FMA: The Brotherhood Diaries – Episode 45

Greed and Wrath battle at the beginning of Brotherhood episode 45

Ani-Gamers staff writer Ink contributes a weekly column in which he examines the differences between the original Fullmetal Alchemist and its re-telling, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. To read previous entries, click here.

Watch Episode 45 – The Promised Day

If FMA2 were nothing battles betwixt Greed and Wrath, which is how this episode starts, I could watch this show all day long. The attention to detail during their sparring matches is phenomenal, and Wrath’s swordsmanship and Greed’s Ultimate Shield serve as wonderful foils in each fight.

FMA2 retains the humour of the Armstrong household, but through violence (Olivier and Alexander) and subtle inaction (the rest of the clan) as opposed to a goofy dating episode (FMA1 Episode 37) and overly caring paternal figures (FMA1 Alex) while managing to tie the reason for the visit to the family household into the main plot for good reason, unlike FMA1. Disheartening is the lack of Alex Loiuse’s presence in this series. He was a good substitute father figure for the Elrics in FMA1, but, admittedly would serve no great purpose in this series. Much more important is his sister, Olivier, whose character and presence just continues to endear her to me even more than Alex from FMA1. Even though it was not intended as such, I’d like to think of Olivier whooping her brother’s butt as a comment on how much stronger a character she is as opposed to Alex in the first series. Both suit their respective series, but what gives Olivier the edge (no pun intended) is her back-story at Briggs and how that lends to her seemingly cold ambition and relentless drive. Alex had no particular reason for being Alex in FMA1 ... he just was, which made him a weaker character.

The separate journeys of Al and Ed continue, further distinguishing FMA2 from FMA1 in a couple ways. On the good side, Ed’s character has changed; he has become more humble and less full of pride, which is a good device seeing as that is one of the sins he is up against. The bad thing is the sudden implantation of this change. There are of course good and bad reasons one could judge by. On the justifiable: Ed’s had a near death experience and was cared for by others, forcing him to accept his mortality and other’s help. In the grey realm: all of this has to be implied (and only over two episodes) because we only saw Ed dying and recovered.

In other words, the sense of missing time isn’t there nor is the extent to which he is indebted or forced to swallow said pride. As FMA1 was a character study, Izumi’s assessment (after Ed killed the homunculus parading around as his mother trying to kill him) of Ed’s having grown up carries much more weight because of the sheer amount of time devoted to watching Ed battle his inner demons. That said, FMA2 still makes a courageous move by setting Ed and Al apart for so long and even more interesting by having Ed recruit the homunculi-excommunicated Greed (or vice-versa). On both Ed and Al tracts, FMA2 shows how much more independent of each other the brothers are growing, which is something FMA1 could never have done because it’s focus was on the brothers and not the struggle.

Greed’s integration into that struggle breaks the final segregation barrier FMA2 faced: positive (possibly, probably) homunculi-human cooperation. Of course, one could argue that pure homunculi are still the villains, seeing as Greed still harbors an inner Yao consciousness. This completes the implication that anything human — pure, chimera-blended, or homunculus-hosted — can work together and add their individual strengths to a collective effort against a common enemy.


FMAFAN said...

Eh, I always thought Ed's personal growth and maturity in the manga was something that happened gradually throughout the whole story, not something turned on in him by one singular life-changing event.

FMA1 did make a lot of Arakawa's omakes parts of the show "the dog of the military" and the Armstrong story and the "Flame vs. Fullmetal" but Arakawa also has written a lot of more serious and very touching omakes that show great little glimpses of extra characterization and background/backstory. They've done two so far for Brotherhood...but they've yet to do my three favorite "Long Night", "Family" and "A soldiers battlefield once more"

Sadly it looks like they'll only have time to make one more OVA for Brotherhood though T_T

*sniff* Ed and Al being separate breaks my heart. There's this one scene coming up soon that's very subtle and simple but it says a lot to me. It won't be for a few episodes though.

As always really great and interesting reviews :D

Ink said...

If I can take your experience from the manga (which I have not read) for granted, then "Ed's personal growth and maturity in the manga was something that happened gradually throughout the whole story" could also be said for both series. In each, the characters have a well-developed motive and imperitive and do not develop their traits out of the proverbial blue. FMA2's near death experience was just sort of the pinnacle of self-defeat for Ed and as such is a justafiably identifiable turning point for his character. Not to say it's sudden...just a pinion.

I've seen both OVAs for Brotherhood now, and liked the "the blind alchemist" moreso than the other. The former offered a good look into the morality of alchemy, as in FMA Episode 4, "A Forger's Love," while the latter offered some great supporting material for Hawkeye and Winry but fell short of offering anything left out of FMA1's Episode 26 "Her Reason."

Of course, I'd not be opposed to anything extra thrown the FMA fan way, and I'm looking forawrd to the Ed/Al defining moment you mentioned.

FMFAN said...

You make me a sad FMA fan Ink. Despite comparing between the first anime and Brotherhood being the whole point of your diaries and it being enjoyable enough, it still makes me sad when you say things like that. T_T

Disreguarding the fact the "The Forgers Love" and "Her Reason" are both fine examples of why FMA1 was a horrible anime that fell short of writing any of their own good filler, it's just the fact that a lot things the anime did were fed to them by Hiromu Arakawa (the manga-ka) and they made watered-down versions of it for their plot or grossly exaggerated them to a point of ridiculousness. But now because of this the anime apparently "had them first" even though the ideas were already set for the manga, just hadn't been written yet.

Sigh... Okay, crazy-manga-fan-rant over. I still greatly enjoy these diaries comparing between the two series. I just wish the manga got more of its due. You'll be noticing how the first FMA did a lot of watered down versions of Arakawa's ideas pretty soon into this series.

Oh, and I agree about what you said in the first paragraph and I wouldn't really call the Ed/Al moment defining. It's just a really simple thing that touches my heart because the manga does a good job of that, since the characterization has been so wonderful. But of course, a lot of that is greatly lacking in Brotherhood.

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