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incidents and accidents, hints and allegations

FMA (brothers winter), Fullmetal Alchemist
Kate kate_nepveu
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Fullmetal Alchemist, episodes 30-32 (dubs)

We watched these Friday night. At the end of episode 32, Chad and I were discussing whether to watch more taped episodes, and one of the things I said was that, judging from the titles, "I think it's going to be just cliff-hangers all the way down from here."

So, spoilers for episodes 30-32 of Fullmetal Alchemist; spoil me for future episodes and I'll sic a psycho on you (and I have so many to choose from!).

Episode 30, "Assault on South Headquarters": In which Izumi, well, makes an assault on South Headquarters.

Hmm. Archer recognizes the child as a Homunculus because of the Ouroboros, which appears not to be common knowledge. Is he working off Hughes' notes or does he have independent means of figuring this out?

So the corrupt Lt. Yoki is in a safe-haven type place and is informing on Scar. Is there any minor character we aren't going to see again? And the Furher sends Mustang after Scar.

The muscle facedown was, as Winry said, "just odd."

Chimera! Tucker! So Tucker is now working for Greed, along with Kimblee and the blond tattooed woman; Lab 5 must've been shut down and he was either made to find other work or jumped a sinking ship. Whee, factions.

Why doesn't Armstrong tell them about Hughes? Wah.

Ummm, okay, medically, you can't lose your liver, stomach, and both intestines and still live, much less have the remaining pick up the slack! I'm sorry but that is just ridiculous.

And there's the mother-doom I was waiting for. I do take it back about being gratuitous, though, in light of other episodes.

Episode 31, "Sin": In which Wrath is revealed.

My notes say, "Sending Mustang? Smell a rat." Since sending the Flame Alchemist into a volatile situation with Ishbalan refugees is such a good idea for everyone involved! Especially with the reference to mercenaries harrassing the Ishbalans pretending to be military—they were under Sloth's direction, weren't they?

And Scar's brother's teacher is in the camp (and Lust, and Gluttony . . . ). This isn't going to go well.

Wrath wrapup: Izumi created him when she tried to resurrect her unborn child, or rather gave him that child's body. Then he waited behind the Gateway and took Ed's limbs; he can do alchemy because of those limbs, and used that power to get out. Envy feeds him incomplete Philosopher's Stones, he remembers, his eyes change from blue to purple, and, well, he's tainted now. (Is killing a Homunculus as simple as breaking their neck? There has to be some way since not always seven of them present—and since all seven of them are there does that mean that one could practice human transmutation now without creating one? And where's Pride?)

(I haven't watched the subs of these yet, but I really like Wrath's English voiceover.)

So they did create Sloth out of their mother's body. Eep. (There's also a new Lust, made by Scar's brother's attempt.) How do Homunculi get out normally?

Archer offers Kimblee a place in the military! Jeez. Though at least Armstrong lets Izumi go.

Sloth can fly through/manipulate the water, Greed is the "ultimate shield," and that skull's key to his prison. This'll come up again.

Can I just say that "give my brother his limbs back!" is a dumb reason to kill. "He wants to take over the rest of brother's body" is a perfectly good one, however, but there's no clarity of thought here.

Episode 32, "Dante of the Deep Forest": In which a second Ishbalan Rebellion seems in the offing and we meet an alchemist wearing a great big red stone.

Wrath gets away, where does he go?

WTF is up with the face on Sloth's chest? The only thing I can think of it modifying her face so that she looks a little less like their mother, but man, that was weird.

Greed was created by Dante, apparently?

The people at the camp need to be registered. No good political or historical resonances there. And Lust and Gluttony do what they intended to all along, and Mustang snaps for "crowd control" . . . can this possibly end well? Wait, this is Fullmetal Alchemist! Of course it can't!

Izumi kicks out her students and/so they can return as equals, who share her sins and burdens with her! Yay, cooperation and ignoring equivalent exchange! (Though Izumi only focuses on the negatives in demonstrating why it's not, actually, how the world works. Eventually they'll all remember the positive reasons too.) And later, Dante puts "happiness" and "work" on either side of the equation, which is provocative.

