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FMA: The Brotherhood Diaries – Episode 16

Ed, Al, and Winry

Ani-Gamers staff writer Ink contributes a weekly column in which he examines the differences between the original Fullmetal Alchemist and its re-telling, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. To read previous entries, click here.

Watch Episode 16 – Footsteps of a Comrade-in-Arms

I’ll admit when I’m wrong. Turns out FMA2 still wants the brothers Elric and Winry to find out about Hughes separately…and it’s done intelligently (but definitely not unemotionally), with Winry off to visit Mrs. Hughes while Ed & Al expect to check in with Hughes himself at his office. A nice bit of allusion, albeit illustrated like a transition between static scenes in a video game, has Ed & Al running past the phone booth where Hughes was killed on their way to see him at his office. Both discoveries have their merits. Ed & Al half-discover and are half-told about Hughes’ death by Lt. Ross, while the door that opened for Winry at the Hughes’ residence near broke my heart.

Also, FMA2 does not rely on Mustang getting all his information on Lab 5 and the homunculi from #66 (Barry), who is being held in a safe house stowed away by Mustang (for a possible case against the Fuhrer?). Instead, this episode treats us to a scene between Sheska covering up for Mustang, who’s researching Lab 5 materials and Hughes case. And without revealing anything specific, the way in which Sheska covers for Mustang instills a great deal more fear for his well-being than FMA1 ever managed to evoke. Whereas Mustang seemed strategically untouchable/undesirable (plot-wise) in FMA1, his duty-bound nature and now affected emotional state in FMA2 lend a vulnerability never before expressed that gives his character a realistic soft spot and tragic flaw (as opposed to FMA1’s miniskirt-fetish flaw).

FMA2 is definitely making more dynamic characters of the Hughes family, namely Gracia, through their grief. And speaking of flushing out characters, it’s been a while since anything other than plot has been attributed to FMA2’s homunculi. So I’ll start now: Envy is righteously plotting/manipulative and Lust, aside from being voiced by someone who knows sultry, is just downright cruel…even in implication, and even though she’s messing with my boy Jean Havoc’s 2D libido! This varies widely from FMA1, which, by this point, was already showing us the human sides to each homunculus.

On an imagery note, having Winry grab Ed’s metal hand to prevent him from leaving her doorway is a brilliant move. Also, having Ed and Winry alone in a room when the one with breasts is sobbing is a fanboy’s dream. Please let it be show-don’t-tell and let me keep my shojo fantasy!

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