NetFlix has an Albany location now: Chad put a Homicide disc in the mail on Tuesday and we got volume 4 of Fullmetal Alchemist on Thursday. I had work that night, though, so we watched it last night. (I think I will save watching the fansubs, for comparison, for later when I need a fix.)
Sleep-deprived rambling follows. Spoil me for future episodes and I will sic Hawkeye on you.
Episode 13, "Flame vs. Fullmetal": In which Ed contrives to duel Roy Mustang for his assessment, as a ploy to get information on Dr. Marcoh out of him. And Hawkeye gets a dog, and Al loses a cat.
Lots of comic relief in this episode—where the hell did the miniskirt thing come from? I am entirely unsurprised that Mustang wants to be Furher, but that was just weird (as was the manic dog speech). All the comic bits sat a little uneasily with the gearing-up for the darker episodes to come, such as Roy's flashback during the duel (especially since the coolly professorial bits were amusing in style, though I suspect serious underneath too).
We see a whole bunch of Mustang's staff: Havoc, Hawkeye, and Falman (dubs spelling, rather than Farman) again, and also sloppily-dressed, scared-of-dogs Breda, and softie Fuery.
Ed has really weird ideas about equivalent exchange. Asking Mustang to take care of the cat is wrong because it'll put them in debt to him? His duel idea was pretty half-baked, too; I'm not sure if his emotions were getting the better of him or it was idiot plotting.
(I feel like there ought to be some connection between their not being able to keep a cat as children, and Ed's refusing to keep the cat now; but I can't tease it out.)
The brass showing up at East City: those are a lot of State Alchemists; I didn't think there were so many. The Furher's secretary both looks like, and sounds like (per Al in episode 15), their mother. I have . . . absolutely no idea what to make of that.
A lot of tying back into prior episodes: what's happening in Lior (Rose is there! I thought she left the city), and Scar's back.
Episode 14, "Destruction's Right Hand": In which the Elric brothers find Dr. Marcoh and his incomplete Philosopher's Stone, Brigadier General Grand metaphorically twirls his fantastic moustache, and Scar is really back.
Not particularly a surprise at this point that Lust et al. aren't human, and that they're after the Philosopher's Stone, but we get explicit confirmation. I wonder where they got the incomplete Stone that backfired on the original Cornello?
I'd thought that Ed was getting ruder in his quest, so I was glad to see him get better.
I guess I was wrong about Grand wreaking havoc on the battlefield. Can't say I was real sorry to see him get killed, oh well.
Major Alex Louis Armstrong is kind of ridiculous, really. I was chuckling a bit at him by the end of the disc, though.
Did Scar's sister look like Lust?!
That's the last time we see Rose in this disc, defying Hakuro, I think—his character design is not so distinctive.
Episode 15, "The Ishbal Massacre": In which Kate eeps a lot.
(Okay, okay: In which we learn why Scar's killing off alchemists, what the military did with the incomplete Philosopher's Stones in the Ishbal uprising, and how Winry's parents died.)
Are red eyes really a likely tribal trait? Disapproving alchemy on religious grounds isn't that far-fetched, at least.
Waaah, Roy. I didn't even recognize him after he'd shot Winry's parents, though I should've spotted the hair (I got it in the next scene). Of the State Alchemists who went in on the Furher's orders, I saw Mustang, Armstrong, and Grand, of course; there was the weird guy with the circles on his palms and long ponytail who also used a Stone (and liked it); and someone who I first thought was Majhal in the group shot, but probably not.
Scar thinks that Ed's palm-clasp creates an array by making a circle of his body. Which makes a certain amount of sense, but doesn't explain why it doesn't work for anyone else. To-be-continued: Scar's arm and the Stone it absorbed.
More of Ed's inconsistent ideas about equivalent exchange, or rather not so much inconsistent as noble and self-sacrificing and stuff, since I don't think he actually believed it given his comments to Scar earlier. Al quite properly slaps him down for it.
And now I can add lots and lots of people to the "knowing about the brothers' human transmutation" list.
Episode 16, "That Which is Lost": In which Ed loses his leg and Al, not in that order.
The Furher warns Roy off the Philosopher's Stone, but I think Roy had left the room already.
Roy mocking Ed was also weird to me—I mean, yes, Ed had just needled him about the Rockbells, but the comments about Ed losing his arm . . . I'd thought Ed was exaggerating when he imitates Mustang at the start of episode 13, with the short jokes and all, because it wasn't at all like what I remembered of Mustang from the first episodes, but I guess he wasn't. I was unsurprised to find that Mustang sent Ed off to Lior expecting what would happen (and probably to Aquaroya and Xenotime too), because that fit very well with "sneaky manipulative bastard"; and his blood-soaked backstory works for me too, because now he's a sneaky manipulative bastard with a purpose. But now I've ended up trusting him more and liking him less, which is an odd effect.
(Hmm, I wonder whether he comes off differently in the fansubs, though I don't know how much I'd be able to tell about his tone in Japanese. Something to look for.)
So Marcoh hid his notes, Ed's going to look for them after getting his arm fixed, and Lust only wants him to see certain amounts of information, so she tries to get the location out of Marcoh. (Some protective custody, not that I trusted the Furher's intentions anyway. Gack, wait, does this mean the Furher's working with them? No, jumping to conclusions: I'm sure Lust et al. are perfectly capable of getting through security themselves, or it could be someone lower in the hierarchy. But for some reason, it snagged my attention that Marcoh was expecting a messenger with an answer from the Furher when Lust came in.) And Scar is headed to the library to ambush Ed. It's going to be a crowded library in however-many episodes.
I got a better look at Lust's symbol, which looked like a very stylized creature (lizard? spiky bits on the back, but snake's mythologically sounder) biting its tail. And Lust has already been killed once?
Gangs out in the country, huh? This also doesn't speak well of the condition of the state.
Al's plot here is cute and resourceful.
A little heavy-handed, this bit, but still, poor Ed breaking down in that soldier's house over their path so far (that watch, what a handy symbol) and whether they'll ever gain anything. And then deciding to forge ahead anyway, because that's what Ed does, even though he keeps being given reasons to think better of it.
Overall: intense, at least the last three. For all that I've talked more about Roy than Ed or Al here, I did like the growth in the Elric brothers' characters in this set. And I have more questions than ever, which must be terribly frustrating for those of you who are reading this and know the answers, because I don't actually want answers just now. Sorry.
(Oh, and the character profile for Envy said it was one of the Homunculi, which I'm not sure we're supposd to know in-show at this point. Also not sure if seven-deadly-sins Homunculi are a special case of the Homunculi mentioned by Ed in episode 3.)
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The list of people who know about the brothers' human transmutation:
- Lust, Gluttony, presumably Envy;
- did the people of Lior understand about the empty armor? I don't think so, but there's a slight possibility that "most of Lior" should be on this list;
- Winry and Auntie Pinako;
- Roy Mustang and his staff (Hawkeye, Hughes, Armstrong, Furey, Havoc, Falman); almost certainly none of his superiors, at least not from him;
- The Furher's secretary? Was she close enough to see Al in episode 15?;
- The ex-soldier without a leg in episode 16, who Ed tells about trying to restore his arm and leg and his brother's body.
- Shou Tucker.
Apparently the next disc comes out in a couple of weeks; I wonder if NetFlix will be any faster in getting it to us now, or if we'll break down and start watching fansubs. (The discs are just a bit more expensive than I'd really be happy in paying just now, even discounted—the list prices are ridiculous.)
*heads off to read other people's comments*