(Though Ed can ignore bad things too, with his "lalalalalala" act when Al tries to bring up their own failed transmutation and Homunculi.)

And the possibility that Al's body is still on the other side of the Gate, huh? Innnnnteresting. Is that what their quest is going to refocus on? How will the Stone play into that? Ed thinks they can try to open the Gate with the Stone, and then Izumi sends them to see Dante, which is very suggestive.

So what's-her-face from Youswell is Dante's apprentice now? I don't trust her but it seems it doesn't matter. And Dante is WEARING A GREAT BIG RED STONE as a brooch.

Kimblee is trying to subvert Tucker into pursuing/taking the Stone for themselves. Meanwhile, though, Kimblee goes off to help kidnap Al (and Ed? Last we see him he's just knocked out on the ground.), while Al cracks me up: "I decided not to go with strangers!" And—cliffhanger.

It's such a good thing Chad is watching this along with me, otherwise I would not have the willpower to avoid a marathon viewing.

* * *

The list of people who know or knew about the brothers' human transmutation:

  • Rose;
  • Lust, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth, Wrath, probably Greed since he's working with Tucker;
  • 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);
  • Cornello;
  • Majhal;
  • Shou Tucker;
  • Winry and Auntie Pinako;
  • Marcoh;
  • Scar;
  • 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;
  • Izumi Curtis and her husband;
  • the lizard-y chimera with Tucker in episode 30+; and
  • Kimblee.
  • In the military:
    • Roy Mustang;
    • Riza Hawkeye;
    • Maes Hughes;
    • Alex Louis Armstrong;
    • Kain Furey;
    • Heymans Breda;
    • Jean Havoc;
    • Vato Falman;
    • Maria Ross;
    • Denny Brosh;
    • Lt. Col. Archer.

You pick up a lot that I missed on first viewing, and so does rilina, and so did loligo and yhlee. I would feel really dumb except I think I'm allowed some stupefaction from taking something like four or five days to watch the entire series in one obsessive swoop.

I've started scribbling notes to myself, though often they're not legible since I'm also trying not to take my eyes off the TV and miss something. And I usually end up re-watching a lot of the episodes, either listening to the dubs or putting the fansubs on 4x and putting them on one side of the screen while I type on the other side; so these are really the product of two watchings.

Which is all very obsessive but since I kept finding myself having questions about stuff that already happened, nevermind trying to figure out *what is going on* . . .

After watching just three or four episodes a night, I often feel almost drugged trying to take it all in (hence the number of late-night speculations). Watching it in an obsessive swoop--stupefying almost seems too mild a word.

Ah, but I missed the alchemist wearing the great big red stone. *facepalm*

Kate, episode 32 actually explains where Wrath goes; perhaps the dub makes it unclear? (Don't know if you want me to tell you.)

Hmm. Wrath runs off after Izumi transmutes the ground, the brothers run after them, and meet Envy and Sloth on the beach. Sloth claims that "our men are already on his trail."

(Oh, I forgot to say how cute Ed was when he scratched the side of his head before going back to Izumi. I usually think he's more like a cat than a dog, dog of the military notwithstandin, because he's so prickly and bushy-tailed, but that was a very doggie kind of move.)

After that . . . we don't see Wrath again or hear a reference to him.

I don't see anything in the sub either. It's definitely episode 32?

Yes. Huh, maybe it's not supposed to be obvious? (I mention Wrath's location in my post on this episode, so if you don't want to know, you should avoid it.)

Oh, I'd even read that post and not registered that sentence, I don't know how.

No, wow, I didn't get that at all, but I hadn't understood the sub's statement either. I said in the post what I interpreted that bit as.


(Deleted comment)
Well, while pressure-cookers are generally bad unless one is, you know, cooking, your FMA posts have been really interesting and helpful for me to read. I can't wait until I'm done and can read your other posts.

