In the sixty-second episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the rebels of Amestris attempt to take down Father once and for all, but it’s the sacrifice of one of the heroes that truly allows it to happen. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch FMA:B.
Prepare your human transmutation circles, as the end of this show will surely kill me.
- I am also warning you that this episode spawned the most feelings out of pretty much anything this show has ever done. It’s too much.
- It’s important to note how quickly Hohenheim asserts that Father is, ultimately, a failure. He claims to have become a god (which is something I misunderstood, since I had assumed he didn’t have this power anymore), but what can he do? He can destroy, and that’s it. It’s all Father has ever done. Even if you count the homunculi, their express purpose was to destroy as well. (Which is also why I have about a quarter billion feelings for Greedling alone, since he is the only homunculus to break that destiny. I’ll get to him in a bit.) Once you think about Father’s example of “creation,” even that is based solely in destruction. It’s also based on UTTER FUCKING NIGHTMARE FUEL. I’m sorry, but that baby crawling up to Izumi is about the cruelest thing this show has ever done, and I don’t know if you know this, but this show is fucked up. Anyway, the souls of Xerxes – finally granted bodies – are so horrifically wrong that they infuriate Hohenheim. And that is important because Hohenheim has thousands upon thousands of souls within himself, and he knows how awful it is that Father has done this. Father is not granting corporeal bodies to these souls out of charity; no, it’s used as a distraction, as a demonstration of his power, just so that he can annihilate the sacrifices.
- Meanwhile, the survivors who aren’t sacrifices gather for what they know will be the final attack on Father. It’s fascinating to me that it’s Greed who takes the reigns as the leader of the group, ordering those too injured to fight to step aside and rest, which includes Olivier. I SERIOUSLY THOUGHT SHE’D FIND A WAY TO MURDER HIM WITH HER EYES. Except that this wasn’t about Greed offending Olivier. No, she had to be reminded by her own men that the very troops she trained and led for so many years had been taught well. They were trained to respond as one because they are Briggs men, and that’s what Olivier had done for them. It’s a remarkably sweet moment because Olivier realizes that as much as she has a personal stake in this, Karley is right. Her men can continue on without her.
- It’s much more than that, too. It’s not lost on me that after she’s left behind underground, her first conversation is with Scar about Bradley’s death. It’s how she realizes that Buccaneer was the one to provide the first mortal blow to Bradley ever. Her Buccaneer. When she kneels next to Bradley’s body, her words are of pride. She is so proud of her men.
- NO, I’M NOT CRYING YET.
- BECAUSE I SAVED THAT FOR THE NEXT SCENE.
- ALPHONSE SAVED MAY AT GREAT EXPENSE TO HIS BODY.
- HOHENHEIM SAVED IZUMI AT GREAT EXPENSE TO HIS BODY.
- THE ELRICS MAKE ME CRY.
- Well, at lot of things made me cry in this episode, but let’s just talk about why this is so emotional. Obviously, it’s harrowing to see the sacrifices fight Father because we know that he can steal their souls in a matter of seconds. But there’s a vicious joy to watching “A Fierce Counterattack” because it represents the greater theme of this show. Right when Father is about to tear Edward and Izumi’s souls from their bodies, he is hit with a barrage from the Briggs soldiers. What we experience after this is the strange menagerie of humans, chimeras, homunculi, and whatever you’d call Hohenheim, as they prove just how resilient and dedicated they are to what they believe in. Mustang is blind and his hands are injured, and yet he and Riza do what they can to drain Father’s Philosopher’s Stone. (Also, I’m pretty sure you need no better evidence than their partnership in this attack to prove that Riza and Mustang are made for one another. My babies.) The sacrifices, gravely injured, still do whatever they can to harm Father. Alex Armstrong bravely puts his body in the line of fire. Zampano and Darius drain their resources; Lan Fan risks her life; and Greed puts his own life force at stake in order to bring father down.
- Greed. Greed. I am so enthralled by what takes place here for his character because I never once considered that he had a greediness for this. This whole time, Greed has been expressing a desire to rule the world, and for a moment, I sincerely thought he was going to steal Father’s power for himself. Instead, his attack on Father was meant as a way to get Father to let down his guard. Granted, it was still for a selfish reason, but Greed didn’t expect what happened next: His friends came to help him. His friends. Edward, Alex, Izumi, Lan Fan. These people help him. They risk their lives for them.
- AND IT WORKS. They’re able to harm Father, to drain his Philosopher’s Stone, BUT THEN HE EXPLODES WITH ENERGY AND ANNIHILATES EDWARD’S AUTOMAIL ARM. BUT THEN EDWARD BARELY EVEN CARES BECAUSE HE’S EDWARD ELRIC AND HE’S THE BEST. I love this doesn’t even faze Edward; he continues his volley on Father and then Father blocks a kick with his arm and HOLY SHIT HE’S NOT USING ENERGY, OH SHIT, HE CAN’T CONTAIN GOD IS THIS REALLY FUCKING HAPPENING
- HE EXPLODED
- OH MY GOD, EDWARD
- OH MY GOD ALPHONSE. HIS BODY IS DISINTEGRATING!!!!
- Al. Alphonse. I’m still in awe at his choice here. Al never forgot that his brother sacrificed part of his body to keep Al’s soul in this world, and so, in one horrifically sad, beautiful moment, Al returns the favor. I didn’t initially understand Al’s insistence that May was the only one who could help him until she threw her kunai blades right to the spot where Edward’s arm should be.
- ALPHONSE WAS GIVING UP HIS SOUL TO GIVE EDWARD BACK HIS ARM. Equivalent exchange, y’all. And alkahestry is about creation, so it makes perfect sense that only May could help.
- Al transmuted his own fucking soul, y’all. I can’t. I started tearing up immediately, but pretty much lost it when Al’s soul returned to his body inside the Gate. Oh my god, Al got his body back, but he can’t return unless Edward comes to get him. AND WHAT CAN ED SACRIFICE TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN??? Oh my god, it’s too much to even think about, y’all.
- And this episode still isn’t done with me. You know, sometimes I forget that this show is essentially named after Edward, that he’s the “main” character, because there are so many protagonists who get a chance to shine in the narrative. But this final assault on Father is a beautiful, emotional reminder that Edward Elric is at the center of this. It’s a spectacle to see all of his friends cheering him on, inspiring him to take shot after shot at Father, as Father’s power spills from his deteriorating body.
- So it’s not lost on me that Greed truly desired this. His greed wasn’t for power, but for friendly admiration. And given that he briefly experienced people coming to his aid, he knows that Ling is right: This is what he always wanted.
- MY HEART CAN’T HANDLE THIS SHOW, Y’ALL.
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