After an episode re-cap on important past events, mixed in with the monologue of the Elric brothers’ father Van Hohenheim, we are back where we left off. Alphonse has followed Gluttony to the homunculus main hideout; when they get there, Edward and Lin’s attempt to escape Gluttony’s Stomach has succeeded.
With our protagonists reunited, we finally see the face of the homunculus leader Father, who shows a huge resemblance to Van Hohenheim, with similar facial features. After a conversation turned bad, a battle ensues which ends up causing Al and Edward to lose their ability to use alchemy; it’s then that Lin suffers his punishment (which I will not go into further.)
On the other hand, things have gotten worse on Roy Mustang’s front; with the military higher-ups on Führer Bradley’s side, he has no choice but to comply to his demands: an order to split up his most trusted officers and send them to new locations far away from each other. With few people to trust, he uses his remaining contacts to think up a plan. These episodes also concentrate on Scar’s escape from the state military which takes his group up to the cold north; it provides some smart ideas and a thrilling train battle.
The series interweaves these interesting plotlines effectively; flashbacks on the Ishbalan Civil War are used again and these shine new light onto various characters’ personalities. The true intentions of the military make for some ideological ideas that blind many of the soldiers’ true motivations of serving the people.
Al and Edward continue to look for more information on the philosopher’s stone and their quest also takes them to the snowy north, to The Northern Wall of Fort Briggs, where they met General Olivier Mira Armstrong. She is quite the opposite to her brother Alex, a cold leader, but all of her crew are loyal because of it.
Again, there isn’t a boring moment in these thirteen episodes. The humour keeps on getting better, the lack of action is replaced with interesting new characters and well animated backgrounds, everything adding up to make a very satisfying boxset.
Opening “Golden Time Lover – Sukima Switch” is a funky guitar J-rock anthem showing some epic animation on the events to come and closing “Lil’B – Tsunaida Te” is a more mellow tune accompanying some colourful moments (though I do question the insertion of random rap verses.) The new Opening and Closing are shown on the last episode of the boxset which gives you an idea of what to expect from the future episodes.
Extras are commentaries on both discs: in the one for Episode 28, the voice actors discuss changes from the original Full Metal Alchemist back in 2003 and the barriers they encountered. The commentary to Episode 36 also gives us a discussion on their characters; both are fun to listen to. Textless Openings and Closings complete the package.
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood grips you in many ways and it’s no different in this latest excellent boxset. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this great series. An instant recommendation.