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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood rewatch, Episodes 45-46
Reminder: spoilers for everything.

Episode 45, "The Promised Day"

In which Ed joins Greedling's team and lots of other people get ready for the Promised Day. (Mark's post.)

This is a super-cool episode. I love the Greed-Wrath fight (Pride lurking in plain sight), Ling's surfacing, and Ed learning from his past mistakes and agreeing to work for Greed. (Greedling's hair doesn't see to track which of them is ascendant, though.)

I also love the Armstrong family, who doesn't even bother waiting around to see who's going to win the single combat to determine control of the family, and Olivier sending them away for their safety, and just all their over-the-top-ness.

Arrgh, there's Mei being manipulated by Envy to go to Central. Should never have left the others, Mei, but now that you have, you should definitely not go somewhere Envy tells you . . .

And I love the marshalling of resources and passing of messages. The best of these, of course, is Izumi beating up random soldiers to get into Briggs, but it's all great. Ensemble cast! (Though still with some surprise appearances to come.)

Seeing the whole episode, including the montage under the closing credits that ends on the episode title on a black screen, makes me realize why it skipped the usual title screen: it's about the leadup to the Promised Day, and calling it "The Promised Day" early in the episode would give the impression that the Day was going to arrive in that episode. (Arakawa does this in the manga too, which I'm sure is where they got it.)

Manga notes:

Corresponds to the rest of vol. 20, part of ch. 82, "Family by Spirit," and ch. 83, "The Promised Day."

The Armstrongs decide to bring an elephant back from Xing as a souvenir; apparently "statue," which is what the anime has them decide to bring back, is a homophone, but they're written slightly differently. I personally imagined them commissioning statues of themselves but in Xing's style, so I kind of like that. But, on the other hand, elephants!

Ed calls Greed+Ling "Grin"; the anime's "Greeling" is unquestionably a good change.

And that's it, except for a tiny line here or there.

Episode 46, "Looming Shadows"

In which the Promised Day is TOMORROW, but some pieces are still moving on the board. (Mark's post.)

Three big developments: Al captured by Pride and Gluttony (Pride's creepy little shadow hands around Al's blood seal are very upsetting; Bradley's train blown up over a ravine; and Father taking change in Central. Along with all the setup for the big day, these give a nice tension to the episode.

I'm fairly sure I expected Bradley to come back on first read, because we never saw a body and he is a Homunculus.

I liked that Ed refused to go see Al at the station because it was too risky, though it was sad. (Also, this episode really makes clear how much Ed has physically aged and matured over the series—Winry too, check out these screencaps.) I also liked Scar's statement that he's not working to save the country but change it (even if the conversation leading up to that was hideously clunky), and the appearance of the Ishvalans who have decided to help after hearing from Scar and Marcoh. And a bit of last-minute greying things up, with Greed arguing to Ed that merely wanting things, itself, isn't bad. (Obviously not a Buddhist.)

Internet checking confirms that we haven't seen Hakuro in the anime before, which is a little too bad, because his rivalry with Mustang gives a good reason for him to be overly-confident in his intelligence.

Hah, hah, 18 episodes to go (over a quarter of the series) and it's the Promised Day tomorrow!

Manga notes:

Corresponds to vol. 21, ch. 84, "Shadow of the Pursuer," and part of ch. 85, "The Empty Box."

Hardly anything. Greed specifically connects greed and hope, which I don't think was phrased quite that way in the anime. There's a tiny bit of conversation with the contractors fixing up the Armstrong home and her neighbors disapproving of her. After the train blows up, there's a little chatter among the military personnel remembering serving together in Ishval and how this situation is different. That's about it.

(And somehow I'm not ahead of Mark any more, despite last week off. Oh well, that's what weekends are for . . . )

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