easily overwhelm Hohenheim and Bradly is left outside the gates of his own fortress. The heroes haven’t won yet, but their chances are better than ever before.

© 2015 James Blake Ewing