Episode 60, "Eye of Heaven, Gateway of Earth"
In which Father turns everyone in Amestris into a Philosopher's Stone to draw down the power of the eclipse. (Mark's post.)
Hi Brosh! (At the radio station, coming in to negotiate.)
Down with Father, the question of how Pride could force Mustang to open the gateway is raised and not answered. The damage he took is confirmed, however.
(Technically they are inside Father, in his belly—very Gluttony-esque—but still, Mei got there without being transmuted.)
Ishvalans! Setting up the counter-circle—Scar's brother's counter-circle. And speaking of, in a stunner of a reveal Scar performs constructive alchemy and shows off the new tattoos on his other arm! (I can't help but see this as a commentary on 2003, where he literally gives up both arms and then dies in the dirt to complete a transmutation circle with his body, just in service of Al's personal quest. Wow, I can't believe I didn't recognize how awful that was at the time.)
Greed pops in, hoping to be the one in the center, and is summarily rejected (but still there).
And then the eclipse reaches totality and Father activates the nationwide circle, taking the souls of everyone in the nation and using it to draw down and absorb "God" through the eclipse's Gate. (What was happening here is not very clear, thankfully the next episode explains. Also I suspect the use of "god" in this way is always going briefly cause my brain to blip because I'm conditioned to default to monotheism.)
I have to say that I never believed that they were actually all dead, because rocks fall, everyone dies, really? No way. So unlike Hawkeye, I could not really be in suspense.
Corresponds to the rest of vol. 25, ch. 103, "For Whom?", and part of vol. 26, ch. 104, "The Center of the World."
Ch. 103 does not actually show that the Ishvalans have a drawing of the counter-circle.
The volume breaks on the reveal of Scar's new tattoos.
Vol. 26 is the same length as prior volumes but has only three chapters.
There is a page showing people stopping trains, turning off stoves, etc., when they feel something like an earthquake, just as Father grabs all the sacrifices and thumps them down on the floor, which may be why the "sure their souls are back but think of all the accidents" thing that many people in Mark's comments mention re: the next episode did not occur to me.
The manga translates Father's comments about the planet as having a Gate as "consciousness," not "system"; I prefer the anime's choice.
When Greed shows up, there's no brief moment of triumph for him, making it even more anticlimactic.
And as mentioned previously, Brosh at the station happened some chapters ago.
Episode 61, "He Who Would Swallow God"
In which two counter-circles are activated and Wrath and Pride are defeated. (Mark's post.)
The episode opens explaining that an eclipse is an alchemical union of the moon and sun (symbolically different genders) and thus represents a perfect being, or more than that, god. Ed also makes clear in dialogue that everyone's been sucked into a giant Philosopher's Stone, so we have the precedent of souls remaining distinct.
The lack of music in the opening is very eerie. But Father's new body is hilarious.
It's really great that Hohenheim had this huge plan to single-handedly undo the soul-suck of Amestris. [*] But I do wonder how he thought that was sufficient and why he never tried to enlist aid. As these episodes demonstrate, this is a seriously team effort, and it's not as though Hohenheim had any additional plan before running into Ed.
[*] I was going to write that I didn't understand the difference between the two circles in this episode, but no, I do, destroying the Philosopher's Stone doesn't send the souls back to their bodies. On the other hand the circle that Marcoh uses to destroy Envy's Stone is not the same as Scar's, and so I don't understand the difference between those. Maybe Marcoh's only works on contact?
The Scar-Bradley fight. The thing I said last time about commentary on Scar losing his arms in 2003? Yeah, except even more so.
(I love that Scar still hates Amestrians.)
Lanfan's conversation asking about Bradley's wife was puzzling to me before various people pointed out that she's thinking about Greedling and whether there's any possibility of true emotion from him.
The stuff about dead people underground that I thought was the not!zombies is explained here as Scar activates the second counter-circle, his brother's, and deactivates the nation-wide Stone that's been interfering with Amestrian alchemy.
Meanwhile, Father is on the surface fighting for survival, prompting the great "Can you fight?" moment with Mustang and Hawkeye, because the way they say "I love you" is "go kick ass even though I can't."
The Pride-Kimblee thing is a shocker, but really, my main thought about this scene was that you have to wrap up babies, Ed, they get cold because of their fast metabolism and high proportion of surface area to volume! (Here is an epic analysis of Homunculus deaths arguing that they are all undone by irony re: their own sins, and I think it's significant in this regard that Ed leaves behind his cloak, the one he transmuted to get himself all spiffy for battle, for the baby.
(Did Lust not have a true form? Or Sloth? or did they take so much damage that even that was lost?)
Anyway. I do not like Kimblee, at all, but it was a great moment, surprising but entirely earned.
Corresponds to vol. 26, the last few pages of ch. 104, "The Center of the World," ch. 105, "The Throne of God," and most of ch. 106, "Pride's Abyss."
Ch. 104 ends on Father's new body and his declaring that he'd succeeded in absorbing God. Ch. 105 starts with the flashback to the Elrics as kids learning about the eclipse, and ends with Scar activating the second counter-circle and Ed declaring that now he's going to beat Father, though without an explanation of what the circle did. Ch. 106 opens with Scar explaining, in a little more detail, his brother's research and what the circle did.
Hohenheim says that the souls of everyone in Amestris are still connected to their bodies by their spirits and that souls are naturally drawn back to their bodies, like magnets; the first piece of information is new and seems a little superfluous, though every little bit helps here, I suppose.
Many people at Mark's pointed out a small dialogue change: when Ed and Al physically support Hohenheim, in the manga he says that he's been a lousy father but now he wants to show off a bit for them. In the anime he references his age instead.
The anime has the sunlight that dazzles Bradley reflect off his sword, which seems more plausible to me.
Another small dialogue change: the manga has Bradley talk about marriage to a king, not to the Fuhrer, reducing the obvious applicability to Lanfan/Greedling.
Finally, there are a lot of double-page spreads in this volume, befitting its epic-ness. Or something. (I am very tired.)
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