Mark Watches ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’: Episode 11

In the eleventh episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Winry, Ed, and Al assist the adoptive family of a pickpocket. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch FMA:B.

Hey! This episode wasn’t one huge punch in my heart!

  • It’s wistful at one point, but that’s it. This was an enjoyable story that showed us Winry’s importance to the show and demonstrated the resourcefulness of her character, which was a lovely surprise, considering that she hasn’t been the main focus of an episode so far.
  • As I had hoped, I got an entire episode devoted to Rush Valley! Seriously, there are so many images of joy and happiness in “Miracle at Rush Valley,” and it was a welcome respite after the last episode. Of course, these kids are going to eventually learn what’s happened in their absence, and I don’t want to be around it.
  • But let’s talk about Winry! God, this episode really is one giant love letter to her while still showing us that she’s a complex, layered character. When Edward’s automail impresses the people of the holy land of automail, that means that Winry has an undeniable talent. That doesn’t mean she has no room to improve! It’s quite the opposite, actually, and Dominic is quick to vocalize the flaws in her construction. But I appreciate that this show celebrates what Winry has done. I mean, she’s devoted her life to automail, hasn’t she?
  • We’re also introduced to Paninya, a young girl who lost her legs in a train accident that killed her parents. Despite that we don’t get that much exploration of her character, we do find out enough to get a sense for her motivations and goals. Initially, she’s just a pickpocket who laughs off every single attack that Edward and Al send her way. (Note that it’s Winry who captures her, yet another example of how awesome she is. Awesome like people!)
  • But her actions are a way of seeking validation and positive attention from Dominic, the man who saved her life by giving her the automail legs she now has. (Side thought, though: He essentially kidnapped her off the street, didn’t he? Seriously, that’s kind of weird.) Dominic has consistently refused payment for what he did for Paninya, and yet she’s determined to repay his kindness.
  • Winry also looks up to Dominic and in a sense, she also seeks his attention, though this is because she wants to become better at her automail constructions. I love this because it shows she’s willing to put aside her ego to improve.
  • The most surprising turn in “Miracle at Rush Valley,” though, is how Satella’s pregnancy forces Edward to think about the miracle of human life and what that means for his own alchemy. At this point, it wasn’t surprising that Winry rose to the challenge and helped Satella give birth because we’d already seen how she’d come to help the Elric brothers when they were in dire need. It’s in in her nature to do so!
  • Anyway, I thought it was significant that Edward saw the miracle of birth in the way that he did. I mean, yes, it was kind of crass to compare natural childbirth to alchemical transformation, but his brain goes straight back to that place because he once tried to create human life by himself.
  • There’s really only one sad moment here, and it’s the reveal of what “Don’t forget 3.Oct.11” means to Edward. Obviously, it’s really saddening to think about what the Elrics had to burn down and how their past will always haunt them. I mean, Al has to live with the ramifications of what happened because it’s not like he can ignore the lack of a corporeal body. But I also saw the flashback as a reminder that throughout this all, Winry and Pinako have been there for Ed and Al. Maybe they don’t have their mother and father anymore, but the Rockbells have been a family for the Elrics when they needed it.
  • I just care about these three kids so much already. I know that’s dangerous, given that all the cuteness I felt towards Hughes was mercilessly crushed in the previous episode, but oh well! It happens!
  • Was I supposed to recognize those three faces on the Wanted posters, by the way?
  • So! The narrative is splitting again. Winry is staying in Rush Valley with Paninya to learn more about automail while Ed and Al are heading to Dublith. We’ve also got whatever’s going on with Mustang and Riza. Oh gosh, I am so unprepared, aren’t I?

The video commission for this episode is now archived in my store for just $0.99! You can purchase the entire show at once for only $49.99 for 64 videos!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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