^_^ FMA is a very cliffhangery series - prepare for the 'just-one-more-episode' phenomenom in the later part. Hmmm... th 'Izumi losing her internal organs' was I think mistranslated - part of the reason she can't have children anymore is because that her reproductive organs were taken from her as the price, along with a minor parts - at least that was the translation here.

Note on the people who know: I think the folks in Lior think Al as some sort of alchemical construct and passed him off as "one of those wacky things alchemists make".

Well, both the dubs here and the fansubs I have translate it as missing her internal organs from here to here, pointing to liver and then lower intestines. If just her reproductive organs were missing, I don't know why she'd be vomiting blood all the time. *shrug*

I agree about Lior, but it was only a slight possibility anyway.

I think that's just bad writing/not enough research. ^_^ Blood vomiting or coughing it up is a stereotype in anime/manga - the manga actually plays it for laughs.

Well, there's bad writing *somewhere* here, either on the location of the reproductive organs or in the effect of their removal!

Thanks for the stereotype information.

Also, I had really thought it was implied that Wrath was watching them the first time they were on the island--he references playing catch-the-rodent, which was shown in the flashback not the present-day island stuff. Obviously not the case, which seems to me a minor but annoying red herring.

(Deleted comment)
Cool! I'm so glad to hear it. I really thought that a lot of the political/military stuff (which is going to be amped up in "The Ishbal Massacre," airing this week) and the alchemical stuff (which has been getting *really* interesting lately) would appeal to you.

*feels proud*

Alas that I cannot help with the sitting around with friends, but I could send you recorded episodes burnt onto DVD if you wanted them in a lump.

(Deleted comment)
Yeah, they're on NetFlix, though NetFlix will only be up through episode 24 as of next week. (I am mildly annoyed at Funimation for this, actually, as episode 25 is the end of season one, and surely they could squoosh it onto the same disc as the prior episodes?)

I would say that _FMA_ rewards close watching, but my guess is more so after a certain point, which is probably after where you are. However, I think the reveals are pretty clear, so if you *aren't* paying really close attention, you still won't be lost, eventually.

As for _Firefly_, which two episodes had you seen?

"I think it's going to be just cliff-hangers all the way down from here."

That does match my recollection of how I watched the series. At first, in measured doses. Then, in feverish gulps.

The muscle facedown between Armstong and Sig is based on a theme you see pop up a lot in martial arts-flavored anime - that "warriors can only truely speak to one another with their fists." (It's also interesting that Izumi got involved in this comparison too.)

I think that Armstong doesn't tell the two about Hughes because he knows that doing so would most definately sidetrack them, and possibly get them into deeper, hotter water.

And yes, Al's response was pretty funny.

Belatedly--I can't help but feel that in doing so, he's doing the same kind of thing that ended up with Hughes getting killed.

In other words, I have a bad feeling about it. But this is FMA, I have bad feelings about everything!

Additional belated thoughts--

Archer in episode _29_ talks about an "upcoming battle," before Mustang's even *sent* to the refugee camp. Is he referring to the Ishbalans, and how does he *know*? If he's not . . . is the country planning to invade somewhere else?

Homunculi powers as seen to date:

* Lust: makes her fingernails go all pointy. (Oh yeah, survived getting a spike through the torso; that must've been why I was dubious that it would really have been so easy to kill Wrath.)

* Gluttony: eats through metal, tracks by taste.

* Envy: shape-shifts.

* Sloth: chokes a man with hand-vapor, speeds through water, creates waterspouts, [thing Rilina refers above].

* Greed: poings; is the Ultimate Shield, whatever that means.

* Wrath: ?? can do alchemy because of Ed's limbs, does he have a H.-specific power?

* Pride: unknown, haven't met (knowingly) it yet.

Lust particularly seems to have the short end of the stick here.

Well, remember the discussion that Mustang's unit was having about Archer, as well - this is a man who lives for war, and seems to be willing to foment it.

Oh, sure--I was commenting less on willingness than *knowledge*.