Mark Watches ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’: Episode 12

In the twelfth episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Edward and Al reunite with their old alchemist teacher, only to discover that she’s been harboring a secret of her own. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch FMA:B.

Well, my own emotional stability couldn’t last whilst watching this show, could it?

  • That was sad.
  • Really sad.
  • Bone-crushingly sad.
  • In a sense, I think that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood deals with people either confronting or perpetuating the unfairness in the world. It’s not fair that Edward and Al’s father abandoned them (and is apparently still alive doing something???), nor is it fair that their mother died suddenly while they were still children. It’s not fair that Winry lost her own parents in the Ishval Civil War. It’s not fair that Izumi lost her child, either. On the other end of the spectrum, we’re learning just how horrific the Ishval Civil War was, and I’m sure it’s one of the primary reasons that Izumi was furious at the Elric brothers for becoming an alchemist for the State Military. I do suspect it’s also related to her beliefs about the precious nature of the circle of energy, too, though I’ll bring that back up later.
  • “One is All, All is One” also confirms the identity of the VERY SERIOUS MAN I keep seeing in the opening credits: Hohenheim, who is the Elric brothers’ father. I’m fascinated by the idea that both father and sons are pursuing information and knowledge about the Philosopher’s Stone, but what I don’t know yet is why Hohenheim would abandon his sons to seek this information out. That seems… well, unbearably cruel, and I can’t imagine any sort of justification he could give that would make his sons feel better. Why the “lifelong” obsession with the Stone anyway?
  • Well, now I understand that weird look Sig gave Izumi when Edward and Al were talking about the Rush Valley birth. Oh, my heart, y’all.
  • I loved the flashback that explained how Izumi crossed paths with the Elrics. She’s got such an intriguing characterization because she’s abrasive on the outside, and it’s something she wears proudly. But when we see her all those years ago, she’s offering her help to save an entire town from a flood. When does she agree to help the Elrics? After she learns that they’re orphans. Just because she’s frank and violent doesn’t mean she is without empathy. Plus, I see a great deal of the violence in this show as played for laughs, such as when Izumi uses alchemy to make a literal fist out of the earth. I look to the animation for cues on whether or not to view something as a comedic moment or a serious one.
  • Her style of teaching is just as harsh as her attitude, though leaving kids on an island for a month seems unnecessarily ridiculous, personally. It’s for a purpose, though. She wants Edward and Al to appreciate the way nature and energy are interconnected on a grand, cosmic scale. I don’t know if the Japanese sub of this is as literal as the English dub is, but I felt that Edward’s monologue about what Izumi was trying to teach them was heavy handed and clumsy. It’s so direct that it leaves nothing to the imagination. I liked the idea of it, though, because Izumi was trying to impart the essence of alchemy onto these kids.
  • And amidst this neat little bit of character/world building, the writers drop a massive revelation: Izumi once said told Edward that he might understand transmutation without a transmutation circle if he ever encountered “the truth.”
  • oh my god this episode is serious
  • oh my god my heart is shattering.
  • Izumi tried human transmutation on her stillborn child and LOST PARTS OF HER INTERNAL ORGANS IN THE PROCESS.
  • I am so fucking done with this show.
  • Ugh, I can’t even say that because there are 52 more episodes. 52!!! How are there still so many??? That terrifies me because that implies I haven’t even gotten started at all. DAMN IT, WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?
  • Still, this episode ended on a somber note, one where Izumi held these children, these poor, damaged children, and told them that it was okay to hurt. It evoked that moment in “Miracle at Rush Valley” where Winry said that Ed and Al never allowed themselves to cry. It’s significant that Izumi, who has been consumed by anger and sadness, is the one to tell these brothers that it’s perfectly fine to let go sometimes.
  • Ugh, this show.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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