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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood rewatch, Episodes 31-33
Mark took a week break, so I'm not behind! Since I had a leftover episode from the previous week, going to post three episodes now. As always, spoilers for everything.

Episode 31, "The 520 Cens Promise"

In which many characters head for new locations. (Mark's post.)

Heading north: Falman, because of the dispersal of Mustang's team; Scar, to get his brother's notes, accompanied by Mei (because Scar is helpless against the cute), Marcoh (because Scar wants him to answer questions about Amestris's alchemy), and Yoki ( . . . because?); eventually Ed and Al, to talk to Mei about alkahestry; and eventually Kimblee, who has been set free by the Homunculi and is tracking Scar and Marcoh.

Heading elsewhere: Foo and Lanfan, to find an automail engineer not being watched by the Homunculi. (Really super uncomfortable with you slapping Lanfan because she sacrificed her arm, Foo!)

Staying put: Mustang, who contacts Grumman through Madame Christmas, and has his pocket change held hostage by Ed against progress, and Hawkeye, who appears in almost every gif set at Mark's with this exchange. Oh, and Dr. Knox, who gets an unexpected moment of grace when his family just happens to visit.

(The family visit is very nice but the timing is kind of blatant authorial manipulation? I'd like it better if Al tracked them down and dropped heavy hints or something. Also the son's praising Knox's dedication to helping others also feels unearned, as between Ishbal and now he appears to have had just two live patients. Don't get me wrong, I love Knox and want him to be happy, but, you know, war criminal.)

I didn't remember that Kimblee knew Envy already! The bit where he decided to sit in jail all this time despite having a Stone . . . isn't explained, but might be on the way to it?

It's a little tough to have two transitional, heavily multi-stranded episodes post-Gluttony-Father-Greed, even separated by the Ishbal flashback, but it probably can't be helped at this point in the story.

Manga notes:

Corresponds to vol. 16, ch. 62, "Beyond the Dream," and ch. 63, "The Promise Made for 520 Cenz" (in part).

Huh, the Knox family conversation I objected to is different in the manga! His son says he knows what his father did in Ishbal, and that while his father's hands "will never be clean," it's cowardly to do nothing and throw away his ability to save lives, so "Now that you've remembered your calling as a doctor, keep it up. I want to save lives with you!" Much better.

Otherwise, these chapters overlap the last episode a bit with Hawkeye talking about their big-picture goals, and go past the current episode by having Grumman arrive in Central in disguise. That's it.

Episode 32, "The Fuhrer's Son"

In which Mustang recruits Grumman and the Elrics & Team Scar head north. (Mark's post.)

Ha, ha, not the episode about the Fuhrer's son that I was expecting! Too soon for that.

Wow, I totally cannot think of anything to say about this episode. Grumman is on board with his many non-Central war veterans—oh, right, there's the "immortal army" hint here; Scar's trying to decoy Kimblee west, accompanied by a disguised Yoki, and the Elrics have a very awkward visit with the Furher and his family and then head north with an introduction to Major General Armstrong.

. . . Major Armstrong's personal seal is a lock of hair over a mustache?

Yeah, I got nothing.

(It's interesting that it works better the first time around, at least for Mark, who gets a lot of tension out of thinking that Selim Bradley is an innocent human boy who is going to be gutted at the reveal of his father's true identity. Rewatching isn't always a good thing.)

Manga notes:

Corresponds to vol. 16, ch. 63, "The Promise Made for 520 Cenz," and part of ch. 64, "The Northern Wall of Briggs."

Uh-oh. Have we reached the point where the anime starts padding things out to keep from getting too far ahead of the manga? Because the episode expands on these pages in two ways: there's no Fuhrer Bradley present when the Elrics have their awkward visit with Selim and Mrs. Bradley, and Kimblee's chase of Scar doesn't have all the chasing-westward, but goes straight to Scar luring Kimblee into a fight using Yoki disguised as Marcoh.

I hope this isn't a bad sign . . .

Episode 33, "The Northern Wall of Briggs"

In which Mei and Marcoh, and the Elrics, arrive in the North. (Mark's post.)

I dunno, I realize not every episode can be stunning, but this still feels like not a lot happens. The Kimblee-Scar fight is pretty anti-climatic: Kimblee realizes, duh, that he's no match for Scar in close combat since he's been imprisoned all this time, so retreats. I think the anime did itself a disservice by building up the chase as it did, only to lead to this. Also I find Kimblee really boring right now, though I wouldn't be surprised if he gets more interesting.

Ed & Al come to Briggs and are stunned by the cold, Buccaneer and his automail, the wall, and Major General Armstrong—as is only right and proper. I am not convinced that putting the discovery of Scar's brother's notes after the credits is a good idea. And . . . I think that's really all I had to say.

(I guess part of it is that I know there is so much better to come from Major General Armstrong, and I want to get to it rather than faff about? It's nice to see Mark flail about her, anyway.)

Manga notes:

I had to read these twice because the first time I did it immediately before a nap, which was a terrible idea.

Corresponds to vol. 16, part of ch. 64, "The Northern Wall of Briggs," and part of ch. 65, "The Ironclad Rule."

The North stuff is from the first chapter, the Scar-Kimblee fight from both.

Only thing of note is that Scar chooses to stab Kimblee where he does to mimic his brother's wound. Well, and that it's not just me, this is a low number of pages for an episode.

Finally:

The major character we met in this last episode? Has a figurine and I WAAAAAANT ONE. Except not for sixty-odd bucks or more, which appears to be my only option. (Really. Really, self!)

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