Back to watching FMA after a longish hiatus for holidays and such. Spoilers up through episode 38 under the cut; spoil me for future episodes and I will transmute a big cage around you.
Episode 36, "The Sinner Within Me": In which Ed, Al, and Winry learn difficult truths at the former Ishbalan refugee camp.
Yay, no dead Ishbalans!
Huh, so you can use deaths outside an array to make a Stone in the Ishbalan tradition (the "Grand Arcanum"):
"A fallen city, or an entire tribe lost to genocide. Atrocities of war so horrific all that remain are the graves. Ten of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of misplaced souls. In the hands of a skilled alchemist, these lost souls are brought together, forged into the Philosopher's Stone."
Presumably that's literally "in the hands," since there are lives in Scar's (brother's) arm? And this makes a bit more sense of the H-team's methods, at least.
Why are these souls "lost"? There's a shot of graves in a military-style cemetery, presumably they've had the proper services and such—what are the beliefs about what happens post-death?
Scar's brother blamed himself for the war because he tried to make a Stone, which is backward reasoning but hey, he was unbalanced by grief. And now Scar's going to make one to protect his people from the military, and Ed and Al are going after him because if they don't, "something really bad will happen." Apparently they think Scar's going to commit the necessary genocide, or would creating the Stone from existing deaths also be really bad (again I wonder what the religious systems teach about post-death)?
(At the beginning of the episode, Ed has an angst recap and worries about how far he might go; after hearing the old Ishbalan exile's story, now he's not wanting to kill Scar or anyone else. This is a good thing.)
Much talk about divisions inside people's heads: skin, eyes, religion, disability. I'm afraid that Ed's big dramatic moment of holding up his automail arm made me laugh, because it reminded me of these comments on shoujo conventions: "I will tell him how much I love him!!" Also, the music was awful.
In millitary-related news, Winry has found out that Mustang killed her parents, and goes back to Central and finally finds out about Hughes's murder; the Elric brothers spot the H-team's manipulations and refer Hawkeye to Archer (which I imagine was done off-screen with Armstrong); and Hawkeye has "someone I have to protect" (partial subtext: "so don't try and kill Mustang, Winry, or I will shoot you").
In villainous news, Wrath is introduced to the rest of the H-Team, and Sloth sends Lust and Gluttony (and maybe Envy, I'm not clear on this) after the Elrics, who are heading to Ishbal—if the Elrics find out what really happened in Ishbal [*], they'll never make the Stone, and it'll be a blow to the H-Team's mobility, so Gluttony might get to eat them after all.
[*] What, besides that the H-Team started it? Oh, wait, they don't know that. I think. How this is a blow to the H-Team's mobility I can't figure. Maybe there's more.
Episode 37, "The Flame Alchemist, the Bachelor Lieutenant and the Mystery of Warehouse 13": In which we see the daily life of Mustang's staff.
So. Very. Silly.
Internal Affairs has an ongoing investigation of Mustang? Is this serious or just a way to get this joke going?
Hereditary pink sparkles! Zombie!Havoc after being rejected by Armstrong's sister! Very cute, well-trained doggie with buried drumstick bones!
Archer tells Sciezka to burn everything she's found regarding Hughes' investigation, and then tells the Furher that it's odd that there are no records from when Lab 5 was operational. I can't tell if these are related or not, or what he's up to. Archer gets the Furher to agree to send Tucker and Kimblee to Lior, where there's a civil war and Scar. (Perhaps with a little suggestion of threat? "Of course, I can't imagine you would have had any pre-existing knowledge of this breach [re: Lab 5], Furher," and then a very non-reaction shot from the Furher.)
Mustang is forced to visit the Hughes' by Hawkeye, talks with Gracia and Elicia, and sees Winry in the window: "Like I was saying, it's always a lot scarier dealing with the living."
Mustang is conspiring with Armstrong and talks himself into the Eastern Campaign with Archer and Armstrong. This should be very interesting, especially since I'd had the impression that Hakuro had just killed everyone in Lior. Presumably we'll finally see Rose again.
Episode 38, "With the River's Flow": In which Ed is a jerk to Al, and Winry and Sciezka investigate Hughes' death.
Ed was really a jerk to Al when they fought at the beginning of the episode, even if Al eventually decides Ed's right, they need to stop Scar because vengenance is wrong. (Al doesn't help things, of course, by bringing up their father, but that's after the end of the fight.)
Sciezka and Winry investigating Hughes's murder; how did Sloth know they were eavesdropping? At least they now know that Juliet Douglas is in cahoots with Envy and is obviously not human. Sloth is temporarily taken aback by Winry recognizing her face as Mama Elric, presumably from the same kind of memory-flash that Lust had in episode 35.
(I do wish they didn't have to do the explicit explanation of how Ed found Al at the river, but ah well.)
Ed doesn't recognize Marta; Marta doesn't know how Greed died; Al doesn't want to enable Marta's revenge, even if they do have to take a ride from her to Ishbal (is Lior, by chance, on the way there?). Whee.
These were a quieter set of episodes, and seem to be moving pieces around for big things to come, probably at Lior.
The list of people who know or knew about the brothers' human transmutation:
(Note: I believe this list is unchanged from last time, but am leaving it in for reference purposes.)
- All the Homunculi but Pride, since Pride hasn't been revealed yet;
- 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;
- Izumi Curtis and her husband;
- the chimeras with Greed in episode 30+; and
- 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.
|Lust||Scar's brother (attempt: his lover)||(First) Ishbal Rebellion, ~1908?||pointy fingernails||the first-seen Homunculi team, working for an unseen person||stated goal: acquire the Philosopher's Stone so that the H. can become human; as of episode 36, going to Lior with Gluttony|
|Gluttony||?||?||eats through metal, tracks by taste||the H-team||mostly works with Lust|
|Envy||?||100s of years ago?||shape-shifts||the H-team||loathes Papa Elric; as of episode 38, on (solo?) mission and almost at destination|
|Sloth||Elric brothers (attempt: their mother)||1910||manipulates own body as water and vapor||the H-team||masquerading as Juliet Douglas|
|Greed (1)||Dante (attempt: ?)||pre-1770s (130-140 years in prison)||the Ultimate Shield (carbon)||himself||imprisoned by the H-team; stated goal: eternal life; killed by Ed in episode 34|
|Greed (2)||speculation based on episode 35 comments that H. will just be replaced|
|Wrath||Izumi (attempt: her unborn child)||~1906? (before 1910, appears a pre-teen in 1915)||can do alchemy because of Ed's limbs; H.-specific power?||the H-team||survived on own, unlike other H., because of alchemy (per Envy)|