This week's new-to-us recordings from Adult Swim. Spoil me for future episodes and I'll explode you from the inside. (This includes hints, statements that something will be explained in the future, and pretty much anything that answers any of the questions under the cut. Sorry.)
Episode 21, "The Red Glow": In which revelations fall like bombshells.
Whoosh. Let's see:
- The guy tied up in the red-lit chamber is yet another Homunculus, Greed, who's been imprisoned for 130 years before being set free by accident by Barry's bomb triggering—and who is not working with Lust, Gluttony, and Envy;
- The ponytailed guy in episode 15 killed a bunch of his own people and has been in prison since, named Kimbley (sp?);
- TUCKER! That really creeped me out. The upside-face is just viscerally upsetting; and,
- Scar's brother was trying to resurrect the dead as well, the woman with Lust's face, with about the same results. There's more to come on this, I think, since we don't know why he thought that for her to be resurrected, Ishbal had to be destroyed, or what happened to him and to Scar's arm. Those tattoos looked rather like the ones on the big arrays in the lab, too. (I thought at first that this was a little too much parallelism; and it might be, but OTOH resurrection of loved ones must be a fairly common desire, and it makes plot sense for them to have met.)
And then there was all the stuff with the armored serial killer brothers. Ed's anguish is understandable about the one who committed suicide, but it missed the point; if they're human, then they get to make that choice. Still, waah, and punches up the tension in the next episode.
Did I mention that Tucker really, really creeped me out?
Episode 22, "Created Human": In which Ed chooses not to make the Stone.
One of the ways in which Tucker creeped me is how the upside-down face fit with his tempting Ed to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. I . . . don't know if I thought Ed might do it. But I was very glad that he didn't.
On a lighter note, pajamas! Hughes has duckies, the Fuhrer flowers. And then right back to doom—his secretary lets the other Homunculi go while obviously recognizing what they are. With Trisha Elric's face, she has to be one (Sloth, Wrath, or Pride, I guess). The Furher knows a lot about what's going on, is she his source?
The Homunculi were made, not born, and can't do alchemy, so they've been leading Ed around to get him to make the Stone so they can be human. Everybody wants to be human, I'm half waiting for a stuffed rabbit to show up. (Err, as in Velveteen, not as in Ni Jianyi.) (And still don't know about the faces; the only one we've seen shapeshift is Envy, and I suspect Envy is the only one, since it was the one who had to impersonate Cornello.)
Envy: " . . . the only reason I haven't killed you is that we were told not to." We? Lust's comments suggested that they had perfectly good reasons not to kill him all on their own. (And, "But I can never forgive you . . . for carrying that bastard's blood in your veins!" Presumably this is the mysterious missing Dad.)
Gluttony calls a room with symbols similar to where Greed was imprisoned (if not the same place) "the bad place." Put together with "we," I speculate that they were also held there and were selectively let out at whoever's direction. (The manga refers to "Father" in volumes 1 and 2, but I don't know how closely that's going to track.)
Lovely articulation of what's wrong with alchemy, or at least what's wrong with alchemy as Tucker and the Homunculi view it: zero-sum all the way, baby. "In order to achieve anything in life, you have to take it from someone else."
Scar tells Ed to take his brother and go, but I'm not counting on him giving up his quest to kill Ed under less charged circumstances. Will Ed have lasting effects from stepping into incomplete Stone material?
Kimbley and Greed got away, apparently? Presumably Tucker stayed, as he was supposed to be there.
Episode 23, "Heart of Steel": In which Al freaks out and runs away.
Ed recognizes the symbol on the Homunculi as the Ouroboros, for those of us who were slow and didn't recognize it without someone saying it.
Chad points out that we'd gone a whole two episodes without any slapstick, so we were overdue. Mixed in with random woe, of course. (And in a demonstration that life and its creation isn't zero-sum, birthday cake for everyone! [Ed is now 16.])
I could do with a little less comic-relief with Winry, but it was good to see the ways she's important, even in a heavy-handed Hughes speech. And hey, there's my cow! Err, cows.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about Al's part of this arc. On one hand, it's amazing that he hasn't cracked up under the stress of being a disembodied soul before, and his freakout was very carefully set up. On the other hand, I am fundamentally disinclined towards existential crises and have less patience for them than I might—also with irrational I'm-not-listening modes of fighting. Perhaps it's because he's usually the solid one, the conscience, and his mode here is a disappointment after that—realistic and understandable, but still.
You know, it's really going to suck when we catch up with Adult Swim and start getting one new episode a week. (Yes, I have fansubs, but I do like watching the dubs first.)
* * *
The list of people who know about the brothers' human transmutation (I'm no longer breaking it down between alive and dead, because that's just not so useful anymore):
- Lust, Gluttony, Envy, the Furher's secretary;
- 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 (what's left of it);
- Shou Tucker;
- Winry and Auntie Pinako;
- 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;
- The Slicer(s), and Barry the Chopper;
- All the prisoners in Lab 5;
- Roy Mustang;
Also, new icon. The warm colors are a little too orange to me, which I haven't been able to fix with mucking everything else up. Any brilliant image-manipulators out there? (Edit: revised, thanks to desdenova.)