Ed investigates inside the laboratory and finds the room where they have been making Philosopher’s stones. Al has his hands full with a guard that is somewhat like him.
This episode is dominated by two fights, Ed against #48, Slicer and Al against #66, Barry the Chopper. Both guards are similar to Al, as they are both suits of armour containing souls. To paraphrase Ed, there is someone else around that is as mad as Ed.
Let us begin with the Al and Barry the Chopper. I rarely mention the 2003 version of the anime, but I feel compelled here as in the earlier adaptation both Elric brothers were involved in capturing Barry as he had kidnapped Winry. Here however, Al has no idea who Barry is.
Barry isn’t as skilful as his younger opponent, and looks for psychological edge by questions the younger Elric’s humanity. This isn’t because Barry is a skilled fighter, but he is a loon who feels that he is human because of his desire to chop people up. The problem is that Barry does get to Al who begins to question if he is nothing more than Ed’s memories of his younger brother.
The question remains what was Ed going to ask Al earlier?
Meanwhile, Ed is up against the more intimidating Slicer. On first viewing it doesn’t feel strange that Slicer’s blood seal is in his helmet. It is a bit of a weakness, especially as Ed is able to use a dirty trick to cut off Slicer’s helmet. But revenge is swift as Slicer is really two brothers.
If there is one thing about Ed, he is a keen student and he is very good at applying his knowledge. He ultimately uses Scar’s trick to defeat the second brother. I like here how Ed’s attitude at the end of his fight is the opposite of his brothers. While Al is questioning his humanity, Ed has to accept the captured souls as human because he cannot live with the implications if they are not.
This care and attention to the relationship between Ed and Al is one of the best things about this series.
The Slicer brothers are about to tell the secrets of the fifth laboratory, when Lust and Envy arrive to silence them. They seem as upset about Ed being hurt, as him finding the lab. For some unknown reason they want to protect Ed, referring to him as one of the important sacrifices, and also as a precious resource. The homunculi seem to have plans for the Fullmetal Alchemist, and they aren’t yet willing to share with the group.
- You know that Major Armstrong’s shirt is going missing when he finds out that Ross and Brosh lost the brothers.
- For someone who doesn’t have a body, Barry the Chopper is somewhat surprised that Al is just like him.
- Al isn’t just the better balanced sibling. He can also outfight his older brother. Does the pipsqueak have anything going for him?
- A programming note. I appreciate that in the dub Envy is referred to as male, but I’m sorry but I think of this homunculi as female.
- Envy does take great pleasure in getting a couple of licks in when Ed’s shoulder finally gives in.
- Kimblee makes an appearance, noting that the Laboratory next door is being destroyed. Reminds him of what he did in Ishval.
Maes Hughes may have been talking on the phone with Roy Mustang to talk about Scar, but you know the real reason? It was to talk about Hughes’ two favourite things, his wife and daughter.