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FMA: The Brotherhood Diaries – Episode 45

Greed and Wrath battle at the beginning of Brotherhood episode 45

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 45 – The Promised Day

If FMA2 were nothing battles betwixt Greed and Wrath, which is how this episode starts, I could watch this show all day long. The attention to detail during their sparring matches is phenomenal, and Wrath’s swordsmanship and Greed’s Ultimate Shield serve as wonderful foils in each fight.

FMA2 retains the humour of the Armstrong household, but through violence (Olivier and Alexander) and subtle inaction (the rest of the clan) as opposed to a goofy dating episode (FMA1 Episode 37) and overly caring paternal figures (FMA1 Alex) while managing to tie the reason for the visit to the family household into the main plot for good reason, unlike FMA1. Disheartening is the lack of Alex Loiuse’s presence in this series. He was a good substitute father figure for the Elrics in FMA1, but, admittedly would serve no great purpose in this series. Much more important is his sister, Olivier, whose character and presence just continues to endear her to me even more than Alex from FMA1. Even though it was not intended as such, I’d like to think of Olivier whooping her brother’s butt as a comment on how much stronger a character she is as opposed to Alex in the first series. Both suit their respective series, but what gives Olivier the edge (no pun intended) is her back-story at Briggs and how that lends to her seemingly cold ambition and relentless drive. Alex had no particular reason for being Alex in FMA1 … he just was, which made him a weaker character.

The separate journeys of Al and Ed continue, further distinguishing FMA2 from FMA1 in a couple ways. On the good side, Ed’s character has changed; he has become more humble and less full of pride, which is a good device seeing as that is one of the sins he is up against. The bad thing is the sudden implantation of this change. There are of course good and bad reasons one could judge by. On the justifiable: Ed’s had a near death experience and was cared for by others, forcing him to accept his mortality and other’s help. In the grey realm: all of this has to be implied (and only over two episodes) because we only saw Ed dying and recovered.

In other words, the sense of missing time isn’t there nor is the extent to which he is indebted or forced to swallow said pride. As FMA1 was a character study, Izumi’s assessment (after Ed killed the homunculus parading around as his mother trying to kill him) of Ed’s having grown up carries much more weight because of the sheer amount of time devoted to watching Ed battle his inner demons. That said, FMA2 still makes a courageous move by setting Ed and Al apart for so long and even more interesting by having Ed recruit the homunculi-excommunicated Greed (or vice-versa). On both Ed and Al tracts, FMA2 shows how much more independent of each other the brothers are growing, which is something FMA1 could never have done because it’s focus was on the brothers and not the struggle.

Greed’s integration into that struggle breaks the final segregation barrier FMA2 faced: positive (possibly, probably) homunculi-human cooperation. Of course, one could argue that pure homunculi are still the villains, seeing as Greed still harbors an inner Yao consciousness. This completes the implication that anything human — pure, chimera-blended, or homunculus-hosted — can work together and add their individual strengths to a collective effort against a common enemy.

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