Mark Watches ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’: Episode 29

In the twenty-ninth episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I know I’ve said this show is fucked up a billion times, but this episode is a good example of why that fucked-up-ness is super fascinating. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch FMA:B.


  • And I actually feel the need to state that definitively because I spend most of my time yelling at people who have nothing to do with the creation of this show or my choice to watch it. Namely: Y’ALL. And I do hope you get that I’m hyperbolic for a reason. IT’S REALLY FUN. But I do like being direct when I feel it’s necessary, and I haven’t outright stated that I’m really loving this show. I mean, I hate it because it ruins my life, but that’s part of the fun, you know?
  • Watching “Struggle of the Fool” was an intriguing and enriching experience for me because everything is so weird now. The opening scene – where the Elric brothers are brought to the surface, realize they’ve been under Central Command, and then are greeted by Führer Bradley and Mustang – is electrifying. In just one scene, the entire weight and focus of the narrative shifts to a new reality as these characters are forced to re-align their futures. Do they go along with Bradley’s demands or risk the safety of those they love? You also have to remember that what these people have discovered has global implications. They’ve discovered the cause of the Ishvalan Genocide; they know why Hughes was murdered; they know that all of Amestris was conned by a leader who isn’t even human!
  • All this made me think of was “Interlude Party,” which I’m beginning to appreciate more and more. I only just found out yesterday (I’m writing this on August 29th on a fucking airplane oh my god THE FUTURE IS HERE) that clip recaps are actually fairly standard in longer anime shows. But that episode conveyed a brilliant point: It’s going to be impossible to explain this complex conspiracy to a layperson. How the hell are they going to reveal this nightmare to the general public? Like, yes, I’m actually more concerned about Bradley’s threats to Winry and Riza, but I’m also aware of what a logistical clusterfuck this is going to be.
  • Bradley is relentlessly unnerving in that first scene, especially because he’s so calm about recent events. I suppose it’s kind of a relief that Bradley will allow the Elrics to seek out their old bodies? They do have some degree of freedom here, but that speaks to how weird this situation is, you know? They’re not prisoners, and neither is Mustang. Mustang himself is eager to continue pursuing his own ambitious climb to the top, too. I found that to be an interesting parallel to Ling’s journey, too. (LING. LING. OH GOD.)
  • Oh, right, can’t forget how HORRIFYING it was to watch Bradley stab Al’s armor. Seriously, if he had killed May, I would not have been okay.
  • ED’S CALL TO WINRY. Oh my god, he is such a quintessential dude. It’s not the most groundbreaking characterization, I admit, but it fits Edward. He’s oblivious, he’s super defensive about how he’s perceived, and he’s not quick to be emotional. Winry, however, has a much easier time being affectionate, and she’s far more confident about being so towards Edward in this phone call, as if she’s perfectly fine with her realization that she’s falling for him.
  • In short: ADORABLE. 
  • But my absolute favorite aspect of “Struggle of the Fool” concerns Ling. I was fairly convinced that not a shred of Ling’s soul remained in his body, but this episode confirms that not only is he there and able to communicate, but that he may be resisting part of the transformation process, refusing to let Greed take everything. This identity struggle is ENDLESSLY FASCINATING TO ME. Even Greed seems intrigued by it! Oh god, does that mean Ling can still come back at some point?
  • I should also say that Scar coming across Dr. Marcoh is perhaps just as interesting. I was confused at first as to why he was so happy that Scar was in front of him. BUT OH MY GOD. Not only is Marcoh being forced by the Homunculi to help begin what will certainly be another genocide, but he was instrumental in the Ishvalan genocide as well.
  • Dr. Knox is too much.
  • May is too much.
  • Lan Fan is too much.
  • This show is too much.
  • I really don’t know how I didn’t realize that Lan Fan and May would be mortal enemies. Clearly they weren’t from the same clan!!! And I enjoy them both and I just want them to be super best kickass friends, but their interests are in contrast to one another.
  • Dr. Knox is hilarious in this episode because he is so done with everyone. Except that sad part where he doesn’t want to save a family photo because of reasons, and now I want to know his backstory.
  • Hey. Hey, everyone. Mustang and Riza had to tell Major Armstrong that the military he works for is ceaselessly fucked up. Hey. That happened. And it’s so heartbreaking, especially when we flashback to find out that ARMSTRONG DISOBEYED ORDERS AND REFUSED TO FIGHT IN THE ISHVALAN CIVIL WAR BECAUSE IT WAS TOO BRUTAL.
  • So… I still don’t know why May’s and Scar’s alchemy differs from everyone else’s. I don’t get it!
  • But if the next episode is Marcoh explaining what happened in the Ishval Civil War… no. No. I am both excited for it and utterly unprepared for it.

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!

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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