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FMA: The Brotherhood Diaries – Episode 42

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Episode 42

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 42 – Signs of a Counter Offensive

Alchemy was made in the kitchen according to both series, but only FMA2’s cookbook comes with pictures. Via a House-like epiphany and an accidental sneeze, May, Marcoh, Al, and Yoki discover an arrangement based on textual code as well as physical plotting that must be utilized in order to perceive the real meaning of Scar’s brother’s research notes. This two-sided jigsaw puzzle reveals the transmutation circle intended for Armestris in both alchemy and Alkahestry. So now, at least in a few symbols and intent, FMA2 has established a link between the two practices.

Rose is alive and spunky in FMA2, helping Liore cope with the crippling loss of their false prophet Cornello. She wears a face unmarked by the tragedies of rape and martial law imposed under FMA1’s return to the city, which I always felt added some wonderfully realistic military corruption but many others criticized as superfluous. FMA2 (so far) is staying safe from such potential pitfalls by making her the savior of the town via soup kitchen aid (cook and server). It is during such service that she meets and is complemented by Hohenheim in the same manner Hughes complimented Winry in FMA1 (how’s that for reaching for a similarity?). It is through Rose that Hohenheim is led underground to discover what’s bound to be the outer ring of the country-engulfing alchemic circle (which also serves as a possible container for Dwarf’s segmented “Pride”). The only citywide circle dug in FMA1 was that around the ruins of Liore, and that was done by Scar.

FMA2 is big on stressing interstate battles, while FMA1 was more concerned with intrastate “conflicts.” Brotherhood has already alluded to this via the inclusion of Briggs’ constant readiness for war with the forces of Drachma, but border wars are highlighted in this episode via the mentioning of Breda’s experience with the war at Pendleton in the west, Fuery’s involvement against Aerugo in southern Fotcett, and, last but not least, Drachma vs. Briggs, with Kimblee as facilitator and traitor. The latter ends the episode, setting up a battle for Briggs, one of the last strongholds for a formal resistance. The FMA1 resistance never had the luxury of a formal base, though. Instead, it made do with guerilla fighters. Still, FMA2 is doing technically better what FMA1 tried with the execution of its faction of state alchemists and those that supported them.

And I may be wrong with this next point, but I don’t think there was ever a single episode in which FMA1 did not involve Ed. This is a first for FMA2 as well. And there isn’t anything lacking. This shows strength of character for the series in that it has built up the supporting cast so well that the main story does not have to hinge on one individual.

And if you haven’t yet heard via the Anime News Network, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block will be airing the dubbed Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, aka FMA2, which features 99% of the original voice cast, starting February 14 at midnight. Why do I mention this? Because that is also where FMA1 initially aired in the US too, but not starting from that specific date and time. Ha!

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