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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood rewatch, Episodes 57-59
More catchup from old notes, trying to get back on track for Mark to finish the series this week. Ugh, I wish I hadn't gotten so far behind, this feels so suboptimal at such a critical time. Reminder: spoilers for everything.

Episode 57, "Eternal Leave"

In which Foo and Buccaneer sacrifice themselves to attack Bradley, and Father uses the Central City circle to vanish the sacrifices. (Mark's post.)

I love that Izumi and Olivier are the ones to question bearded general guy and to demand that the line soldiers make a decision based on what they've heard.

(The conversation between Izumi and Olivier on the way down the stairs is really awkward exposition, but it's also touching watching them find someone so worthy of respect and that they understand so well. The animators totally ship it, because that conversation is not in the manga.)

Wrath is, unsurprisingly, brutal in what he does to Foo, it's just really hard to watch. And then Buccaneer, deliberately pulling the sword out to land a surprise attack even though it will mean his death, to make Foo's worth something. *sniff*

Oh no, it's the nameless gold-toothed doctor! Who is, duh, standing on a circle, someone get to him! . . . too late. Another five-element circle (I almost said "pointed," but, you know, circle), this time around the labs, and where are Ed, Al, and Izumi? Gah, cliffhanger!

(The failed Wraths are less creepy than pathetic; I feel so bad for them.)

Manga notes:

Corresponds to vol. 24, most of ch. 98, "Greed Without Limits," and part of ch. 99, "Eternal Rest."

Brosh's appearance at the radio station is moved to episode 60.

The manga has Izumi doing all the talking in the conversation with the line soldiers, though Olivier gets to also boot the general in the head.

The little Ed, Scar, Mustang, and Hawkeye check-in from ep. 55 is in ch. 98, just before the chapter break of them coming upon the gold-toothed doctor.

I am not thrilled with the manga art of extremely elongated limbs with deformed or blurred ends to indicate speed.

The chapter and volume end on the same place as the episode.

Episode 58, "Sacrifices"

In which Ling holds the gate, four of the sacrifices are with Father, and Mustang apparently agrees to become the fifth sacrifice. (Mark's post.)

I sort of feel like it's kind of a waste to use the five-lab circle just to bring the sacrifices to Father? I mean, while that location seems to be within Father in some sense, it's also demonstrably physically reachable, and they had to be in the city already for it to work. I dunno. (I don't quite find engulfed!Hohenheim distractingly comical, but I can see that others would, so I'm not sure about the wisdom of that choice.)

(Also, Al's armor is vacant.)

Bradley was of course obviously Not Dead even on the first time through, falling into water like that, even if he was bleeding copiously. It's wonderful and touching that Ling grants Buccaneer's last wish to defend the gate and gets Greed's cooperation (before whatever-it-is that Greed has to do), but kind of hilarious that he has to rip his sleeves off to do it . . . (He was already sleeveless in the manga; it looks like in ch. 99 he takes off his coat and the shirt underneath is sleeveless.)

Bye, Buccaneer. You were awesome and you got a good death. (And you were the cause of awesome in others, including General Armstrong at the news.)

I love all the little shots of the non-combantants living their lives in Central.

I do remember being under a good deal of suspense about what would happen to Hawkeye; I didn't want to believe she'd die but I didn't want Mustang to cooperate with the gold-toothed doctor either. I can't actually remember how Mustang gets out performing transmutation here.

Manga notes:

Corresponds to vol. 25, ch. 100, "Holding the Gate," and a bit of ch. 101, "The Fifth Human Sacrifice."

The manga gives Bradley's survival away by showing him noticing the tunnel.

The chapter break comes on Hawkeye falling after her throat's been cut, the gold-toothed doctor demanding that Mustang perform transmutation, and Mustang yelling "Hawkeye!" So Mustang seeming to agree is from the next chapter, as is General Armstrong hearing about Buccaneer. I'm not really sure which is the worse cliffhanger . . .

Episode 59, "Lost Light"

In which Mustang is forced to open the Gate, Al is back, and it's Scar versus Bradley for all the marbles, one last time. (Mark's post.)

Oh right, they have allies, that's how Mustang gets out of it!

Why is Mei still going after the Stone? I thought she decided against that? Ugh, I don't have time to backtrack and figure this out. All the same, even if she's just backsliding to make giving it up to help Hawkeye more awesome, okay, because I like it when Mei is awesome.

I haven't ever liked that Pride forces Mustang to open the Gate anyway, it just feels too convenient and unexplained. People suggest in comments at Mark's that it's an ability of Father's or an ability of Gluttony's, neither of which seems very satisfying to me. Further, the story specifically says that it's because Pride's assimilated an alchemist who knows how to perform human transmutation (the doctor, though this is more ambiguous in the anime), not because of any other ability of Pride's. Yes, it's at a cost to Pride, but still, I just don't like it.

I'm also uncomfortable the way people react to Mustang's blindness, and am trying to remind myself that they've just lost a major offensive weapon, and save the abilism concerns for later.

Verbatim from my notes:

AL. BABY. YOU SWEETHEART.

(Temporarily putting aside his emaciated flesh body so he can fight, I can kind of see that going either way in the relationship-to-disability thing. I suspect I am in for a giant list post on this topic and no clear conclusions at the end.)

It never occured to me to wonder who's talking in Al's body, and I don't much care now; here is some discussion if you do.

The Scar v. Bradley eye-off, flashing back-and-forth between them, is pretty silly. Yes, their fight is incredibly thematically important, we get it. More on this later.

Manga notes:

Corresponds to vol. 25, the rest of ch. 101, "The Fifth Human Sacrifice," ch. 102, "Before the Portal," and a little bit of ch. 103, "For Whom?"

This shows Bradley's progress through the tunnel chronologically, not in a flashback. No opinion. Also it's more subtle about Scar v. Bradley. The conversation about Mustang's blindness and whether he performed transmutation is from ch. 103, after Al returns, which is kind of out-of-place (page limits?).

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